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How Drake London helped spark an undefeated record at home

The Falcons wide receiver said the crowd at Mercedes-Benz is a momentum changer. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Drake London is typically cool-headed. The Southern California native keeps a demeanor that ebbs and flows with an afternoon ocean tide, never getting too high or too low.

Except when he's on the field. Especially at home.

In the fourth quarter of Atlanta's Week 5 win, London wanted to spark the Falcons offense. Early in the final period, he completed the Falcons' longest pass of the game. Post-reception contact was so intense that his helmet got knocked off as he secured the ball. Without anything shielding London's face, he displayed the full scope of his passion through a primal scream.

Is there anything else that gets London that fired up?

"No," London simply said. "It was more of a personal thing at that moment."

Some chirping and trash talk from the opposing team elicited the spirit from London. The receiver's energy and passion helped earn a Falcons win, too.

It was the best performance of London's young sophomore season. He had 78 yards receiving, including that inspiring 32-yard long catch, the third longest of his early career.

"That's energy, that's momentum, not only from him but then it gets the fans involved." quarterback Desmond Ridder said. "It gets the energy of the team, the offense and everyone flowing."

The Falcons' 3-2 record, with all three wins at home, has given fans something to cheer about. When London got fired up in that fourth quarter, the crowd of almost 69,500 roared back at him.

"When you have fans like that who back you and support what you're doing and (are) just excited to be there and excited to see you play," London said, "It helps us all just to play to the certain level of our standard every day."

That standard is undefeated at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the 2023 calendar year, dating back to last season when London and Ridder were rookies. Ridder said he could count fans while watching film of last year's performances, now the crowd's presence has evolved.

"I'm like, 'Man, this is wild, just a year's difference and what it can do," Ridder said. "It's just a huge testament to a whole city showing up and supporting us, coming out and just bringing great energy."

Though away from Atlanta so far this season the Falcons struggle to keep their fire.

The offensive splits this season speak for itself. The Falcons have scored 70 points at home versus just 13 on the road, they complete 71.6% of passes at home and 58% on the road, and they've failed to score double-digits on the road yet but reached at least 20 points in every game in Atlanta.

"If you have any road ideas, let me know next week," Falcons coach Arthur Smith joked. "In all seriousness, that's really important to us. The fans have been phenomenal. You can feel their energy in that fourth quarter...that place was rocking."

This week the Falcons get another chance to stay perfect at the Benz against the Washington Commanders before facing their first divisional opponent on the road in Tampa Bay.

How can the momentum travel with the Falcons? By following in London's passionate lead.

"Bottle the energy up and let it out on Sundays," London said.

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