Icing the Vikings
Matt Ryan's numbers were impressive Sunday, to say the least. Perhaps more impressive was how Ryan commanded the Falcons offense and twice in the first half put the Falcons into the end zone without settling for field goals. The Falcons' second scoring drive, which ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Roddy White, saw Ryan go a perfect 5-for-5 with 63 passing yards. Later in the game, Ryan improvised an underhanded pass on the run to White to secure a first down. When it came down to it, Ryan did exactly what he was supposed to do Sunday: Make things happen for the Falcons offense.
Spoon Gets a Plate
If you haven't noticed what second-year Sean Weatherspoon has done this season, then you simply haven't been paying attention to the defense's most electrifying player so far this year. Spoon is near the top of the league in tackles and he added a whole slew more Sunday against Minnesota. With the Vikings in prime position to strike after a 104-yard kick return set them up inside the Falcons' 5, the Falcons defense put together a strong stand to keep Minnesota out of the end zone. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, Spoon sniffed out the dive from the left edge, got into the backfield and ended the play before it started to complete the stand. Spoon finished with 10 tackles and added a first-half sack to the mix to have one of the top defensive performances of the day Sunday.
Keeping Them Around
The Falcons have struggled this season with putting teams away when they've gotten out to a big lead. Last week against the Titans, the Falcons were ahead 23-3 in the third quarter and allowed Tennessee to keep things interesting as the Titans made their way back into the game only to lose 23-17. The Falcons let the Vikings hang around Sunday after building a 17-0 lead, and perhaps worse was allowing the Vikings to score on a 39-yard touchdown reception on a fourth-and-long the Vikings were gambling on to get within three of the lead. Later, the Falcons added a touchdown by Michael Palmer to get another 10-point lead and nearly saw it vanish on the next play as Percy Harvin returned a kick 104 yards. The return was saved by a Chris Owens tackle, which allowed the defense to put together a heroic stand late to keep the Vikings from coming any closer to the lead.
Svitek vs. Allen
Offensive tackle Will Svitek has been a huge bright spot on the Falcons offensive line. Starting at left tackle the past five games, Svitek has faced some of the best defensive ends in the league and has allowed them to do a whole bunch of nothing against the Falcons offense. Coming into Sunday's game, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen had been playing out of his mind, already racking up 13.5 sacks on the year. Svitek didn't allow the trend to continue as Allen was goose-egged in the sack category.
White Moves Up
White is quickly pushing his way to the top of the Falcons' all-time records when it comes to receiving categories. The wide receiver had another strong game Sunday, and his touchdown in the first half put him in sole possession of third place in franchise history for receiving TDs. White moved ahead of Falcons great Alfred Jenkins and now has 41 receiving touchdowns in his career.