ATLANTA -- The Falcons played Sunday's game against Arizona without the hope of advancing beyond the regular season. They were formally eliminated from playoff contention the previous week, following a loss in Baltimore and positive results for others in the NFC South.
Head coach Arthur Smith emphatically said there was still plenty to play for as individuals and as a team despite that fact and was hoping to see his players treat this game seriously.
Smith got his wish. The Falcons played hard, questing for victory and to snap a four-game losing streak. It was good enough to win.
The Falcons walked off with a win, a 20-19 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It was secured with a game-winning 21-yard field goal by Younghoe Koo.
Let's take a look at what stood out for the Falcons in this Week 17 contest:
Important for Falcons to snap the streak
The Falcons hadn't won in a while, with four straight defeats on the ledge and six losses in seven games. Getting a 'W' was important for this team and it's confidence level. It was important to be rewarded for a solid week's work and a game where the Falcons did just enough to win.
Arthur Smith said all week that victories were important and he was right. It was important to win a close game, to win another one at home and to validate progress made while being on the right side of the scoreboard.
The Cardinals pushed for victory late in this one and took a lead with five minutes remaining, but Ridder led a drive that allowed the Falcons to surge ahead when it mattered most. Doing so was key, especially considering the team has lost so many close games this season.
Tyler Allgeier is that dude
The Falcons made a good selection when they were drafting in the fifth round. They picked up running back Tyler Allgeier out of BYU who has developed into a quality runner right before our eyes. This was a guy who was a healthy scratch in Week 1, and now he's an indispensable part of the Falcons attack.
While he's a tough, physical runner, Allgeier has shown an ability to be nimble and patient eluding tacklers, running around them over through them when it's required.
Allgeier has really turned it on over the past month and has the stat to show for it. He exceeded 1,000 yards from scrimmage in this contest, making him the third rookie to accomplish that feat. He's also the fourth Falcons to do that in his rookie season.
Allgeier has all the makings of a feature back and works well combining forces with Cordarrelle Patterson in the run game. While we've seen a bunch of rookies contribute this season, Allgeier might be having the best season of them all to this point.
Another week, another big special teams play
The Falcons have been solid on special teams all year, with some spectacular plays sprinkled in. They had another big one on Sunday, with a blocked punt that set up a Cordarrelle Patterson's first-half touchdown.
The expertly designed play had Richie Grant run a stunt and come in untouched, quick enough to get his hands on the ball before it launched downfield.
This comes a week after the Falcons blocked a field goal and marked the second blocked punt of the season.
Not to be outdone by his own guys, Bradley Pinion launched a perfect punt 62 yards that bounced out of bounds at a the 1-yard line, giving the Falcons a big moment in the battle for field position.
While the team has struggled on offense and defense, special teams has been consistently good and stands as a team strength as the regular season comes to a close.
Call for questions
Submit your questions right here, with Sunday's result fresh in your mind, for inclusion in Monday's mailbag.
Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals during Week 17.