Momentum has been the buzzword for the Falcons all week. After a tough loss to the Saints in Week 16, they wanted to be on good footing heading into the playoffs. On Sunday, everything was working for Atlanta, especially the running game, which hasn't been very active lately. Running back Michael Turner felt like it was a positive for the entire team, heading into the playoffs this week: "It's a good momentum builder. You want to come in there on a good note and go out there and do some great things. We have improved, hopefully today and just take it from there and keep it going."
By the time the dust had settled after the first quarter, the Falcons had already created a commanding lead. Falcons head coach Mike Smith said a fast start was exactly how they wanted to begin Sunday's contest: "The start was the way we wanted it to go. We were able to run the ball. We wanted to establish the run, we got that done. We wanted to be able to move the ball passing it, and we were able to that. We put some pressure on the quarterback and he threw the ball to us and we created some turnovers. When you have that formula, and you throw in the way we covered kicks, it's a good combination. That is good, sound, solid football that we played there in the first half of that ballgame."
After struggling in the redzone against the Saints, Atlanta spent the past week working on improving that area of the game. They wanted touchdowns, not field goals. Matt Ryan was pleased with their 60 percent efficiency inside the 20-yard line: "I think that's something that we wanted to improve on from the last couple of weeks and something we certainly have focused on, worked hard on in practice and we finally kind of executed at the level we want to today on the field. So that bodes well for us heading into next week."
Second-year cornerback Dominique Franks has seen an increase in playing time in recent weeks and has come close to making a few plays during his solid efforts. On Sunday he found his first pick of the game: "We were in a cover-four scheme and in that alignment we play close so they do not throw a smoke route. They're a team that likes to hit the perimeter fast so that coverage negates that option. I lined up three or four yards in and I noticed the quarterback pump so I realized it was a double move so I opened up and made a play."