Most of you likely recall last year’s Super Bowl between Atlanta and New England, in which the Falcons somehow blew a 28-3 lead and let Tom Brady claim yet another championship. But many of you may also be shocked to hear that the Falcons weren’t immediately banned from all future postseasons after that disturbing choke job. In fact, they’ve earned their way back into this year’s playoffs, by virtue of a 22-10 win against Carolina, and a 10-6 overall season.
It wasn’t a pretty final game, as the score basically tells you. Cam Newton’s offense was totally shut down by a dominant Falcons defense, as the Panthers QB only completed 14 of 34 passes, with three interceptions. The Atlanta offense was solid, if nowhere near the level they were at last season, but it did just enough to sneak back into the postseason and give this whole playoff thing another go.
The Falcons technically didn’t need to win, because Arizona beat seventh-place Seattle (who also spectacularly choked against New England in a recent Super Bowl). But not just falling backwards into another game, and actually winning a spot, is the ideal way to do it. Atlanta will try not to fuck it up against the L.A. Rams next week, while the Panthers need to recover and travel to New Orleans.