Falcons rolling again just in time for crucial three-game home stretch

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Updated: November 21, 2017

9:48 AM ET

SEATTLE — Mohamed Sanu had reason to gloat a little bit.

The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver had just pulled off one of those jaw-dropping, one-handed grabs for a 2-yard touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks. It was a play that Sanu routinely wows his teammates with during practice.

“I just tried to make the play,” Sanu said. “[Seahawks cornerback Justin Coleman] grabbed my left arm, so I had to make the play with one hand.”

Sanu always had a confident swagger about him regardless of the circumstances. Such would describe the aura surrounding the entire team following consecutive wins against the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks, teams projected to be atop to the playoff mix heading into the season. In fact, the 6-4 Falcons are 5-1 in the NFC with wins against the Cowboys (5-5), Seahawks (6-4), Detroit Lions (6-4), and Green Bay Packers (5-5) — an important thing to note when it comes to wild-card scenarios and tiebreakers.

“You can’t,” Ryan said. “You can’t. To me, it’s one of those things that if we handle our business, things will work out just fine. I can’t worry about what other people are doing because we have no control. … Certainly know where we’re at, but we’re focused on taking care of our business.”

Part of taking care of business is taking advantage of shorthanded opponents. The Falcons didn’t exactly tear it up offensively against a Seahawks defense that was without Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor — the Falcons had season-low 279 total yards — but converting 9-of-14 on third down and going 2-for-3 in the red zone was a sign of improvement from recent weeks. And remember, the Falcons took full advantage of Dallas being without star running back Ezekiel Elliott and All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith in a 27-7 thumping of the Cowboys.

Now comes Sunday’s matchup with the Buccaneers, who will be without Jameis Winston as the quarterback recovers from a sprained AC joint. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start against a Falcons defense which created two touchdowns off turnovers against the Seahawks.

“Jameis, in the past, has given us trouble with just extending plays,” free safety Ricardo Allen said. “Yes, he’s systematic, but he’s really instinctive also. … Fitzpatrick is a very good quarterback. He’s been doing it for a while, and there’s a reason he’s been doing it for a while. There’s a reason he’s in the league still. Jameis is just a little more mobile and a little bit more of a rough-rider.”

Allen, like Sanu and Ryan, contends he’s not looking ahead to how the Falcons could completely reshape their season by knocking off the likes of the streaking Saints, who have won eight in a row.

“One game at a time,” Allen said. “I really don’t look at their records. I don’t look at none of the standings or anything. I know the Saints are playing well. They’re going to always play well. They’ve got Drew Brees.

“Man, if we start to worry about other teams and we start worrying about who’s winning and who’s losing, that’s the kind of stuff you don’t want to get caught up in. The only thing we’re going to get caught up in is our plays and playing hard.”

Article source: http://www.espn.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/30455/falcons-have-some-swagger-back-but-not-focused-on-nfc-south-position