Television journalist. Reporter and host at ESPN.

Road Diary

Week 11: Falcons Close Out Close Game

 After a disastrous end to the 2016 season and a slow start in 2017, the Falcons find themselves squarely in the mix for the playoffs after their win against the Seahawks last night. How much confidence does a win against Seattle at home give this team? 

John Madden said football doesn't start until Thanksgiving - and by that measure the Falcons are right on schedule... with 2 big wins coming in the last two weeks against Dallas and Seattle, the team is finally feeling like they are coming into their own this season.  I asked Julio Jones last night in the locker room if he feels like the work he put in earlier in the year is finally starting to pay dividends now as the team enters a tough stretch. 

Jones told me, "we had some tough early losses, but we can't worry about that. The circle has to stick tight and keep trusting the process. We are just getting our swagger - we're moving forward every week." 

Falcons' Grady Jarrett: "We are just to strong some wins together.  I think we are just hitting our stride." 

And WR Mohamed Sanu saying, "Each week we have to go 1-0. Stay focused, play ball and do what we do.: 

This is the 3rd time this season the Falcons won with drama in the final seconds -- closing out games obviously remains a big and important step when it comes to this team threatening down the stretch. 

Monday: won by 3 as Blair Walsh missed game-tying FG attempt with :07 left

Week 3: Tackled Golden Tate at 1 yard line up 4 points (replayed overturned TD and time expired).

Week 1: Stopped Bears on 4th-and-goal at 5 with :08 left in game, up 6 points.

DE Adrian Clayborn told me the mentality of the defense at the end of the game last night was "just fight- fight to win, come back into the locker room with a win" - he said,  we were holding our breath on the final field goal, thinking there was going to be overtime. C Alex Mack echoed the sentiments of many players when he told me it's about taking it one game at a time, they know they have a tough road ahead - playing the Saints twice, the Vikings and ending the year with a rising Panthers team. 

Michele Steele