Sunday, January 2, 2011
Superlatives on the Atlanta Falcons
By Pat Yasinskas
As we wait to find out who the New Orleans Saints will play in the first round of the playoffs (it will be the winner of tonight’s game between St. Louis and Seattle), let’s take a look at some superlatives on the Atlanta Falcons.
- With their 31-10 victory against Carolina, the Falcons finished 13-3. That’s the second-highest win total in franchise history (14 in 1998 is the best) and it gives the Falcons the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and the NFC South title.
- The division title is the first the Falcons have won since 2004 and only the fourth time in franchise history Atlanta has won a division. Their 1980 and 1998 titles were as champions of the NFC West. The only other time the Falcons have been the NFC’s top seed was 1980.
- Matt Ryan tied Dan Marino for most wins by a rookie quarterback in his first three seasons since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Ryan has a 33-13 record as a starter. In games Ryan has started in the Georgia Dome, the Falcons are 20-2. His .909 winning percentage is the best among all active quarterbacks at their home stadium.
- Coach Mike Smith is 33-15 in his three seasons with the Falcons. Dan Reeves and Jim Mora shared the previous best record with 26 wins in their first three seasons.
- Eric Weems returned a punt for a 55-yard touchdown against the Panthers. That makes him the first player in franchise history to return both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the same season. Weems also had a kickoff return for a touchdown against Tampa Bay in Week 13.
- Roddy White set a new record with 112 catches for the season. Terance Mathis previously held the record with 111 catches in 1994.