First. they “clawed.” Finally, they were “clutch.”
“That’s who we want to be,” said Arthur Smith, who on Sunday used those two aforementioned words as he registered his first victory as Atlanta Falcons coach. “That’s what we want to do. We want to be in games at the end. It’s a huge learning process, and this is a big step for our program.”
What Smith’s “program” accomplished: The Falcons won 17-14 at the New York Giants as they scored 10 points in the final 4:13 of the game.
They avoided an 0-3 start, it’s true. But it’s easy to understand why Smith is accentuating the positive after NFL Week 3. The Falcons played uphill throughout this game in many ways, but also played well on defense and were led by QB Matt Ryan’s two TD passes and then the at-the-buzzer Youngkoe Koo game-winning field goal.
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“It’s never going to be perfect,” Smith said. “We know we have a ways to go but, when we needed the last two drives, guys stepped up. They went down the field and scored a touchdown. They kept swinging and found different ways in the clutch.”
One win is really nothing more than that. But a successful “program” has to begin somewhere and it has to begin with a win. “Clawing” in the “clutch” did that for Smith on Sunday.
READ MORE: 10 Observations as Falcons beat Giants