2021 Season Preview: Matt Ryan had a season for the ages in 2020 and Atlanta fans are counting on him to do it again in 2021. Julio Jones is gone, but his replacement—first-round pick Kyle Pitts—looks like he could be a game-changer for the Falcons. Another game-changer, All-Pro Cordarrelle Patterson, should make opponents’ kickoffs exciting. The only problem is that there may be way too many of those kickiffs; Atlanta’s defense is not good at keeping other teams off the scoreboard.
2020 Season Roundup: The Falcons were a much better team in 2020 than their 4–12 record. Matt Ryan put on a passing clinic with help from receivers Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, and Hayden Hurst. Unfortunately, Julio Jones was hurt for half the season and veteran running back Todd Gurley was not the game-changer Atlanta hoped he would be. Eight of the team’s 12 losses could easily have been victories, but that doesn’t count in the NFL.
December 20,2020: Kicker Younghoe Koo became the second Korean-born player to be picked to play in the Pro Bowl. Hines Ward of the Steelers was the first, in 2001.
October 18, 2020: Todd Gurley scored the 75th touchdown of his career in just his 78th game. Since 1970, only LaDainian Tomlinson and Emmitt Smith reached 75 faster.
2020 Season Preview: Atlanta fans watched their team struggle against the pass, and also have problems stopping the pass rush last year. The Falcons should be better in both areas in 2020, which is good news for quarterback Matt Ryan, who was often running for his life in 2019. Todd Gurley joins the team as the main running back, while Julio Jones should continue to be the NFC’s top receiver. The defense stars Grady Jarrett, Deion Jones and rookie defensive back AJ Terrell.
2019 Season Roundup: Atlanta fans could not believe it when their team had just one victory at the midpoint of the 2019 season. The Falcons recovered to capture six more games—including road wins over the 49es and the Saints. Matt Ryan threw for 26 touchdowns under constant pressure, while Julio Jones and Austin Hooper combined to catch 174 passes and make the Pro Bowl.
December 8, 2019: Matt Ryan moved into 10th place on the all-time passing list and also reached 50,000 career yards in a victory over the Panthers.
2019 Season Preview: One injury after another—especially on defense—kept the Falcons from taking off in 2018. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones & Co. should continue to put points on the board, so the question in 2019 is whether stars like linebacker Deion Jones can stay healthy, and whether Atlanta’s coverage men can do better against the pass.
2018 Season Roundup: Atlanta finished strong with three wins in a row, but were out of the playoff picture with a 7–9 record. Injuries to key players and a defense that did not play up to its potential doomed the club. Matt Ryan put up huge numbers as usual, and Julio Jones topped 100 catches. Three other Falcons caught more than 50 passes.
November 11, 2018: Julio Jones reached 10,000 receiving yards in just his 104th NFL game. The fastest player to reach 10,000 before him was Calvin Johnson, in 115 games.
2018 Season Preview: The Falcons have as much talent in 2018 as the team that went to the Super Bowl two years ago. Receiver Julio Jones has a new running mate in rookie Calvin Ridley, and the team’s backfield dup of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman is as good as any in the NFL. Quick linebackers, power pass rushers and solid defensive backs make the Falcons scary on both sides of the football.
2017 Season Roundup: It took the defending NFC champions until Thanksgiving to find their rhythm—just in time to snag the final spot in the playoffs. They beat the Rams in the Wild Card game but lost to the Saints to end their season. QB Matt Ryan had another solid season, receiver Julio Jones made the Pro Bowl, and running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 16 touchdowns.
November 12, 2017: Adrian Clayborn set a team record with six sacks against the Cowboys. He forced two fumbles and recovered one. Quarterback Matt Ryan reached 40,000 passing yards in the same game.
2017 Season Preview: Atlanta fans still cannot believe their Falcons lost the Super Bowl. To return to the big game, the team will need to give QB Matt Ryan more playmakers than just Julio Jones. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman may provide those weapons, especially when they are on the field at the same on passing downs. The Atlanta D improved tremendously during 2016 and should be solid for 2017.
2016 Season Roundup: The Falcons won 11 games behind the passing of NFL MVP Matt Ryan and receiving of Julio Jones. The team’s defense, led by pass rusher Vic Beasley, stepped up during the playoffs as Atlanta defeated the Seahawks and Packers to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in 18 seasons. The Falcons built a 28–3 lead over the Patriots, but could not hold on. New England tied the score and won the game 34–28 in overtime.
2016 Season Preview: Atlanta fans can look forward to a happier 2016 after a dreadful finish in 2015 bumped the Falcons out of the payoffs. While Roddy White is gone, the offense still has superstars Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman—plus a solid offensive line—to put points on the board. The defense is still shaky, however. The Falcons hope things get sorted out sooner rather than later.
January 3, 2016: Julio Jones caught 9 passes for 149 against the Saints to finish tied for the NFL lead with 136 receptions. He led the league with 1,871 yards.
September 27, 2015: Julio Jones set a record for the first three games of a season with 34 catches.
2015 Season Preview: Matt Ryan is the man who powers the Atlanta offense. He’s one of the best QBs in the NFL. If he and Julio Jones get a little help in 2015, the Falcons will be tough to beat. They have one of the softest schedules in the league.
September 18, 2014: Devin Hester scored on a punt return against the Buccaneers to set a new NFL record with his 20th punt/kickoff return for a touchdown. He broke the record of 19 that he shared with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.
September 1, 2014: With all-time great Tony Gonzalez retired, quarterback Ryan will be throwing to Julio Jones more often. A rebuilt line should give him the extra time he needs. Will the defense improve over a disappointing 2013 season? That will depend on one or two pass-rushers stepping up and raising their games.
December 154, 2013: Tony Gonzalez became the first tight end ever to reach 15,000 career receiving yards. The four other players with 15,000 yards were all wide receivers.
September 4, 2013: Will this be the year Matty Ice takes the Falcons all the way to the Super Bowl? They came close last season. The offense has the power to roll over any opponent, with receivers Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez. Now they have added veteran runner Steven Jackson. Much will depend on the defense to make key stops in high-scoring games.
February 2, 2013: The Falcons had the best record in the NFC for the second time in three season with a 13–3 mark. They built big leads in the playoffs against the Seahawks and 49ers, but allowed both teams to make comebacks in the 2nd half. Atlanta hung on to beat Seattle 30–28 but lost to San Francisco in the NFC Championship 28–24.
Summer, 2012: The bottom line for the Falcons is that making it to the playoffs is no longer good enough. They must keep winning in the postseason. In 2012, Matt Ryan will have two Grade A targets in Roddy White and second-year star Julio Jones. If Michael Turner can make it through the season without wearing out, Atlanta could be looking at a return trip to the Super Bowl.