The Atlanta Falcons 2015 season can be described only as a blazing fire that quickly died out. It makes sense if you think about it enough, as Dan Quinn's men started 5-0 before collapsing in their next 11 to finish 8-8.
An 8-8 record meant that the Falcons missed the postseason for the third straight season but improved on last season's 6-10 record.
|1||Sept. 14||Philadelphia Eagles||W 26-24||1-0|
|2||Sept. 20||New York Giants||W 24-20||2-0|
|3||Sept. 27||Dallas Cowboys||W 39-28||3-0|
|4||Oct. 4||Houston Texans||W 48-21||4-0|
|5||Oct. 11||Washington Redskins||W 25-19||5-0|
|6||Oct. 15||New Orleans Saints||L 31-21||5-1|
|7||Oct. 25||Tennessee Titans||W 10-7||6-1|
|8||Nov. 1||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 23-20||6-2|
|9||Nov. 8||San Francisco 49ers||L 17-16||6-3|
|11||Nov. 22||Indianapolis Colts||L 24-21||6-4|
|12||Nov. 29||Minnesota Vikings||L 20-10||6-5|
|13||Dec. 6||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 23-19||6-6|
|14||Dec. 13||Carolina Panthers||L 38-0||6-7|
|15||Dec. 20||Jacksonville Jaguars||W 23-17||7-7|
|16||Dec. 27||Carolina Panthers||W 20-13||8-7|
|17||Jan. 3||New Orleans Saints||L 20-17||8-8|
Offensive MVP- Julio Jones:
There isn't much you can do to cover Julio Jones, he's just too good. This season showed why he's arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, fighting out of double teams all year to lead the league in receiving yards (1871). Those numbers put him second all time behind Calvin Johnson Jr. for yards in a single season.
Jones added eight touchdowns to his yardage and caught the ball 136 times, tied with Antonio Brown for second all time. It was a historic year for Julio Jones and at the age of 26, he still has room to improve which is a scary thought for the rest of the league.
Honorable Mention: Devonta Freeman
Defensive MVP- Desmond Trufant:
Trufant emerged as one of the league's best corner backs last season and continue to prove why this year. Although he struggled most notably against Mike Evans and Allen Robinson, Trufant was stellar from start to finish. Of corners that played more than 75% of their team's snaps, Trufant allowed 32 receptions, just one more than Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson's league best of 31.
While Robert Alford deserves credit for a secondary that impressed this season, the work of Desmond Trufant shines and with good reason. Opposing teams are beginning to avoid throwing at Trufant, which proves just how good the former University of Washington star is.
Honorable Mention(s): Robert Alford, Vic Beasley Jr.
Most Improved- Devonta Freeman:
The second year pro out of Florida State didn't even begin the season as the number one running back on the team. Tevin Coleman got the nod until he suffered a concussion in Week 2 and from then on, Devonta Freeman never looked back. A three TD game against the Dallas Cowboys was the start of an outstanding season for Freeman, who racked up 1,061 yards on the ground and 578 through the air.
Freeman also scored 14 times, tied with three other players for the league lead. This season will have cemented Freeman's place as the number one choice in Atlanta's backfield.
Honorable Mention(s): Jake Matthews, Patrick DiMarco, Nate Stupar
Best Off-Season Signing- Jacob Tamme/O'Brien Schofield:
Coming into the season, many people doubted the signing of tight end Jacob Tamme. At 30 years old, Tamme was considered the wrong move for an organization that has struggled in that area since the retirement of Tony Gonzalez. It turns out, the signing was a good one as Tamme was second on the team in receiving yards (657) but with just one score.
O'Brien Schofield was another impressive free-agent signing from Seattle. The LB/DE turned in two sacks and a forced fumble but became a key leader in the locker room. Schofield is expected to be back next season after showing tremendous leadership, while bringing back the famed "Dirty Bird" dance.
Game of the Season- Atlanta 20-13 Carolina:
Undefeated no more. The Carolina Panthers came into Week 15 undefeated and having just manhandled Atlanta two weeks prior by a score of 38-0. With a chip on their should, the Falcons came out flying and were better than the Panthers in almost every aspect. An early touchdown from Devonta Freeman was accompanied by a Shayne Graham field goal before Julio Jones' incredible 70-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Two more field goals in the fourth quarter and a late strip of Cam Newton by rookie Vic Beasley Jr. were enough to confirm the Falcons beat their rivals in the Georgia Dome.
The Falcons have a bright future under Dan Quinn, there's no doubt about it. With a mid-round draft pick this year (17), the Falcons have a chance to grab an instant impact player, just like they did with Beasley (8th) in last year's draft. There remains doubts surrounding GM Thomas Dimitroff's future but it looks likely that he'll be sticking around. A few off-season acquisitions and a solid draft could mean the Falcons are a playoff team next season.