Coming off of a bye week and still licking their collective wounds from a 26-10 loss to the Patriots in Foxboro on September 27, the Atlanta Falcons faced one of their first "Who are we?" moments when they traveled to Candlestick Park to take on the rejuvenated 3-1 49ers.
If the answer to that question is to be gleaned from their performance then the Falcons might be one of the more powerful offenses in the NFL.
The sophomore jinx is a concept that is apparently foreign to Falcon field general Matt Ryan.
He sliced and diced the heretofore vaunted 49er defense with a precision that belies his still young NFL pedigree. Ryan was 22-for-32, racking up an NFL personal best 329 yards with two passing TD's and even one rushing TD.
Even Ryan's one inconsequential interception worked out fine for the Falcons. San Francisco veteran cornerback Dre' Bly fumbled the pick due to his bizarre decision to showboat with the ball, even as a looming Roddy White lurked closely behind.
White stripped the ball from Bly and Atlanta's center Todd McClure recovered.
It was just that kind of day for the Falcons.
Roddy White had the kind of day that his fantasy owners have been longing for since the '09 campaign began. White caught eight balls for 210 yards and two TDs. His yards per catch average for the day was 26.2.
Some of the questioning about the possible '08 overuse of running back Michael Turner was possibly shelved for the time being too, as the bruising power back rushed for 97 yards and three TDs against what was at the time the No. 4 rated run defense in the NFL.
It was against these Bears almost exactly a year ago that the buzz about Matt Ryan began to really take off. Down 20-19 to the Bears with six seconds to go, Ryan hit wide receiver Michael Jenkins on a 26 yard sideline completion. That set up placekicker Jason Elam's 48 yard field goal to give the Birds the last second win, 22-20.
The week after the Bears game the Falcons travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. The following week finds Atlanta in New Orleans to face the offensive juggernaut Saints in a Monday Night Football NFC South showdown.
That seems to be more than fine with the Mike Smith-led, workman-like Atlanta Falcons. They figure if they stay focused on the task at hand the headlines and attention will come soon enough.