Falcons Notice Distinct Difference This Time

Falcons Notice Distinct Difference This Time

Jay Adams

Published December 23, 2012 at 2:22 AM

The Falcons’ locker room after Saturday night’s 31-18 win over the Detroit Lions was the same as it had been all year after the previous 13 wins.

Happy. Loud. Fun.

One thing it wasn’t was celebratory.

It’s a sharp difference from two years ago when the Falcons earned the NFC’s top seed only to lose all the hope, expectations and a shot at that ultimate goal in their first postseason game that year.

It’s a lesson the Falcons learned the hard way: The top seed doesn’t win you anything. Sure, there’s homefield advantage and the easier road to the NFL’s final game, but the No. 1 seed in the NFC doesn’t lift a trophy until it earns one.

“Obviously, we know it doesn’t get you anything,” left tackle Sam Baker said. “We know that once you get in, everybody’s equal. We’ve got to prepare just like we’re the No. 6 seed.”

And the No. 6 seed doesn’t celebrate earning the sixth seed, nor will the Falcons celebrate the top seed in the NFC. For them, it’s all about getting back to work next week, seeing what the game plan is against Tampa Bay and then locking their focus in on the postseason.

The doubters will say they’ve heard that story before, but not in the previous two years have the Falcons had the kind of confidence, attitude and swagger that they do in 2012.

“This is a different team this year. This is a very different team from last year, from two years ago, from three years ago,” wide receiver Roddy White said. “Our players are much more mature. I think we’re ready to go. We feel like we’ve got a lot to prove in the playoffs because we haven’t won a game, and we want to win one so bad.”

The Falcons have set themselves up in the best possible way to achieve that goal and go on even further to other, even bigger goals.

But the new year and the new attitude doesn’t mean that the lessons learned in previous seasons are lost on these Falcons.

“We’re still looking for bigger and better things,” defensive end John Abraham said. “I’ve been in this situation before and I’m just trying to change my past, I guess you could say.”

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