The Atlanta Falcons earned home-field advantage in their NFC Divisional game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, thanks to a 11-5 regular season. On Monday, Falcons safety Ricardo Allen joined The Jim Rome Show and talked about how big their hometown fans showed up in their 36-20 win.
“It was a crazy atmosphere. It was so loud. It was rocking. It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever been in and ever played in,” Allen said.
After allowing Seattle to go on a time-consuming 89-yard opening drive that led to a Jimmy Graham touchdown, Allen’s defense rallied together on the sideline, shook off the cobwebs and didn’t allow the Seahawks another touchdown until the fourth quarter.
“We really didn’t change anything up. On that first drive, I felt like we were a little timid as a defense,” Allen said. “We went out there and we were feeling around instead of doing what we really do. We went to the sideline and we called it up as a defense and we said ‘Man, let’s just do what we do, man.’ We know what they’re going to do to us, we know what they’re trying to do to us, we saw what they were going to do on that first drive and that when we don’t make our plays when we need to, these drives are going to be long. So as a defense, we said we need to get together and we need to make our plays when they matter and make our plays when they count. We’ve got to win on first and second down and then it’s going to make it easier on third downs and that’s what we started doing.”
Allen said because head coach Dan Quinn has been in Seattle, they were not going to be able to surprise the Seahawks.
“We run the same defense as that defense, so they knew exactly what we were going to do, they knew exactly where we were going to be at,” Allen said. “We just knew that once we communicate, once we play hard, once we give all our effort, and once we get the things right, we were going to be rolling and that’s what we did.”
This Sunday, the Falcons will now host the Green Bay Packers and the red-hot Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game. Allen, talked about the best approach possible in stopping the two-time league MVP, Rodgers.
“It starts up front and we work hand-in-hand. In the secondary and linebacker room, we work hand-in-hand when it starts up front,” Allen said. “If they can get up there, they can push him off his spot and we can be in really good coverage man, we can make him probably pull some of those balls down that he would like to take shot down field and maybe get a couple yards or something like that. Or maybe we can get enough pressure that if he does throw the ball and were in good enough pass coverage, we get pass breakups and we make plays on the ball. We just have to come together as a defense.”
And maybe most importantly, Allen said in stopping Rodgers, play to the whistle.
“The play is never over until the whistle has blown dead,” Allen said. “He’s not a quarterback that you say, ok you can get him over to the left side of the pocket, he’s not going to throw the ball. No, he can throw the ball at any spot on the field, so it does not matter. Once you have your guy, and [Rodgers] breaks contain, cover your guy until the ball is not your way and the whistle is blown.”