In Chicago, Falcons Land First Swing at 28-3

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a memory I want you to go back to in your jangled-up Dirty Bird noggin if you can – it’s okay, no one’s expecting you to be working at full marble capacity after that gut-wrenching season opener.

No, it’s not the Super Bowl. No one should ever force you to remember â?¦ that â?¦ though it’ll come back into play, naturally. No, it’s not last year’s sickening Falcons Week One fiasco, where Famous Jameis and those dastardly Buccaneers pillaged Atlanta on their home turf, leading the now-defunct Fire Shanahan Choir to belt out its best performance, though it’s absolutely something we’ll talk about.

Go back to the start of the 2013 season.

The Falcons are ready. They’re loaded up for the grand march to Super Bowl 48 after missing out on a trip to 47. They got close – so dad gum close – to finally getting back to the Big Game for the first time since that mystical 1998 season. The team’s approach? Get younger on each side of the ball – by about 25 minutes. Out went Burner Turner and Abe, in came Steven Jackson and Osi Umenyiora.

The first test? A trip down to the World’s Worst Sports Place: the Superdome, housing grounds of the despised ‘Aints.

It’s close – far too close for comfort (per tradition). The Falcons and Saints have gone back-and-forth with momentum swings. It’s the fourth quarter – the Who Datters have just scored a field goal to get the 23-17 lead on Atlanta. The ball is in Matt Ryan‘s hands. He, Julio, Roddy and the gang drive it all the way down to the New Orleans goal line. Knock, knock, knocking on redemption’s doorâ?¦

First down? Nothing. Second down? Nada. Third down. Zilch.

Fourth down â?¦ your heart is racing, foot tapping, phone clenched firmly in your palm. Ryan goes back to throw, and it’s â?¦

Intercepted. Roman Harper. Ballgame. Saints win. Falcons lose. 23-17. Those ten yards got further and further away with each and every snap from that moment on. So far away that it ended an entire era of Falcons football and sent the team to look into the great abyss, wondering what was next.

Ok, come back to now, a place where you’re now just about down from the adrenaline rush that was the Falcons opening game in a …

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