The Atlanta Falcons First Win Ever


The Atlanta Falcons came into the National Football League in 1966 as an expansion franchise. Like most expansion teams, the Falcons would struggle in their first season. They were also a very young team, with no one on the offense over the age of 29 and only three players on the defense in their thirties.

That first year team had a rough go of it in the beginning, but a little over halfway through the season they were able to finally get their first win. The first game of the year had been close, a 19-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. They had also experienced blowouts too, including a 56-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers in week seven.

The tenth game of the Falcons first season in the league came with the team sitting with a record of 0-9. They had just come off a disappoint 19-7 home loss against Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts. It was the first of three consecutive road games, this time in New York against the Giants.

The Falcons scored first, thanks to a nine yard pass from quarterback Randy Johnson to running back Ernie Wheelwright and the score was 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The Giants got on the board in the second quarter behind a 24 yard Pete Gogolak field goal. The Falcons countered with another short touchdown pass from Johnson, this time to receiver Vern Burke, though the extra point attempt failed. Going into halftime, an excited Falcons team had a 13-3 lead.

The Falcons really put the pressure on in the third quarter when Wheelwright’s second touchdown reception from Johnson made the score 20-3. The Giants were able to answer back with a three yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Kennedy to running back Joe Morrison. At the end of the third quarter, the score was 20-10.

The Falcons seemed to put the game away early in the fourth quarter with a three yard touchdown run by quarterback Randy Johnson. Morrison of the Giants scored on a 12 yard run of his own, these were the last points of the game as the Giants then went on to miss an extra point attempt of their own. This made the final score 27-16 and gave the Falcons their first win in franchise history.

The Giants finished the game with more first downs, more rushing yards, and more passing yards than the Falcons but still lost the game. They had come into the game with a 1-7-1 record, so the Falcons victory was probably not a huge shock. Atlanta would go on to win two of their last four games, against the Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Cardinals, on their way to finishing the season at 3-11.

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