FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Each week Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith presents his squad with a list of musts in the game plan -- things the Falcons must do if they are going to win.
Not surprisingly, one of them on Sunday was stopping Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, the former 2,000-yard rusher.
The Falcons easily scratched that must off the to-do list in their 23-17 victory that helped them improve to 6-4, but the accomplishment was made all the more simple by what Smith said was by far the best performance of the season by defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux.
Babineaux, a seven-year pro who has long been the teams top interior defensive lineman, had offseason surgery on his shoulder and then injured himself in the season opener, partially tearing the MCL in his knee and also injuring his ankle. For defensive linemen who rely on being explosive off the ball to be effective, the injuries are seriously debilitating.
It has taken Babineaux time to regain his health ...