Falcons set for early “Big Game” against Patriots

The tarp has been removed, but this is how it looked about earlier this morning. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC).

The tarp has been removed, but this is how it looked earlier this morning. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC).

THE HOUSE THAT STEVE GROGAN BUILT –  Got up early with colleague Mark Bradley, who’ll be blogging live during the game, and drove on down to Gillette Stadium from Boston.

The House that Steve Grogan –  and Falcons defensive line coach Ray “Sugar Bear” Hamilton for that matter — built, looks pretty impressive.

Thanks to the fine folks who let us in line on Route 1 after we missed the P1 turn in and had to go through P8. Everyone has been really nice.

The Patriot on the Gameday Magazine cover looks like he wants a Falcon for dinner. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)

The Patriot on the Gameday Magazine cover looks like he wants a Falcon for dinner. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)

The lady at the escalator even helped put my press pass through the button hole on my suit jacket. Didn’t wear a bow-tie today, but this is definitely a “bow-tie” game. (Some folks know I get fired up by breaking out a new bow-tie for the big games.) But Queen Led and Princess Led No. 2 didn’t like the bow-tie combination and picked out another  tie.

This is a big early season game. My man John Clayton for ESPN is in the House!!!

The Falcons can show the rest of the league that their 2-0 start is not a fluke by taking down Tom Brady and the once-mighty  New England Patriots. The key is that they are not playing the helmet!

This team doesn’t appear to be of Super Bowl vintage early in the season. Too many new names on defense. Brady and the offense are unsettled. If Leodis McKelvin takes a knee on the kickoff, they are 0-2.

There is one constant. Coach Bill Belichick is up to his old tricks.

He listed Randy Moss on the injury report on Friday and didn’t address the listing with the media.  We’ll update any Moss sightings in the comments section. Also, Jerious Norwood made the trip and we’ll update in comments and pass along to Bradley when the news breaks.

Also, might want to check out the Fox pre-game coverage. “Touchdown” Terry Bradshaw was in town last week to do

The Press entrance into the Houst that Steve Grogan built. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC).

The Press entrance into the Houst that Steve Grogan built. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC).

an interview with Matt Ryan on his return to the New England era. A couple of media members are Cleveland Browns historians and want to do a Joe “Turkey” Jones tackle on the bald-headed legend.

Might want to check out the three key matcups and the five keys to game if you missed them in the print edition.

Here are the matchups:

• Falcons C Todd McClure vs. New England NT Vince Wilfork.

• Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. Falcons safety Erik Coleman.

• Falcons DE John Abraham vs. Patriots OTs Matt Light and Nick Kaczur.

On the plane yesterday did a little research and just wanted to throw a bunch of  random numbers out there for you.

• Patriots have 15 in a row vs. NFC teams dating back to a 27-17 loss to Carolina on Sept. 18, 2005.

• Abraham has 10 of his 86 career sacks against New England. The most that he has against any other team.

• The Falcons have a 6-5 advantage in the series with the Patriots.

This bowl of Chowder was great. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC).

This bowl of Chowder was great. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC).

• New England running back Fred Taylor needs 11 yards to move past John Riggins (11,352 yards) into 15th place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.

• The Patriots offense failed to score a touchdown last week for the first time since Dec. 10, 2006 in a 21-0 loss at Miami.

• Brady’s streak of 21 consecutive regular season wins was snapped last week. It was the second longest winning streak for a NFL quarterback in the Super Bowl Era. Chicago’s Jim McMahon set the mark with 22 from 1984 to 1987.

• Brady needs one touchdown pass to become the 27th NFL player to throw for 200 touchdowns.

Final random thought: Why hasn’t Michael Peterson ever been to the Pro Bowl? The player he’s replacing went five times?

22 comments Add your comment

matt m

September 27th, 2009
11:49 am

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 27th, 2009
12:00 pm

Falcons inactives: Tye Hill, William Moore, Jerious Norwood, Spencer Adkins, Will Svitek, Garrett Reynolds, Vance Walker. This means: RB Verron Haynes and DT Trey Lewis are active for the first time this season.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 27th, 2009
12:03 pm

NEW ENGLAND INACTIVES: Wes Welker out!!!! DB Jonathan Wilhite, CB Darius Butler, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, LB Jerod Mayo, OL Rich Ohrnberger, G Kendall Simmons, LB Prescott Burgess.

Dawson Devitt (D3)

September 27th, 2009
12:06 pm

DOL – Great blog my man. Enjoy the game and stay dry up in Red Sox land!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 27th, 2009
12:06 pm

Brent S.

September 27th, 2009
4:07 pm

We had EVERY FRAKIN’ chance to win this game!!! Why didn’t we go for it on 4th and 5 on our last possession? Your down by 16, with 7 minutes left..do you ACTUALLY think your going to get the ball back with Tom Brady as an opposing QB? We should’ve gone for it on the 4th and 3 we had the next to last possession.
I don’t understand why during some games, Coach Smith will go for it without blinking on 4th and 3 or 5, but when we are down and facing a multi-MVP and SB Champion QB, he punts it with plenty of time left, if we convert to get a score, or multiple scores? I like Coach Smith, I just scratch my head sometimes?
I guess 2-1 going into a BYE week, with a division win under our belts isn’t bad, but we could’ve REALLY made a statement by winning this game!!
By the way, I really think that the Patriots got away with MORE than a few HOLDING would be penalities, that weren’t called..but that’s just me!!

FALCON SORRY

September 27th, 2009
4:09 pm

MATTY HOPELESS ICE MELTED !!! JUST LIKE I SAID VICK WILL SHOW YOU MATTY HOPELESS HOW TO WIN THE BIG GAME!! aUTHOR BLANK YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE TO WIN THE SUPPER BOWL WITH VICK BUT NOW YOU HAVE MATTY HOPELESS WITH HIS NOODLE ARM TO BLOW EVERY BIG GAME HE IS IN!! DEC 6 WILL BE THE DAY ALL OF THE VICK HATERS IN THE ATL GET TO CRY ABOUT WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN AND HOW MATTY THE GREAT WHITE HOPELESS CAN NEVER WIN A BIG GAME!!CAN YOU SAY ROMO?!
MATTY ICE MELTED LIKE A SHRINKING VIOLET IN NEW ENGLAND JUST LIKE I SAID HE WOULD!!!JEFF SCHULTZ HOW YOU LIKE THAT LOSER??!!

Coach Hinz

September 27th, 2009
4:11 pm

Our defensive line got no pressure on Brady…the score should have been a lot worse if it were not for some droped passes by the Pats. Brent, I feel your pain. Pats controlled the ball the whole game (40 + minutes). Hats off to the offensive line of NE…they made our D line look like a JV team

lexluther

September 27th, 2009
4:12 pm

Would it have hurt BVG to look at what the JETS did on defense? There was no pressure what so ever applied to Brady and he was allowed to remain confident. You could see that he is shell shock and a little pressure could have rattled several mistakes. Oh but not the FALCONS who depend on ONE player (ABE) to apply pressure on the QB. Also, M. Turner runs like he is light in the A$$, (Oh I mean SOFT). Tips to the line, no burst, no excellaration to the whole, it’s like he’s in slow motion. Please try Chevis Jackson at corner, Grimes is too small, and Houston bite too much then has to scramble back and always getting beat. Com’on guys, this was your first test of the season and you fail. You failed miserably.

Coach Hinz

September 27th, 2009
4:13 pm

D-Led…do you think that the loss of Jerry made a big difference?

Brent S.

September 27th, 2009
4:33 pm

I agree with you Lex…Turner is NOT the Turner, the “burner” he was last year. He is developing the “Duckett Dance” syndrome. He’ll get to the line, but there is absolutely NO burst or speed!! I would prefer, as of right now, Jason Snelling to run the damn ball. At least HE runs like his job is on the line. He runs and explodes in the hole and get’s positive yardage. Our running attack is starting to remind me of pages from the “Warrick up the middle” playbook. He would go up the middle, but only get 2 or 3 yards at a time. and then we’d have to punt on 4th and 2.
I hope like hell, we get some issues ironed out during this bye week. The one positive thing Brady did for us today, is expose our BIGGEST weakness…OUR CORNER BACKS!!!!!! What the hell the coaching staff sees in Chris Houston, is beyond me!!!! Yeah, he had an o.k. game against Carolina, but other than that, he hasn’t don JACK!!! Brent grimes has heart and athleticism, but he is TOO small. He is pretty much the “Rudy” of our team!!

bev huttemeyer

September 27th, 2009
4:43 pm

Enter your comments hereWhat in tne heck r the BYRDS duin!!! They pad the minimum defense for the first two (what the hell), and then just leave the rest for the condors of the district!! I am speaking loudly over the draft now…. Where was DIMI’s thought process… Was it lost on a sympathy call from the PASTS. Shoulda, woulda??? Will we need brown paper bags to hidev the shame of what should have been today?

Wesley Wallace

September 27th, 2009
4:48 pm

Bad play calling on “O”. NFL allowing holding, so their Brady Boy can win a game.

Stumpknocker

September 27th, 2009
11:36 pm

Officiating in this game sucked. One reason the D line got no preasure on Brady was they were being bear-hugged by the O-linemen. Zebra’s looked the other way on the holding. Very frustrating game.

Ed-Covington

September 28th, 2009
8:14 am

bev:

WHAT?

DOL:

No bow tie? Hope your wife and kid are willing to shoulder the blame for the loss!

Any more Mike Peterson questions? I can imagine what this blog would be like this morning if #56 had played the way #53 played yesterday.

Elvisinthehouse

September 28th, 2009
8:53 am

All this hype about the falcons and ryan,it took peyton manning 10 years to win his first superbowl do you think ryan is that much better? until this team can piece together a dominant D-fence,they will just be slightly better than they have been in past years.The pats always win because every year they go out in the free agent world and pick up winners.what do the falcons do,start grimes who looked good in preseason games playing against players who didn’t even make a team.To the falcons organization remember D-fence wins championships.Whats the use of having a good offence when you can’t stop nobody on DEFENCE.

SWAMI

September 28th, 2009
9:45 am

predicted a 8-8 season for the birds. Still looks good to me.

I predicted that Roddy Whites case of the dropsies were just in remmission last year. They are back.

Matty Ice is at best an average long ball thrower, and that aspect of his game will never change.The O line gave him plenty of time. Tony G. was open on many occassions but Matty had his mind made up yo go elsewhere.

If you had told me before the game that the birds would not blitz on every other play, I would have predited a 40 point victory for NE. If the Pats receivers had been half-way decent it would have been a 40 pt victory. BVG is waaaay too conservative and is too stubborn or too dumb to make in-game adjustments. True that our dbacks get torched often in 1-on-1 coverage, but giving Brady all day to throw is just giving the game away.

Mike Mularkey is well aware of Ryan’s shortcomings and calls plays accordingly (very few longballs). Quick screens or reverses to R. White will NEVER work. He is not that kind of a runner. He is OK at full speed but is incapable of making a defender miss in close quarters.

Mike Peterson was exposed as being old and slow. He is still better than that guy on Dallas. Nicholas is young and slow.

We all know about the dbacks…ptooooie

Mike Smith has no cajones. He knows the quality of his team is somewhat lacking and is resigned to a mediocre middle of the road season. He is playing to survive and possibly get lucky, not to win. He is not a risk-taker and never will be. It is not his nature. Playing conservatively will get you exactly what we are getting; hangin in there with mediocre teams with a chance to get lucky and getting beat by goood teams.

It is what it is, EIGHT AND EIGHT!!!!

PS. It seems that the refs are getting worse and worse. There must be MORE and IMMEDIATE accountability for them.

Link Report this comment

Ashleycgt

February 8th, 2010
12:09 pm

nice post. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone learn that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.

Wandacgj

February 8th, 2010
12:13 pm

interesting article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you hear that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.

Francescgo

February 8th, 2010
12:20 pm

interesting post. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you learn that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.

Marthacgo

February 8th, 2010
12:44 pm

great read. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did any one learn that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.

Marilyncgp

February 8th, 2010
2:22 pm

nice post. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you know that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.