Key Matchup: Tony Gonzalez vs. Troy Polamalu

100813 Atlanta - GONZALEZ FIRST DOWN - Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) makes a first down catch as he is brought down by Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during 1st quarter action in the exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010.     Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

100813 Atlanta - GONZALEZ FIRST DOWN - Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) makes a first down catch as he is brought down by Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during 1st quarter action in the exhibition season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday, August 13, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, who needs just one catch to become the first tight end in league history to reach the 1,000 mark, knows he has a tough matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Gonzalez will be covered at Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu.

“He does it all actually,” Gonzalez said. “He can play the pass and play the run with the best of them. It’s going to be a good matchup and I’m looking forward to it.”

Gonzalez got to know Polamalu back in his AFC Pro Bowl days.

“He’s such a great guy on and off the field,” Gonzalez said. “It’s kind of an honor to go up against him.”

Gonzalez doesn’t have any fond memories from going into Pittsburgh with the

Maybe Troy Polamalu will have a bad hair day on Sunday.

Maybe Troy Polamalu will have a bad hair day on Sunday.

Chiefs.

“We got throttled,” Gonzalez said. “He was all over the place making plays. I think he intercepted one. He’s one of the best.”

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62 comments Add your comment

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

September 9th, 2010
10:08 am

you are on a roll today DOL

mountain_jim

September 9th, 2010
10:13 am

Brady had a bad hair day this morning.

Sly Ty

September 9th, 2010
10:19 am

The falcons are going to beat the stuffing out of the Steelers. Falcons 27, Steelers 13.

Gwalk

September 9th, 2010
10:30 am

I’ll take Ganzalez over a gimp leg Polamalu. It’s going to take some time for Troy to get back to the way he was playing prior to the injury. In fact, he may never recover fully. It will be interesting to see how he holds up for the entire game. GO FALCONS!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 9th, 2010
10:40 am

SGDF — Thanks, got to roll out to practice now. Enjoy!

Greg from Marietta

September 9th, 2010
10:51 am

Oh My God! How does Polamalu get all of that hair under his helmet. It looks like the wind drag would slow him down! Ha-ha-ha!

Steve from McDonough

September 9th, 2010
11:01 am

Actually a smart idea by Troy with the hair. Extra cushioning under the helmet to prevent or lessen the likelihood of concussions… Not suggesting that’s why he’s growing his hair that long.

Greg

September 9th, 2010
11:13 am

This is a great match-up, and I don’t think we can assume that Troy will be gimpy. I’ll bet Tony is going to play him as if he were 100%. One thing I don’t think will happen is Troy popping the ball out of Tony’s hands, as he has done so often with other receivers. He hits like a tank (if he and Hines Ward ever collide in their practices, that must be really something to see), but Tony’s grip on the ball is very, very secure. What Polamalu might be able to do if Ryan isn’t accurate is get to the ball before Tony. He times these things very well. Ryan has been everywhere with the ball the past few weeks…sometimes behind, sometimes high, sometimes wide. With Polamalu you’d better be on target, because he anticipates better than any safety I’ve seen, and is extremely quick to the ball. I’m from Pgh. originally, but I’m rooting for Tony & the Falcons. What a great opener!

mountain_jim

September 9th, 2010
11:15 am

I can’t yet decide if I want the Saints to lose tonight because I hate them (and how much help from the officials they received last year against us) or want them to win the first 2 and then have the Falcons beat the crap out of them for their first loss this year. To win the division, every loss counts so I guess I will root for their demise tonight, but I hear the Minn secondary is extremely beat up so that will be a problem.

Falcon Jim

September 9th, 2010
12:10 pm

There HAS to come a point where that helmet just WON’T go over that hair. Physics, man.
You can’t put three bushels into a one bushel container. Just saying…………..

Chris

September 9th, 2010
12:13 pm

get a hair cut…….

smokemonster

September 9th, 2010
12:37 pm

Well ill take Polumalu’s hair over your stupid bowtie any day.

Steelers win 17 – 3

Ben Ben Right

September 9th, 2010
12:41 pm

Coach made us cut our hair. Nothing could show outside the helmet.
Had to tuck in our shirts and pull up our socks too.
Would have been nice to have a facemask though.

Season Ticket Holder

September 9th, 2010
12:42 pm

Troy Polamalu is good! But, Tony G will get his 1,000 catch on Sunday!!

Chris

September 9th, 2010
12:47 pm

Falcons 28 steeeers zip……..

rekingball

September 9th, 2010
1:00 pm

I would like for the Vikings to beat the crap out of the saints.
I would like for whoever they play next week, to beat the crap out of the saints.
And I would like the Falcons to beat the double craps out of the saints, when they meet.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

CTK

September 9th, 2010
1:08 pm

rekingball – LOL! I’m with you!

JPW

September 9th, 2010
1:30 pm

That picture of Troy is a screen capture from his most recent commercial, for Head & Shoulders shampoo. The commercial is funny, because of the wigs that they put on him. You’re not seeing his real hair there.

Chris

September 9th, 2010
1:32 pm

Enter your comments here

Singletary

September 9th, 2010
1:33 pm

Are you ready for some football? Off-season is just really a waste of my time ;-)

And to topic: I’m betting on Gonzo making the best of this match-up.

KS

September 9th, 2010
1:39 pm

WOW!!!!! smokemonster, you think a QB that has ONE NFL start and has only made 27 total pass attempts in his career, will beat our young talented team 17-3????????? What are you smokin’?

Blue

September 9th, 2010
1:49 pm

Ben Ben Right

September 9th, 2010
12:41 pm
Coach made us cut our hair. Nothing could show outside the helmet.

Pretty sure if you could have played like Troy, coach would have let you wear pretty much anything you wanted! :)

Blue

September 9th, 2010
1:50 pm

Not a PA fan OR hater, but from a football standpoint, have loved watching TP play the game for years. Very few defensive guys have the kind of overall impact that this guy does. Have to game plan for him!

Joe Tess Fish House

September 9th, 2010
1:54 pm

He has girl hair.

Hamp

September 9th, 2010
2:15 pm

I think the game in pittsburgh will be tough. I think we will be able to get to the QB or flush him so the OLBs can clean it up. I want to see what the O can do Pittsburgh always has a solid D. I say 17-10 Falcons.

I hope Minnesota wins tonight. I am sick of hearing about the Saints but I guess if we would have won the super bowl I would love all the press too. I want to beat the saints fair and square so I’m not hoping for any bad things to happen to them such as injuries because I think this year we are just plain out the better team.

Cali Falcon

September 9th, 2010
2:28 pm

Hey D Led!!!!!!!!!!!

Is it possible to install a “like” Button under each persons comments?? Kinda like facebook. People make good points on here and i want to press a “like” button but i keep forgetting this isnt facebook lol

Cali Falcon

September 9th, 2010
2:29 pm

Maybe a “like” and “dislike” button???

Nobody asked me but.....

September 9th, 2010
2:39 pm

his hair looks like crap….like a girl….from the 1970’s on Soul Train

birdbrain

September 9th, 2010
2:43 pm

Another worthless tidbit from Orlando. This is nowhere near the “key matchup”. TG isn’t in the same league as TP. In the 4-3 defense the Steelers will matchup one of the LB’s on TG because they know what everyone else does. TG can’t get separation any longer, and has a problem stretching the field.

Ben Ben Right

September 9th, 2010
2:48 pm

I guess the Steelers will cover Gonzo with birdbrain then.

Shel

September 9th, 2010
3:01 pm

@ Greg: Have to admit that you are the first person I’ve heard say they are “from the ‘burgh” who openly roots against the Steelers. You must have moved away when you were an infant… I’m a born & bred Steelers fan and am happy that they are playing the Falcons so it will be broadcast here in ATL!! Go Steelers!!!

G

September 9th, 2010
3:11 pm

birdbrain………STEELERS DONT PLAY 4-3…..Another worthless comment from a fan who knows nothing!

Dilla

September 9th, 2010
3:23 pm

The Falcons don’t spread the ball around. Option 1 Roddy, Option 2 Tony, and thats it. Offense is too predictable. He’ll get 1000 passes.

RealisticFalconFan

September 9th, 2010
3:28 pm

This is gonna be a good game but the Falcons will need to do more offensively than just throw it to Gonzalez and settle for field goals and first downs less than 20 yds. Troy Polomalou and Co. are too smart of a defense to allow that kind of predictability from the Falcons offense. Also, if the Falcons allow them to run the ball all over them like they did in preseason with the Patriots please understand this is gonna be a long season and not a good one….I love my Falcons…but I have to be realistic with the personnel(including offensive/defensive coordinators) and what they’ve shown and that’s not enough yet…

chc4

September 9th, 2010
3:32 pm

This matchup worries me. I see Pitt blitzing alot. Ryan got happy feet last year which led to alot of mistakes. Our D will need to produce some short fields for us to score. I like the Falcons chances this season but not so much in this game.

1911A1

September 9th, 2010
3:55 pm

Polamalu vs. Bear Woods in a hair-off!

suwaneefalcon

September 9th, 2010
4:03 pm

Who ever is control of the line of scrimmage in this game, will be the winner. To me it is that simple. Not concerned with any other matchups but the lines.

suwaneefalcon

September 9th, 2010
4:06 pm

By the way, I hope the Vikings win tonight but, I hope the Saints knock the crap out of Farve. Out of the game would be even better. Tired of this guys antics.

83Dawg

September 9th, 2010
4:31 pm

First, truly enlightened Falcon fans will be pulling for the Saints tonight. Either we can beat the Saints and win the division anyway or we want to have a better record than Minny for the wild card race. Second, Pit game will tell a lot. If we lose that first one the playoffs will be very difficult, win and we’re on our way!

FrontRow

September 9th, 2010
4:53 pm

Wrong Dawg. We want to see the fraud exposed when everyone is watching. The Saints were all set up for the max insult but the refs and Brett Farve let them off the hook last year.

Now the Saints have to tackle AP without the 17 games worth of bumps and bruises. Saints will be in the market for a linebacker or 2 on Friday.

rekingball

September 9th, 2010
5:37 pm

83Dawg……Pull for the saints all that you, and keep on being “enlightened”.
I believe most of us unenlightened, Falcon fans, are going to be cheering for the Vikings to win, at least all of us around here will be.

Do you really think that the Falcon’s first game is going to be a make or break game, for the entire season?

rekingball

September 9th, 2010
5:39 pm

Pull for the saints all that want.

Go Vikings.

hiramsaint

September 9th, 2010
5:46 pm

it’s proper for y’all to worry about the saints even before your season opener. it’s also a huge dis to your team but then again… it’s only the falcants fans

rekingball

September 9th, 2010
5:46 pm

The saints better keep some extra people in the backfield to help protect Brees.
After all the late hits and cheap shots that they put on Farve last year, plus the saint’s DC, Gregg Williams running his mouth this year, about how they are going to do it again, to Farve and every other QB they face, might be dangerous to the saint’s QB’s health & welfare, once their opponents start retaliating.

rekingball

September 9th, 2010
5:50 pm

And as everyone knows, Brees is the saints, without him, they aren’t that much.
I really don’t believe they are that much, with him.

hiramsaint

September 9th, 2010
5:55 pm

do you believe in the superbowl? warner favre and manning do plus brees usually gets rid of the ball to fast

Gamer

September 9th, 2010
6:25 pm

Winning formula for this game for the Falcons is stacking the box, playing the run and shooting for intermediate passing routes.

The Falcons offense and defense must be physical for four quarters. No time for finese plays.

Take it to them Falcons, give the Steelers no breathing room.

rekingball

September 9th, 2010
6:31 pm

Keep the Steelers offense off the field and keep their QB contained.

Ken Strickland

September 9th, 2010
7:18 pm

The Steelers OL gave up 50 sacks last yr, which was 2nd only to the 51 given up by the Packers. Replacing last yrs starting C with 1st rd draft pick Pouncey won’t do much to eliminate that problem. Even though Dixon, their 3rd string QB, is far more mobile than any of their other QBs, he’ll have to do a lot of running, and most of his passing on the run.

Our biggest OFF problem will be our ability to do a much better job against the 3-4 DEF, which has been a problem for us in the past. Their passing OFF will be affected by the loss of SHolmes(79 receptions), their #2 receiving option. With HWade slowing down, and MWallace taking over for the departed SHolmes, their passing OFF won’t be dangerous as they it was last yr.

Even with QB Big Ben and WR SHolmes, along with a solid DEF, they only managed to finish 9-7, just like the Falcons. With them basically having the same porous OL, a 3rd string QB, and the loss of their big play WR, we have a solid chance to get a win in Pittsburgh.

Big Ray

September 10th, 2010
1:20 am

Nobody believes in last year’s super bowl. To do so is to admit defeat already this season. We ain’t doin’ that.