Falcons keep Stafford, Johnson under control

Lions QB Matthew Stafford drops back for a pass. The former UGA quarterback was the top pick in the 2009 NFL draft. AP

Lions QB Matthew Stafford drops back for a pass. The former UGA quarterback was the top pick in the 2009 NFL draft. AP

Detroit — The Falcons defensive plan was simple. They wanted to disrupt Detroit’s Georgia-Georgia Tech connection.

They didn’t want Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, a former Bulldog, and wide receiver Calvin Johnson, a former Yellow Jacket, to have a field day on Sunday at Ford Field.

“We missed opportunities,” Stafford said. “I missed Calvin on a touchdown pass. There were some other opportunities in the game where we just didn’t connect.”

The Falcons sacked Stafford three times and had six quarterback hits.

“We got to Stafford,” middle linebacker Curtis Lofton said. “He never felt comfortable back there the entire game.”

Several players on the defense contended that this was their best overall showing of the season.

“We set the standard for ourselves today. … I would say it’s the most complete game that we’ve played so far,” Lofton said. “But as good as we played, we still left a lot out there. We are still getting better.”

Stafford completed 15 of 32 passes for 183 yards and finished with a passer rating of 75.4. He did connect with Johnson on a 57-yard touchdown passin the third quarter.

“We did a good job of keeping him moving in the pocket,” said defensive end John Abraham, who had a sack. “We made him a little jittery. We made him throw it a little sooner than maybe he wanted.”

Late in the game, Stafford suffered a knee injury.

“Yeah, we’re going to check him out,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. “He sort of limped off the field at the end. [We'll] look at his knee and his ankle.”

Cornerback Brent Grimes had Johnson most of the game. Although he did line up on Dunta Robinson’s side occasionally.

Johnson was targeted 11 times and caught five passes for 115 yards. But he was not effective on third downs, as the Falcons tried to take Johnson and tight end Brandon Pettigrew away from Stafford on third down.

They were extremely successful as the Lions converted on just 1 of 12 third downs.

“We are our own worst enemy. … Until we can put together a strong four-quarter game, we are going to continue to have these bumps in the road,” Johnson said.

Falcons coach Mike Smith was pleased with the defense’s play on third down. The unit entered the game ranked last in the league in third-down efficiency (49 percent).

“We’ve got to put pressure on the quarterback,” Smith said. “Our guys had a very good understanding of what we were trying to get done and they executed. We wanted to take away their two prime threats [Johnson] and [Pettigrew]. I thought that they did that on third down especially.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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23 comments Add your comment

Techy

October 23rd, 2011
9:53 pm

Jordan

October 23rd, 2011
10:05 pm

Rufus1

October 23rd, 2011
10:05 pm

The defense is starting to play…………… Tied for 2nd in the NFC South

Chandler Going Deep,,

October 23rd, 2011
10:27 pm

ijonathan

October 23rd, 2011
2:23 pm

Hey Bloggers, Billick just gave you a new name for Ryan…”chump change” lmbo!

Matt does not have it!! Misfiring time again and again just amazing!
Ryan now has 8 int’s in just 7 games…Playoffs? PLAYOFFS?? Maybe on the road and get smoked?

Michael M.

October 23rd, 2011
10:45 pm

Why is it some of these guys or whatever the hell they are can never say anything good about the Birds ? I guess its cause yah just a bunch of Jerks !
Well for wherever your problems may ly, your bad comments cant defy The Birds from playing another awesome game today in a tough place with a tough team ! Seems to me they were ahead the entire game too ! Somehow doesnt it seem that The Birds are in control now and playing like that Team we saw last year and like I said in another post on another day I would take Ryan over these other QBs anyday and it seems hes still finding ways to win …………even coming right back out there in the game and clicking on a nice pass to Harry Douglas! Its one game at a time Morons and then we shall aee if its enough to get to the playoffs !

Michael M.

October 23rd, 2011
10:48 pm

and some idiot had the Lions over Atlanta by 51 points…………………….man some of you are just plain out stupid !

JayCool 4DABirds

October 23rd, 2011
11:14 pm

I agree Michael M., who do these people think they are? I mean dang can they just be a good team going on the road beating another good team. I keep trying to tell everyone the bad Falcons are a thing of the past. A. Rodgers is a hell of a QB but even he makes mistakes, so does all the other elite QB’s in the game. Our farewell fans may not want to respect us but you better believe any team that lines up opposite the Falcons is on their p’s and q’s when playing us. I’ve been watching these guys progress in just about every game this season. We have a much needed bye week to get healthy and then, look for this team to take off and fly to Indy in Feb.

ueeediot

October 23rd, 2011
11:52 pm

Great fight today and great win.
Defense finally played a whole game! Still missing that killer instinct on offense, but its coming along just fine.

Can we go to Indy and beat them half as bad as NO? Indy has TN next week so prolly no hope of them winning and getting that monkey off their back before we see them.

Somebody get #75 Garrett a pair of ear muffs….2 consecutive false start penalties came close to blowing the whole thing. Clean up the dam stupidity.

LONG LONG LONG way to go in this one….IF this team can manage to make the playoffs through this schedule, they will be tough to beat anywhere.
Indy
NO
TEN
MIN
@Hou
@Car
JAX
@NO
TB

ueeediot

October 24th, 2011
12:04 am

Have to be the stand out stats of the day:
1st downs from Penalties
ATL:7 DET: 1
3rd down efficiency
ATL: 7-17 DET:1-12

SeenThisB4

October 24th, 2011
7:16 am

Here’s a stat: M. ryan, 20/34, 1TD, 2INT D. Brees, 31/35, 5TD,0 INT

FALCON YEAH!

October 24th, 2011
7:19 am

THE POWER OF FALCON YEAH! IS TAKING OVER http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgWA_n6M-DQ

NeverSeenThisB4

October 24th, 2011
8:45 am

Here’s a stat vs TB Brees 29/45 383yds 1 TD 3 INT

falconsrelax

October 24th, 2011
9:07 am

WHERES THE BVG COMMENTS???? Yeah, this scheme works and grimes just proved it. This defense has been coming on lately. What impressed me the most was the fact of them being on the road and playing tough against at top offense. They came in there and did what they wanted to do with the pass rush and containing MEgatron. STanding ovation for the defense. Corey Peters is coming on, Moore is making plays, Weatherspoon is becoming a pass rusher more and more. DEfense is making plays now and gelling. Thats back to back games where the defense has contained QBs with making those big plays.

Chandler Going Deep,,

October 24th, 2011
9:49 am

“LONG LONG LONG way to go in this one….IF this team can manage to make the playoffs through this schedule, they will be tough to beat anywhere.
Indy
NO
TEN
MIN
@Hou
@Car
JAX
@NO
TB”

10-6 sounds reasonable..Maybe a wild card on the road? Not good……

Its going to be real tough.. Theses playoffs team are going to stop Turner and Ryan is not by some luck going to turn into Drew Brees( what a rocket arm!) 5TD’s, 62 points!!!!!!!!!! OMG……

Defense is looking better than the offense!
Mularkey has got ta go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

B DA MAN

October 24th, 2011
10:45 am

Great win. Defense looked great. DeCoud needs to work on his tackling angles but overall good performance. Offense looked good for second straight week. Game should not have been as close. If Grimes makes the int, Lions don’t score 3 there. Two FG could have been touchdowns. Refs gave Turner a bad spot that ended up beign 3rd and 1 and we end of with FG and consecutive false start penalties pushed us back on another drive.

Rich

October 24th, 2011
11:57 am

Great game and tough team in a loud place! i think there were mistakes on both sides of the ball, but i think we played well enough to win! Defence stepped up, we had explosive plays, was good! I wish Weems would have got that kick off return! I’d be mad at the guy who blocked in the back when he was already running free!

Michael M.

October 24th, 2011
2:10 pm

Why the Stats with Breeze…lmao ………………………the only real stats that are going to matter is the ones after Atlanta takes first place away from the Cants in a few more weeks…..look out boy Trolls cause it indeed is coming !

SealT2

October 24th, 2011
2:52 pm

Where is Jerry?

hiramsaint

October 24th, 2011
6:03 pm

it should be -failclowns and refs keep stafford , johnson under control. even the announcers mentioned it at least 3 times and thats why no one will ever take the failclowns seriously

Michael M.

October 24th, 2011
10:51 pm

am looking forward to the first game with the Aints that Caints ha ! ha ! I want to see whether the Trolls show up on here after The Birds open up some whup asX on those Caints ! Dree Breeze isnt going to throw no 5 touchdowns on the Birds so forget about that and the game is in the Bird House so look out HiramSaint ………..I see a loss for your Team on the way
I also tried to fnd their big newspaper in N O but to no avail…..I guess they write and read off the roll of toilet paper in the publice restroom… I am just sayannnnnnn..haaa!
I am mean tonight I know I will lighten up !

Michael M.

October 24th, 2011
10:52 pm

We will SEE IF YOU take em seriously after that first round at the Geogia Dome !

Bubblehead-Bird

October 25th, 2011
4:38 am

Anyone seen Matt Dizz around??? He was supposed to show up around here on Monday and laugh at us “delusional fans” for thinking Detroit would lose. I hope I am not too late to see him?

Matt…..Matt, where are you buddy?

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