Archive for October, 2011

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 …

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Will Svitek holds Vanden Bosch sackless

Ryan passed for one touchdown and ran for another in the team's 23-16 victory.  (Associated Press)

Ryan passed for one touchdown and ran for another in the team's 23-16 victory. (Associated Press)

Detroit — Starting left tackle Sam Baker was declared inactive for the game. He’s been battling a lower back injury.

Will Svitek, who normally plays as a blocking tight end in power formations, started for Baker and had a strong game.

“I thought he did a great job,” Ryan said. “He didn’t blink. He knew the game plan and was well-prepared.”

Svitek was blocking against Detroit’s Kyle Vanden Bosch and held him sackless. However, Vanden Bosch did get one quarterback hit.

“It really didn’t matter to me because I prepare the same way whether I’m a starter or playing jumper tight end,” Svitek said. “I prepare the same. I had a feeling I might start. At game time, I knew I was the guy.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Mughelli’s injury could hurt resurgent run attack

Falcons RB Michael Turner tries to break through the tackle of Lions DB Amari Spievey. (Associated Press)

Falcons RB Michael Turner tries to break through the tackle of Lions DB Amari Spievey. (Associated Press)

Detroit — The Falcons posted back-to-back victories for the first time this season by leaning on their rushing attack, which suffered a major setback as Pro Bowl fullback Ovie Mughelli suffered a knee injury.

He left the game in the fourth quarter and did not return. He was on crutches after the game but appeared to be in good spirits. His long-term diagnosis was not revealed by the team.

The Falcons were determined to run the ball on the Lions, who entered the game giving up 5.2 yards per carry, ranking 31st in the league.

The Falcons ran the ball 31 times for 129 yards (4.2 per carry). Running back Michael Turner ran for 122 yards on 27 carries. It was his fourth 100-yard game of the season.

The Falcons stayed with the run even though Detroit was employing seven, eight and even nine men near the line of scrimmage.

“We had to impose our will,” Turner said. “We can’t just …

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Gonzalez now No. 2 on receiving list; Rice’s place safe

 

Tony Gonzalez after the win over the Lions. (Associated Press)

Tony Gonzalez after the win over the Lions. (Associated Press)

 

ALL-TIME RECEPTIONS LEADERS

Player –Years — Rec.
Jerry Rice –1985-04 –1,549
Tony Gonzalez — 1997 — 1,104

Marvin Harrison — 1996-08 — 1,102
Cris Carter — 1987-02 — 1,101
 

By Jeff Schultz

Detroit — It didn’t seem to bother Tony Gonzalez on Sunday that he has risen as high up the NFL career receiving ladder as he’ll go.

“I don’t think Jerry [Rice] will be caught,” the Falcons’ tight end said, laughing. “I’m happy with second place.”

The dizzying career numbers continue for the 35-year-old who at times still looks 25. Gonzalez had five more receptions for 62 yards in the Falcons’ 23-16 win over Detroit. He is now at 1,104 catches, vaulting him past Marvin Harrison (1,102) and Cris Carter (1,101) into second on the NFL’s all-time receptions list, just behind Rice (1,549).

So hypothetically, if Gonzalez retires after this season, he would need 445 catches in the next nine games to catch Rice. Yeah. Not going to …

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Sam Baker, Julio Jones out for Lions’ game

ew season, bigger beard. Falcons offensive lineman Sam Baker has let his beard grow out, sporting some additional length on his chin. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Sam Baker is inactive for today's game against the Detroit Lions. Will Svitek will start at left tackle. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

DETROIT

– Falcons starting left tackle Sam Baker and wide receiver Julio Jones will not play against the Detroit Lions today at Ford Field.

Baker (lower back injury) and Jones (hamstring) were on the list of pre-game inactives along with cornerback Christopher Owens, cornerback Darrin Walls, center Brett Romberg, defensive tackle Carlton Powell and defensive end Cliff Matthews.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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Tony Gonzalez nears No. 2 all-time receiving spot

ALL-TIME RECEPTIONS LEADERS

Player –Years — Rec.
Jerry Rice –1985-04 –1,549
Marvin Harrison — 1996-08 — 1,102
Cris Carter — 1987-02 — 1,101
Tony Gonzalez — 1997-10 — 1,099

101128 Atlanta - Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith celebrates on the sidelines with tight end Tony Gonzalez after he caught a Matt Ryan pass for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 10-3 lead over the Green Bay Packers in the final seconds of the 2nd quarter at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

101128 Atlanta – Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith celebrates on the sidelines with tight end Tony Gonzalez after he caught a Matt Ryan pass for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 10-3 lead over the Green Bay Packers in the final seconds of the 2nd quarter at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez is closing in on another major receiving milestone.

He needs four receptions when the Falcons face the Detroit Lions at 1 p.m. Sunday at Ford Field to move into second place all-time on the NFL’s receptions list.

Gonzalez currently ranks fourth with 1,099 catches. He could pass Cris Carter (1,101) and Marvin Harrison (1,102).

Tony Gonzalez Day" - Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank honors tight end Tony Gonzalez with a pregame ceremony commemorating his 1,000th catch at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Tony Gonzalez Day" – Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank honors tight end Tony …

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3 key matchups: Falcons vs. Lions

New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham (82) comes down with pass for a first down as Atlanta Falcons cornerback Chris Houston (23) defends in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham (82) comes down with pass for a first down as Atlanta Falcons cornerback Chris Houston (23) defends in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Falcons WR Roddy White vs. Lions CB Chris Houston: After the Falcons signed Dunta Robinson, they traded Houston, a former second-round pick, to the Lions for not much more than a 2-for-1 pizza coupon. Houston, who started 37 of 44 games he played for the Falcons from 2007-09, has developed better deep-ball skills in Detroit and was re-signed as free agent after the lockout. Since the start of the 2007 season, White’s 405 catches are the second most in the NFL. He caught a season-low two passes for 21 yards Sunday against Carolina.

Falcons CBs Brent Grimes/Dunta Robinson vs. Lions WR Calvin Johnson: Johnson is listed at 6-foot-5. The Falcons generously list both Grimes and Robinson at 5-10. Last week, Johnson …

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INJURY REPORT: Baker questionable, Jones doubtful

Falcons lineman Sam Baker blocks Carolina's Charles Johnson, giving Matt Ryan time to pass. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons lineman Sam Baker blocks Carolina's Charles Johnson, giving Matt Ryan time to pass. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons starting left tackle Sam Baker (lower back injury) returned to practice and was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game with the Detroit Lions.

Baker did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

Cornerback Christopher Owens (concussion)  was declared out for the Lions’ game. Wide receiver Julio Jones did not practice, but was declared doubtful.

If Baker is not ready to play, Will Svitek would get the start.

John Abraham (groin), Todd McClure (knee) and Garrett Reynolds (ankle) were limited in practice and listed as questionable for the game.

James Sanders (hamstring), Jonathan Babineaux (knee), Tony Gonzalez (elbow) and Roddy White (knee) all fully participated in practice and were listed as probable.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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TMZ: Edwards considering ‘underwear modeling’ career

 

Packers kicker Matt Crosby nails a long field goal over the reach of Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Packers kicker Matt Crosby nails a long field goal over the reach of Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH –  Um, not really sure what to do with this, but let me give it a try.

It seems that Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards, who had a pro boxing match during the lockout,  is considering some sort of underwear modeling career. Check out the pictures –>CLICK HERE! 

Here’s what TMZ wrote about the photos. (I just think Ray had too much time on his hands during the lockout and got talked into these photos. I’m just saying . . . )

Cam Newton should consider himself lucky … ’cause the Carolina Panthers QB was wrapped up by a REAL-LIFE MODEL last weekend … when Atlanta Falcons stud Ray Edwards sacked his ass. 

Edwards has become the latest pro athlete to strip down for a skin-baring photo session … all for an upcoming, fully waxed 2012 calendar. 

Sources tell TMZ, Edwards hasn’t completely decided if he wants to pursue a modeling …

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Video: Playboy Playmate Pilar Lastra’s fantasy tips

CineSport’s Noah Coslov asks Playboy Playmate Pilar Lastra for fantasy football tips for Week 7 of the NFL season.

Lastra picks the Falcons to “abuse” the Lions’ running backs. She tells you all to “use” Tampa Bay running back Earnest Graham this week.

She has a book out, too. “Treat Me Like Your Car: A Man’s Guide to Treating a Lady” by Pilar Lastra.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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