Rewind: Falcons hold on for key rebound victory

Falcons running back Michael Turner bowls over Tennessee Titans Michael Griffin as he bulls his way through the Titans for a long first down run during 2nd quarter action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons running back Michael Turner bowls over Tennessee Titans Michael Griffin as he bulls his way through the Titans for a long first down run during 2nd quarter action. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

The game that was

 

The Falcons had a chance to rout the Titans, but four drives stalled inside the 20-yard line and two late touchdowns by Tennessee kept things close. Bouncing back from a tough loss to New Orleans, the Falcons held on for a 23-17 victory.

What we learned

1. The no-huddle offense is potent. The Falcons opened the game in their no-huddle offense. After driving 56 yards in five plays, they elected to stay in attack mode. They used Michael Turner as a single running back with wide receivers RoddyWhite, Harry Douglas and Eric Weems, and tight end Tony Gonzalez. With quarterback Matt Ryan calling the plays at the line of scrimmage, they got their blocking assignments correct and dictated some of Tennessee’s pass defenses.

2. Running back Michael Turner is a battering ram. Turner had his fifth 100-yard game of the season and set the tone early with his physical runs. He plowed over a number of Titans, including safety Michael Griffin, who was steamrolled twice. Turner’s bruising runs inspired the offense. Turner has 200 carries for 888 yards and eight touchdowns, and is closing in on his third 1,000-yard season.

3. Run defense is stout. A week after rushing for 130 yards, Tennessee running back Chris Johnson, the former NFL rushing champ, was held to just 13 yards on 12 carries. The defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 14 consecutive games, including the playoffs; that dates back to the 13th game of last season, when Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart ran for 133 yards. The Falcons have allowed just four 100-yard rushers over their last 39 games since New England’s Fred Taylor ran for 105 yards in 2009. The Falcons defense has allowed 85.4 yards per game, which ranks second in the league. San Francisco leads the league at 73.9 yards per game.

Injury report

Cornerback Kelvin Hayden (right foot) left the game with under four minutes to play in the second quarter and did not return. No other injuries were reported by the Falcons.

The numbers game

432

The Falcons offense generated 432 yards of total offense — 316 passing and 116 rushing — against the Titans. It was their second-highest total of the season. The Falcons had 432 total yards against the Colts on Nov. 6 and 481 yards against the Saints on Nov. 13.

7

Cornerback Christopher Owens led the defense with a team-high seven tackles.

57

Tennessee converted on 8 of 14 (57 percent) third-down attempts and also on a fourth-down-and-17 play in the fourth quarter.

19

In 41 games with the team, Gonzalez has 19 touchdown receptions, which ranks third in team history behind Alge Crumpler (35) and Jim Mitchell (28).

Sound bite

“Obviously, it was a good rebound from last week. I thought everybody prepared really well and put that game behind us.”

– Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on winning after a tough overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Loose ends

The Falcons enjoyed a 13-minute, 58-second advantage in time of possession. … After not getting a turnover against the Saints to end their streak of 27 games, Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson intercepted a pass in the first quarter. It was his first interception of the season.

What’s next

The Falcons (6-4) will face the Minnesota Vikings (2-8) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

35 comments Add your comment

Really?

November 21st, 2011
7:10 pm

Would still rather have Moore in there than Owens. They picked on him but he did have some tackles.

Samuel L. Jackson

November 21st, 2011
7:16 pm

(choir singing) ohhhhhhhh, What happens when a QB chokes up??? When a city blows up??? when a WR won’t shut up???

Tell me WHAT DO FALCONS DO???!!!

OHHHHHHHH LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY EGGS!!!!!!

painter

November 21st, 2011
7:17 pm

I hope Hayden is ok cause Owens I think is cursed for wearing 21. There’s a reason the leading tackler in the NFL plays for Indy. That stat can be deceptive.

Monday Morning QB

November 21st, 2011
7:42 pm

@ Samuel L Jackson

I have to admit that was pretty funny. You’re still a useless scum suc_ _ing troll but at least it was entertaining.

cdog

November 21st, 2011
7:48 pm

THE FALCONS PLAYED WELL ON SUNDAY AS EXPECTED BY COACH SMITH, YOU NEED TO REALLY WORK ON THE RED ZONE OFFENSE. WE NEED TO COME AWAY WITH POINTS IN THE FORM OF TOUCHDOWNS BUT IF NOT, LETS KICK THE FIEL GOALS.WE THREW AWAY 6 POINTS WHICH WOULD HAVE PUT THE GAME AWAY. THE DEFENSE WAS MORE AGGRESSIVE LICK BUDDY RYANS DEFENSE IN THE 80S. WE NEED TO STOP RESPECTING OTHER TEAMS AND MAKE THEM RESPECT US.WE SHOULD BE 7-4 AFTER SUNDAY BUT DON’T HOLD NOTHING BACK, BURY THE VIKINGS EARLY AND OFTEN. WE SHOULD PUT THEM OUT OF THEIR MISIRIES.

Einstein

November 21st, 2011
8:01 pm

7-4 after Sunday!

Replace Owens

November 21st, 2011
8:08 pm

Owens is terrible. Please explain why that guy is still on the field. Is he really better then Dominque Franks. D-Led you need to keep us updated on Hayden. The whole season lies in his hands. . .Owens is a complete sieve.

Replace Owens

November 21st, 2011
8:10 pm

PLEASE PLEASE GET OWENS OFF THE FIELD COACH -PLEASE. Somebody help – I can’t take it anymore!

old man

November 21st, 2011
8:38 pm

Well, well, well. Matt Ryan has a 110 passer rating, throws a deep completion, and–most importantly–manages the entire game in the no-huddle offense. Where are all the Ryan haters? Yep, I forgot, you’re right, he did not do enough to stop Locker. A real top-tier QB would play defense too, right? Oh yeah, I think that fumble by Turner 5 steps later had something to do with how he handed it off, right?

Falcon Nation: I know Ryan has limitations, but I am a little appalled that when he has a good game no one has the guts to say it. Well, I’m saying it right here. He had great stats. No mistakes. And he managed the game on the field. Anybody out there got the guts to agree?

pip

November 21st, 2011
8:42 pm

I agree with you, Old Man. (didn’t want to leave you all lonely on your soapbox.)

old man

November 21st, 2011
8:47 pm

Thanks, pip. He certainly wasn’t perfect. But I really liked how he seemed to be in complete control out there. He is the type of QB who thrives when he throws 30 times for 235 yards. Not when he throws 50 times for 400 yards. He has a Johnny U. sort of body, but more of a Bart Starr sort of mental approach. By that, I mean “I don’t give a crap about my stats, except the won-loss stat, even if I look ugly doing it.”

Sam

November 21st, 2011
8:55 pm

Amazing video of a high school senior from Columbia TN who kicks the ball dead straight 75-80 yards in the air. He was successful on 54 of 54 attempts this season….100%. Now he needs a college team.

Watch for yourself…it is unreal!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_JKwgwFY3g

pip

November 21st, 2011
8:55 pm

I like Ryan but he is hard to figure out sometimes. He can be one cool customer one game and a spooked deer in the headlights the next. However, he is tough and smart. No matter how he might disappoint occasionally, I’m not going to write him off while MM is our OC. When the Falcons get a real OC, I want to see how Ryan progresses. Then, if he doesn’t fully realize the potential I think he has, I’ll be ready to admit we need to look for another QB to develop. Until then, he’s got my support.

Ichabod

November 21st, 2011
9:00 pm

Svitek should stay, he’s done a good job. Baker should either keep resting his back or spell Reynolds, at least see how that works out. Ryan looked great in the no-huddle, gotta keep it up.

mancave

November 22nd, 2011
1:10 am

you played a weak, weak team much like the colts game. don’t buy into this win… good teams with elite qb will kill ur db’s and ur front line and def. are weak… without help you can’t make playoffs…

curse of roddy white

November 22nd, 2011
1:17 am

the curse is upon ur team / ur wr’s are cursed/ ur hc is curse/ curse of chicken -man vo0do0- man of nola… u see u all will see

Michael M.

November 22nd, 2011
7:43 am

The curse of the Dirty turd is upon you ^^^^^!

Onwards and Upwards Falcons !

Gamer

November 22nd, 2011
8:32 am

SOMEONE NEED TO REMIND CHRIS OWENS AND THOMAS DeCOUD WHAT THE NFL’S ACRONYMS TRANSLATE INTO FOR POOR PERFORMING PLAYERS.

N= NOT
F= FOR
L= LONG

If Owens and DeCoud continue to play porous in pass plays then the 2011 season could be their final season in a Falcons uniform…hint, hint.

PROBABLY THEIR FINAL SEASON IN THE N.F.L

PMC

November 22nd, 2011
8:43 am

Here’s hoping we switch to the no huddle permanently for the rest of the season.

PMC

November 22nd, 2011
8:43 am

Look at the schedule. The Falcons are a playoff team.

Gamer

November 22nd, 2011
8:44 am

ALSO SAM BAKER NEED TO EARN HIS WAY BACK INTO THE STARTING LINE-UP.

WHY SHOULD HE GET A FREE PASS FOR POOR PERFORMANCE?

BACK INJURY? IF ITS BACK INJURY THAT CAUSING HIS POOR PLAY THEN HE HAS BEEN INJURED SINCE HIS FIRST SEASON WITH THE FALCONS.

HE HAS NEVER PLAYED TO THE POTENTIAL OF HIS DRAFT SELECTION.

Svitek ability to swivel at his hips while having good foot movements give the Falcons a better blocking against pass rushers..

side note: as long as he can avoid stepping on Ryan’s foot then keep Svitek in starting roll.

Why fix, what’s not broken?

SVITEK SWIVELS

PMC

November 22nd, 2011
9:16 am

The run defense is awesome, which makes the absolute garbage pass defense that much more frustrating.

Geo

November 22nd, 2011
10:50 am

Well said pip and old man. After pages and pages of people jumping up and down on Ryan with the glee and mentality of two year olds, the QB comes out and plays a great game. Poetic justice.

For all its raw physicality, football is very much about mental toughness and smarts. Ryan is very strong in that department. He still has a bright future ahead of him, especially if his offensive line keeps blocking like they did Sunday.

falcon fan

November 22nd, 2011
10:58 am

Falcons line coach made a good choice when he pulled Reynolds and gave job to Hawley. I think he has the nasty we were lacking when we let Dahl walk.
PLEASE KEEP SAW BAKER WARMING THE BENCH. SVITEK HAS OUT PLAYED HIM. HE HAS NOT GAVE RYAN A LOOKOUT BLOCK.BAKER IS WHERE HE NEEDS TO BE.

falcon fan

November 22nd, 2011
11:03 am

I agree Matt Ryan had a good game. Ryan was calling his on plays. keep MM out of play calling and Ryan will be ok.
Hope Jacksonville hires MM for their coach to work with thier QB.Would be a blessing for falcon nation.

Geo

November 22nd, 2011
11:28 am

I like Mike Smith, but he is the king of the platitude. One of the most annoying to me is “we just didn’t execute.” But if your playcall is weak and predictable, it’s not about execution. It doesn’t matter how good your athletes are, they are at too big a disadvantage. The game is as much about being smart as it is about imposing your will. Mike also needs to work on his in-game decision-making, but we all have things to work on. Luckily, Smith is all about learning from the past and moving on. We’ll see how it goes…

Geo

November 22nd, 2011
12:11 pm

sidenote: it’s empire-building overreach and the continuation of GWB tax cuts on the wealthy that is bankrupting the nation, plus gutting of the manufacturing base and policies that encourage offshoring of jobs and profits.

Geo

November 22nd, 2011
12:49 pm

blog argument fail ^

Geo

November 22nd, 2011
12:58 pm

LOL. the orlambo dude ran like a coward. Deleted all his posts, including the the one just above my last one. Since he didn’t have anything intelligent to say, he resorted to deleting his posts, so that my last post points to my previous one, instead of his BS.

hiramsaint

November 22nd, 2011
4:12 pm

and still in 2nd place behind the saints

DR. FALCON

November 23rd, 2011
9:55 am

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, MY FELLOW FALCON FANS! WE WILL RUN THE TABLE AND WIN THIS DIVISION! WATCH OUT SAINTS, HERE WE COME! PAYBACK!!!!

DR. FALCON

November 23rd, 2011
9:57 am

HIRAMSAINT AND SEETHISB4, DON’T GET TO COMFORTABLE IN 1ST PLACE IN THE SOUTH, IT’S A LONG SEASON! THE SAINTS HAVE A HISTORY OF LOSING TO BAD TEAMS! LOL!

joekill

November 23rd, 2011
11:13 am

dr falcon i agree with you we will have a good second half of the season and make the playoffs the bears without cutler are terrible and im not a believer in tony romeo i think if the falcons get julio healthy and if we play falcon football which is run the ball and then go play action along with our d which has dominated the run the falcons will be in the playoffs i think I also think if we get in we have a shot to put a scare against some teams in the playoffs keep up the momentum falcons WHAT DO FALCONS DO THEY RISE UP!

ctfalconsfan

November 23rd, 2011
11:51 am

HEADLINE SHOULD READ:

” NO HUDDLE OFFENSE POTENT, MULARKEY VOWS TO SLOW DOWN THE TEMPO”

ctfalconsfan

November 23rd, 2011
11:55 am

I sit here and dream off what this offense could like like without the constraints of Mike Mularkey’s limited brain function… Could we more explosive than GB or NOLA??

The sky is the limit once we cut lose of this ball of chain….