Archive for December, 2011

Peterson, Hayden placed on injured reserve

The Falcons placed cornerback Kelvin Hayden and linebacker Mike Peterson on injured reserve on Tuesday.

Hayden, 6-0, 195 pounds, was signed by the Falcons as a free agent on August 30. Hayden played in eight games this season, totaling 27 tackles (22 solo) with two interceptions and four passes defensed. He was trying to make it back from a dislocated toe injury.

 Peterson started and played against the Saints. No injury was announced to the press during the game and after the game Peterson was talking about helping to get the team ready for the playoffs.  

“Just get back to work,” Peterson said after he was asked how the team would rebound from the 45-16 loss. “We are professionals. We have to be pros about this. If this doesn’t make you feel bad and make you want to go to work right now, then you are in the wrong business.

“For whatever reason, we knew coming into this game we were going up against a great quarterback and a great offense. We knew we were going to …

Continue reading Peterson, Hayden placed on injured reserve »

Video: Matt Ryan’s presser after the Saints game

–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.

Continue reading Video: Matt Ryan’s presser after the Saints game »

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez selected to the Pro Bowl

Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez is upended by Saints defenders after catching a pass. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez is upended by Saints defenders after catching a pass. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, 35, was selected to his 12th Pro Bowl on Tuesday, the NFL announced.

He was the lone member of the team selected. However, wide receiver Roddy White and special teams player Eric Weems were the first alternates at their positions.

Last season, seven Falcons — Quarterback Matt Ryan, White, running back Michael Turner, Gonzalez, fullback Ovie Mughelli, defensive end John Abraham and Weems — were named to the NFC team. Right tackle Tyson Clabo and cornerback Brent Grimes went as alternates.

This season, no Falcons led at their position in the fan voting.

Gonzalez is turning in another fine season. He has 79 catches for 867 yards and seven touchdowns this season.

Gonzalez, widely considered one of the best tight ends to ever play the position in the NFL, moved into second place on the NFL’s all-time receptions list with a …

Continue reading Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez selected to the Pro Bowl »

Q&A: Coach Mike Smith sifts through the rubble

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees passes during the second quarter. AP

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees passes during the second quarter. AP

NEW ORLEANS — Falcons coach Mike Smith was caught off guard by his team’s woeful performance against the Saints.

“I didn’t see that coming,” Smith said.

Here’s what he had to say after the Saints routed the Falcons 45-16 on Monday night.

OPENING STATEMENT: We obviously are disappointed in the way that we played i the ball game tonight. We didn’t play well enough in any phase of the game to give ourselves a chance to win. We didn’t make enough plays. There were some opportunities early on and then it kind of got out of hand there at the end.

ON WHERE IT WENT SIDEWAYS: We were 0 for 3 in the red zone. We didn’t score touchdowns when we got down there. We really had a tough time in the first half stopping them on third down. They were 8 for 8 on third downs and we had some very favorable down and distances. Third-and-8, third-and-10, third-and-12, third-and-13 and we weren’t able to get them …

Continue reading Q&A: Coach Mike Smith sifts through the rubble »

Saints pummel Falcons 45-16 to claim NFC South title

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) rushes in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. AP

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) rushes in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. AP

NEW ORLEANS — The Falcons, with an opportunity to defend their NFC South title and improve their playoff status, were routed by the New Orleans Saints 45-16 before 70,086 fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Falcons (9-6) entered the game with a playoff berth clinched and had an outside chance to capture the division crown with a victory over New Orleans and a win over Tampa Bay, coupled with a Saints’ loss to Carolina.

But the Saints (12-3) were near flawless for much of this evening. Saints quarterback Drew Brees entered the game needing 305 yards passing to break Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a single season. The mark of 5,084 yards set in 1984.

He tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to running back Darren Sproles with 2:51 left in the fourth quarter for the mark.

The Falcons were …

Continue reading Saints pummel Falcons 45-16 to claim NFC South title »

Falcons earn second straight NFL playoff berth

The Vince Lombardi Trophy on display at the Super Bowl. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

The Vince Lombardi Trophy on display at the Super Bowl. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

 

 

 

 

 

With Green Bay’s 35-21 victory over Chicago, the Falcons clinched a playoff berth for the third time over the past four seasons on Sunday night.

The Falcons (9-5) play the New Orleans Saints (11-5) at 8:30 p.m. Monday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The playoff berth marks the first time in franchise history that the team has made the playoffs in consecutive seasons.

In addition to Chicago’s loss, the Falcons needed losses from Dallas and Arizona. Philadelphia beat Dallas and Cincinnati beat Arizona on Saturday.

The Falcons can win the NFC South title and earn the No. 3 seed with victories over New Orleans and Tampa Bay coupled with a loss by the Saints to Carolina.

The Falcons would host a home game if they can land the No. 3 seed.

“This is exactly where we wanted to be, in the mix in December with everything we want still in front of us with two games to play,” …

Continue reading Falcons earn second straight NFL playoff berth »

TIME CHANGE: Game vs. Tampa Bay flexed to 4:15 p.m.

The Falcons’ final regular season game against Tampa Bay has been rescheduled for 4:15 p.m. on Sunday by the National Football League.

The NFL utilizes “flexible scheduling” on Sundays in Weeks 10-15 and 17 to ensure quality matchups in all NFL Sunday time slots.

The Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants game will be played at 8:20 p.m. on Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns games will move to 4:15 p.m.

Game times for the Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers-New Orleans Saints afternoon games will be announced following results of the Week 16 Sunday and Monday night games.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 1 (WEEK 17)

DETROIT AT GREEN BAY 1 p.m. – FOX

TENNESSEE AT HOUSTON 1 p.m. – CBS

INDIANAPOLIS AT JACKSONVILLE 1 p.m. – CBS

N.Y. JETS AT MIAMI 1 p.m. – CBS

BUFFALO AT NEW ENGLAND 1 p.m. – CBS

WASHINGTON AT PHILADELPHIA 1 p.m. — FOX

SAN FRANCISCO AT ST. LOUIS 1 p.m. – FOX

CHICAGO AT MINNESOTA** TBD FOX

CAROLINA …

Continue reading TIME CHANGE: Game vs. Tampa Bay flexed to 4:15 p.m. »

INJURY REPORT: Meier’s groin injury is serious

Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez is upended by Saints defenders after catching a pass. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons Tony Gonzalez is upended by Saints defenders after catching a pass. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons will likely be thin at linebacker and wide receiver against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

Linebacker Stephen Nicholas (toe), wide receiver Kerry Meier (groin) and cornerback Kelvin Hayden (dislocated toe) were listed as doubtful in the team’s official injury report.

Below find the Falcons and Saints’ official injury reports:

FALCONS’ INJURY REPORT

Player Pos Status Injury

Kelvin Hayden CB Doubtful Toe

Kerry Meier WR Doubtful Groin

Stephen Nicholas LB Doubtful Toe

Brent Grimes CB Questionable Knee

John Abraham DE Probable Not Injury Related Harry Douglas WR Probable Groin

Tony Gonzalez TE Probable Not Injury Related Curtis Lofton LB Probable Ankle

Todd McClure C Probable Not Injury Related

Christopher Owens CB Probable Hand

Corey Peters DT Probable Knee

Jason Snelling RB Probable Illness

Will Svitek T Probable Groin

Michael …

Continue reading INJURY REPORT: Meier’s groin injury is serious »

Are the New Orleans Saints a ‘Dirty’ football team?

Atlanta Falcons Eric Weems is sandwiched by Saints defenders Scott Shanle, top, and Tracy Porter, bottom, as he catches a pass during second half action. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta Falcons Eric Weems is sandwiched by Saints defenders Scott Shanle, top, and Tracy Porter, bottom, as he catches a pass during second half action. Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – After their last two games, the Saints have been accused of “dirty” play.

After their win over Minnesota, Adrian Peterson, who was returning from high ankle sprain, questioned cornerback’s Jabari Greer’s tackling methods, which included a twist of his ankle while at the bottom of a pile.

“I came into the game kind of expecting that coming back from a high ankle sprain,” Peterson said. “Guys are going to try to take their shots when we’re on the pile and try to twist it up and things like that.

“I felt like it kind of got overboard. I got up and kind of got in his face. Thank God I was able to keep my composure.”

In the previous game, Tennessee wide receiver Nate Washington accused safety Roman Harper of being a dirty player. Harper was also called for a personal foul …

Continue reading Are the New Orleans Saints a ‘Dirty’ football team? »

UPDATE: A Green Bay win puts Falcons in the playoffs

Falcons cheerleader Brandy.

Falcons cheerleader Brandy.

UPDATE: With losses by Arizona and Dallas, the Falcons need Green Bay to defeat the Chicago Bears Sunday night to clinch a playoff berth.

FLOWERY BRANCH – Here the two trifectas that could lead to the Falcons clinching a playoff berth before their NFC South showdown with the Saints on Monday night.

1. Dallas loss or tie plus a Chicago loss or tie plus an Arizona loss or tie OR 

2. New York Giants loss or tie plus Chicago loss or tie plus an Arizona loss or tie.

 Here’s are the matchups:

   New York Giants (7-7) at New York Jets (8-6) at 1 p.m. today.  

   Arizona (7-7) at Cincinnati (8-6) at 1 p.m. today.

   Philadelphia (6-8) at Dallas (8-6) at 4:15 p.m. today.

    Chicago (7-7) at Green Bay (13-1) at 8:20 Sunday.

HERE ARE THE PLAYOFF SCENARIOS FOR WEEK 16.

NFC

CLINCHED: Green Bay – NFC North and first-round bye

                      San Francisco – NFC West

                      New …

Continue reading UPDATE: A Green Bay win puts Falcons in the playoffs »