Bengals hand Falcons their 7th straight exhibition loss

alcons head coach Mike Smith trys to fire up his defense after a Bengals touchdown by A.J. Green during 1st half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 16, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons head coach Mike Smith attempts to fire up his defense after a Bengals touchdown by A.J. Green during 1st half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Thursday, August 16, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

A.J. Green and Julio Jones, two of the better young receivers in the NFL, dazzled the crowd at the Georgia Dome on Thursday.

But the Bengals prevailed 24-19 in another sparsely attended game. Tickets distributed were announced at 68,541, but about half might have been at Turner Field for Chipper Jones Bobblehead Night.

Green, the former Georgia standout, was taken by the Bengals with the fourth overall pick of the 2011 draft. Jones, who starred at Alabama, was selected by the Falcons with the sixth overall pick.

Both players impacted the game early before the reserves took over.

Green got open on deep route in the first quarter, but Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton overthrew the pass. The Bengals settled for a 54-yard field goal by Mike Nugent to make the score 3-0.

On their next possession, the Falcons tied the score on a 20-yard field goal by Matt Bryant.

Thanks to Green, the Bengals answered quickly.

On a third down-and-15, Green ran past Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel and hauled down a 50-yard touchdown pass to give the Bengals a 10-3 lead.

The play had to be a downer for the Falcons’ brass, who lauded the acquisition of Samuel as being one of the keys to improving their pass defense. Also, the defense struggled on third downs last season as teams converted 44 percent of the time (93-of-211).

On the play Samuel when was beaten, he was playing the left cornerback position that Brent Grimes, the team’s highest paid defender, normally occupies.

But Samuel has told the coaches that he has a preference to play on the left side because the NFL is a right-handed passing league. The coaching staff likely will have to figure out how to deploy their three cornerbacks.

“It was a double move and the receiver separated on the double move,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “It was a nice throw and a nice catch.”

There was a report that the Falcons were able to get Samuel so cheaply — for a seventh round pick — because the Eagles felt his skills were in steep decline. Smith bristled at the notion that the Bengals caught Samuel peeking into backfield or that his reputation for gambling for interceptions was exploited. 

“Listen, Asante has played very effective football for a long, long time,” Smith said. “It was a well executed play by the offense.”

Samuel and Green were battling.

“We were going at it,” Samuel said. “I relaxed on the deep ball a little bit, and he got over on top of me.”

Samuel, a noted film student, was not surprised by the deep pass.

“It was third-and-long, so it was time to put the ball up,” Samuel said.

Once the shock of Green’s touchdown catch wore off, Jones and the Falcons’ offense appeared determined not to be outdone by the spectacular play on their next possession.

Quarterback Matt Ryan, who completed 11 consecutive passes to open the game, completed a 15-yard pass to Jones on the fifth play of the drive. On the next play, Ryan launched a deep pass to Jones, who got behind his defender, but he couldn’t haul down the slightly overthrown pass.

After completing a 16-yard pass to Roddy White, Ryan and Jones connected on a 23-yard play to move the ball to Cincinnati’s 2-yard line. On the next play, Ryan tossed a touchdown pass to newly signed fullback Lousaka Polite. Bryant came on to tie the score 10-10.

Bryant added a 22-yard field goal as the Falcons led 13-10 at halftime.

Green finished the game with two receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. Jones had three receptions for 41 yards.

“Atlanta has one of the best tandems in the NFL in Roddy and Julio,” Green said. “Those guys are great receivers and I look forward to watching them.”

The Falcons’ starting offense was on the field for 27 plays in the first half. They played 21 plays in the exhibition opener against Baltimore on Aug. 9.

The first-team defense, which was spectacular in nine plays against Baltimore, was shaky against the Bengals. In addition to Samuel getting beat, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and safety Thomas DeCoud missed tackles on a pass play to Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham.

Safety William Moore forced a fumble that was recovered by DeCoud, who also forced a fumble.

In the second half, Bruce Gradkowski, who has played six seasons in the NFL and made 20 starts, victimized Falcons reserves on the Bengals’ first drive.

Gradkowski broke loose for a 31-yard gain and then tossed a 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu to put the Bengals up 17-13.

The Bengals added a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Jourdan Brooks with 7:44 left before Falcons backup quarterback Dominique Davis led the Falcons on a rally.

He tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to LaMark Brown. After a stop by the defense, Davis drove the offense down to Cincinnati’s 26 before the potential game-winning drive stalled.

While there was not too much cause for alarm, the Falcons have established an exhibition-season pattern Smith.

With the loss to the Bengals, the Falcons have lost seven consecutive exhibition games, dating to 2010.

Their last victory was a 16-6 win over Miami on Aug. 27, 2010.

The Falcons have never had a winning exhibition season under Smith. They are 6-12 overall.

In 2008, they were 2-2 before going 11-5 in the regular season and earning a wild-card playoff berth.

In 2009, they were 2-2 before going 9-7 in the regular season.

In 2010, they were 2-2 before going 13-3, winning the NFC South and earning a playoff berth.

Last season, they were 0-4 before going 10-6 and earning a wild-card playoff berth.

“Every time that we go out, we want to win football games,” Smith said. “There is no doubt about that. But our number one goal in the [exhibition] season is to get to the first game [of the regular seaso] as healthy as possible. We’re going to out there and play our tails off to try to win the ball game, but first and foremost we are looking at trying to install our scheme and keep players healthy.”

The Falcons will play their important third exhibition game against Miami on Aug. 24. The team will use that game as a dress rehearsal for the starters and allow them to play longer.

“We will get into our game week,” Smith said. “We’ll be out of camp on Sunday and Monday. We’ll start our game preparation and it will be like a Wednesday practice, installing the offense, defense and special teams, just like we would do on a regular season on a Wednesday.”



GAME STORY: Bengals 24, Falcons 19

SIDEBAR: Matt won’t call himself an elite QB after completing 18 of 21

Asante Samuel admits to relaxing on A.J. Green’s touchdown catch

A.J. Green and Julio Jones shine in exhibition game

VIDEO: Post game presser with head coach Mike Smith

VIDEO: Matt Ryan, Lousaka Polite featured after loss to Bengals


Bengals vs. Falcons: Julio Jones vs. A.J. Green I

Dominique Davis and Matt Ryan reunited

Polite knows waiting game in search of NFL job

Video: Mike Peterson taking over for injured Akeem Dent

Chase Coffman trying to make his way in NFL

Davis impresses in battle for No. 5 wide receiver spot

Falcons sign two, waive two

Bradie Ewing lost for the season

Game story: Ravens rout Falcons in exhibition opener

With Dent injury, Falcons take another hit at middle linebacker

Franks impresses with punt return

Q&A with Falcons coach Mike Smith after the loss to the Ravens

Jacquizz and James Rodgers have a thick football bond

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114 comments Add your comment


August 16th, 2012
11:42 pm


August 16th, 2012
11:43 pm

Guys, our defense is going to suck pretty bad, but our offense is looking good ! Our defense looks small and scared , especially Decoud !

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

August 16th, 2012
11:48 pm

Falcon fans don’t panic quite yet….It is only pre-season. What is Chris Redman still on the field??? He needs to return to selling insurance real soon….PLEASE!!!!!

Many of the players playing in the 3rd & 4th quarters you may never ever see again. August 28th is the roster cut to 75 players and September 2nd is the roster cut to 53. GO FALCONS!!!!

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

August 16th, 2012
11:50 pm

Correction….”WHY” is Chris Redman still on the field??????? Still waiting on a legitimate response from the coaching staff or I’ll even settle for a response from D-Led. :-)

Another Rick

August 16th, 2012
11:50 pm

Another Rick

August 16th, 2012
11:51 pm

We are pretty darn good! So Asante got beat better now! I like what i see!


August 16th, 2012
11:57 pm

“hoolio” can’t walk in AJ GREEN’s shadow…Green is by far the better player in all facets as a receiver, and the dirty birds let him get away from right under their doorstep.

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August 17th, 2012
12:18 am

Falcons offense will game plan for the next two preseason games. The preseason is about playing and getting use to competition. Remember it is only practice. Reserves played better. The 5 receiver spot is wide open. Defensive front put some good pressure onTonight. A. J Green, Julio Jones, and Calvin Johnson are going to be highlight reels. Dominique Davis is a good young QB, needs much seasoning. Good game overall. Bengals have a good team.


August 17th, 2012
12:19 am

Dom Davis!!! If only the backups could catch…..

Don’t feel any better about the offensive line, but I think the new look Offense and Defense are pretty exciting. We don’t really block the pass or the run well at all.

This is a good football team, but the little things keep them from being better. They still don’t seem good enough on the line of scrimmage yet to beat a good team in the playoffs.


August 17th, 2012
12:21 am

PMC, Hillbilly D called it… That is why so many are so consumed with schemes… They need smoke and mirrors


August 17th, 2012
12:33 am

I just feel like no one has confronted Thomas Dimitroff enough about the elephant in the room. Namely, that they didn’t sign any veteran upgrades on the offensive line.

He knows a heck of a lot more about personnel than I do, if I can see that they aren’t as good as the teams that they are losing too surely he can. Is it pride? I mean guys they have drafted aren’t getting it done, no harm done, just plug in someone who can. I can’t understand why they weren’t trying to upgrade the line in more than just Peter Konz.

Whopper Dawg

August 17th, 2012
12:37 am

“The coaching staff will likely have to figure out how to deploy their three cornerbacks.”

Damn Ledbetter, you cannot get more insightful than that. Maybe they will have to figure out the OLine too, but what the hey, just a thought.


August 17th, 2012
12:37 am

@fan No, Julio is bigger, stronger, and faster than AJ Green. He will be a force to be reckoned with.

Left Coast Dawg

August 17th, 2012
2:13 am

I’m starting a new website,
The Falcons really need to upgrade the backup QB spot!

Left Coast Dawg

August 17th, 2012
2:22 am

Ray Edwards looked rejuvenated.
Dom. Davis looked excellent, passes were crisp and on point and he made some smart plays. Need to get him some snaps with 1st or 2nd teamers to better evaluate or confirm the obvious (he is an upgrade to at least JPW).
Asante Samuel can still play but he needs to develop comraderie with the safeties when he decides to cheat and get burned.
Screen plays looked good (it’s about time), thanks Koetter.

Just a few observations.


August 17th, 2012
2:59 am

another bigtalking CB who cant backup his mouth on the field. YAWN

Mora less Petrino

August 17th, 2012
3:32 am

@REFMan: @fan No, Julio is bigger, stronger, and faster than AJ Green. He will be a force to be reckoned with.
Completely agree. The Birds got the better of the two. Green is good, but Julio is a beast!
Who cares about NFL preseason scores? Guys that cost your team points may not be around tomorrow. It’s evaluation time.


August 17th, 2012
3:47 am

“Last season, they were 0-4 before going 10-6 and earning a wild-card playoff berth”

yeeeeah, lets at least try to win one of these preseason games. They may not mean anything in terms of Ws and Ls but 0 offensive points scored in that playoff game is still attached to that 0-4 preseason. So for superstitions sake, lets just avoid going winless


August 17th, 2012
5:24 am

Dom Davis is legit. Cut all other backup QB’s immediatly

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]


August 17th, 2012
6:18 am

Grimes is making so much money under the franchise tag that people got angry and forgot how good he was. They moved Samuel side and move Grimes out? That side of the field wasn’t broken.

The Burner Turner

August 17th, 2012
6:22 am

I got -3 yards yesterday.

I got stuffed like a Big Boy Triple Decker Cheeseburger with all the trimmings.

I felt good. I got knocked back most of the time.

I didnt feel my speed good and my feet flubbed.

Time to eat.

keep it real

August 17th, 2012
6:40 am

Agree with The Burner Turner. #33 is toast. Very concerned about our running game. Turner has lost the burst that made him so good his first 2 years and O-line is not going to open holes that will allow him to build up a head of steam.


August 17th, 2012
7:15 am

who cares its preseason and we look fantastic when the real team is playing

Jimmy Crack

August 17th, 2012
7:19 am

Preseason final scores mean nothing. Sure they would like to win, but it doesn’t matter.

Yes, #22 got burned. In preseason. Save your real moaning for a real game. He’ll be solid for our defense more times than not. Still not liking the pass rush at all.

Dominique Davis is the real deal. Meet the new #3. He has more UPSIDE than both Redman and JPW combined, and if it wasn’t for Redman’s extensive (albeit incredibly mediocre) experience, Davis might be looking at the #2 spot right now.

Mr. Panic Button

August 17th, 2012
7:20 am

We will continue to lose as long as the scrubs play the majority of the games. The quality of our backups is seriously lacking in comparison to our opponents. Dimitroff needs to get better scouts or learn to select better backups. Good thing Dom Davis can scramble because he’d be running for his life behind the backups on the OL–again horrible.

On another note, Ryan looked extra sharp for the second week in a row. Turner is still running in quicksand with bricks in his shoes.

Mr. Panic Button

August 17th, 2012
7:22 am

Also preseason games are meaningless as long as the first team is able to accomplish what they want to do. As far as the backups, God help us if any starter goes down.

Saints R.E.A.M.

August 17th, 2012
7:23 am

Ha!!! Yes, Julio is bigger, faster, stronger and has a better haircut….so what? He is not a better football player than AJ Green. AJ, has much better route running, football instincts and HANDS!!!! Don’t get me wrong Julio is going to be a really good player but he won’t be better than AJ.

Mr. Panic Button

August 17th, 2012
7:28 am

Saints R…no here gives a ^$^$# about AJ Green. Only you other team’s fans and media keep making the comparison between the two since they were drafted together. Let’s see how your Saints defend Julio…that’s all that matters.

Saints R.E.A.M.

August 17th, 2012
7:29 am

Look, Assante got burned because he has ALWAYS tried to jump routes for the big play. He will jump some, intercept a few for you this year and might even take one to the house. But he will get burned on double moves against better QB’s …because they know his tendency to try to get interceptions.

It was 3rd & 15!!! Why would you gamble on an underneath route with no safety in sight??? That was just a stupid play on Assante’s part. He should have been playing so soft that they would have thrown a 10 yard completion followed by a sure tackle….time to punt!! As I said before, this dude has Ray Buchanon written all over him. Enjoy!!!

Saints R.E.A.M.

August 17th, 2012
7:36 am

Mr. Panic, I only care about AJ because they played last night. I really care about the fact that the Falcons have no-depth due to TD mortgaging so much to get Julio. I liked Julio in Alabama & I like him as a Falcon…..while I am a Saints fan I like the Falcons to be good when we beat them….I didn’t understand the move to rush and get him for so many picks. Now when I watch your porous OL & DL I wonder what you may have forfeited to have a top receiver?!? That lack of depth and talent is exciting to Saints fans as we attempt to win the NFC South this year!!!! (reminds me of the draft of Ricky Williams)

Jimmy Crack

August 17th, 2012
7:59 am

REAM, the Saints gave away EVERY draft pick in 1999 plus a 1st and 3rd in 2000 for Ricky. Not even a comparison to the Julio deal. If you want to compare the Ricky deal with another crazy trade, try the RG3 deal this year. Besides, half of the players selected by the Browns from our traded picks are either hurt or not panning out, so there is nothing for Falcon-haters to contrast there.

And your swiss cheese D has nobody to cover our WRs, so Brees better stay healthy to keep up with the scoring, and stay away from teams looking for a little pay back from previous thuggings. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it won’t happen either.


August 17th, 2012
8:05 am

Julio Jones will develope into one of the best recievers in the league. Chris Redman and John parker Wilson are terrible. Davis brings a breath of fresh air.The running game is mediocre at best I don’t see Turner with any pop yet. Maybe i’ts the offensive line’s run blocking. Jaquizz is talented, but I haven’t seen anything spectacular. The defense showed it can make plays, now we’ll see if they can sustain it over four quarters. I think this team will be Alright, what concerns me is the mental toughness down the stretch and in the playoffs.

Saints R.E.A.M.

August 17th, 2012
8:06 am

Jimmy C……uh…who would be looking for “payback from previous thuggings”? You said it yourself our “swiss cheese D” hasn’t been able to get a hand on anyone!!!! I wish they had performed a few “thuggings” on the 49ers and we would have probably won another SBowl. I’m not concerned about any sort of “revenge” because most players know that the whole bounty scandal is foolishness and just more propaganda from the NFL. Most teams had the same sort of pay for performance systems in place. Much a do about nothing.


August 17th, 2012
8:14 am

Like what I’m seeing one both sides of the ball….there was some sloppy play(s) ..but the pre season is about straightening that stuff out….

On observation during the sidelines interviews with “Goose”… The bengals were loose, laughing and seemed to be enjoying the game. The Falcons seemed awfully uptight and pressured. This was the same scenario as last year. I would like to see them relax and let it happen…..they have a lot of talent, good coaching (now) and they need to relax and let it happen


August 17th, 2012
8:14 am

Starting to get a concern Falcons can’t get past the NFL dream of just an average decent team, not a powerhouse team.


August 17th, 2012
8:21 am

Normally the better teams lose their preseason games. So I’d be a little more concerned if they were 2-0.

Delbert D.

August 17th, 2012
8:35 am

That was a teaching moment for Samuel. The coaches told him to jump the route and watch what happens.

North FLA Falcon

August 17th, 2012
8:36 am

Game balls to Clabo, J Rogers, special teams, Ryan, Jerry (despite that BS “facemask” penalty). Running game needs plenty of work. Play calling remains suspect. At one point they ran a nice screen to Turner. Then the next play … Turner, up the middle. WHY. Potential TD passes off the fingertips of Julio and Tony G. Defense got nice pressure but Abe and Edwards missed potential sacks. There were several broken tackles. We were pretty stout against the run and we swarmed to the ball. Pass coverage was decent. On the AJ Green TD I would rather have Samuel playing there than Grimes … AJ is so tall and we do not have great height in the secondary, which is a problem. In preseason game 4 I would start Red for 1 half and D Davis for 1 half … whoever is better gets the #2 backup spot. GO BIRDS.

Jimmy Crack

August 17th, 2012
8:37 am

REAM, you better be concerned…

With Drew – 10+ wins and playoff bound
Without Drew – 3 wins MAX

Much ado about a one-trick pony team.

True Falcon Fan

August 17th, 2012
8:37 am

#45 MLB look like a keeper

Also I’m liken that QB Dominique Davis, now all we need is to find the #3 QB….

Go Falcons Go MR2


August 17th, 2012
8:38 am

Maybe coach Smith should bring in Joe Biden for a boost talk.And if they loose again he can put there ass in chains.

Mountain Man

August 17th, 2012
8:54 am

Turner runs like an Egg Mcmuffin. Turner looks like an Egg Mcmuffin!

J from Sin City

August 17th, 2012
8:58 am

PMC – Don’t feel any better about the offensive line, but I think the new look Offense and Defense are pretty exciting. We don’t really block the pass or the run well at all.

This is a good football team, but the little things keep them from being better. They still don’t seem good enough on the line of scrimmage yet to beat a good team in the playoffs.

———— you took the words out of my mouth


August 17th, 2012
9:01 am

Dom Davis has shown to be the best Backup here Period!! Redman cant throw and JPW has never shown much since he left Thomas Drew Practice Field!!

[...] GAME STORY: Bengals 24, Falcons 19 [...]

mr zizzle

August 17th, 2012
9:20 am

D-Led, luv you man but, enough of putting relevance to the pre-season scores! Units and matchups are all fans should care about. The score is only relevant after the first units leave the field! Peace! GO FALCONS!

[...] GAME STORY: Bengals 24, Falcons 19 [...]

Cleveland Ave. Turk

August 17th, 2012
9:24 am

Its only preseason. We just need to stay healthy. Dosent matter if we go 4-0 or 0-4 it really dosent matter. Our focus is playoff wins. NFC Confrence Game…..