Archive for September, 2012

Notebook: Offensive line struggled until the very end

Atlanta Falcons defenders Ray Edwards (clockwise from upper left), William Moore, Akeem Dent and Stephen Nicholas gang tackle Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert during second half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Atlanta Falcons defenders Ray Edwards (clockwise from upper left), William Moore, Akeem Dent and Stephen Nicholas gang tackle Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert during second half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

The Falcons’ offensive line had a long day against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

The unit, which had played well in the previous three games, was shredded for seven sacks and allowed quarterback Matt Ryan to be hit 12 times.

But with the game on the line and the Falcons backed up, the unit held long enough to let Ryan launch a 59-yard pass from the back of the end zone.

“We didn’t play our best ball today, but that just goes to show you that we always have a chance,” center Todd McClure said. “If we’ve got the ball and are within a score, we always have a shot. We found a way to win.”

Ryan made a plea for the line to dig in on that long throw. He knew he had to cover a lot of …

Continue reading Notebook: Offensive line struggled until the very end »

Atlanta Falcons: Turner flashes his pass-catching ability

Falcons running back Michael Turner breaks free for a first down past Carolina Panthers James Anderson, right, and Captain Munnerlyn during the first half at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012

Falcons running back Michael Turner breaks free for a first down past Carolina Panthers James Anderson, right, and Captain Munnerlyn during the first half at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012

With the offense needing a jumpstart and something to slow down Carolina’s pass rush, Falcons running back Michael Turner stepped forward.

He rushed for more than 100 yards for the first time this season and caught the first touchdown pass of his career to help the Falcons defeat the Panthers 30-28 on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

To go with some new wave, pass-catching Turner, he mixed in some of his vintage work on a 17-yard run where he ran through about five tackles.

“I just kept my legs alive,” Turner said. “They were tackling up high. Nobody was really hitting my legs, so I just kept it alive and kept churning.”

In order to slow down Carolina’s pass rush, the Falcons turned to screen passes.

Turner, not known for his pass catching ability, took one of …

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Roddy White and Julio Jones better duo than Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks?

The Falcons segment on NFL Network’s Gameday featured an outspoken wide receiver with a proven track record of leading his team to greatness.

Roddy White was part of it, too.

Michael Irvin, Hall of Fame playmaker, visited Flowery Branch last week and interviewed White and teammate Julio Jones. Irvin asked White if Atlanta’s duo is better than Cowboys wide receiver tandem Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.

“You serious?” White said, an appropriate response to that question.

Are they better than the Giants’ pair, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz?

“We are a better group than them,” White said, a less obvious answer to that question. “I’m not taking shots at people. Victor Cruz is a lot more of a slot receiver. The big boys play on the outside.”

Not sure where Cruz lined up when he shredded the 49ers in the NFC championship game last year. At least White didn’t mention Nicks, who dominated the Falcons in the playoffs last year while White was part of that infamous …

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Falcons need late-heroics to down Panthers 30-28

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and tight end Tony Gonzalez celebrate a 30-28 victory over the Carolina Panthers to remain undefeated at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and tight end Tony Gonzalez celebrate a 30-28 victory over the Carolina Panthers to remain undefeated at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday , Sept. 30, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

 

After pulling off his latest stunt of late-game magic, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was more than a little stoked.

Ryan’s unlikely 59-yard pass to Roddy White in the closing seconds helped set up a game-winning field goal as the Falcons pulled out a scintillating 30-28 victory over Carolina Sunday. The team improved to 4-0 for just the third time in franchise history and the first time since 2004.

That was quite enough excitement for the usually placid Ryan, who was seen yelling in the general direction of the Panthers “to get the [expletive] off my field” as he made his way off the Georgia Dome turf.

Simmered down later, he admitted, “It was just the heat of the battle.”

Right. But it was that kind of unforgettable day, reminiscent of a win …

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PRE-GAME CHAT: Beason is active for Panthers

Pastor Troy holding his championship belt and posing with a couple of Falcons cheerleaders before the Monday Night game against Denver. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

Pastor Troy holding his championship belt and posing with a couple of Falcons cheerleaders before the Monday Night game against Denver. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)

It’s kind of quiet inside the Georgia Dome right now.

Backup quarterback Luke McCown is working on his dropbacks.

Wide receiver Harry Douglas is getting loose with some light jogging.

The action will pick up over the next two hours, but if you have any pre-game questions send them along.

Around kickoff, I’ll toss the option-pitch out to Mark Bradley, who’ll handle today’s in-game chat.

HERE ARE THE OFFICIAL INACTIVES:

Quarterback Dominique Davis, running back Antone Smith, cornerback Christopher Owens, tight end Michael Palmer, fullback Lousaka Polite, tackle Lamar Holmes and defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi.

Jason Snelling will play fullback for the Falcons.

Panthers inactives: QB Jimmy Clausen, WR Joe Adams, S D.J. Campbell, T Bruce Campbell, G Mike Pollak, DE Antwan Applewhite and DT Frank …

Continue reading PRE-GAME CHAT: Beason is active for Panthers »

Playboy Fantasy Football Advice: Week 4

Should fantasy football owners start Steven Ridley or Ryan Williams? What about Jets RB Shonn Greene? CineSport’s Noah Coslov gets the Week 4 scoop from Playboy Playmate Pilar Lastra.
This video features Playboy Playmate Pilar Lastra who is a Sirius/XM co-host for Playboy Fantasy Football on Thursday nights. We’ve been doing chats with her for the past 2 seasons, but due to scheduling issues, got off to a late start this year. She does give legitimate Fantasy Football advice and is Hot!

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Falcons fantasy injury report: Beason listed as questionable

Carolina linebacker Jon Beason returned to practice on Friday. He was limited and listed as questionable on the team's official injury report. (Associated Press)

Carolina linebacker Jon Beason returned to practice on Friday. He was limited and listed as questionable on the team's official injury report. (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons fullback Lousaka Polite, running back Antone Smith and cornerback Christopher Owens were declared out of Sunday’s game against Carolina on Friday’s official injury report.

Falcons coach Mike Smith delcared tight end Michael Palmer out earlier in the week.

With Polite and Smith out, the Falcons are thin at running back and could bring up recently signed  Josh Vaughan from the practice squad.

Linebacker Mike Peterson (ribs) was limited in practice and was listed as questionable. 

Right tackle Tyson Clabo (hip), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (groin), wide receiver Julio Jones (hand) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (thigh) fully participated in practice and were listed as probable for the game.

For the Panthers, guard Mike Pollak (shoulder) was declared out of Sunday’s …

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Panthers vs. Falcons: Playmaker interviews Roddy, Julio

FLOWERY BRANCH — NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin sat down for an interview with Falcons wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones on Wednesday. It will air this Sunday on NFL Network’s NFL GameDay Morning at 9:00 AM ET.

Here is a transcript of a preview that aired during Thursday night’s halftime show:

On who the better duo of wide receivers are: Roddy White and Julio Jones, or Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz:

Roddy White: “Victor Cruz is a lot more of a slot receiver; the big boys play on the outside.”

On Roddy White and Julio Jones:

White: “The thing that me and [Julio Jones] bring to the game, we’re probably the best duo in the league right now.”

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

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GAME DAY CENTRAL: Panthers vs. Falcons, 1 p.m. Sunday

QB corner: Matt Ryan discusses the Panthers

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s 114 passer rating is the best in the NFL.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passes against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan passes against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game in San Diego Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

“It’s early, but it’s a good start,” said Ryan, who has a 46-19 record. “We need to continue to take care of our business. Prepare ourselves week-in and week-out and keep trying to play good football.”

Ryan has the Falcons off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2004.

“I think that comes down to playing winning football,” Ryan said. “The statistics, all those kind of things, if we play well, and I feel like, if I play well, we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win. Ultimately, at the end of the day, that’s what I’m most proud of.”

Here’s a brief Q&A involving Ryan and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando …

Continue reading GAME DAY CENTRAL: Panthers vs. Falcons, 1 p.m. Sunday »

Panthers vs. Falcons: Cam Newton’s on the hot seat

Falcons head coach Mike Smith and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton greet each other at mid-field during pregame warmups last season. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons head coach Mike Smith and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton greet each other at mid-field during pregame warmups last season. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH — Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had a spectacular rookie season, but is off to a bumpy start in his second season.

Wide receiver Steve Smith didn’t think Newton’s late-game sulking was befitting a leader and ordered him to get off the bench, where he was alone and under a towel, and stand on the sidelines with the rest of the quarterbacks.

The Panthers hope to bounce back from the chaotic exchange that Smith made public a day after the Giants game.

“It was a thing Steve and Cam had to make up with each other,” linebacker Thomas Davis said. “We’ve done a good job in house of keeping everything grounded and making sure that everybody is on the same page.”

Panthers coach Ron Rivera also believes that things have been worked out.

“Steve is one of our team captains, one of our veteran …

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