Tony Gonzalez enjoyed his return to Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez celebrated his emotional return to the city where he started his NFL career with an emphatic touchdown, dunk celebration and a victory.

He was acknowledged by the crowd during introductions.

“When they came out and said the Lamar Hunt family wants to welcome you back and the fans made all of the noise, that was just an unbelievable feeling,” Gonzalez said. “It was good to be back.”

Gonzalez caught the early bus over to the stadium from the Falcons’ hotel. There were several people, from stadium workers to the Hunt family, that he wanted to greet.

He even made time to swing by his old condo and take some pictures.

“It’s just been a good homecoming for me,” Gonzalez said. “It was great to see all of the fans out there. I saw all of the signs out there and I just want to tell the fans that I love you very much. I thanked them for making this day very special.”

Gonzalez was elated to score on a seven-yard touchdown that put the Falcons up 34-17 in the third quarter.

“It was great,” Gonzalez said. “[Chiefs linebacker] Derrick Johnson, I’ve gone against him a bunch in practice. He had me pretty well [covered], but Matt threw the ball perfectly and I was able to get in there.”

Even his teammates were moved by the tributes.

“It was awesome,” tight end Michael Palmer said. “I got chill bumps when he got that standing ovation coming out of the tunnel. It was really cool and to get to see him dunk the ball after he scored the touchdown.”

But the KC fans did realize he was playing for the other team now. The fans turned on Gonzalez when he caught his first pass in Arrowhead Stadium as a Falcon and showered him with more boos when he dunked the football over the goal post after scoring a touchdown in the 40-24 thrashing on Sunday.

New return men

Jacquizz Rodgers, the team’s new kickoff returner, broke loose for a 77-yard return.

The kickoff return by Rodgers was the longest for the Falcons since Eric Weems returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown against Tampa Bay on Dec. 5, 2010.

“The guys up front did a good job of blocking,” Rodgers said. “It was easy for me to just find a hole and take off. Next time, I just have to finish it off with a touchdown.”

Cornerback Dominique Franks called a fair catch on his only punt return attempt.

Jones makes a splash

Julio Jones led the Falcons in receiving yards with 108 on six catches and two touchdowns.

“That’s how we practice; uptempo,” said Jones, talking about their style of play. “I was just trying to catch everything. Everybody stepped up today and caught everything.”

Jones got off to a fast start with three catches on the opening drive.

“If you are going to single me, we just try to take the matchups,” Jones said. “You can’t double all three of us. They started out doubling Tony and Roddy [White], so I had the one-on-one. I had to step up and make plays.”

Under pressure

The Falcons finished with three sacks and four quarterback hits on Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel.

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, defensive end John Abraham and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux each had a sack.

“We started the game out kind of slow,” Babineaux said. “I think they had the upper hand on us throughout the first half. We came in and made some adjustments at halftime. We came out and started playing Falcons football. We started getting turnovers and rallying to the ball. Once we started doing that, the momentum changed and we kept the pressure on them.”

Samuel’s critique

Cornerback Asante Samuel started on the left side and Brent Grimes was moved to the right side.

Samuel, acquired in an offseason trade with Philadelphia, finished with three tackles and one pass broken up.

He was generally pleased with his first game with the Falcons.

“Today went pretty good,” Samuel said. “It was not perfect. It was all right. We just have to get better and correct our mistakes.”

Rushing attack

Michael Turner was held to 32 yards on 11 carries (2.9 yard per carry). The Falcons rushed for 84 yards on 23 carries (3.7 per carry).

Turner and Ryan had the rushing long of the game as both had an 11-yard rush.


The 40 points the Falcons scored were the most points scored in a season opener since Sept. 9 1990, when the Falcons beat the Houston Oilers 47-27 at Fulton County Stadium. … The win over the Chiefs marked the franchise’s 300th victory. …The offense had four drives of 70-yards or more with three ending with touchdowns. … Ryan has thrown at least one touchdown in 16 straight regular season games dating back to 2011.

15 comments Add your comment


September 9th, 2012
9:12 pm

william cranman

September 9th, 2012
9:14 pm

Great start! Just clean up the defensive issues we had in the first half and this could be something special.


September 9th, 2012
9:18 pm

Tip Toe Turner did not look so hot today, and i will say it again, Dunta Robinson not worth a crap !

Michael M.

September 9th, 2012
9:38 pm

Atlanta looked pretty good out there today ………………. but I still think they are knocking off the rust……………..give em a few more games out there and then we will see just how much this football team has improved………………………………….

D-led……………….your 8:57 blog you posted is showing the words on top of the comment section or in other words when it loads, it has the paragraphs on top of paragraphs, do you know what is wrong with it there ?

Clown called jss

September 9th, 2012
10:34 pm

Nice game birds!


September 9th, 2012
11:46 pm

Rising up one game at a time can’t wait till monday night


September 10th, 2012
4:51 am

great game to watch.. i still think jacquizz should get more hand offs then turner. .. the D needs to step it up next week against denver… looking forward to MNF!


September 10th, 2012
8:32 am

It appears that we have a pass first offense now. I love the WR screen. We ran that several times with good results.

BIG test next Monday night

D man

September 10th, 2012
9:18 am

Nice to see Tony get his due respect from the Chief fans. He will go to the HOF as a chief so he deserves the hometown love. Great day Tony. I understand how the Chief fans felt because when Mr. Neon Sanders came back with Dallas it was much the same for him.


September 10th, 2012
10:29 am







September 10th, 2012
10:34 am

I just have to say wow. Way too rise Big Birds, but what was that dirty bird dance Julio was doing?lol

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution Click here for full article [...]


September 10th, 2012
1:14 pm

Good game, but something is wrong when Matt Ryan has the longest run (11 yards) … Turner Burner whodat @32 yards total on 11 carries.

Jaquizz should have had touchdown on return of 77yards…where was the speed? Douglas or Jones on that run would have been lights out in the end zone.

Defense…project continues…major concern!

Passing game outstanding!

Efficiency spectacular….8 for 8 scoring drives!

Punting game….PRICELESS!

Charles (Chiefs fan)

September 11th, 2012
12:39 pm

It was a good game. I was really impressed with how the chiefs played. Second half we lost our focus. But Jamaal Charles gave yall a good dose of what he can do! Love Tony GGonzalez he will definitely retire a chief!

[...] was the Matt Ryan Show on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, with TE Tony Gonzalez’s return to his old stomping grounds in KC. He threw a yard shy of 300, 3 TDs, and added a touchdown on the ground. WR Julio Jones, who looks [...]