Falcons are looking for first 3-0 start since 2004

Tony Gonzalez needs three more touchdowns to reach 100. 091712 ATLANTA: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez dunks the football over the goalpost after catching a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan for a 20-0 lead over the Denver Broncos during second quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Tony Gonzalez needs three more touchdowns to reach 100. 091712 ATLANTA: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez dunks the football over the goalpost after catching a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan for a 20-0 lead over the Denver Broncos during second quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons owner Arthur Blank should not start printing playoff tickets after the team’s 2-0 start.

Usually, a 2-0 start in the NFL is an extremely positive indicator of success. In addition to Atlanta and San Diego, who play at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium, Houston, Philadelphia, Arizona and San Francisco are 2-0.

The Falcons have not opened a season 3-0 since 2004, when they started 4-0 on their way to a 11-5 season.

Four of the past six Super Bowl winners started the season 2-0. All six of the most recent Super Bowl runner-ups started the season off 2-0, including New England last season.

However, the Falcons have been 2-0 eight times, and only two of those teams made the playoffs — in 1998 (Super Bowl team) and 2004 (NFC title-game team).

In 2009, the last time the Falcons were 2-0, injuries to quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner derailed their playoff bid.

There was the collapse of 1986 by then-coach Dan Henning’s team. The Falcons were 4-0 but won only three of their last 12 on their way to a 7-8-1 mark.

Jim Mora’s 2004 team was 4-0 on its way to an 11-5 mark that included a loss to the Eagles in the NFC championship game.

The Falcons will take their wins over the Chiefs and Broncos, but know there’s plenty more work left in the 2012 season.

“It’s a much better situation, but it’s a long season,” center Todd McClure said. “We still have 14 games left. When you look over the history of the NFL, a lot happens during an NFL season. It may start off one way, a team might look good at the beginning or may look bad at the beginning, but they turn it around. It’s all about staying consistent and being consistent for the long haul.”

McClure, who’s in his 14th season in the league, has seen his share of 2-0 starts.

“One year we went 6-2 and then we went 2-6,” McClure said of the 2005 season.

He expects the current team, which is coming off the franchise’s first back-to-back playoff appearances, to handle the relative prosperity.

“With the makeup of this team, I think we’ve got all of the right guys,” McClure said. “If we can stay healthy, we’ve got all of the pieces, and this coaching staff is going to stay on top of us. It should be a fun year.”

Linebacker Mike Peterson, who’s also in his 14th season, was a part of 2-0 starts in Jacksonville (2004 and 2006) and Indianapolis (2001).

“It’s just kind of early in the season, where you just want to take it one game at a time,” Peterson said. “You’ll appreciate them more later in the season than you will right now.”

The Chargers have been notorious slow starters under coach Norv Turner.

“We are all trying to get off to a good start,” Turner said. “Someone mentioned it was the first time since 2006, and you kind of go back in your mind and think about going Week 2 to New England two times over the last five years and some of the ‘Monday Night Football’ games we’ve played on the road.”

The Chargers didn’t have to travel far for their two wins this season. They won at Oakland and at home over second-year quarterback Jake Locker and the Tennessee Titans.

“We were able to get off to a good start, but obviously this game is quite a challenge, quite a test for us,” Turner said. “This Atlanta team is awfully good.”

Like the Falcons, the Chargers are not putting too much stock in their 2-0 record.

“We know it’s a week-to-week league, and you’ve got to be able to put them on top of one another,” San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers said. “It’s going to be a tough challenge against Atlanta this week. Getting to see them on “Monday Night Football,” it was an impressive team to watch. And now, preparing for them, it’s going to be a challenge.”

Both teams have won with their passing attacks. The Falcons hope that Michael Turner, who was charged with driving under the influence Tuesday, can get the rushing attack moving.

San Diego is banking on the return of running back Ryan Mathews to help balance their offense.

“It’s just a good start as far as I’m concerned,” Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “That’s the mindset of this team. We’ve got a long season.”

Gonzalez was on two 2-0 teams in Kansas City (2003 and 2005) before joining the Falcons in 2008.

“I’ve been on teams where we start out great and then end up, and you don’t even make the playoffs,” Gonzalez said. “There is no way that we can allow ourselves to even think that we’ve arrived, or anything like that.

“It’s just a good start. It’s what we wanted to do. It’s what our goal was. We just have to keep building on this.”

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46 comments Add your comment

Eric C.

September 23rd, 2012
5:29 am

I’m seeing 2-1 after this game. This is a real tough road game with long travel on a short week, and SD is due for a win vs Falcons. A loss here and then a win over the Raiders later this season will give the Falcons a 3-1 record vs the AFC West…will take it.

falCANS

September 23rd, 2012
7:06 am

3-0 Baby!!!! Lets go birds. Expect big games from Roddy & Julio as charges Defense plays man on da outside and bracket the middle and underneath routes

SeenThisBFalcon

September 23rd, 2012
7:15 am

The AFC WEST GETS THE BROOM AND GETS SWEPT…FALCONS WIN BIG TODAY…31-20…NOT ENOUGH WEAPONS FOR THE CHARGERS OFFENSE AND OUR DEFENSE WILL GET AFTER PHILIP RIVERS….

SeenThisBFalcon

September 23rd, 2012
7:18 am

This is MATT RYAN YEARS……FALCONS AND 49ER’S WILL MEET IN THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE GA DOME……WE WILL RISE UP AND GO TO NEW ORLEANS FOR THE SUPERBOWL IN OVERTIME 23-17.

Esquire

September 23rd, 2012
7:27 am

5-6-7-8
Everywhere we goooO,
Everywhere we goooO,
People wanna knooOw,
People wanna knooOw,
Who we aaa are,
Who we aaa are,
So we tell theem, So we tell theem,
We are the FALCONS!! We are the FALCONS!!
MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS, MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS !!
OHH AHH OHH YEEAHH

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
7:30 am

Man, I guess the Hall of Fame-to-be tight end is a troll… How dare he!
Gonzalez said: “I’ve been on teams where we start out great and then end up, and you don’t even make the playoffs. There is no way that we can allow ourselves to even think that we’ve arrived, or anything like that.” Too bad his wisdom falls silent in some environs.

SeenThisBFalcon

September 23rd, 2012
7:41 am

GONZALEZ GOES OUT WITH A RING THIS YEAR!!!!

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

September 23rd, 2012
8:11 am

@JSS – the Gonzalez statement

Sounds like you’re just looking for something else to be negative about. It’s just his perspective
on the start of the season.

Esquire

September 23rd, 2012
8:27 am

Eric C.

September 23rd, 2012
5:29 am

I’m seeing 2-1 after this game. This is a real tough road game with long travel on a short week, and SD is due for a win vs Falcons. A loss here and then a win over the Raiders later this season will give the Falcons a 3-1 record vs the AFC West…will take it.
***********************************************************************
Nothing wrong with your analysis and it is a tough road game. But there is every reason to believe we can minimize those tactical points. San Diego is 15th in Passing, 23rd in Rushing. I’m sure our Defense is not shaking in their boots. They are 12th against the pass and that is what we do very well. We’ll load ‘em up with play action. I think our offense has enough diversity to put points on the board against that highly ranked defense. San Diego at 2-0, beat Tennessee whom ranks in the bottom tier in the league. They also beat Oakland who don’t exactly light up the stats charts. So they beat two 0-2 teams. And home field advantage is worth 3 points but the San Diego game is blacked out in their market because they didn’t even sell out, so much for that rousing roar. Their is every reason to believe in this edition of the Atlanta Falcons and I believe they will board that flight back to the east 3-0.

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
8:32 am

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired
September 23rd, 2012
8:11 am
Sounds like you’re just looking for something else to be negative about.
_______________________________________________________________
“Perspective” indeed, but only “Snarky Central” would try to tie it to being “negative!” Nothing “negative” in making an observation… So who is looking to be negative?

Esquire

September 23rd, 2012
9:11 am

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

September 23rd, 2012
8:11 am

@JSS – the Gonzalez statement

Sounds like you’re just looking for something else to be negative about. It’s just his perspective
on the start of the season.

_________________________________________
He was talking about KC

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
9:27 am

Esquire
September 23rd, 2012
9:11 am
“He was talking about KC”
_________________________________________________________________________
“He” was talking about football period, a good start promises nothing other than a good start…

Answer this

September 23rd, 2012
9:36 am

Sad little man JSS
Way not to rest or take anything for granted Tony! Stay hungry baby! Lets get this W today so all the naysayers can come on and say we won only because ____________( fill in the blank). Lets go birds!

Answer this

September 23rd, 2012
9:39 am

In my humble opinion sounds like Tony us being a seasoned veteran and not letting his team relax on its early success! That is what a hungry vet does and it is passed throughout the locker room! Stay hungry!

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

Answer this

September 23rd, 2012
9:42 am

By the way
Esquire i love your FANDOM! Stay that way man! Fans like you keep the Nation strong! I am with you on the 3 and 0! Lets go birds!

Esquire

September 23rd, 2012
9:49 am

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
9:27 am

Esquire
September 23rd, 2012
9:11 am
“He was talking about KC”
_________________________________________________________________________
“He” was talking about football period, a good start promises nothing other than a good start…

********************************************************************

See, I was right. He was talking about football.

Esquire

September 23rd, 2012
9:58 am

Lol, stay hungry…..made me think of back when I used to feed the Falcons before home games on Sunday mornings! Man, you talk about a mountain of food and a carb load up. One morning this imposing huge man fills the doorway to the kitchen holding his plate with a steak on it and says to me “it’s not done”. I replied, “Yes Sir Mr. Humphrey, let me burn that for ya a little!”

Answer this

September 23rd, 2012
10:07 am

I would guess Claude got it quickly! Lol! Great story!

Esquire

September 23rd, 2012
10:10 am

Answer this

September 23rd, 2012
10:07 am

I would guess Claude got it quickly! Lol! Great story!
*********************************************

As quick as I could get it to his liking………………lol, the guy was a walking mountain.

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

Cleveland Ave. Turk

September 23rd, 2012
10:22 am

Shot out to Tim Dwight and Patrick Kerney……………

Cleveland Ave. Turk

September 23rd, 2012
10:23 am

Sam Baker has been a plesant surprise. Big ups entire O-line!!!!

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
10:30 am

I see the Wi-Fi is working at Exit 241 Krystal…

Esquire

September 23rd, 2012
10:54 am

reprinted without permission:
The Quarterback Sack was not recognized as an official NFL statistic until 1982. Had it been, Claude Humphrey would have had 122 sacks on his stat sheet. He was a constant sack artist who excelled at the pass rush throughout his career. He played in six Pro Bowl’s.”

Just for comparison Reggie White (the #1 all time sack leader) had 198 sacks during his 15 year (16 games per season) career. Claude Humphrey had 122 sacks during his 13 year (14 games per season) career.

John Abraham is ranked 15th on the all time sack leader list with 113 career sacks. Abraham is in his 13th season but has only played all 16 games in 6 seasons.

Esquire

September 23rd, 2012
11:01 am

@JSS

September 23rd, 2012
10:30 am

I see the Wi-Fi is working at Exit 241 Krystal…

******************************************************
So the connection is good ay? Hey, you can get you 2 for $2 Krystal Sunriser’s, scarf ‘em down Junior!

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
11:32 am

Sorry for “Esquire” it won’t be me eating the Southern knock off of Egg McMuffin… Ask your “junior” on Cleveland Avenue… That is unless he’s cruising…

Answer this

September 23rd, 2012
11:34 am

I know many of us have asked questions about where is Akeem Dent on the defense with only one tackle in two games. Just learned that he has only played about 20% of the snaps because the D has been in a Nickel for the first two games. Maybe we see more of him today as I have heard we will be in more of a base defense today…..lets see!

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
12:15 pm

It is one game at a time everyone………….all the good teams play it one at a time and don’t worry about what is too far out ahead until that Sunday gets here……………In reality, there is not but a handful of teams that can beat the Falcons but it is those teams you should beat that you have to be looking out for…….I can see this team going 14 – 2 this year, but will they do it ? Don’t know, but we will see………………………………..

To the Caint Fans……………………you better get on em and hit em hard today cause if you let the little chiefs beat ya…………….and you come on here the Falcon Faithful are going to rag you out and laugh you right outta here ! ! !…………………and by the way…………..I can’t help but laugh at you Caint fans already this year ! ! ! ! ! !…………………………………………

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
12:20 pm

Dwarf House Jay Glazer has spoken, rack him… I wanted to give him something in his lexicon…

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
12:23 pm

lmao…………….JSS

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
12:26 pm

Enjoy the game Michael

Answer this

September 23rd, 2012
12:42 pm

Just heard the crew from Fox Sports give the Falcon D a new name……..The Angry Birds! I like!!!!!

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
12:47 pm

well….what do ya know….they actually had a piece on em on Fox Sunday……………..that says volumes about the improvement huh…………………lets hope the Birds win big out West today and make this a statement game and people might take notice………………………………

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
12:58 pm

Y’all will be crying about national media all day not talking about “your” team… Oops, never mind…

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
1:09 pm

Caints look darn good in that openin drive against another 0 – 2 team…………….lol

rushing attack

September 23rd, 2012
1:09 pm

the burner should be well rested.

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
1:13 pm

little cheifs moving the ball downfield on that sorry Caints defense………………………………………………

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
1:19 pm

darn, ball a little too high…………………where was Lofton at during the little chiefs drive ?????????

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
1:39 pm

the mighty Caints sitting out in front now 10 – 3 , …………..will it hold ?? ha ! ha ! …………………

[...] last thing: If you missed it, the barrister, D. Orlando Ledbetter, broke down the Falcons’ previous 2-0 starts. In a statistical anomaly, they have made the playoffs only two of the previous seven times [...]

Just Sayin.....

September 23rd, 2012
2:29 pm

The qb in 2004 was also the last to win in the playoffs.

Just sayin…..

The Real Falcon

September 23rd, 2012
4:57 pm

Where them Who dats?
0-3 baby!!!

Thomas DeCoud : The Latest Fuzz

September 23rd, 2012
6:22 pm

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

Aaron

September 23rd, 2012
10:14 pm

This season is the beginning of the ‘Aints downfall, while it’s the beginning of the Falcons’ rise to power again in the NFC south!!

[...] Falcons are looking for first 3-0 start since 2004 Tony Gonzalez needs three more touchdowns to reach 100. 091712 ATLANTA: Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez dunks the football over the goalpost after catching a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan for a 20-0 lead over the Denver Broncos during … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]