Atlanta Falcons: Fox NFL crew stumbles while second-guessing

Not many things chafe coaches more than fans who see a play that doesn’t work and then howl about the play-calling.

More irritating is when such after-the-fact criticism comes from people who should know better. Fox play-by-play man Sam Rosen and color guy John Lynch showed why Sunday during the Falcons-Redskins telecast.

They piled on with bar-stool takes after Jacquizz Rogers carried for a short gain on third-and-three at Washington’s 45 with Atlanta trailing 10-7 in the third quarter.

“Now that’s a strange call,” Rosen said, using announcer-speak for “bad” even though running the ball when in need of three yards is not unreasonable and Atlanta’s passing game had been spotty.

“And [the Falcons] are behind,” Lynch chimed in, even though a field-goal deficit with three minutes left in the third quarter is no time for desperation . “I don’t like the call. It’s easy to say after they don’t convert.”

It wasn’t so easy for Lynch to say once the Falcons began to wear out the Redskins by running the ball. It was so difficult, in fact, that Lynch later praised Atlanta’s running game while pretending he hadn’t earlier slammed the Falcons for running the ball in a short-yardage situation.

“The Falcons are saying, ‘OK if you are going to double our wide receivers, we are going to run on you,’” Lynch said.

The misfires for Lynch went beyond second-guessing play calls. He also called on Redskins coach Mike Shanahan to “take the gloves off” in regards to quarterback Robert Griffin III.

“You have got to let this young guy go because he is dynamic when they do,” Lynch said.

Lynch thought Shanahan was trying to help Griffin stay comfortable. Actually, after Griffin absorbed big hits in previous weeks, Shanahan was trying to keep his franchise quarterback in one piece.

Consider what happened when Shanahan took the gloves off and put Griffin in a shotgun spread formation on third-and-goal. Griffin promptly took off running from pressure and Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon knocked him out of the game with a concussion.

Memo to Lynch: Griffin can’t be dynamic when he’s on the injured list.

Short takes

  • Fox cameras showed Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones in an animated conversation with wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie in the second quarter and then Jones was the target on Atlanta’s next two plays. Maybe it was a coincidence, or perhaps Jones should have those talks more often considering his 10 catches for 94 yards and a touchdown.
  • After Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan scrambled for a first down there was a brief, beautiful moment when it looked as if Lynch wouldn’t go for the easy joke. Alas, he couldn’t resist. “His feet won’t ever be confused with that of Robert Griffin III but it’s effective,” Lynch said, and Rosen’s goofy laugh only made it worse.
  • Fox broke into the game to show clips of Eagles quarterback Michel Vick losing a pair of fumbles. Falcons fans barely had time to feel smug about it because, as soon as Fox came back to the Falcons game, Ryan fumbled away a snap.
  • Fox studio analyst Jimmy Johnson on Ryan’s 32 pass attempts at halftime: “One thing you do if you open it up you have a chance to score a bunch more points but you also are going to have more turnovers.” Great point as long as you ignore the fact that Atlanta’s two turnovers happened on a screen pass and the botched snap.

82 comments Add your comment


October 7th, 2012
8:27 pm

ATLANTA FALCONS 5-0!!! Now that’s how you RISE UP!!!

Ryan's Dad

October 7th, 2012
8:41 pm

I didn’t think the announcing was too bad. At least Lynch admitted he was second guessing after the play. I can’t believe I am defending John Lynch. He was a member of the Buccaneers during a game when they were killing the Falcons and making throat slashing gestures. I still cheer against Tampa Bay because of Lynch and his croanies.


October 7th, 2012
8:50 pm

No problem at all with the announcing. Seems like you might have an angle you are playing here DOL. Don’t care really. I’ll still be a fan of the Falcons whenever you move on from here and start covering some other team or working for some network. Not concerned in the least with the announcing when the Falcons just went to 5-0 for the first time in team history! It’s great to be 5-0!

Fan since 91! Calibrate your radar DOL! It’s not the commentating that anyone cares about it’s the team.


October 7th, 2012
9:01 pm

Great info D led Spot on with the comments by Lynch and that other Dork.

Great Falconi

October 7th, 2012
9:04 pm

John Lynch generally stinks as an analyst, but there aren’t many NFL analysts who are any good anyway. After all, nearly all of them are players who’ve had their heads bashed in for years and are lucky they can put two words together without blacking out.

Great Falconi

October 7th, 2012
9:04 pm

And Michael Cunningham wrote this. He used to be the Hawks’ beat writer. He’s pretty good.

Falcon James

October 7th, 2012
9:05 pm

This Falcon team is the best in franchise history. I got sick of the network announcers dissing the Falcon weeks ago. Glad to see someone else picked up on it. Now I just turn the volume down on Fox and turn it up with Archer on the radio. Much more enjoyable and these guys don’t diss the team.

Falcon James

October 7th, 2012
9:06 pm

By the way, what is the Saint record? I lost track


October 7th, 2012
9:09 pm

just win Baby 5-0! Much more work to do tho dont get complacent. Did anyone see weatherspoon getting dwn on the sideline lol gotta have fun wen u makin a lil history


October 7th, 2012
10:04 pm

If I get what you are saying, its no big deal let them say what they wish. I think I have to work on reading comprehension because D-LED I was having trouble tracking the point you were trying to make or I was looking for something that wasnt there.


October 7th, 2012
10:21 pm

They are only talking heads always trying to find something the Falcons coulda,woulda,shoulda done. I don’t remember seeing that column, the only two columns I’m concerned with are the W and L. Last I saw we had 5 W’s and 0 L’s, and that’s all that matters.GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!! RISE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


October 7th, 2012
10:21 pm

Okay, let’s just be honest, nobody like’s to see Atlanta win. Last week after Atlanta beat Carolina, Chis Berman said, “Atlanta got lucky.” It’s not right, but that’s how they Atlanta, as a team that doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. Go figure on why, but that’s the way it is.


October 7th, 2012
10:33 pm

What would be nice is if we could find our what Julio Jones & Terry Robiske were arguing about. DLED (reporter?)- that’s what you need to be digging into instead of taking shots at your media cohorts…
Also, I have not heard a anything regarding Dunta Robinson’s play, probably his best day as a Falcon. Not just pass coverage, but he was also strong on run support. I have not been a fan of his, but he really did show me something today.

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


October 7th, 2012
11:13 pm

While I’m a devout Falcons fan and am happy that they won and are 5-0, I can’t help but think of some of the dropped passes by Julio. I think he’s a wonderful addition but wonder if he’s been dropping passes because of the recent hand injury or because of the coaching behind the scenes since Roddy White used to have a lot of dropped passes (had the most last year). Is this something that needs to be fixed up at Flowery Branch or what?


October 7th, 2012
11:32 pm

He’s right!! One minute he says let RG3 run, because the Redskins are more dynamic when he does, then as soon as he’ s hurt, Lynch is like” that’s what you get with running quarterbacks. That’s not cool at all!!

keeping it real

October 7th, 2012
11:48 pm

Lynch has been awful the last 2 weeks. Please CBS let us have Brian Billick. We deserve him.

keeping it real

October 7th, 2012
11:50 pm

Sorry, please Fox let us have Billick.


October 8th, 2012
12:02 am

Julio’s tendency to drop catchable passes is turning intoa weekly habit. This guy can make amazing catches/big plays but his drops are beginning to overshadow his good statistical performances. I want him to develop into true WR sooner rather than later, but it may take a while for his hands to catch up with his elite height and physical ability. Maybe he should work with Joe Horn too.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 8th, 2012
12:04 am

Mike C is on point here. –dol


October 8th, 2012
12:25 am

No doubt D led better than the refs in the taints “game”

CONservative Johnson

October 8th, 2012
12:49 am

I agree with you 100% DOL. I thought the announcers definitely had a bad game; and hopefully we are done with John Lynch (at least we didn’t have to suffer through Chris Myers).

The play you mentioned where they ran the ball in short yardage stood out to me also; as I was saying right before the play that it was the call I’d make. It looked like an obvious call based on how their D was lined up. The offensive line just didn’t execute their blocks.

iron head

October 8th, 2012
1:16 am

Seenthisb4 were are you.


October 8th, 2012
5:57 am

@ Falconi You are right on it.I’ll be glad when the real announcers come back these replacement announcers are terrible!

I usually just read but...

October 8th, 2012
8:11 am

I’ve been a Falcon fan for a long time and, win or lose, they’ve always had my support. Starting a season like this is a reward that makes it all worthwhile. I can’t wait for the Cowboy beat dowm coming up. So many Cowboy fans in Ga. Why in Hell don’t they move?
One other thing,
Taint fans seem to be very fickle. But maybe it’s just hard to talk smack with a mouth full of crow. Bless their hearts, they thought they were a real NFL team.

Who's calling the plays?

October 8th, 2012
8:37 am

I thought you were going mention second guessing throwing multiple times to Joe Hawley? Maybe that does deserve to be scrutinized.


October 8th, 2012
8:38 am

I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who caught those obvious one-sided and half-witted remarks of the commentators yesterday. I’ve given up on gaining the support of the rest of the football community and am looking forward to taking it by force. We may have a few chinks in our armor, but we’re a young team with a solid foundation. The next 3-5 years will be very successful for us! RISE UP!!!

Local Broadcast

October 8th, 2012
8:44 am

@Falcon James, you’re right, I’ve been doing that for years, I can’t tell you who most announcers are because I turn the volume on the TV down and listen to a Falcon bias radio broadcast….It makes for a much better experience

Turtle Man

October 8th, 2012
8:45 am

The television people have no clue what goes on during the game. That 3rd and 3 play Cunningham is referring to was an audible by Matt Ryan not a play called by Koetter. Ryan thought he saw something in the defense and decided to change the play, which happens all the time. For a guy that played the game as Lynch did, you’d think he has a bit more sense about what goes on during games, but then again, it was an offensive play that he doesn’t know a damn thing about.

At one point, it was 2nd and 17 for the Redskins and they completed a 10-yard pass and Rosen called it a “1st down”, then they showed a Fox College Football graphic and he came back and said “3rd and 7″ without recanting the previous ignorant statement. They need to get these Shalom-ers out of the booth.


October 8th, 2012
8:46 am

People, do you still remember that John LYNCH was:
1. A good safety with the Bucs and back then the rivalry was more between Falcons – Bucs than Saints
2. When he was playing with the Bronco’s, did you still remember that he got leveled by Finneran during one special team play

I bet you that he still have a sour taste in his minds about the Falcons. So, it is only natural to hear that type of comments.

[...] Atlanta Falcons This entry was posted in Atlanta Falcons and tagged Atlanta, crew, Falcons, secondguessing, stumbles. Bookmark the permalink. ← Cleveland Browns start fast, but then are overwhelmed by New York Giants, 41-27 [...]


October 8th, 2012
9:03 am

To run that play on 3rd and 3 was a pretty odd call. It’s a pretty low percentage play. To the defenses credit, they are really playing better most of the time during this season and they got the ball back in about the same spot.

Calling a game is harder than most people think (just like writing columns) I forgive some missteps as long as you’re not Tim McCarver.

Section 322

October 8th, 2012
9:03 am

Great Job D-Led…I guess you really are paying attention!


October 8th, 2012
9:05 am

The story and or hype of the year is RG3. Nationally he’s more interesting than our Falcons, (who just keep winning) Nationally the Falcons are not going to get credit for doing anything until the playoffs.

Fine with me, I’m LOVING this season.


October 8th, 2012
9:14 am

When you make your living talking about a sport, you’re going to say some things that look stupid from time to time. One of the things that makes sports fun I think.

Canton Dawg

October 8th, 2012
9:34 am

After watching these guys since ‘68, I can’t say I blame the media for any disdain. After all, we were the lead standard for a long, long time. These recent fans who don’t remember all the bad years and horrible coaching/management/ownership really have no clue how special this season start really is. I rarely listen to the TV announcers anyway, rather hear the radio crew which is very good. Arch and the gang call a great game and are more entertaining than the TV guys. Let the TV talking heads say what they will, a fifth winning season in a row and making noise in the playoffs will quiet them and earn a little respect for the ATL. Rise up!

Draggin' Fly

October 8th, 2012
9:49 am

Now that the Saints have stumbled, the Texans are the new anointed-by-the-media “can’t miss” team. You want to hear some sycophantic announcing? Wait til the game tonight.


October 8th, 2012
10:04 am

It was an odd call at an odd time. 3rd and a long 4 and we hadn’t exactly been running well against them and that was the best chance to convert a 3rd down? No way!


October 8th, 2012
10:16 am

D Led is getting testy. I like it! Nice post. Keep it up.
And yeah, you gotta feel for the Chargers. What the refs did to them reminds me of when the Falcons were the league’s sacrificial lambs for the Superdome’s reopening.
Best quote of the afternoon goes to Roddy- “What ya’ll want to talk to us for? We stunk!”
I’ll take an ugly win any day!


October 8th, 2012
10:20 am

Now, if you can just get your colleagues here on the rag to learn how to spell and put words together to form sentences and communicate thought, you’d have something…punctuation marks would help too…

Grape Nuts are neither grapes or nuts

October 8th, 2012
11:05 am

Wow….You AJC bloggers need to master proper discourse and spelling before you can criticize another’s communication gaffes.

Pot, meet the kettle.

Fan since 66

October 8th, 2012
11:21 am

Very perceptive observations, Mr. C. It should come as no surprise to any Falcon Fan that we get slammed by the media. We are the red-headed step child of the NFL. When we win, we are either lucky or just overplaying our expectations. I also question the bias of Mr. Lynch. While he was a very good football player, I just don’t see that making him a good announcer. I now live outside the Atlanta radio market, thus I can’t turn off these Bozos. Alas, I have to listen to myself as I extol the fine play of our amazingly talented Football Falcons. Being a fan since they came to Atlanta I feel we are watching something special this year. Go Falcons!

Steve From Dalton

October 8th, 2012
12:00 pm

I still do not like the 3rd down call when they gave the ball to Quiz.


October 8th, 2012
12:18 pm

It’s the same with any game you watch with any network. The people in the booth are going to talk in favor of of the team that’s winning at the time. Their getting paid to be experts. How can you be an expert if your not talking up the team that’s winning.

Fan since 66

October 8th, 2012
12:31 pm

@ ymmotrestsof: I respectfully disagree… I seem to remember Tony “Siragoosa” almost breaking out in tears when our Falcons destroyed the 49′ers in San Fran. He just couldn’t understand what happened to the team that was supposed to win. This is just one example of the Sports Media bias against the Falcons. Maybe I’m a “homer”, but I see it almost every week. I agree with another poster…please give us Brian Billick back! At least he tells you upfront that he’s related to CMS and will try to be unbiased.

Weyman C Wannamaker Jr. (A Great American)

October 8th, 2012
12:54 pm

Is the Falcon’s slogan “Rise Up” sponsored by Viagra?

Mike James

October 8th, 2012
1:19 pm

Who gives a crap about what two idiots on Fox have to say… JLynch… a moron who prolly caint walk and chew gum at the same time… and whoever that other moron is… who cares… ATL beat those hapless Skins… that’s all that matters.

Senior Falcon

October 8th, 2012
1:27 pm

What bothers me is that again the Falcon offense gets the ball with a chance to run out the clock and not only go three and out, they barely pick up a yard. I,too, am pleased with the win but the ability to run the football when the game is on the line is going to have to improve, down the line.


October 8th, 2012
2:19 pm

what the national media gives us:
Falcons beat broncos…….Lets talk about Payton
Falcons beat skins……….Lets talk about RG3 and have his coach give a press conference
NFL network highlight people……”We will really see how good they are next weekend when they play the Giants!” (maybe they should look at the schedule 1st!)


October 8th, 2012
2:28 pm

Two examples Matt Bosher made a punt for sixty three yards and that wasn’t even mentioned then when Matt fumbled on the Falcon thirty two we stopped them for no points and did sam no nuthing mention it?He mentioned that their kicker missed the kick.Crappy announcer.Im sixty now and when I was a teenager rosen was announcing then and he was old.I don’t have anything against old people but I do have something against crappy announcers.CBS has good announcers they stay neutral so why can’t fox?