Atlanta Falcons: Turner, Rodgers challenged Tampa Bay’s top run defense

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) celebrates with wide receiver Roddy White (84) after scoring what proved to be the game-wining touchdown during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. The Falcons won the game 24-23. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (33) celebrates with wide receiver Roddy White (84) after scoring what proved to be the game-wining touchdown during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. The Falcons won the game 24-23. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

TAMPA — The Falcons made it a point to run the ball early Sunday against Tampa Bay, which entered the game with the NFL’s No. 1 run defense.

On their opening driving, they repeatedly pounded running backs Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers at the Buccaneers and it paid off.

“We felt like we needed to try it,” said Falcons coach Mike Smith after the 24-23 win. “We felt like we could do it, too. We challenged our guys. We wanted to come down here — this was the No. 1 rushing team in all of the NFL — and we wanted to see if we could do it.”

The Falcons ran the ball eight times on their opening 12-play drive. Turner had four carries for 14 yards and Rodgers had four carries for 32 yards. Those 46 yards were more than half what the Bucs had been yielding per game.

“We were efficient doing it,” Smith said.

That drive stalled and Matt Bryant came on to make a 31-yard field goal.

The Falcons finished the game with 24 rushes for 79 yards (3.3 per carry) and Rodgers and Turner both scored rushing touchdowns. The Bucs entered the game giving up 81.8 yards per game.

Turner had 13 carries for 17 yards. Rodgers finished with 49 yards on 10 carries.

“We wanted to come out and try to get something going on the ground,” Turner said. “We didn’t want to be one-dimensional today and I think we caught them off-guard a little bit, coming in with so many run plays.”

Close contest: While the Falcons have dominated the series with Tampa Bay recently, winning seven of the last eight games, the outcomes have normally been close. With the exception of last season’s regular season finale, a 45-24 Atlanta win, the average margin of victory in the other seven games has been four points.

“You can always count on close games when you come down to play an NFC South game and that was no exception today,” Smith said. “I thought it was a very hard-fought game. I thought our defense did an outstanding job, again. They were put in some tough situations after turnovers and I thought our special teams did a very nice job covering kicks today.”

The Bucs last beat the Falcons 16-13 on Sept. 26, 2011 in Tampa.

“They won four in a row, they were hot,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “Everyone was saying they were the hottest team in the NFC South and they probably were. … When you win close games like that, it’s only a positive.”

Finishing the drive: Guarding a one-point lead, the Falcons ran off 3:19 on their final drive. Tampa Bay got one last possession but with only eight seconds remaining.

“That last drive, that’s something we’ve done before this season,” Gonzalez said. “I really think that’s a positive for us, to be able to come up with plays when we have to like that, to close the game out.”

Kicking woes: Kicker Matt Bryant missed two field goal attempts of 22 and 48 yards against the Bucs. He also missed two against Dallas on Nov. 4.

Sack attack: Cornerback Dunta Robinson and defensive end Kroy Biermann each had a sack Sunday.

John Abraham, who has nine sacks this year, was shut out. He has just one sack in his last seven games against Tampa Bay.

Injury report: Robinson (head) and cornerback Asante Samuel (right shoulder) both temporarily left the game due to injury, but both returned to the action.

Also, defensive tackle Corey Peters (right shoulder) left the game, but returned.

Inactive players: Defensive tackle Peria Jerry, who had started nine games this season, was declared inactive the Tampa Bay game.

Jerry’s spot on the active roster was taken by rookie Travian Robertson. He has been active for six games, but played in just one (San Diego on Sept. 23).

Other inactives included quarterback Dominique Davis, wide receiver Tim Toone, safety Charles Mitchell, guard Phillipkeith Manley, guard Harland Gunn and defensive end Lawrence Sidbury.

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58 comments Add your comment

Falcon James

November 25th, 2012
8:29 pm

Shocked that Turner is even mentioned. He contribuited nothing. 3 of the yards came on the touchdown. Without that Turner had 12 caries for 14 yards (1.2 yds per carry. That is pathetic. The only headline we should be reading with Turners name in was that he was cut.

Falcon James

November 25th, 2012
8:32 pm

On a more positive note…..the Saint lost, again.

Falcons Rule.

November 25th, 2012
8:35 pm

THE AINTS LOST AND THE AINTS WILL BE FINISHED OFF BY THE BIRDS ON THURSDAY…..BOOK IT!!!!!

g man

November 25th, 2012
9:01 pm

Turner is a work horse they were keying on him the whole game which free up Rodgers to run he got what yards he could get when he being keyed on by the defense so stop hating on Turner they won ghe game as a team so be happy they won the game
hope they do the same next week peace

Michael M.

November 25th, 2012
9:08 pm

Turner couldn’t run through defenders even if they was a sack of hamburgers on the goal line……………he has lost his edge he had a few years ago when he come to the Falcons.
They better play more Rodgers and Snell Thursday or the Caints just might whip us again!

g man

November 25th, 2012
9:12 pm

Go falcon make this ours year to shine this is ours moment as a team that ours been waiting on go falcons ” waiting on moment you guys as a team make atlanta shine peace you go boys

g man

November 25th, 2012
9:19 pm

How quick we forget who have been the work horse on the team stop hating Smith must think he a work horse he still here and getting paid sounds like hate me son peace

One and Done

November 25th, 2012
9:24 pm

The Falcons are the worst 10-1 team in the history of the NFL. The team has no killer instinct. The Falcons has not dominated a team since the first game. Close wins over weaker opponents will not work in the playoffs! One and done!

[...] Atlanta Falcons: Turner, Rodgers challenged Tampa Bay’s top run defense – Atlanta Journa… [...]

Loyalfalconfrmthemississippi

November 25th, 2012
9:41 pm

@one and done; i smell a hater, you must be a fan of a bottom dweller.

Big Rod

November 25th, 2012
9:46 pm

A win is a win. We did beat up on Philly. Remember that different teams have different strengths and we have been adapting very well. We should have won at new orleans but we didnt cash in. We are a damn good team but lets just take it one game at a time. Big win coming on Thursday Night Football!!

Falcons Rule.

November 25th, 2012
10:01 pm

ANGRY BIRDS WILL CLINCH THE DIVISION ON THURSDAY NIGHT AGAINST THE HATED AINTS…..BOOK IT. STFU you azzclown Michael M……there ain’t no whoopin’ ecxept on the AINTS on THURSDAY…..BOOK IT….AZZCLOWN.

Ricoh404

November 25th, 2012
10:02 pm

Love them or Hate them…when the smoke clears they are still one are the NFL elite teams. Your pick: better team w/ worst record or so-so team w/ the BEST record. Good or Bad I am a ATL Falcons fan for Life. 10-1 today was just another day at the offie; Any Given Sunday.

Carlos

November 25th, 2012
10:16 pm

Instead of the Burner, Turner’s new nickname should be Quicksand or Moonwalk (moving backwards)

Carlos

November 25th, 2012
10:19 pm

Watching other backs around the NFL, they hit the holes hard and fast. Just seems like Turner is constantly tip toeing. He’s too big a back to bring down every time on first contact. Wish he would run with an attitude.

lowdownjj

November 25th, 2012
10:29 pm

2 weeks straight the D has came through for us big time. And this week…I thought we might end up with Bierman playing CB for us. They were dropping like flies

THE REALIST

November 25th, 2012
10:31 pm

We have to hope someone knocks off the niners in the playoffs. They will kill us.

william cranman

November 25th, 2012
10:32 pm

D orlando you say Asante Samuel came back in the game but he was lying on the turf for 5 minutes after the hail mary pass with a shoulder injury? What is his status? How can this not be mentioned anywhere in the AJC’s postgame coverage? Please give us an update. You must have seen him in the locker room. Thanks.

TRAV

November 25th, 2012
11:07 pm

THE 49′ERS LOOKED AWESOME. PLAY GREAT AGAINST THE RUN AND THE PASS.
AS FOR TURNER, SAME OLD. EVEN ON SCREENS HE’S RUNNING AT HALF SPEED. SNELLING PLAYED WELL. RODGERS LOOKED OUTSTANDING.
RYAN LOOKED LIKE A ROOKIE ON THE BLINDSIDE TACKLE AND FUMBLE. NEVER SCANNED THE WHOLE FIELD, EYEBALLED HIS TARGET ALL THE WAY. THAT KIND OF PLAY WILL COST US IN A PLAYOFF GAME. IT WILL ALL BE ON RYAN AND IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN THIS YEAR AND HE WON’T LEARN FROM IT.

Never First, But the Best!

November 25th, 2012
11:09 pm

Turner haters please chill. The Falcons are saveing Turmer for the playoffs. Just watch and see. I mean it’s not like he’s Sonnie Collins!

DR. FALCON

November 25th, 2012
11:31 pm

HET TRAV, THE COACHING STAFF IS SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW, THAT MICHAEL TURNER HAS SOME GAS LEFT IN THE TANK! ESPECIALLY, IN THE “RED ZONE”! LAY OFF OF HIM! AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE’RE STILL 10-1!

gritz-blitz 2

November 25th, 2012
11:51 pm

I think with Turner is that he is a rythn back. The more touches he has the better he gets. Since we have converted to the passing attack. The less carries he gets and he hasn’t got into the rythm. He will be just fine. So for all you haters out there beware; the burner will show up. RISE UP!!! GO TURNER AND FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 26th, 2012
2:01 am

william cranman – Talke to A.S. after the game. He said his shoulder felt like it was “on fire.” Don’t know what that means medically.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 26th, 2012
2:02 am

THE REALIST - The 49ers don’t have quarterback. Old football axiom: “If you’ve got two quarterbacks then you don’t have one.” Harbaugh, as an old bootleg quarterback, knows this.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 26th, 2012
2:05 am

Carlos – You need to be more respectful of Michael Turner. You might be correct, but played a major part in Ryan’s development and getting this franchise turned around.

Adogg36

November 26th, 2012
2:31 am

Have to admit turner looked better than he have in da past games.He opened da door for rogers.

JosephDaKoolest a.k.a No Answer For Julio

November 26th, 2012
3:14 am

Hey D Led. Nice piece. Any word on Turner’s groin? I think his groin is still bothering him. And Carlos I agree. Would like to see Turner lose some weight and hit the holes quicker, but the O Line is still struggling with their run blocking. But why do ya’ll think we have been so successful in the air. Teams have been keying on the run in the playoffs. Teams have tried to force us to throw the ball more than we wanted to. Now that is not an issue. We can and will throw the ball as many times as we need to. I think it was perfect timing letting Matt Ryan mature and unleashing him, and drafting Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rogers execellent statedgy by the Falcons orginization. Go Falcons And Remember The Real A Town Got Your Back.

Samuel

November 26th, 2012
5:03 am

Turner has to have a hole to run through or he’s not effective. When he get’s bottle up there’s no adjustment because of his speed and his north and south running. If Jaquizz Rodgers get’s out in space, he’s hard to deal with because he can make you miss. I suspect Rodgers will be the leading back pretty soon and Turner will be used to run the clock out, If the offensive line opens up a running lane. Snelling does well running and catching passes out of the back field. I’m sure Dirk Koetter will figure this running game out going into the playoffs….

DC

November 26th, 2012
5:29 am

MT needs to run like he did on the TD!! No tip toeing, just pick up speed and try to run over the D. OK, the TD was nearly untouched, but I think with the speed he picked up, he could’ve broken one or two tackles. We need a big man for short yardage situations (obviously OL and FB need to do their job as well…..) like TJ Duckett was in 2002 and Dunn was our explosive RB.

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

Raphael Hardnett

November 26th, 2012
7:01 am

Michael Turner has lost the it factor. The offense doesn’t fit him and his skills of running with power and bursting through line scrimmage with speed. Michael contract is the reason they keep playing him. Michael Turner is slowing this team down.

Raphael Hardnett

November 26th, 2012
7:21 am

Michael Turner is living off previous 2008-2011 season. Michael Turner can be cut today and team won’t miss a beat without him. Telling the truth people. Put Magic city club boy on the bench. Jaquizz Rodgers make us a dangerous team on offense. Magic City strip club people. Michael Turner needs to return to Magic City because this team is trying to win a Super Bowl. Keeping it 300. Not a hater. Mike is stealing now.

SawThat1nce

November 26th, 2012
8:05 am

Drew Brees threw 5 TD passes yesterday and the Taints still lost the game.

4BsihTneeS

November 26th, 2012
8:18 am

This Thursday night, the Saint s will continue their complete domination of their little fal can’t brothers, and make it 5 straight victories over them.

G EAUX SAINT S !!!

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
8:30 am

One and Done
November 25th, 2012
9:24 pm

The Falcons are the worst 10-1 team in the history of the NFL. The team has no killer instinct. The Falcons has not dominated a team since the first game. Close wins over weaker opponents will not work in the playoffs! One and done!
**************************************************
One and done………………….hmmmm that reminds me of something. Oh, I remember:

2010 Playoffs
WildCard Sat January 8 Seattle Seahawks 41 Caints 36

1992 Playoffs
WildCard Sun January 3 Philadelphia Eagles 36 Caints 20

1991 Playoffs
WildCard Sat December 28 Atlanta Falcons 27 Caints 20

1990 Playoffs
WildCard Sun January 6 Chicago Bears 16 Caints 6

1987 Playoffs
WildCard Sun January 3 Minnesota Vikings 44 Caints 10

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
8:58 am

4BsihTneeS
November 26th, 2012
8:18 am

This Thursday night, the Saint s will continue their complete domination of their little fal can’t brothers, and make it 5 straight victories over them.

G EAUX SAINT S !!!

****************************************************
SUXThisBZero, a little surprised to see you given your teams demise. You usually hide after your team loses, which has been quite often this year. It’s kinda obvious, the only way you feel your season is a success at this point would be to beat the MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS at home. At 5-6, not much to cheer for. Spagnuolo has that defense really crankin’ ay? That butt whuppin’ the 49er’s put on you was your nail in the coffin. You are done Peeshwank.

It’s fitting you take a team photo with a vacant spot for your head coach…………….we can either just wait or photoshop him sitting with the Dallas Cowboys team photo.

SF 31 NO 21 You got beat by a rookie QB……. “AGAIN”…………..roflmao.

Complete domination? How can that be, the Falcons own the series.

BLEAUX CAINTS

SUX said on his own blog yesterday “Hopefully, Jonathon Vilma forces Harbaugh to play Alex Smith” Lol, Vilma Schmilma………….hope ya got 12-15 of them…..!!

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
9:13 am

3 weeks ago SuxThisBZero on his blog “We must break Matt Ryan’s body!”

and then : “From your keyboard to God’s eyes!”

Man that is psychotic.

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
9:17 am

Truth is Defenses have figured out that if you hit Turners legs he stops period. Yes, DLed, he has done a lot for the team but jeez louise somebody tell him to get his knees up and churning.

PlanB

November 26th, 2012
10:09 am

I read JosephDaKoolist and had to comment. He said Turner should loose some weight and hit the holes quicker. We already have that in Snelling.
DOL – we don’t mean disrespect to Turner. He has helped in forming Atlanta’s best football team ever but like Tuggle & Brooking, etc, players loose their edge and start hurting the team instead of helping. Not saying get rid of him but give Quizz & Snell more chances. Looks like that is being implemented now.

Squint

November 26th, 2012
10:26 am

At what point is someone going to realize Turner is not a quality option for us at running back…his lack of mobility and the inability to accelerate make him practically useless as a runner. Sure, there are ocassions when we create a hole large enough for him to get his momentum going and he makes a long run. I firmly believe there are other players available that would produce better results; playing JR gives us more options.

JosephDaKoolest a.k.a No Answer For Julio

November 26th, 2012
10:53 am

Hey Plan B I hear what you guys are saying, but don’t you guys think the coaching staff evaluates these guys everyday in practice. I understand the contract situation but Michael Turner is still better than Jason snelling. And I don’t think Jacquizz Rogers is quite ready yet. Turner still picks up blocks better than him. But I would like to see Rogers get more touches. And for the record Mike Smith and Dirk Koetter has reduced his carries significantly this season. He is only getting 10 to 15 carries a game.

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Falcons made it a point to attack with their running game early, even though Tampa [...]

Ghost of the Thrashers

November 26th, 2012
12:24 pm

“Michael Turner is still better than Jason Snelling. ”

Man that is laughable. You Turner apologists are something else. Have you ever heard of constructive criticism? MT *was* a great Falcon, but his best days are behind him, like his big butt as he struggles to hit the hole that is there as he is too tentative when committing to a running lane. At least with Quizz and Snell, you have a legit double threat out of the backfield every time they are in as the D won’t be able to key on one single facet of the scheme. But with MT lined up, it’s like tipping your hand in poker and playing with a handicap. The stats don’t lie and if Quizz can rush for 49 yards on 10 carries against one of the better rush defenses in the league, then it is obvious MT should not get the majority of carries in this offense. It would be best to sit him down so he can rest that sore groin/hammie and perhaps spend some time on the bike pedaling off some extra LBs. That way he might be fresh and effective come playoff time. Right now, he’s just slowing us down. I don’t care what he’s done for us in the past, that isn’t going to win us playoff games in January.

Ghee Whiz

November 26th, 2012
2:25 pm

Carlos

November 26th, 2012
2:25 pm

D-Led, not being disrespectful, but telling it like it is. Michael Turner was awesome for the Facons during a time the organization needed it the most. However, as noted with Ray Edwards, we are a society of what have you done for me lately. Would love a power running game to complement the new look offense. Everyone wants to say we are saying MT for the playoffs. Well you practice how you play. If we can’t do it now, how can we do it when playoff ball is more physical. My observations are spot on. MT needs to either run hard or run away. Mad love to the Falcons, but need him to step up.

Usually I just read but...

November 26th, 2012
2:41 pm

2nd verse
Well the first thing you know Mike had last a step or two,
He couldn’t hit the holes he used to blow right through.
So he hopped in his car and went to Magic City,
Where the hos can’t run half as fast as he.
Runs that is,
They wanta get caught
fishing holes and beaver dams.
Time to wet a worm Mike

[...] Turner, Rodgers challenge top rushing defense in the league [...]

tfalcon

November 26th, 2012
5:06 pm

i realy think we ill see a differant running game in the play offs,think about guys
we are winning these games close by design rather than chance.we always seem
to do just enough to win week in & week out

Andrew

November 26th, 2012
5:50 pm

Jaquizz needs to be our featured back, theres no doubt about it. Theres a night and day difference between MT and Quizz. Quizz is the truth no doubt, he needs to start. I dont care what we do with MT, hell… CUT EM. Its to predictable what the falcons are going to do with him in the backfield. OH… MT in the backfield… Let me guess… He cant catch the ball out of the backfield… With Quizz in the backfield, defenses are clueless as to what we are going to do and the sky is the limit. He can run between the tackles, or cut it outside and make a few people miss. Or we can set up the screen and go from there. Its a No brainer to me, Quizz needs to start!!

Me Too

November 27th, 2012
7:26 am

Never First, But the Best! – Hahaha!!!

Turner must have been saved for the playoffs the last three times. The same for all of the big games that were lost. If you go to ESPN and look at the stats for those three playoff games, you will see he did not show up. That is when Ovie was present in two of the games.

DOL come on this is about winning the Super Bowl. Turner should not be the starting back. He got and still is getting his PAY$ for his good years. Even Joe Namath had to sit down at one time as all of the other players who could not perform because of age.