Falcons hold on to move to 10-1, closer to clinching NFC South title




TAMPA –  The Falcons call it their “P.Y.P. Attack.”

When it comes to covering Atlanta’s talented receiving corps, the opposition has to play a game of “Pick Your Poison.”

The Buccaneers made their pick, leaving a rookie cornerback in man-to-man coverage on wide receiver Julio Jones and the cost was critical. Jones scored on an 80-yard pass that became vital to the Falcons hard-fought 24-23 comeback victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

“It’s not often that I get man-to-man coverage,” Jones said after a busy day. “But when I do, I get excited. It just doesn’t happen that often.”

The Falcons improved to 10-1 and inched closer to wrapping up the NFC South division title. Tampa Bay, which had won four in a row and five of its last six, dropped to 6-5. The Falcons hold a four-game lead over the Bucs with five to play.

New Orleans dropped to 5-6. Carolina (2-8) plays on Monday night. The Falcons can wrap up the NFC South title with a win over the Saints on Thursday and a Denver victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday.

The Bucs, who are performing well under first-year coach Greg Schiano, twice attempted to take control of the game in the second half, posting a 13-10 lead in the third quarter and a 23-17 lead with 10:28 to play.

But the Falcons answered both times, once with a quick-strike drive — the 80-yard bomb to Jones — and another no-huddle drive — a nine-play, 64-yard march — for the 24-23 edge that held up over the final 7:55.

Jones, who’s coming back from an ankle injury, finished with six catches for 147 yards. His 80-yard scoring reception put the Falcons up 17-13 with 8:26 left in the third quarter. He might have done much more damage if he had handled two other balls thrown his way.

“Tony (Gonzalez) and Roddy (White), they have been to a lot of Pro Bowls,” Jones said of PYP’s components. “They need to be over there guarding them.”

The Bucs did pay homage to the veterans and neither scored. White caught five passes for 57 yards and Gonzalez five more for 62 yards.

But opponents have generally respected Jones’ fleet speed and have tried to keep a safety patrolling his area. For reasons unknown, the Bucs left Leonard Johnson, an undrafted rookie from Iowa State, on Jones, essentially daring quarterback Matt Ryan to throw it to him.

Breaking the huddle before the long scoring pass, Ryan told Jones that if he had man-to-man coverage, the ball was coming his way.

“That’s our pick your poison attack,” Gonzalez said. “When it comes to you, you have to make a play. I was open across the middle on that one, too. But I’m glad he threw it to Julio because he’s a lot faster.”

Down four points, the Bucs responded. Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin, who was held to 50 yards on 21 carries, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the Bucs a 20-17 lead.

The day then seemed to sway to the Bucs’ side on the Falcons ensuing possession, when blitzing cornerback E.J. Biggers slammed into Ryan, forcing a fumble that defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recovered on the Falcons’ 36-yard line.

But the Falcons defense held and the Bucs kicker Connor Barth made a 48-yard field goal to increase the Bucs’ lead to 23-17 with 10:28 to play.

The Falcons promptly went into their no-huddle attack from their 36. Ryan passed to running back Jacquizz Rodgers for a 32-yard gain. White added a 7-yard reception and Jones a 15-yarder. Three plays later, Michael Turner ran behind the left side of the line for a 3-yard touchdown run and Bryant added the extra point for the one-point lead.

“We got into our no-huddle package there in the fourth quarter and Matt Ryan did a very nice job,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.

The Falcons defense, which may have played its staunchest game of the season, held on the Bucs’ next possession and forced the Bucs to try a 56-yard field goal. Barth’s kick had the distance, but was wide right.

The Falcons took over with 3:32 to play, but couldn’t kill the clock. After Bryant missed a 48-yarder, his second miss of the game, the Bucs had no timeouts and 13 seconds left to make something happen.

Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman completed a short pass to Dallas Clark, who got out of bounds after a 9-yard gain. With three seconds left, Freeman launched a Hail Mary pass into the end zone that was batted down by cornerback Asante Samuel.

“This one was huge for us,” center Todd McClure said.

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89 comments Add your comment

Michael M.

November 25th, 2012
5:42 pm

Falcons tried every way possible to give that game away and still won the game…………you got to give a game ball to Samuels for playing hurt and Rodgers and Jones for getting it done !

Oh and late happy thanksgiving D-Led and Caints R next !

Mario

November 25th, 2012
5:46 pm

Tired of these close wins. Need to learn to put teams away. We could have gone up 24-13 in the 3rd and Matt Bryant missed two field goals. Defense needs to get better pressure on QB’s and we need to score touchdowns in the redzone instead of field goals. You won’t win in the postseason only scoring field goals.

Mario

November 25th, 2012
5:47 pm

On a positive note, we shut down Doug Martin to only 50 rushing yards on 21 carries.

AD

November 25th, 2012
5:50 pm

Good win today. Road wins are tough to come by in the NFL. I only can dream about how efficient our O would look without Turner. He is a good blocker and has some value to this team, but really quizz and snell should be in a majority of the snaps.

Adogg36

November 25th, 2012
5:51 pm

Sf n no good game at half

Ken

November 25th, 2012
5:59 pm

Falcons know how to RISE UP!!!

JODILYNN

November 25th, 2012
6:03 pm

TURNER IS OF NO HELP TO THIS TEAM AT ALL. OTHER THAN THE THREE YARD TOUCHDOWN RUN THAT MY GRANNY COULD HAVE RAN IN, HE DID NOTHING. WHY DO WE KEEP GIVING HIM THE FOOTBALL? HE IS A DRIVE KILLER.AND ALSO I THOUGHT THOMAS DECOUD PLAYED VERY BAD TODAY.EVERONE ELSE I THINK DID A PRETTY GOOD JOB.THINK BRYANT JUST HAD A OFF DAY. HOPE WE SEE LESS OF 33 ON THURSDAY AND MORE OF EVERYONE ELSE. GO FALCONS!!!!!

Jeff

November 25th, 2012
6:05 pm

Like these W’s, but I am gettin ulcers, shingles, hair turning gray, hair turning loose, watchin these games!

Edd

November 25th, 2012
6:06 pm

F the bucks and aints

Edd

November 25th, 2012
6:07 pm

And f ledbutterbutt too, Obama lover

SNAPPER SLAPPER

November 25th, 2012
6:13 pm

Is Turner wearing lead cleats?He looks as slow as a turtle.If he ever sidesteps once the play will go for a loss. I watched closely today and there were holes but by the time he got there they were closed.He was a good running back 2 years ago but he has been of no help the last 2. Time to move on to someone else. I thought Quiz And Snelling had it going on and then they would bring that big pile of nothing back in and kill the momentum.Wake up and Bench hiss azz please Smith.He is killing us!

Falcon James

November 25th, 2012
6:21 pm

I am so disappointed in Turner.. How do you go from leading the league in rushing one year to bringing up the rear? It appeared that the coaches are getting tired of him too because he was definetly limited today. I would venture to say he does not start next.

Bryan let us down today. I wonder if the back injury is affecting him?

Asante…..for playing hurt, he did outstanding today. Came through in the clutch. Team player. The guy has guts. Can’t say enough about.

Ryan needs to cool it with the turnovers. Other than that… Great game.

Julio is playing like Julio. Best draft pick in years for the Falcon.

D- Played good today. Kept us in the game.

Overall- Great win. Nice to be 10-1 and in control of our own destiny. Get this running game worked out and we are unstoppable.

Sutton's Fro

November 25th, 2012
6:26 pm

I was at the game today, and the offense actually looked good, except for some of the play-calling. So
Serious lack of imagination in the running game. The biggest cause for concern was 3rd down defense.

So many 3rd and long situations where they gave Freeman too much time, and he found the open man. Come playoff time, the defense *has* to get off the field.

jlew

November 25th, 2012
6:26 pm

Coach MS made a bad call by going for long FG late. The risk was too high for reward. Either try for the first down with a short pass or run the ball again on 4th. Too many bad things can happen such as block or miss, which he did. With the line of scrimmage the 30 yard line, that gave them an additional 8 yards with the miss, plus a few seconds more time to allow them to try a hail mary in the end zone. That decision could have cost us. And how about the pass on 3rd down with Bucs with no timeouts. Again, we were lucky it was caught for a few yards and didn’t stop the clock. I didn’t understand those calls.

Sly Boarders

November 25th, 2012
6:26 pm

Why doesn’t McClain start DB? All the guy does is make plays

Headmofo

November 25th, 2012
6:29 pm

Thomas De Coud has been missing tackles for the last 4 games.

Time to stop doing commericals in the tub and start making tackles on the field Thomas.

We were all on your side Thomas, excited that you were re-signed and emerged this year, but you simply seem timid when tackling and you need to break down, square-up and make the plays your paid to make.

Still Gritz Blitz'n

November 25th, 2012
6:30 pm

@Jeff; Before you know it, you & I will be sport’n the Mike Smith due, sheer white, man this is crazy, Koetter’s got to find a way to juice up the runnin’ game some how, mabey go to 2-backs instead of 1. Lets use a blocking back when need to. Ogvie, get off the radio & suit up PLEASE! & I agree, Is Turner tiptoeing or is he like me, ain’t got no more steam. Dang, he use to be a locomotive, but as each game goes along he’s slowly withering away.

okeetee

November 25th, 2012
6:42 pm

Well, 10-1 ain’t chopped liver! Hey, we beat a team on the road with a winning record, too! Here’s what we did VERY well: we kept that “Hampster” kid under control! Our secondary gave a little, but didn’t break! We protected Ryan again and he came through! Now, to what we didn’t do well! Turner up the middle on first down is a loss cause! Pitch out to Turner is a much better idea! Our kicker? Don’t know whether he’s been with us too long…..or is going to be with us much longer! But those missed field goals have GOT TO STOP! Got to give that kid in our secondary lots of credit for gutting it out on one arm! However, he dropped one interception that my mother could have caught….and she’s been dead for 3 years! Oh, by the way…..we are going to hand the aint’s there butts on Thursday night!!!

Still Gritz Blitz'n

November 25th, 2012
6:52 pm

If we can win it all great, if not, these barely wins are not gonna last for long. The teams either mann up or get manned up if we don’t show some solid handidly beat down wins. I’m glad, very glad were 10 – 1 right now, but we are not dominating the scoreboard, & the schedule is tighter coming up. I know people say don’t listen to the analysts, or the pundit media outlets, but at the same time, we can’t keep looking the other way, we can’t bury our heads in the sand, let’s hear the nay sayers & the can’t do it soothsayers, & used that to proove them wrong. Heck, were gonna hear this coming week how fortunate the falcons are to be 10 – 1, I want our birds to use this as motivation to get rev-ved up & beat down someone, & gotta love the next game. We owe them a JAW-JACKING SMACKDOWN on those swamping diahrea stink’n n’orlean poo dat’s! We owe them some GetBack ATL, & the Red n’Black come w/ some fire & Let em’ know Not in Our House. Jack’em back in da’ swamps & let Troy make Gumbo out of ‘em. Tired of it! AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!

Flowery Branch Yellow Jacket

November 25th, 2012
6:53 pm

I heard again today that the Falcons (prior to today’s game) had only beaten one team with a winning record. However, it should be pointed out that, if not for losses to the Falcons, both Dallas and Washington would also have winning records. If San Diego holds on to their current lead against Baltimore (an 8-2 team), then their loss to the Falcons will also be responsible for THEIR losing record. What the “experts” fail to recognize is the high degree of parity in the NFL. Yes, the Falcons have been lucky at times, but close examination reveals that they have also CREATED much of their own luck by superior play.

Still Gritz Blitz'n

November 25th, 2012
7:06 pm

I’m not satisfied, don’t anyone else rest on you’re Laurels as Falcon Fans, & be tickled to be 10 – 1, crap, we still got work to do, ATL, heal up, rest up, but unsatisfied. We gotta get more mojo goi’n for these top tier teams coming up. We got to come home prep up for Thursday night Punch’n, imonno-imonno on Breeze & da Breeze boys, make em’ wear some Red n’ Black on that shinny-gold helmet, & let em’ know we come’n for more. ATL gotta be some dangerous Lions this coming Thursday night in the Red n’ Black, Pay ‘em Back w/ some GetBack! We Owe them Much! This coming week, the naysayers & outsiders gonna pick ‘em over us! Let ‘em, & Lets Prove them wrong once again!

Michael M.

November 25th, 2012
7:35 pm

Sitting here watching the Caints Season slowly coming to an end…………ha ! ha !…………..someone explain to me why every time the Caint’s receivers get up from not catching the football, why are they always looking at the at the refs to throw a flag for them ????????????????

P B Orr

November 25th, 2012
7:40 pm

“I’m tired of close wins. We tried to give the game away. Mary Jane Cottonroach won’t go out with me…” WAH WAH WAH it’s obvious that whiny hipsters haven’t seen much real football. This was a game in which the Bucs gave their best effort at home in a critical game and LOST with few penalties and no turnovers. They got BEAT. It wasn’t as close as the score. You whiners do not understand – winning is all that matters and winning late is best of all. This was a great victory in a hard-fought game.

Michael M.

November 25th, 2012
7:51 pm

I like close games especially when it is the Falcons coming back on top and that game with the Bucs was a tough one. The Bucs played tough against a Falcons Team with some injuries on defense and they still manage to beat em.

I don’t know how the Thursday night game will go, we may lose twice to the Caints again this year but one thing is for sure, the Caints can’t beat nobody else……………..lmao

RUDEDAWG

November 25th, 2012
7:55 pm

Im a true Falcons fan,and have been rooting and fussing for them awhile now. But if this lackluster play doesnt stop,its any early exit from the playoffs again people. Im just saying.

RMikel58

November 25th, 2012
7:56 pm

Drew Brees loves playing Atlanta. He sets records, avoids sacks, just like Aaron Rodgers did to us with Green Bay.
We have no running game just Matty Iceberg to rely on. I tell you i hate playing Green Bay or New Orleans because those two QB’s find ways to win against us.

GregKennesaw

November 25th, 2012
7:59 pm

any road win is a good win

P B Orr

November 25th, 2012
8:00 pm

10-1 means – if we finish up 3-2, it’s a 13 win season, the gold standard for a great one. 15-1 is doable. 14-2 likely. It’s the best Falcons season I remember, and I remember almost all of them. Every game is an adventure. They are winning primarily because good coaching is the best of all football talents. This team is better in every way than last year’s or even the 13-3 team of a couple of years ago. They have mental depth and physical toughness. You know who had that? The Steelers in the 70s. I was in St. Louis for the Greatest Show on Turf. I loved it. We hoisted the trophy and had a parade. But this is much more fun, because it will be happening as long as the Falcons brain trust is operating. They ought to write blank checks to Smith, Koetter, and Nolan tomorrow.

AL

November 25th, 2012
8:25 pm

The more we can keep Turner on the sidelines ,the better chance we have.

okeetee

November 25th, 2012
8:51 pm

“10-1 means – if we finish up 3-2, it’s a 13 win season, the gold standard for a great one. 15-1 is doable. 14-2 likely.”

….even if we finish 2-3 that’s 12 wins and will get us a bye and a home game! But our schedule is still favorable for more than just 2 wins! This team has flaws, but they seem to be able to reach down and get the job done when the chips are down! Got to get our kicker straighten out! Missing chips shots is bad, really bad! This guy used to kick 50 yarders with regularity, now he can’t hit the broad side of a barn! I think the aint’s are banged up more than we are. I don’t see them beating us Thursday night. Bookies already have us as 4 point favorites!

One and Done

November 25th, 2012
9:22 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!

okeetee

November 25th, 2012
9:47 pm

“Close wins over weaker opponents will not work in the playoffs! One and done!”

….well you might be right. Then again, maybe not! Fact is there are NO real strong teams in today’s NFL and ALL of them have serious flaws that can be exploited! If the Falcons can play error free ball, limit turnovers, get a few breaks here and there, we could reach the Championship game and even have it at home! Wishful thinking? Maybe. Maybe not!

NFC Domination

November 25th, 2012
9:47 pm

The 10-1 Falcons are the best team in the NFC, period.

Parade of Knuckleheads

November 25th, 2012
9:53 pm

Who wants to be the best 5-6 team to lose 6 games?

JustWinBaby

November 25th, 2012
10:01 pm

I’d rather be the worst 10-1 team in the league then the best 4-7.

ricocarty21

November 25th, 2012
11:03 pm

what happened to my comments!!

Big Daddy

November 25th, 2012
11:04 pm

The defense did bend but not break. The offense made what it had to when it had to. The coaching staff made mostly the right calls during the game and we had few dropped balls. I don’t know what happened with our kicker but baby, we are 10 – 1 and I am one happy fan. GO FALCONS!!!

DR. FALCON

November 25th, 2012
11:12 pm

DON’T BE TOO PICKY, PEOPLE! WE’RE 10-1 AFTER A GRITTY “ROAD WIN”, AGAINST A RED-HOT DIVISION TEAM! I’LL TAKE THAT! THAT CAN ONYLY HELP US, GOING FORWARD! IT’S NOT ALWAYS PRETTY!

hiramsaint

November 25th, 2012
11:16 pm

I believe in the falcons. Brees can sit out the rest of the season after Thursday nite. Rise Up. I’m using one and done, etc. names since Aints are out of it.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 25th, 2012
11:18 pm

Michael M. — Thanks for the Happy Thanksgiving note.

dawgondivore

November 25th, 2012
11:31 pm

Yayaya,,another excuse from falcons haters,,just lucky Falcons, Bucs gave away game, can you believe that? from the sore losers, non believers, they just find the way to say, we are not good enough to win the game, other teams just gave away the game and we just lay down eggs at the play-offs, get outta here losers, of this blog.

dawgondivore

November 25th, 2012
11:39 pm

Poor Pittsburgers..well let somebody else win sometime you know..Pitts are oooooollllddd now, can get hard any longer maybe they need 3 hrs energy drinks before the game every time.

Poppa Falcon

November 26th, 2012
12:47 am

Falcons lost Bradie Ewing, Brent Grimes, Lofa Totupa & Will Svitech at the start of the season. Added TWO NEW coordinators as well, and some folks are DISSECTING how we WIN GAMES??? 10-1??? The Falcons are the 1st team since the ‘06 Colts to have 7 wins by 7 points or less. Indy had 9 total & WON the Super Bowl.
I’ll take it. Rise up.

Ron Roberts

November 26th, 2012
1:12 am

If you’re gonna have injuries, now’s the time to have ‘em. Gotta get Asanta and Dunta on the mend and back out on the field soon. If that means making ‘em inactive for New Orleans and taking the “L,” so be it. Pains me to say it, having lived in Lousyana for five years, but we’ve got a 1.5 game cushion with five to play. We can afford one loss if it means getting our defense back to it’s best condition for the Panthers, Giants, Lions and Bucs. That’s a tough slate, minus Carolina, and they damn near beat us in our own joint.

We have a ten-day break after the Thursday game. Great opportunity to heal up and be ready for our final four (needing to split ‘em or win three of four to realistically snag the top seed).

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 26th, 2012
2:06 am

JustWinBaby — Like San Diego? They are nice, but 4-7 and going no where.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 26th, 2012
2:14 am

AL — You need them both. It’s RB by committee.

Elvis is Alive

November 26th, 2012
2:30 am

Turner dropped for no gain or a loss . Did anyone keep track of how many runs went for no gain?
Battered and sprained secondary. Do we have anyone else available to play Safety?
McClain played very tough.
Maintained a solid offensive line and kept MR2 upright.
Defensive line appears to understand pursuit, but need to gain a half step to close the deal.
The zone between linebackers and our safeties remains soft .
Kicker was not paying attention or is afraid of losing his job.
P Y P (Pick Your Poison philosophy is good) . Julio-Roddy-Gonzales-Double team one and leave the others uncovered.
I wonder if Matt Ryan were having to run on 3rd down to get the first down ..how long would it take to create some different plays to get the yardage.

Great effort-Good Win..Angry Birds..10-1..who cares what the media says..Rise Up Falcons

Never First, Just the Best.

November 26th, 2012
6:09 am

Bucs lose to Denver and We smight the shants and we win the South.

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
6:24 am

Michael M.
November 25th, 2012
5:42 pm

Falcons tried every way possible to give that game away and still won the game…………you got to give a game ball to Samuels for playing hurt and Rodgers and Jones for getting it done !
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Give the game away?? Man, I didn’t see it that way at all. They earned this victory against a team playing some tough nose football. Game ball goes to the entire Defense, what a performance. Matt Bryant, I would like to have a word with you……………

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
6:25 am

Great effort-Good Win..Angry Birds..10-1..who cares what the media says..Rise Up Falcons

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I concur!

WE ARE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!