Report card: Falcons grades for gutsy win over Bucs

The Falcons have won seven games by seven points or less this season. That's coaching. (Associated Press)

The Falcons have won seven games by seven points or less this season. That's coaching. (Associated Press)

TAMPA — Here are the Falcons grades for the 24-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

A – Quarterbacks: Matt Ryan bounced back nicely from his 5-interception game. He finished with 353 yards passing as he completed 26 of 32 passes and one interception. He had a 110.0 passer rating. It was Ryan’s sixth 300-yard game of the season, which ties his own franchise record set in 2011. Ryan posted a passer rating above 100 for the ninth time this season. The Falcons are now 30-1 when his pass rating is 100 or more.

B — Running backs: In a move that stunned some, the Falcons came out determined to run the ball at the No. 1 ranked run defense. It was a bold move that paid some dividends. The Falcons knew they couldn’t be one dimensional. The Falcons ran the ball eight times on their opening 12-play drive. Michael Turner had four carries for 14 yards and Jacquizz Rodgers had four carries for 32 yards. Those 46 yards were more than half what the Bucs had been yielding per game. 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.

B – Receivers: With a bad wheel, Julio Jones put on a show. Jones 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. The Bucs concentrated on Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez as neither of the veterans scored. White caught five passes for 57 yards and Gonzalez five for 62 yards. The running backs – Jason Snelling (3), Turner (3) and Rodgers (2) – chipped in with eight catches for 76 yards.

C – Offensive line: The line was battling in the run game. The Falcons want to run it efficiently and arguably did that against the Bucs. Cornerback E.J. Biggers, who came on a blitz had the only sack. The unit can use this game to build on as they’ll have to run the ball better down the stretch and are getting more comfortable with Rodgers, the second-year back, who broke loose for a 20-yard gain, the Falcons longest of the game.

B – Defensive line: The defensive line got penetration against the Bucs when they were trying to run the football. Kroy Biermann had a hustle sack. The line played a big part in keeping the blockers off of the linebackers against the Buccaneers vaunted running game. They helped to hold running back Doug Martin to just 50 yards on 21 carries and a 2.4 yard per carry average. Entering Sunday’s game, Martin had totaled 1,000 yards on 197 carries with a 5.1 yard per carry average. Tampa entered the game averaging 128.9 rush yards per game, which ranked ninth in the NFL.

B – Linebackers: Stephen Nicholas led the Falcons with seven tackles. Sean Weatherspoon, who returned after missing the games, chipped in with six tackles. Mike Peterson had a big stop on Martin that forced a field goal attempt. Akeem Dent also had four tackles and one tackle for a loss.

B – Defensive backs: Dunta Robinson had arguably his best game of the season. He was strong in run support with six tackles. He also had a sack, two tackles for losses and one quarterback hit. Asante Samuel played through his right shoulder injury, but was upset with two dropped interceptions. He knocked down the Hail Mary pass. Samuel said his shoulder felt like it was “on fire” after the game. Safety William Moore was also strong in run support with six tackles.

B – Specials teams: Cliff Matthews, Antone Smith and Drew Davis all had special teams tackles to hold down Tampa Bay’s return game. Kicker Matt Bryant missed two field goal attempts, including a troubling 22 yarder at the halftime buzzer. Punter Matt Bosher had one punt of 45 yards.

A-plus – Coaching: The Falcons have won seven games this season by seven points or less. That’s coaching.

NEXT UP: The Falcons (10-1) face the New Orleans Saints (5-6) at 8:20 p.m. Thursday night at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons can wrap up their second NFC South title in the last three seasons with a victory over the Saints and a Tampa Bay loss to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The Falcons would have a five game lead over Tampa Bay with four to play. They’ll have to keep playing to stay in front of San Francisco (8-2-1) and Chicago (8-3) for the No. 1 seed.

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80 comments Add your comment

DR. FALCON

November 26th, 2012
10:06 am

FIRST? LEDBETTER, THAT’S THE BEST GRADING SYSTEM, AFTER A GAME YOU’VE DONE ALL YEAR! WAY TO GO! BY THE WAY, GO ‘DAWGS!!!!! F@#K ‘BAMA!!

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
10:10 am

WE ARE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!

4BsihTneeS

November 26th, 2012
10:11 am

10-2, coming up!

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
10:11 am

TAMPA —
Here are the Falcons grades for the 24-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

LUCY You got some editing to do.

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
10:14 am

4BsihTneeS
November 26th, 2012
10:11 am

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

Lol, a little slow pulling the trigger there SUX.

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…..!!

The Real Falcon

November 26th, 2012
10:15 am

You cannot give an A to a QB with 2 turnovers. B at beat.

The Real Falcon

November 26th, 2012
10:16 am

Looking forward to the tailgate and game Thursday night!

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
10:16 am

A – Quarterbacks: Matt Ryan bounced back nicely from his 5-interception game. He finished with 353 yards passing as he completed 26 of 32 passes and one interception. He had a 110.0 passer rating.

AWESOME GAME MR2

Ghee Whiz

November 26th, 2012
10:17 am

D-Led:

Thanks for turning me on to dirtybirdrock.blogspot.com

It is AWESOME

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
10:18 am

The Real Falcon
November 26th, 2012
10:15 am

You cannot give an A to a QB with 2 turnovers. B at beat.
*************************************

Lol, you try hanging on to the ball when your being blindsided………..what happened there anyway other than our franchise Quarterback almost bought the farm??

4BsihTneeS

November 26th, 2012
10:21 am

The fal can’ts are owned by the Saint s!

Five Straight!

The Real Falcon

November 26th, 2012
10:23 am

Esquire Lol, you try hanging on to the ball when your being blindsided………..what happened there anyway other than our franchise Quarterback almost bought the farm??

The sack was from the front, in his face. He lost the ball after the blindside. It’s still a turnover. What would be the grade without them? An A master of the universe. This is real life not middle school.

Bobby Butler

November 26th, 2012
10:25 am

You can give an A to a quarterback with 2 turnovers. Football isn’t basic math, it’s calculus! Playing QB in the NFL is harder than Chinese math!

Wendell

November 26th, 2012
10:25 am

Great Line from Dirtybirdrock.blogspot.com about the Cardinals game:

Averaging just under 2 yards a carry over the last 8 quarters, Mike Turner has been anything but “the Burner.” Although he was able to punch it in from one yard yesterday, the O-Line celebrated that TD like a pack of 13 year old girls with Justin Bieber tickets. Not exactly what we would expect from the 9-1 Falcons offense, but this is what it has come to….

Ghee Whiz

November 26th, 2012
10:28 am

What about Michael Turner? Should he be replaced as this article suggests?

http://dirtybirdrock.blogspot.com/2012/11/starting-michael-turner-its-quizzical.html

My trailers got a 7 ft.x 5ft screen & projector

November 26th, 2012
10:32 am

Hey hiramsaint………..havin’ a bad day?

Maybe you should go home to your Momma in Metairie.

Dwayne pn

November 26th, 2012
10:55 am

Dr. Falcon. Lay off the whiskey. Its not even noon yet. Georgie will lose to Bama btw. Uger fans should not get their hopes up. Roll Tide losers.

singhisking

November 26th, 2012
11:03 am

been saying … bench turner start quizz …..if we wana beat the aints …….

okeetee

November 26th, 2012
11:20 am

“FIRST? LEDBETTER, THAT’S THE BEST GRADING SYSTEM, AFTER A GAME YOU’VE DONE ALL YEAR! WAY TO GO!”

Hey, Dr. Falcon! You need to SEE a doctor! Probably a head shrink! Ledbetter’s grading was pathetically flawed, unless he saw a different game than we saw! Let’s start with the offensive line: They deserved at least an A-! Kept Matty upright the whole game with the exception of that blitz sack….which I can’t believe Ryan didn’t see coming so I’m putting that one on HIM! They got us enough yards to score two rushing touchdowns! Defensive line and Linebackers? Both should have gotten A+! Kept the hamster kid to 50 yds!!! Was really the key to the game! Secondary? C….and that’s generous! Got to give Samuel credit for playing as well as he did hurt…..but the C is more on him for dropping TWO easy interceptions….one of which my 89 year old Dad would have caught….and he died in June! Special Teams? D+……can’t give them anything higher when you miss 2 very make able field goals and take 6 points off the board! Coaching? B-. Still way too conservative in the running game and play calling on first down AND second down has got to have more creativity! Better than last week, but still can’t give them an A yet! Hey, I’m not complaining! Just making an observation! If we win only one more game this regular season (and we will win at least 2 more!) it better be Thursday night! I’m starting to despise the Aint’s more and more!

Dan

November 26th, 2012
11:23 am

Not sure about A+ for coaching. Trying the field goal at the end almost came back to bit them….gotta punt there especially the way refs like to throw flags on passes anymore. I give coaching B+…..Bucs had too many receivers running free

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
11:24 am

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons 10-1-0
Tampa Bay 6-5-0
Armpits of US 5-6-0
Carolina 2-8-0

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

vesaversa

November 26th, 2012
11:25 am

Guttcy win ? What game were you watching . The Falcons looked like a bunch of prep school player out there they wree totally lucky to win that game which wasn’t very impressive to anyone at the top in the NFL .Green BAY will destroy this bunch of misfits.

Dan

November 26th, 2012
11:28 am

B+ on coaching can’t kick that field goal at the end have to punt especially the way refs throw flags on long passes

Answer This

November 26th, 2012
11:28 am

4BsihTneeS

November 26th, 2012
10:21 am
The fal can’ts are owned by the Saint s!

Five Straight!

EVEN, EVEN if we dont win this game on Thrusday night, where does that leave your team Seen? HAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA………still 5 games back? Your AINTS smell like hot wet baby poo wrapped up in a diaper that someone left out in the sun! They STINK! Go ahead tell us how you will run the table and back in the playoffs! Not happening Nutra! Your AINTS are done for the year! DONE! See you next year with a new coach and your paper bags…. HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE

Answer This

November 26th, 2012
11:29 am

@vesaversa

Did you watch the same game? Come on man! This TB team was a very good team and we went into Tampa and BEAT them! Simple!!
As for your Green Bay quote……..did you see that game last night? Thats who looks like a bunch of prep school players as you put it!

Rod from College Park

November 26th, 2012
11:30 am

The Falcons need to learn how to put teams away during the regular season, or else it will come back and bite them in the playoffs. We we get up or have a chance to go up by more than a TD, we need to continue to attack, and stop going to that running Turner up the middle for no gain nonsense. We have to develop the killer instinct, and put teams away when we can. All of our games are close because when we get up on teams we start playing for field goals instead of touchdowns. That is not a good recipe for playoff footbal, especially with our shaky defense.

chris watson

November 26th, 2012
11:36 am

“The Real Falcon” you should be “The Real Moron”! 26 out of 32 for 353 yds & a TD with one pick is an A. The QB rating of 110 QB rating for the game should tell you that. To give him ANY of the blame for a fumble on a guy that came through to his blindside untouched at full speed is idiotic but then again “idiotic” would fit you to a T.

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
11:38 am

Dan
November 26th, 2012
11:23 am

Not sure about A+ for coaching. Trying the field goal at the end almost came back to bit them

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

Got to tell ya………….I wondered about that as well.

4th quarter Carolina:
4-7-ATL 38 (3:37) (Field Goal formation) 10-C.Barth 56 yard field goal is No Good, Short, Center-48-A.Economos, Holder-9-M.Koenen

Atlanta:
1-10-ATL 46 (3:32) 32-Jz. Rodgers left guard to TB 42 for 12 yards (24-M.Barron).
1-10-TB 42 (2:47) 33-M.Turner right tackle to TB 38 for 4 yards (59-M.Foster, 29-L.Johnson).
Two-Minute Warning
2-6-TB 38 (2:00) 32-Jz. Rodgers left end to TB 37 for 1 yard (57-A.Hayward, 59-M.Foster).
Timeout #1 by TB at 01:55.
3-5-TB 37 (1:55) (Shotgun) 2-M.Ryan pass short left to 84-R.White to TB 29 for 8 yards (30-L.Lewis).
Timeout #2 by TB at 01:47.
1-10-TB 29 (1:47) 33-M.Turner up the middle to TB 30 for -1 yards (20-R.Barber).
Timeout #3 by TB at 01:42.
2-11-TB 30 (1:42) 33-M.Turner right tackle to TB 37 for -7 yards (59-M.Foster).
3-18-TB 37 (:59) 2-M.Ryan pass short right to 88-T.Gonzalez to TB 30 for 7 yards (29-L.Johnson).
4-11-TB 30 (:13) (Field Goal formation) 3-M.Bryant 48 yard field goal is No Good, Wide Right, Center-47-J.Harris, Holder-5-M.Bosher.

Turner cost us NEGATIVE 8 yards on 1st and 2nd down combined. Hell, he should have lost more yards………..Matt Bryant is 3 for 3 from 50+ yards. 9 of 12 from 40-49 yards. Damn good thing we had the lead at this point.

chris watson

November 26th, 2012
11:39 am

“Real Falcon” do everyone a favor and stay off of this blog. I expect trolls like the Aint’s jack@$$ but you just have terrible judgement if you feel that they sack on Ryan was not from his blindside. Maybe if he was facing the guy but the play was designed to go the other way…which was the way he was facing….which was in fact his blindside.

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
11:41 am

Answer This
November 26th, 2012
11:28 am

Your AINTS smell like hot wet baby poo wrapped up in a diaper that someone left out in the sun
****************************************

Wow, man that’s an olfactory nightmare right there!!

LOL at The Aints

November 26th, 2012
11:42 am

Enter your comments here

4BsihTneeS

November 26th, 2012
11:46 am

@Answer This: And your playing field smells like somebody used it as a urinal….

ShaneOmac

November 26th, 2012
11:48 am

I have nothing but PURE hatred in my heart for NOLA for the ‘Aints for the city for the people(im looking at you SEEN)and for all they stand for let get Bird city and send the punks to an eaarly pick in the draft

yeahsure

November 26th, 2012
12:03 pm

Numbers dont lie.

“Michael Turner had four carries for 14 yards and Jacquizz Rodgers had four carries for 32 yards.”

I know Smitty and TD love numbers and stats. Well , here ya go.

Brothas Hunt 2

November 26th, 2012
12:09 pm

Great win against a tough team that had a lot of momentum and confidence coming into the game. Peria Jerry is officially a bust. He did not dress for the game due to an injury but when is the last time his name was called for making a tackle. Corey Peters and Babs are the best DTs on the team. I also think it is time for Mike Nolan to bench Decoud and play Chris Hope backup FS. Decoud is a starting FS and he is playing like a rookie. He takes bad angles to the ball and he often leaves his feet attempting to make diving tackles always coming up with nothing but air. If you watched the 49ers game against the Aints you saw the best SS and FS tandem in the NFL. They make plays on the ball in the air and they tackle extremely well.

Finally, I believe the Falcons secondary would be better served moving Robert McClain to Right Corner and move Duanta Robinson to Nickle permanently. R. McClain has better technique than D. Robinson at the corner position. McClain is better in his back peddle, he changes direction better than D. Rob in coverage, and he is the best pure tackler (Not Hitter) in the Falcons secondary.

BH2

Falcons 4 Real

November 26th, 2012
12:14 pm

Great win especially when wins in Tampa have been few and far between. Ice bounced back nicely from a game we’d all like to forget. A hobbled Julio is stil more than most DBs can handle. Spoon’s return was a welcome sight. For once I’m grateful for a short week after watching Brees get shellacked yesterday. Rise up!

Answer This

November 26th, 2012
12:16 pm

@ Seen
Your AINTS did…………….but we still 10-1 and your AINTS 5-6……….how is that for a urinal!?

Marley's Dad

November 26th, 2012
12:19 pm

I have to say…regardless of how they played and how close the games have been.

I did not see 10-1 coming.

Now let’s lock up the division, rest a few guys, win the SuperBowl!

Answer This

November 26th, 2012
12:20 pm

@ Seen
and your season smells like a losing one………..with no #1 draft pick……….with you losing your coach………with players getting older………..you all just stink!

lowdownjj

November 26th, 2012
12:25 pm

Honors Roll goes to ole a$$ Mike Pete for stuffing the Muscle Hampster on the goalline play and to Daba Deuce for playing through the painful sholder injury. 10-1 and BRING ON DEM AINTS!

monty

November 26th, 2012
12:29 pm

After that initial opening drive Falcons got virtually zip out of the running game. Especially from Turner, who I saw get tackled by a man lying on the ground with just his hands. Rogers made several tacklers who had a chance to tackle him for no or short gain miss. Not because the line blocked well. JUry still out, but yeh, some improvement by utilizing Quizz more.

Jimmy Crack

November 26th, 2012
12:49 pm

An awesome game and a quality road win vs a streaking team in our own division.

Answer This

November 26th, 2012
12:49 pm

@ Seen……..
here in the ATL we are all saying…………….laissez les bons temps rouler…………..stealing that from you Cajun Swamp Rats! We letting the good times roll!

44counter

November 26th, 2012
1:09 pm

I’m going to be a hypocrite, I like the way football was played in the 70’s and 80’s…..you hit anywhere and with anything LOL I’m glad the NFL has targeted the head shots otherwise Ryan might would still be recovering at Grady.

Esquire

November 26th, 2012
1:15 pm

4BsihTneeS
November 26th, 2012
11:46 am

@Answer This: And your playing field smells like somebody used it as a urinal….
**********************************

No, that’s your mouth. Deal with it.

ctfalconsfan

November 26th, 2012
1:18 pm

DOL I usually agree with your grades but..

QB had 2 picks, that’s not an ‘A’ performace
Running game had 79 yards, 3.3 per carry that’s not a B but rather a ‘C’
Special teams almost cost us the game with 2 missed FG’s, no way a ‘B’ again a ‘C’

Coaching an ‘A’ ?? Why try a 48 yarder instead of punting and getting one inside the 20, hopefuly the 20 and take the same amount of time as that FG.
- That call and not going for 2 in New Orleans I still question ..

MG3

November 26th, 2012
1:21 pm

Coaching an a+??? Not in my book. Too conservative still and letting all that time run off the clock at the end of the 2nd quarter was terrible. We lost a down as a result and could’ve taken another shot at the end zone then kicked on 4th instead of 3rd.

ctfalconsfan

November 26th, 2012
1:23 pm

FYI……

On another note, DOL did you see the New York Times yesterday?
The New York Times magazine, one on the inserts, had the Falcons ( a Falcon) on the cover!

It’s a great article (6-7 pages) on Pat Schiller. From not being drafted our of N. Illinois to ATL signing him, mini camp and training camp. Getting cut by ATL on the final cut and then (now) presently on our practice squad.

Interesting read for all NFL fanes!

glw

November 26th, 2012
1:31 pm

Yeah I cant give an “A” to Ryan either. He threw a pic. I would say A-

Also, coaching cant get an “A” either. Smith made a couple of questionable decisions. running the clock down in the 1st half and then the non-punt at the end of the game. I wold say a B for coaching.

and special teams,your field goal kicker missed 2 kicks, including shanking a 22 yard fg. I would give at least a B- for that.

Redcoat

November 26th, 2012
1:33 pm

@Seen (the al qaeda supporter)…..apologized for supporting terrorist that have killed your fellow Americans yet?…….Many will remember and never forget……fess up and get your priorities straight!