Report card: Falcons earn high marks in win over Giants





Here are the Falcons’ grades for the 34-0 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

GAME BALLS: Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon for leading a spirited defensive effort and the offensive line for battling the mighty Giants defensive line rotation.

A — Quarterbacks: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan broke a pair of his own franchise records. He topped his club record for passing yards in a single season. After just 14 games he has 4,202 yards for the season. Ryan threw for 4,177 yards in 2011. Ryan also broke his club record for completions in a season, as he has connected on 369 passes this season. He set the franchise record with 357 completions in 2010. Ryan is the only quarterback in team history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons. Ryan finished the game completing 23 of 28 passes (82.1 percent) for 270 yards with three touchdowns and a 142.6 passer rating. His 82.1 completion percentage is the second highest of his career, trailing his 24 of 28 (85.7) performance against Green Bay on Nov. 28, 2010. Ryan’s 142.6 quarterback rating against New York was the second-highest single game rating of his career. He posted a 146.3 passer rating in the 2011 season finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Luke McCown also got some mop-up action.

A — Running backs: For just the second time this season, the Falcons ran the ball more times than they passed, attempting only 28 passes. In a win over Philadelphia on Oct. 28, they rushed the ball 37 times and threw 29 passes. The Falcons forced the Giants to respect the running attack. They ran the ball 35 times for 125 yards (3.5 per carry) when discounting three kneel-downs by quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Luke McCown. Turner had 52 yards on 16 carries and scored a touchdown for the fifth straight game. It was his ninth rushing touchdown of the season. Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 25 yards on 11 carries and Jason Snelling had 39 yards on six carries. Julio Jones got in on the action with an 18-yard scamper. The running backs also had six catches for 48 yards, including Mike Cox’s dazzling flip on his 11-yard grab.

A — Receivers: Roddy White, slowed by a sore knee, didn’t practice all week, but started against the Giants and caught two passes for 16 yards. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan leaned more on wide receiver Julio Jones, who finished with six catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Tony Gonzalez caught six passes for 49 yards and Harry Douglas had three for 83 yards.

A — Offensive line: Ryan was sacked once and hit just three times. They clawed out enough yards in the run game to make the Giants respect the rushing attack, even though they didn’t average 4.0 yards per carry. The unit faced a big challenge and came through with a strong performance.

A — Defensive line: Defensive tackles Corey Peters and Peria Jerry harassed Eli Manning and were a big part of rattling the quarterback. Babineaux flushed Manning into Kroy Biermann for the Falcons only sack. Coach Ray Hamilton’s crew was also stout against the run as they held Dave Wilson to 55 yards on 12 carries.

A — Linebackers: Weatherspon led the charge with nine tackles. Stephen Nicholas was also flashing in the run game and finished with five tackles. Akeem Dent had three tackles. The Giants rushed for 97 yards on 21 carries.

A — Defensive backs: Cornerback Asante Samuel said all week in practice that Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks would not be a factor in this game. Nicks destroyed the Falcons in the playoffs last season. On the Giants second play from scrimmage, Samuel intercepted a pass intended for Nicks on a curl route. Also, safety Thomas DeCoud came up with a pick on a pass intended for Nicks, who was held to 40 yards on three catches. Dominique Franks and Charles Mitchell stepped up when Chris Hope went down with a head injury. Franks, normally a cornerback, played some safety. Mitchell played in the dime package when the Giants went to a four-receiver formation.

A — Special teams: Giants kickoff returner Dave Wilson had 227 yards on kickoff returns last week against New Orleans. The Falcons held him to 66 yards on three returns. He brought Matt Bosher’s opening kickoff out of the end zone from 6 yards deep and was stopped by Cliff Matthews at the 13-yard line. Coach Mike Smith was asked about Asante Samuel’s pick, but went into a freestyle rap on how the kickoff coverage was superb. He wanted to make sure their effort didn’t get lost in the shuffle. Biermann and Snelling also had special teams tackles.

A — Coaching: The Falcons knew they had to run the ball and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter ran draw, after draw, after draw to slow down the Giants vaunted pass rush. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan opened with his big boys up front – Peters, Jerry and Babineaux along with John Abraham. The Falcons disguise-packages that are designed not to give the quarterback and valid pre-snap read led to two interceptions.

NEXT UP: The Falcons (12-2) face the Detroit Lions (4-10) at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Ford Field.

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76 comments Add your comment

Dewnsav

December 17th, 2012
8:34 am

great game…hope they are peaking at the right time…go dogs

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 17th, 2012
8:48 am

We should rest Ryan, Gonzo, & Julio for the next two games, or only play them for a half or so each game, to minimize the risk of injury. No sense in playing them now. We got this!

WE ARE THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

Marcus

December 17th, 2012
8:50 am

nice comeback from teh straight F’s from last week.

POPOV

December 17th, 2012
8:56 am

They keep saying the Falcons haven’t played anybody all year. Well they have beaten every team in the NFC EAST which is supposed to be the strongest division. They beat every team in the AFC WEST, the only losses are in their own division. What else needs to be said

Falcon James

December 17th, 2012
8:56 am

If they was a grade higher than a A, the Falcon would have it after this game. They looked like a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Ernest

December 17th, 2012
8:58 am

What a difference a week makes, from all F’s to all A’s. Let’s just call the Carolina game an ‘outlier’ that can happen to any team.

Let’s win the next two games convincingly while minimizing injuries. Hopefully backups can play most of the 2nd half of the Tampa Bay game, giving most starters additional rest. This will put us on a good road for the playoffs and ultimately the Super Bowl.

cb795

December 17th, 2012
9:00 am

Great game! Coach Smith must free Dom Davis! Redskins used a rookie QB as their backup and Dirk imported a 1.8 rated failed QB from Jacksonville. If we rested Ryan, the Falcons will not win these games. Make the team stronger and develope Davis. Look what the league is doing with moble QBs and the Falcons will have the same results in the future. Well we can’t blame Smith for having a vision for this team. If Matt goes dowm, it will get ugly.

No love for VW

December 17th, 2012
9:28 am

How about Vance Walker on the D-line?

Get Back Jojo

December 17th, 2012
9:31 am

@Ernest…You are so right. Carolina is no where near the team the Falcons are despite what Cam thinks. Cam is no where near the quarterback Matt is on or off the field.

Naysayers, how ya like us now?

GO FALCONS!!!

coach phil

December 17th, 2012
9:37 am

All the haters hating on Da Birds. Pick your face up.

Ueeediot

December 17th, 2012
9:41 am

Do you think if we win a few more games maybe, just maybe, we can get some people to pay for tickets who are actually Falcons fans?
There mustve been 15,000 Giants fans go home sad last night

hello there

December 17th, 2012
9:47 am

Way to go Falcons
For you NY fans, the fact this is deemed an important game is showing respect and acknowledgement of the Giant organization

ESPN headline should read: .

December 17th, 2012
9:47 am

Falcons edge Giants….Or :Falcons escape with a win over Giants……Or: Fraudulent Falcons steal a win……

OK…..I’m just having fun with the nations perception of the Falcons.

E-Roll

December 17th, 2012
9:48 am

I have to agree with everything that has been said / written except I would have to give special teams a B simply because Dominique Franks seems to be lost on punt returns.

When the punting team players are 10 – 15 yards away from him he consistently keeps trying to make moves to make imaginary tacklers miss. Catch the ball and get up field is your job on punt returns. One move (if needed) and go and please do not put the ball on the ground again.

Besides that little point A’s all around for the Falcons!!!

BIRD WATCHER

December 17th, 2012
9:56 am

The NYG fans were making a lot of noise at the start of the game…then…then…silence…dead silence!! Was the sweetest moments for the remainder of the game to watch all those NYG fans sitting on their hands, shaking their heads, arguing with each other about “what happened?”…just goes to show you, our poor showing a week earlier don’t mean a thing…hooray to the coaches and players for heads up football…ITS NOW THAT COUNTS!!

Ostrich Racer

December 17th, 2012
10:00 am

I have to agree with E-Roll — Franks is a weak link on punt returns. That could bite us in the butt in the postseason; better to fix it now.

who dat? we dat! go dirty birds!

December 17th, 2012
10:02 am

great game dirty birds

single white dove

December 17th, 2012
10:07 am

Dewnsav

December 17th, 2012
8:34 am
great game…hope they are peaking at the right time…go dogs

Go dogs???…

BIGDAWGFAN

December 17th, 2012
10:09 am

all I have to say is
WHO LET THE BIRDS OUT? WHO? WHO? WHO?

Ryder

December 17th, 2012
10:09 am

The Falcons played well across the board and I think the offensive line should’ve gotten a game ball for their ability to control the game.

take it from me.

December 17th, 2012
10:13 am

The next 2 games are important.detroit allways play us hard,and tampa is a division game,they won’t lay down for us.Both teams will come after us and try to spoil home field through out playoffs.can’t let up,49ers are right on our heels.

NFC South Champs

December 17th, 2012
10:14 am

Professor D. Led also gets an A.

Esquire

December 17th, 2012
10:25 am

(SceneThisB4) Esquire is in the HOUSE
December 17th, 2012
8:48 am

We should rest Ryan, Gonzo, & Julio for the next two games, or only play them for a half or so each game, to minimize the risk of injury. No sense in playing them now. We got this!

************************************************
Thank you SCENE but we should lock up home field for the playoffs dunce hat. You really don’t know too much about football do you………….!!!

ROFLMAO
I am tired of it………..bounty pounty……..I’m a brokeback Mountie…..
Coach Joe ya gotta know the embarrassment, my tranny lovin women made me pitch a tent, I feel like I wanna die, I got a roughneck by my side, I’m so tired of the stench, my team needs a serious wrench, It’s my man Brees, got me on my knees, throwing a pick six, now I gotta wait on a quick fix.

WE ARE THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

BK

December 17th, 2012
10:29 am

WE HAVE TO PLAY MATT NEXT WEEK BECAUSE WE NEED TO LOCK UP THE 1 OR 2 SEED A BYE IN THE PLAYOFFS IS AS GOOD AS A WIN IN MY EYES.. IF WE WIN NEXT WEEK AND 49ERS OR GREEN BAY LOSES THEN REST MATT AND SOME OF THE OTHER STARTERS FOR THE LAST GAME …

Contender or Pretender?

December 17th, 2012
10:31 am

<— Good answer, Falcons!

lowdownjj

December 17th, 2012
10:32 am

@ BK: If we win next Sat night it doesn’t matter what anybody else does…we’ll have dome field advantage wrapped up

Esquire

December 17th, 2012
10:33 am

This is an opportunity to revisit what an idiot SceneThisB4 is. As many of you know he is being relentlessly attacked on the NOLA blogs and he thinks it’s me. That’s funny!!!

He thinks he knows football but check out his interpretation of the rules.
This is what the dunce hat wrote back in September here on the AJC., like he knows anything about football.

Scene This B4
September 21st, 2012
8:27 am
@Jimmy: You don’t get any points on the field of play if you catch the ball and the ground causes it to become dislodged. The rule in the endzone is different so as to remove any doubt. You have to maintain possession through the end of the play, including landing on the ground, cause six points are at stake. On the normal field of play, the reciever gets the benefit of the doubt, in the endzone, he has to earn it.

Note to SuxThisBZERO:

NFL Rule 8 Section 1 Article 3 Item 3

“The requirements for a catch in the end zone are the same as the requirements for a catch in the field of play.”

What an idiot!

Esquire

December 17th, 2012
10:34 am

Falcon James
December 17th, 2012
8:56 am

If they was a grade higher than a A, the Falcon would have it after this game. They looked like a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

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

I concur!!!

WE ARE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

ronhen24

December 17th, 2012
11:02 am

Dominique Franks have been and will be our achilles heel on special teams for the rest of the season and in the playoffs. I agree with the panel that Franks is horrible returning punts. I have been trying to figure out what he is waiting on to get up field. Faking and then running is not the answer. If he hit the hole hard, he might be able to break free, but he will never know with trying to do what Dieone Sanders did with running lateral and find a seam and burst. He is nowhere near that caliber of player. Just hit it!

Ueeediot

December 17th, 2012
11:04 am

/sarcasm
Unfortunately, the falcons havent even played anybody yet.

Ueeediot

December 17th, 2012
11:07 am

Franks cannot return punts (Antoine Smith can…. from his days at FSU)
Franks can play some CB though….came in when S Chris Hope left the game and immediately defended a pass!

Harry Douglas could return punts also….

Pisses me off to hear that Dieon Branch was available last week…..

Esquire

December 17th, 2012
11:16 am

Can’t wait for Goodell to be presenting us that Lombardi in the Merci Benz Dome at the Super Bowl…………..all you Peeshwank crawfish head lickin bounty cheating cajuns gonna hate that.

FalconPeach

December 17th, 2012
11:20 am

Please let me know if I am wrong, but if the Falcons win either of the next two games, do we get home field advantage?

Falcon Old Timer

December 17th, 2012
11:23 am

Great game – congratulations Falcons!!

HOWEVER – the proof of your rise to greatness will be AFTER you get to the play-offs. Let’s see what you’ve got then and IF you have what it takes in this league to go all the way – or will you be a “flash in the pan” once again. For me personally – although you’ve got my total support – I’m not getting my hopes up yet to have them stepped on again as you’ve done over and over in the past. What are you really made of this time?? The team I saw LAST week – or the team I saw YESTERDAY??

Falcon Old Timer

December 17th, 2012
11:31 am

One further comment – The team I saw yesterday is the same team that could be / should be 13 – 0. The ONLY difference in those two losses is the way the players and coaches approached the game – and played the game. I hear CMS talk about how they supposedly approach every week – but obviously something was missing the weeks of those two losses. When the staff and players can identify what that difference was then they wil be on to what it takes to win consistantly – at all levels of competition.

dickelsby

December 17th, 2012
11:32 am

Moved here in ”75 from Giants country….adopted my new home team and went to work on remorse control for a couple of decades……..couldn’t be more proud of my Falcons right now…one more win and I might even consider overlooking Arthur’s Obama support!!!!!!!

Realist

December 17th, 2012
11:34 am

We get the #1 seed if we win either of these last two games, as neither GB nor SF can get to 13 wins. If we lose both games, then we need help to get a first-round bye.

Falcon Old Timer

December 17th, 2012
11:36 am

Sorry – 14 – 0.

single white dove

December 17th, 2012
11:40 am

If we win the superbowl, no more comentary hate!

Time will tell...

December 17th, 2012
11:40 am

The Falcons will lose their first playoff game. AS USUAL..They just got really lucky yesterday. It’s obvious that the NY Giants were not there mentally.

Truth...

December 17th, 2012
11:42 am

Falcants’ fans don’t get ahead of yourself. You all will NOT go to the Superbowl. You will NOT even win the first game in the playoffs. History has a way of repeating itself.

The Superbowl teams will be the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers.

Latest Five Card Draw News

December 17th, 2012
12:03 pm

[...] Report card: Falcons earn high marks in win over Giants Report card: Falcons earn high marks in win over Giants. 8:20 am December 17, 2012, by D. Orlando Ledbetter … Stephen Nicholas was also flashing in the run game and finished with five tackles. Akeem Dent had three tackles. The Giants rushed for 97 … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

True Falcon Fan

December 17th, 2012
12:05 pm

Yo ALL you SKEPTICS, listen UP: The Packers & 49ers, their time will come soon and possibly either the Ravens, Broncos, Texans, Steelers, Patriots, Colts maybe anyone of these. For all you skeptics thinking the Falcons haven’t played anybody yet. These 6-8 teams will get their shot at the Falcons soon enough. Like I’ve stated all along, I for one want to see these Falcons play & beat the best!
That all being said, since the Falcons are the Champions of the NFC South,
The Falcons are the champions of the NFC East,
The Falcons are the champions of the AFC West.
Also since the Falcons only play the Detriot Lions next Sunday night. The title for the NFC North will be decided in the playoff maybe possibly only if the Packers can stay alive to get to ATL?

So “Skeptics” —- just sit back on your “COWARD” ashes and enjoy the beauty of the Atlanta Falcons, they are going to bestow upon you.

“GREAT STATEMENT WIN OVER THE G-MEN — WOW REALLY GREAT WIN”!!!!

:) :) :) :) :)

Go Falcons — Lion next .

Chuck Shick

December 17th, 2012
12:08 pm

@ Time will tell… The Falcons demolished a Giants team locked in a division chase with two other teams. They had ALOT to play for!

Did they “not show up” or were they just beaten badly?

Falcon Fan Since 1966

December 17th, 2012
12:18 pm

You know. Some may be right about the Falcons not making it past the first game in the playoffs, but we just shut out last years Super Bowl winner New York Giants 34 — 0 and all the ho hum bullsh!t that you can spew out of your loud mouths wil never ever take that away from us. It’s ours we’ve got it and you can’t have it. PUNKS!

Samuel

December 17th, 2012
12:30 pm

Some of these teams the Falcons have beaten early on in the season have been very successful down the stretch. noticeably. The Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys who all seem to have a shot to get in the playoffs or win the division.

BenNewt

December 17th, 2012
12:30 pm

But Seriously Who Let the Birds Out? Who Who Who!

ATL Observer

December 17th, 2012
12:37 pm

What I liked:
4TH DOWN STOPS!! That was psychologically huge, esp. given how last year’s playoff game went.
Much stronger game from Matty than we’ve seen in awhile.
Running game was solid.
Defense was very opportunistic.

What still worries me:
This team still doesn’t impress me against the run. I honestly wonder what the final score would have been if Eli Manning had just handed the ball to Wilson on every play for the entirety of the game.
Franks isn’t good at returning punts.

Great win for the Birds! Let’s get the Dome reserved on Saturday night! :-)

True Falcon Fan

December 17th, 2012
12:45 pm

@Time will tell —- Yes time will only tell when you can get your head out of your “ASHES” ;)

Son — let’s make sure you get this right, “The existing Super Bowl Champions” don’t lose 34-0 / You stated the New York Gaints were just not there mentally…. Are you kidding me, fourteenth game of the season they win there in, Are you kidding me. Son, this ain’t High School football or College, this is the NFL! You idiot moron you are no different than an “Ostrich” —- moron, get your head out of the dirt! People like you make me sick.

Go Falcons —- Lion next

okeetee

December 17th, 2012
12:46 pm

“Esquire is in the HOUSE” says: We should rest Ryan, Gonzo, & Julio for the next two games, or only play them for a half or so each game, to minimize the risk of injury. No sense in playing them now. We got this!

….hey numbnuts….we ain’t got much, if anything, yet! We haven’t clinched a bye week, we haven’t clinched a 1st or 2nd seed……UNTIL we win ONE MORE GAME! HELLO? Is anybody home up there??? We ain’t resting nobody until we win one more game! The 49ers and the Packers can still sneak in there and take the 1 and 2 seeds right out from under our noses! We’re good, we’re very good! But I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable with this excellent Falcon team IF we get home field throughout the playoffs! I say let’s concentrate on this Saturday, beat the Lions, and THEN we can rest ALL of our guys in the last game. It won’t mean a thing! We will have secured the number 1 seed throughout the NFC playoffs…..probably avoid Green Bay, and end up facing two rookie quarterbacks in OUR house!