Atlanta Falcons: Lesson learned, Falcons vow focused effort at Detroit





FLOWERY BRANCH–The Falcons can solidify their postseason positioning with a road victory against a struggling opponent on Saturday.

Faced a similar situation two games ago, the Falcons fell flat at Carolina. They are vowing not to do the same at Detroit (4-10) with home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs within reach.

“I think we learned our lesson from the Carolina game,” Falcons running back Michael Turner said. “We are not taking anything for granted. We’ve still got work to do. We’ve still got things to get better at. They are going to give us their best shot. We know that.”

Some players admitted to becoming too relaxed in their preparation for the Panthers game, which followed a tough victory against the rival Saints. After the humbling 30-20 defeat at Carolina, the Falcons responded with what they said was a focused week of practice before their 34-0 victory against the Giants on Sunday.

Coach Mike Smith doesn’t expect a repeat of the lax preparation.

“I certainly hope we approach it differently,” Smith said. “I believe we will. This (Detroit) is a very good football team. Their record is not indicative of what kind of team they are.”

Smith noted the Lions have lost eight games by eight points or less and, like the Giants, have a talented defensive line.

The Falcons started slowly against Carolina and never recovered. They want to jump on the Lions early.

“We want to do that every week, but even more so this week,” Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud said. “If we can get them behind the 8-ball and under our thumb early, I think the ball will be in our court.”

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101 comments Add your comment

Buckeye

December 19th, 2012
7:54 am

First

woop woop

GDawg

December 19th, 2012
8:05 am

Go out and get home field this weekend on a national stage. Let the people see the REAL Falcons. Plenty of people will be watching, hate to pull against Matthew Stafford but I hope he throws 4 picks with one a pick 6 by 22.

Elvis is Alive

December 19th, 2012
8:10 am

12 and two..Detroit and Tampa..then the playoffs..Fellas ..IT’S NOW OR NEVER”!!!

Drew Brees beats up orphans

December 19th, 2012
8:19 am

Hate to say it, but if the Falcons don’t get to at least the conference championship, Mike Smith should be shown the door. All the tools are there.

Falcon James

December 19th, 2012
8:28 am

The Falcon are going to put it to Detroit and wrap home field advantage.

Felix the Cat

December 19th, 2012
8:31 am

The Falcons Play the rest of their games in a Dome. All the way through the SuperBowl the temperature will not drop below 70 degrees. Go Falcons!

Esquire IS IN THE HOUSE

December 19th, 2012
8:33 am

QB, Check; Receivers, Check; Running Backs, Check; Tight Ends, Check; Offensive line, hmmm;

Secondary, Check; Linebackers, Check; Defensive Line, hmmm;

Kickers, check.

Yes, we have the tools!

Now the question is: Do the Falcons have the drive, the mental capacity, the intestinal fortitude, the heart, to go out and get the job done? Do they? I say it’s time they show the world who they truely are!!! SING IT WITH ME NOW MY COMRADES IN ARMS, SING IT WITH ME NOW!!!

WE ARE THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY FALCONS!

ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGH!!!!

Esquire IS IN THE HOUSE

December 19th, 2012
8:45 am

I still think we should sit Ryan, Jones, Gonzo, and maybe even White this week to reduce their exposure to injury. Detroit is a dangerous team with a penchant for illegal play and malevalent acts on the field. We don’t need any of these 4 to go down to season ending injuries at this point in time. We can take the Lions without them!

We need to play smart!

Whadda Ya Know?

December 19th, 2012
8:47 am

If they play against ALL remaining opponents with the intensity they went after the Giants with, there’s no doubt they will be in position to win these games. Stay aggressive offensively and defensively for 4 quarters…NEVER let up (Smitty).

BillyBob

December 19th, 2012
9:46 am

“Mike Smith shown the door”? Yeah right. Falcons fire head coach after 14 and 2 said no one ever!

Smlarsen

December 19th, 2012
9:47 am

That just makes no since esquire. We need to win this game. It seals the deal on home field advantage. We do not neccesarily need it but it would most certainly be beneficial to have. Play our starters, get up by at least the third quarter, then consider resting the starters. A loss to the buccs means nothing as long as we win this.

Smlarsen

December 19th, 2012
9:48 am

I mean he only has the best record of any falcons coach ever. More like “shown a raise”!

Esquire IS IN THE HOUSE

December 19th, 2012
10:33 am

Smlarsen

December 19th, 2012
9:47 am

That just makes no since esquire. We need to win this game. It seals the deal on home field advantage. We do not neccesarily need it but it would most certainly be beneficial to have. Play our starters, get up by at least the third quarter, then consider resting the starters. A loss to the buccs means nothing as long as we win this.

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

Don’t be a peeshwank, I’m not saying the Falcons should tank and give this game away, I’m saying the Falcons can win this game even with the reserves in key starting roles. Detroit is a team that plays aggressively, physically, and often with questionable tactics. Remember, they almost took out Ryan last time they played them.

Is it smart to risk injury to some of our best players just to beat them? I say not!

WE ARE THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

Eric Florida's #1 Falconfan

December 19th, 2012
10:36 am

Are we the only NFL team that does not have a good (I’d take descent) punt returner? Maybe Smitty is saving some trick’s up his sleeve for the playoff’s? Every week we see Frank’s do the same thing, two step’s left, two step’s right and fall’s down! Please tell me come playoff time HD or anyone else return’s punt’s, good field position can really turn a game’s momentum around!! GO FALCON’s!!!!!

Smlarsen

December 19th, 2012
10:53 am

I disagree Esquire. If you look at the score and record of detroit they lose games by very little points. As a Georgia fan I often watch detroit play because of stafford. Many of the games that they have lost were games they had the lead in the majority of the time. I don’t like the idea of injuring a significant player on offence, however, I do like the Falcons at home agaisnt anyone. Get through this game then rest them. That gives them the bye and home field so as long as there are no season ending injuries they will have a minimum of 2 weeks to recover.

909

December 19th, 2012
11:03 am

Laughed this morning after hearing Blank on 790 pandering about how Atlanta “doesnt have a birth right to the SEC-CG and the Chik-Fil-A bowl being held in Atlanta.”

Blank was advancing the idea that the SEC-CG and the Chik-Fil-A bowl risked being moved elsewhere if Atlanta doesnt get a new Dome ?!?!?!?

ROTFLMAO !!!!!!

And Blank emphasized that a new Dome would be financed by a Hotel/Motel tax in the City of Atlanta and all of Fulton county.

So, as the economy CONTINUES to retreat, a whole lot fewer folks will travel to Atlanta for Falcon games and pay the Hotel/Motel tax, or be able to afford the new PSLs. Blank offers that the Hotel/Motel taxes will be paid by folks that dont live here. Ahhh, always OPM…Other Peoples Money.

If Blank wants a new Dome, let him pay for it with his own money.

Blank s bluffing about moving the Falcons if he doesnt get a Dome.

Given the horrid finances of MULTIPLE NFL franchises, what city other city beside LA could possibly support a new NFL franchise?

The City of Atlanta and ALL of Fulton County will be on the hook for ANY short-fall in the Hotel/Motel taxes.

What Blank is really worried about is that the State legislature
has the ability to cancel or block the whole thing.

**Frederick(Bailey)Douglass**

December 19th, 2012
11:05 am

Falcons still have plenty to prove:

1) I want to see two consecutive weeks of hard RUNNING football. Did anyone notice the end of the Giants game when Snelling #44 was absolutely taking it to the Giants? Would have scored had we not been so “nice”. What will it take for us to use Snelling in the run game during crunch time????

2) Dent #52 played one of his better games, but his performance has not been up to Astro standard. I want to see him anticipate against a Lions team that has had a hard time running the ball. The Lions should not run for 100 yards, nor should the Falcons be gashed for any run over 10 yards in this game. Eyes will be on #52.

3) I want to see Ryan #2 utilize slot receivers Douglas #83 and Davis #19 more efficiently. His security blanket is Tony G. #88, but good teams are going to take him away in the playoffs. He better get used to finding #83 and #19 now (and put this on film)

4) Tackling has got to improve. Weatherspoon #56 was admonishing teammates that whiffed on tackles. He needs to continue this authority role. I only wish that Ryan #2 would take this role on offense.

5) Play calling was better last week, save a few questionable calls (reverse to #83 Douglas in third down). I want to see another week of coherent play calling that includes deep shots down the field to the NFC’s best WR tandem, #84 White and #11 Jones. We have to keep the pressure on defenses down the field to open up intermediate routes and the run game.

Saturday night is a huge contest. In primetime. We need to come out and PLAY!

FBD

cb795

December 19th, 2012
11:06 am

Luke could not start and win a game at the High School level. Forget about him winning against the Lions. Win first then rest Matt if they must. Let’s keep the team sharpe!

Elvis the falcon fan

December 19th, 2012
11:07 am

Jump on them early and often. Blitz stafford, we dont have to get sacks, just make him throw it when he doesnt want to or make him throw it where he doesnt want to. That will result in either incompletions or interceptions. Get touchdowns off of turnovers. Use Quizz on screens and draws. We are on our way to the Super Bowl.

Doodaddy

December 19th, 2012
11:17 am

“If we can get them behind the 8-ball and under our thumb early, I think the ball will be in our court.”

Decoud’s New Years resolution should be to avoid cliches like the plague.

It is a ROAD game in the NFL...

December 19th, 2012
11:21 am

…against a team that SHOULD have been pretty good – mark up a loss for the birds – it is just tough to go on the road and win anytime, but especially at Christmas when knowing you are already in the playoffs and have players who really don’t care, or understand, about home field advantage…

Smlarsen

December 19th, 2012
11:28 am

Did you not read the Name of the article buddy. Atlanta Falcons: Lesson learned, Falcons vow focused effort at Detroit. I think that might just indicate the exact opposite of what you just said. Lions= No running game. Falcons= stront secondary. Falcons vs Lions Saturday night= Falcons W.

I Concur

December 19th, 2012
11:39 am

With Esquire, 100%. Been saying the same thing for past few weeks. Especially against Detroit.

Smlarsen

December 19th, 2012
11:48 am

You all really think that our back up qb is capable of beating Detroit? I surely do not.

Esquire

December 19th, 2012
11:51 am

Look, SceneThisB4 is trying to be me!!

Esquire IS IN THE HOUSE
December 19th, 2012
8:33 am

Esquire IS IN THE HOUSE
December 19th, 2012
8:45 am

Esquire IS IN THE HOUSE
December 19th, 2012
10:33 am

NOW MY COMRADES IN ARMS, SING IT WITH ME NOW!!!

WE ARE THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY FALCONS!

ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGH!!!!

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

My god that is funny!!!

Hey, look at this. Joe Montana’s son is going to Tulane!!
http://tinyurl.com/bsgacly

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

Esquire

December 19th, 2012
11:54 am

Obliterate Detroit!!!

WE ARE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

Bogus Bill

December 19th, 2012
12:02 pm

The difference between this game and the Carolina game is that the Panthers have a competent quarterback.

Smlarsen

December 19th, 2012
12:08 pm

Stafford Is a damn good QB Bill. Im a big falcons fan but, be honest with yourself

Mario

December 19th, 2012
12:08 pm

Detroit has no running game. None. They pass the ball a lot. Abraham and the D-line should be able to pin their ears back and go after Stafford. Stafford is prone to throw interceptions so if we can get to him, he’ll throw the ball to DeCoud and Pick Six.

D man

December 19th, 2012
12:47 pm

I believe it is important in a game like this to get up early on Detroit. They will feel like a looser and fold if we can do that. They did last week in Arizona. The last thing we want to do is let them hang around late n the game.

Smlarsen

December 19th, 2012
12:55 pm

Uh, Mario...

December 19th, 2012
1:07 pm

…how does one “pin his ears back”?

Loyalfalconfrmthemississippi

December 19th, 2012
1:42 pm

Esquire you suggest we play scared, no way man our starters dont come out till we have the number one seed locked up, we sit our starters early against detroit and we are stating that we are scared and not aggressive enough to play in this league. We need this to be another completely dominant game like against the giants. We can rest our starters against the bucs, resting them two games early guarantees they go into the playoffs rusty.

Tommy

December 19th, 2012
2:03 pm

‘Mike Smith should be shown the door”???? How about passing around whatever it is you’re drinking. . .

Smith is 55-23 as Falcons head coach. That’s a .705 winning percentage. They are the only NFC team with a winning record each of the last 5 seasons. He’s taken teams to the playoffs with Justin Peele as the starting tight end, Michael Jenkins as the #2 wideout and Akeem Dent as the starting MLB. They guy is a dang good coach and you all would think letting him go was a good idea until 12 other teams beat down his door to come be their head coach.

If you buy the ‘championships are all that matter’ line, you’ve been drinking the ESPN Kool-Aid far too long. By that logic 31 coaches should be canned every year. . .that is the true ‘loser’s mentality’

WDE

December 19th, 2012
2:15 pm

Tommy great post..show Mike Smith the door…to a new BMW perhaps..

[...] Atlanta Falcons: Lesson learned, Falcons vow focused effort at Detroit Michael Cunningham – Atlanta Journal ConstitutionDecember 19, 2012 [...]

[...] Lesson learned, Falcons expect focused effort at Detroit [...]

SawThat1nce

December 19th, 2012
3:24 pm

Show Mike Smith the door??….

SawThat1nce

December 19th, 2012
3:29 pm

The Falcons would be an ultra-elite team, if the person in charge of doing so, would strive to build a bigger, stronger, faster, meaner, and dominate OLine.
That is someone over Mike Smith in the organization.

kirkinga

December 19th, 2012
3:43 pm

I do not know how some people can say there is a coaching problem without also talking about how the team is assembled.

It can be argued that Coach Smith has excelled despite coaching a team that is deficient on both lines of scrimmage. We all understand that the running game is sub par, but yet the team is still 12-2. Some teams are consumed by their holes, the Falcons are surviving theirs.

Even if they win the Super Bowl, this offseason is going to be one of the most important in the franchise’s history.

[...] Lesson learned, Falcons expect focused effort at Detroit [...]

Ueeediot

December 19th, 2012
4:01 pm

So, you want to sit Ryan and crew so they dont get hurt?
Are you proposing we put in their backups so they CAN get hurt?

@kirk
You are dead on accurate with that one.
This off season will be very important. We dont need contract hold outs or stupid things happening. We need a team that knows how to win in the off season too.

This team is built to be a power house for the next 3-5 years. Just need to keep tweaking the edges.

TUG MAN

December 19th, 2012
4:28 pm

WITH THAT WIN OVER THE GIANTS.SOMEBODY IS DRINKING FREE BEER .ME!!!!!!!!THANKS!!!!!!!! .FLY HIGH BIG BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!FALCONS FAN FOR LIFE YEA!!!!!!!!!BABY

RealisticFootbalFan

December 19th, 2012
4:55 pm

Until they can consistently win in the playoffs and get a SB ring…they will continue to be a good regular season team. Even with the win over the Giants…Can they beat them in the post season after the Giants adjust or better yet…Matt Ryan has yet to see the likes of Aldon Smith of the 49ers who has terrorized just about every team he’s played against…the real test for the Falcons doesn’t come in the regular season….We will see what they’re made of when they have to see a team like the 49ers. You think they don’t get respect now…let them lose again in the playoffs this year and they’ll be that much LESS respected…It doesn’t mean a thing without the SB Ring

falconsrelax

December 19th, 2012
5:32 pm

Some of you falcon fans still show that you have no clue about football. Fire smitty if we don’t make it to the conference game??? We should rest our starters against the lions even though we haven’t clinched home field advantage yet??? Really?? LMAO!

Samuel

December 19th, 2012
5:35 pm

I haven’t seen a dominate team so far this year. All the good teams have been beaten even with their so called great defenses. None look like the 85 Bears. So the Falcons are cable of beating any team they face. The Forty Niners are a well rounded team, but they’ve still lost three or four games. I’m sure Aldon Smith started in those games. And now their fate lies with a rooky quarterback that’s bound to make mistakes. Go figure!!

Bill

December 19th, 2012
6:03 pm

“If we can get them behind the 8-ball and under our thumb early, I think the ball will be in our court.”
Block that (mixed) metaphor!

RealisticFootbalFan

December 19th, 2012
6:10 pm

@Samuel the 49ers have a pocket qb who can run….That will give the Falcons defense fits…hence the X factor….Falcons have proven that when they get in to scoring matches again teams like the 49ers or green bay they usually come out on the short end of the stick. Matt Ryan had better start using his slot receivers more…don’t think for a minute that playoff caliber defenses aren’t gonna be ready for his security blanket(Tony Gonzalez). Also, don’t think for a second that playoff caliber defenses aren’t gonna be ready for Matt Ryan’s noodle arm when his receviers have to slow down on their routes for the ball to get to them…If the Falcons are gonna prove people wrong then they’re gonna have to do some things a little differently…and finally Matt Ryan has got to get rid of his happy feet in the pocket..when a Aldon Smith sees that…Ryan will be on either on his back or throwing INT’s…he doesn’t do well when he’s blitzed often…

RealisticFootbalFan

December 19th, 2012
6:14 pm

@Tommy so freaking what Mike Smith’s record is 55-23 as Falcons head coach….THAT ISN”T GOOD ENOUGH ANYMORE…How many SB’s wins or apperances…. ZERO….how many playoff wins…ZERO…..The Falcons can win…no doubt…but they can’t win the ones that actually count for something!!!!! Still remains to be seen dude…

ZinoDawg

December 19th, 2012
6:23 pm

Just don’t hurt my boy Stafford – I love that kid. He’s a DGD.