Archive for December, 2012

Atlanta Falcons: ‘Different team’ vows to end playoff flops

The Falcons say this season won’t end like the one in 2008 . . . or 2010 . . . or 2011.

That’s three playoff busts in three tries for the Falcons with general manager Thomas Dimitroff, coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan. That’s a lot of baggage for the Falcons to carry when they open the playoffs on Jan. 12 or 13 as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Rather than pretend the weight isn’t there, the Falcons say they are ready to carry it.

“This is a very different team from last year, two years ago, three years ago,” Falcons wide receiver Roddy White said. “Our players are much more mature. I think we are ready to go. We feel like we’ve got a lot to prove in the playoffs because we haven’t won a game and we want to win one so bad.

“I don’t think anybody is pressing. We just want to go win.”

The Falcons (13-2) have done all they can to set themselves up with the easiest possible path to the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

They secured the top seed with …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: ‘Different team’ vows to end playoff flops »

Atlanta Falcons: Plan is to ‘play to win’ final regular-season game

FLOWERY BRANCH–The Falcons’ 31-18 victory at Detroit last night made the results of Sunday’s regular-season finale irrelevant to Atlanta’s playoff seeding but coach Mike Smith said that doesn’t mean the game doesn’t matter.

Atlanta (13-2) wrapped up the NFC’s top seed with the victory over the Lions and will enjoy a bye week and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Smith, asked today if he has a plan on how long he will play his starters Sunday against the Buccaneers, said: “We’re going to play the game to win.”

“That’s how we approach it,” he said. “It’s an important game because it’s division game. All games are important. Does it have no bearing? It really does because we want to win every time we go out there to play.”

Falcons players are off until Wednesday. Smith said he and his staff will be at the team’s facility over the next couple days but won’t stay as late as usual.

This is the second time the Falcons have earned the NFC’s top seed with Smith as …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Plan is to ‘play to win’ final regular-season game »

Atlanta Falcons: Playoff tickets go on sale on Thursday

The Falcons announced that playoff tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday at 10 a.m.

With Saturday night’s 31-18 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field, the 2012 NFC South Division champion Falcons have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs, a first-round bye, and will be in action at the Georgia Dome during the NFC Divisional Playoff weekend (January 12 or 13).

Since 2008, the Falcons are 33-5 at home and are 7-0 at the Georgia Dome this season.

After the 2010 season, the Falcons finished 13-3 and were the NFC’s No. 1 seed for the playoffs. They were upset by Green Bay Packers 48-21 in the divisional round of the playoffs at the Georgia Dome on Jan. 15, 2011.

Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com, at all Ticketmaster locations, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Single-game playoff tickets for the Divisional playoff game start at $65 and there will be an eight ticket limit per person.


Get instant …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Playoff tickets go on sale on Thursday »

Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan leads victory over Lions for NFC’s top seed

DETROIT—Any opponent coming to the Georgia Dome in the playoffs will have to deal with the Falcons and their sizzling quarterback.

Matt Ryan staggered the Lions early and finished them off late for a 31-18 Falcons victory Saturday night at Ford Field. The Falcons (13-2) will be the NFC’s top seed with a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

Now the Falcons will try to parlay the NFC’s top seed into postseason success. They couldn’t do it in 2010, when they also posted the NFC’s best record only to lose 48-21 to the Packers in the divisional playoffs round.

“It’s in the back of our minds,” Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud said of that game. “But we know we are a different team than we were two years ago with the passion we play with and the play-making ability is much higher than we had two years ago.”

Atlanta’s victory over Detroit rendered moot the result of next Sunday’s regular-season finale against Tampa Bay at the Georgia …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan leads victory over Lions for NFC’s top seed »

Atlanta Falcons at Lions: Falcons safety William Moore to miss third straight game

DETROIT–Falcons safety William Moore (hamstring) will miss his third consecutive game. Chris Hope is starting in his place.

The rest of Atlanta’s inactives: Dominque Davis, Tim Toone, Phillipkeith Manley, Harland Gunn, Chase Coffman and Cliff Matthews.

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) is out for the Lions. Will Heller replaces him in the starting lineup.

The rest of Detroit’s inactives: Kellen Moore, Ron Bartell, Jason Fox, Corey Hilliard, Ogemdi Nwagbuo and Ronnell Lewis.

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons at Lions: Falcons safety William Moore to miss third straight game »

Atlanta Falcons: Looking to stay home for the playoffs

FLOWERY BRANCH–Just one good night in Detroit will set the Falcons up for a relatively relaxed three weeks in Atlanta.

Win at Detroit on Saturday and the Falcons (12-2) will earn a bye for the first weekend of the playoffs and wouldn’t need to leave the Georgia Dome to win the NFC title. The result of their game against the Buccaneers on Dec. 30 would become moot.

For the Falcons, it’s all about clinching home field when they go to Detroit’s Ford Field.

“That’s the thing that is in reach,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We’ve got to go out and play effectively this week. Our goal is to win every game we play and then we will figure out what happens after that.”

Defeat the Lions (4-10) and Falcons players are likely to be off until after Christmas Day. When they returned to work, the team’s regulars would enjoy a light practice week and look forward to either sitting out the Buccaneers game or logging just a handful of plays.

Lose to the Lions and …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Looking to stay home for the playoffs »

Atlanta Falcons: League fines Chris Hope and Roddy White

The league fined Falcons safety Chris Hope $30,000 today for his helmet-to-helmet against Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz last Sunday.

Hope had expected to be fined for the hit, which drew an unnecessary roughness penalty. All such penalties are reviewed by the league for possible fines.

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White also was fined $7,875 for scuffling with Giants cornerback Corey Webster, who was docked the same amount.

LATEST NEWS

Sam Baker bounces back

Safety William Moore questionable to play at Lions

Still no consistent running game with playoffs near

Lesson learned, Falcons expect focused effort at Detroit

Safety William Moore misses practice

If the playoffs started today . . .

One win away from wrapping up home-field advantage

Falcons look ‘Super’ in 34-0 rout of the Giants

Defense rides fourth down stops to shutout of Giants

QUOTES: What they said after the 34-0 Falcons victory

Diving intervention: Lord tells Roddy to play vs. Giants

Video: Falcons …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: League fines Chris Hope and Roddy White »

Atlanta Falcons: Safety William Moore questionable to play at Lions

Six Falcons players are listed as questionable on the injury report for tomorrow’s game at Detroit: safety William Moore (hamstring), wide receiver Roddy White (knee), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (ribs), running back Christopher Owens (hamstring), tackle Tyson Clabo (thigh) and defensive end Cliff Matthews (hamstring).

Moore and Matthews did not participate in today’s light practice session. Moore has missed the past two games with the injury.

White, Babineaux, Owens, and Clabo participated in practice on a limited basis today.

Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) is listed as doubtful and safety Louis Delmas (knee) is questionable. Pettigew did not practice today

LATEST NEWS

Still no consistent running game with playoffs near

Lesson learned, Falcons expect focused effort at Detroit

Safety William Moore misses practice

If the playoffs started today . . .

One win away from wrapping up home-field advantage

Falcons look ‘Super’ in 34-0 rout of the Giants

Defense …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Safety William Moore questionable to play at Lions »

Atlanta Falcons: Sam Baker bounces back

FLOWERY BRANCH–Playing left tackle in the NFL is one of the toughest jobs in sports.

Trying to do it with a balky back — and who knows what else — like Falcons tackle Sam Baker did for who knows how long, makes it nearly impossible.

As Baker struggled last season and eventually lost his job, his linemates kept saying his health was the issue. But in the cold, bottom-line business of professional football, the reasons for Baker’s struggle hardly mattered. He had to play better.

He’s doing so now, in no small part because he’s also healthier now. So it’s satisfying for Baker to have the kind of season that he and his teammates always knew he could.

“For all these guys that have always had my back and stood by me, to be back playing well feels real good right now,” Baker said.

When the Falcons selected Baker with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2008 draft, it was with the idea that he would be a building block along with quarterback Matt Ryan. They had selected …

Continue reading Atlanta Falcons: Sam Baker bounces back »

Falcons at Detroit: 3 key matchups

Falcons RG Peter Konz vs. Detroit DT Ndamukong Suh: Konz, a second-round pick from Wisconsin has done his part to fortify the interior of the passing pocket since taking over for Garrett Reynolds. Matt Ryan ranks seventh in the NFL in pass attempts (539), but has been sacked just 25 times, which ranks 21st in the league. The disruptive Suh is a rowdy interior force. He is second on the team with 6.5 sacks and has 30 tackles. Konz will get some help from center Todd McClure.

Falcons RB Michael Turner vs. Lions MLB Stephen Tulloch: Turner has rushed for a touchdown in the past five games. Turner ran strong last week against the Giants. While he may have lost a step or two, he’s still a load to get to the ground. In last season’s matchup, Turner rushed 27 times for 122 yards. Tulloch leads the Lions with 100 tackles. He has 67 solos and 33 assisted tackles. The former N.C. State product is the leader of the Lions defense.

Falcons DE John Abraham vs. Lions RT Gosder …

Continue reading Falcons at Detroit: 3 key matchups »