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Atlanta Falcons playoffs rewind: Steve Bartkowski

(Photo: Atlanta Falcons)

(Photo: Atlanta Falcons)

Who: Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski

What: NFC wild card playoff game, Eagles vs. Falcons

When: Dec. 24, 1978

Where: Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium

Score: Falcons 14, Eagles 13

What happened: In their 13th season as an expansion franchise in Atlanta, the Falcons qualified for the playoffs for the first time … and won.

After finishing over .500 just once since beginning play in 1966, Atlanta posted a 9-7 record in the 1978 regular season. That was four games behind the Los Angeles Rams in the old NFC West but good enough to earn one of two NFC wild card berths.

Bartkowski, Atlanta’s No. 1 overall pick in the 1975 draft, had won back the starting job from June Jones early in the season and led the team to an 8-5 record as the starter. Atlanta lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the regular-season finale but still hosted a playoff game.

The Eagles brought in a stout defense and Bartkowski said he was so wrapped up in preparation that he didn’t feel …

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Video: Falcons are set to break their four-game playoff losing streak

The Atlanta Falcons remain the NFC’s top seed despite losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22-17 in Week 17. CineSport’s Brian Clark and Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution discuss.

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Atlanta Falcons injury report: Smith expects Abraham, Robinson to be ready for playoff game

Nov. 13, 2011 - Atlanta: ---WINNING KICK --- Dejected Atlanta Falcons Jonathan Babineaux, left, and John Abraham, right, walk of the field after the winning field goal kick by New Orleans Saints John Kasay for a 26-23 Saints victory in overtime at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011.   Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Nov. 13, 2011 – Atlanta: —WINNING KICK — Dejected Atlanta Falcons Jonathan Babineaux, left, and John Abraham, right, walk of the field after the winning field goal kick by New Orleans Saints John Kasay for a 26-23 Saints victory in overtime at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons coach Mike Smith said that defensive end John Abraham, who suffered an ankle sprain against Tampa Bay, and cornerback Dunta Robinson, who’s in the league’s concussion protocol, would be available for the team’s playoff game on Monday.

“I can tell you this, on both of the players that left the game yesterday, I fully anticipate that they will be ready to go on Sunday, Jan. 13th at 1 (p.m.),” Smith said on Monday.

Robinson, who stumbled backwards after hitting Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin, will need to be cleared by a independent doctor under league rules.

“He is in the concussion protocol,” Smith said. “He is moving through it at a …

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Atlanta Falcons: Thomas DeCoud wins Good Guy Award

Fresh and fun. (Photo: Michael Cunningham)

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud here having some fun with the media. (Photo: Michael Cunningham)

Safety Thomas DeCoud, who appears in all of the open locker room sessions and is more than generous with his time, has been selected as the Falcons’ 2012 Good Guy Award winner by the local chapter of Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

The articulate and affable DeCoud always takes his time to give thoughtful and helpful responses. Wide receiver Roddy White won the local award last season.

The Good Guy Award is given to a player for his qualities and professional style in helping pro football writers do their jobs. Decoud will be eligible for the national award which was first given by the PFWA in 2005.

ABOUT THE PFWA: The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams on …

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Atlanta Falcons: Safety William Moore to miss fourth straight game

By Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH–Falcons coach Mike Smith said today he expects starting safety William Moore will miss Sunday’s regular-season finale against Tampa Bay because of a hamstring injury.

Moore missed the previous three games with the injury. Smith said Moore hasn’t been medically cleared to play.

“I would like for William to be ready to go but the doctors have got to make that determination,” Smith said. “We’re to a point in the process that we need to get him as healthy as can be. I would say that he’s not going to play in the game this week. That would be our take on it.”

The Falcons have a bye next week before opening the playoffs on Jan. 12 or 13.

Falcons players who sat out practice today in addition to Moore were wide receiver Roddy White (knee), cornerback Christopher Owens (hamstring) and defensive end Cliff Matthews (hamstring).

White was on the injury report before the past two games but started both. Owens left Saturday’s game at Detroit with his …

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Atlanta Falcons: Joe Hawley added to active roster

The Falcons today added reserve offensive lineman Joe Hawley to the active roster and placed wide receiver Kevin Cone on injured reserve.

Hawley returned to practice last week after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The Falcons had a week to decide whether to activate him.

Hawley’s agent, Kevin Omell, said Hawley tested positive for Adderall.

Hawley played in six games before his suspension. He started 12 games last season.

Cone played in 12 games this season, mostly on special teams.

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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 …

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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.


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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

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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 Cherilus:

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