Victory! – Falcons Edge Bears

Birds Triumph on Sunday Night Football

Complete Team Victory (Curtis Compton/AJC)

It wasn’t quite the barn-burner that occurred last year in the Georgia Dome between the Falcons and Bears, but it was pretty close. The Falcons had a total team win, one in which the oft-criticized defense, helped out the normally explosive offense. Special teams for the Falcons continue to be one of the best in the NFL in playing an extremely important role in the overall victory. The hard-fought game many predicted came to fruition where both teams took turns throwing and receiving punches throughout the game, needing all 59 minutes and 31 seconds to finalize the result. The Falcons came out on top against a talented and tough Bears team, that looks to make noise of their own in the NFC down the road. A total team victory that pushed the Falcons past a tough opponent coming off a bye and to a 4-1 record (Check out DOL’s new post).The defense had an outstanding night, locking down one of the game’s best young running backs and holding Cutler and his extremely talented receiving corps from scoring. A look at all sides of the ball:

Offense

Rushing

Winning TD (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The Falcons rushing attack had a very forgettable outing against a very solid Bears defense. The Falcons sputtered often and consistently in the beginning of the game, going for several 3 and outs, and having fairly predictable play-calling. The running game was put in many poor situations, where Coach Mularkey would elect to pass or play-action on first down, and when that failed, Turner would get the ball on the ground and be stuffed for a loss, no gain, or only a couple of yards.

 The Nasty Boys (Falcons O-Line) drew one of the tougher assignments in the Bears defensive line, and didn’t create a lot of openings for Turner and Norwood. The insertion of Norwood seemed to help soften up the Bears defense a little until he suffered a hip flexor injury. The Falcons finished with only 68 yards of rushing offense, with Matt Ryan owning 8 of those yards, but the Nasty Boys kept their QB nice and clean not allowing a sack against Chicago’s excellent pass rush. The rushing attack never got a chance to get going, but Turner ran tough when it counted on the 5 yard touchdown scamper. Tough defense, but 60 rushing yards likely won’t get it done on a consistent basis. Grade – C+

Passing

Excellent Protection for Ryan (Curtis Compton/AJC)

As with the rushing attack, the passing assault was slow going and failed to net many positive yards in the early going. The vertical passing attack that was on fire against he 49ers failed to connect throughout the game, with receivers dropping passes and balls being poorly thrown by Ryan. The normally precise QB had a fairly rough outing against a tough Bears secondary, completing 57.5% of his passes and throwing for a fairly paltry 185 yards. Ryan had two interceptions, one where he tried to force a pass to a covered Tony Gonzalez and one on a tipped pass intended for Michael Jenkins. The second of the interceptions was a particularly costly one, where the Falcons recovered a game-changing fumble on their own one yard line and had a chance, in essence, to ice the game eating up clock and potentially putting the Birds up 21-7 in the fourth quarter.

Ryan did have two touchdowns, though, one where Roddy White made another fantastic catch and touchdown run for 40 yards. The other was a masterful throw to Tony Gonzalez with 4 second before halftime, in which the tight end made a beautiful double-move and settled in a soft spot in the back of the endzone. White finished with 56 yards and one TD, Gonzalez finished with 52 yards and one TD as well, including many huge 3rd down conversion catches. Jenkins, Turner, Norwood, Peelle, and Finneran also chipped in a couple of catches, but few of big implications. The Falcons have been unable to find a legit threat in the slot with teams being able to cover White, Jenkins, and Gonzalez. Credit Coach Mularkey for giving the passing offense a jumpstart and found some good rhythm with the no-huddle passing game. Matt Ryan got the job done when it counted, but it wasn’t his best night. Grade – C+

Offensive Game-BallTony Gonzalez with huge 3rd down conversions and touchdown.

Defense

Rushing

What a game the defense had against one of the NFL’s best young running backs. The Falcons came out and hit early, hard, and often and caused the Matt Forte to run tentative in hitting the hole. Curtis Lofton again had a big game with 8 tackles and forced fumble, Peterson had a good game adding 6 tackles and one sack, and Coy Wire came up with the enormous fumble recovery at the Falcons 1 yard line where Forte and the Bears were threatening to score. The defensive line had another good game in stuffing the running game with particularly great performances from Jonathan Babineaux, Thomas Johnson, and Jamaal Anderson at defensive tackle, all collaring 2 tackles. Babineaux also had a big forced fumble.

Superb Night (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Although the defensive ends only came up with half a sack (Abraham), it pressured and hurried Jay Cutler all night long and forced him to make some errant throws, two of which were picked off by Thomas DeCoud. Anderson played both defensive tackle and defensive end, but made the play of the game by dropping back into coverage from DT and securing the win. The Bears game makes two weeks in a row that the quarterback was the leading rusher (Cutler – 34, Forte, 23). Great game all around on defense, but particularly in stuffing the run and helping out an offense that found itself struggling to find consistency most of the game. Grade – A+

Passing

Career Game (Elissa Eubanks/AJC)

In terms of statistics, the Falcons defensive secondary hemorrhaged yards by the truck load (300 yards) to Cutler and the Bears, but they put the brakes on the passing attack when it counted it most. Thomas DeCoud had a career night with five tackles and two enormous pick and Erik Coleman also had a big night with 7 tackles and 2 assists. The Falcons defensive backs did have a less than stellar night against some very fast and talented receivers Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, and Earl Bennett. Greg Olsen seemed to be open most of the night, but much of the credit goes to Cutler for making several excellent throws and his receivers for hauling in many tough catches.

There were several pass interference calls that extending many drives coming on third downs, one where Chris Houston got called for interference on Johnny Knox on 3rd and 8, which led to a score. The second being a potentially catastrophic play when Curtis Lofton was flagged for interference on Greg Olsen on 3rd and 17 on the Bears final drive with 1 minute and 12 seconds remaining. Brian Williams also had a solid game going as well before suffering a terrible season-ending injury, cutting short an excellent start to the season to date. The defensive line even got involved in the passing defense, with Jamaal Anderson making the play of the game dropping into coverage from defensive tackle and securing the win breaking up a pass on the final fourth down. Safeties continue superb play, and corners had a good game as well, but will need to tighten up their coverage with the high-powered Saints passing attack only two weeks away. Kudos to an excellent game plan by Coach Van Gorder and Coach Smith. Grade – B

Defensive Game-Ball(Two) Thomas DeCoud for his two picks and Jamaal Anderson for the game-saving play.

Special Teams

This group continues to exceed all expectations and be one of the best and most disciplined units in the NFL. Although giving up a few long returns (Hester Punt Return for 33 and Knox kick return for 33 yards), the Falcons kept one of the fastest and quickest return teams fairly under wraps. Michael Koenen had a nice night punting, forcing Hester into several fair catches and his longest punt going for 61 yards. One of the biggest plays of the night came with Eric Weems returning a kickoff 62 yards after the Bears had tied the game with 6 minutes remaining. The play changed the momentum and reversed the field position within seconds. Another big game from what Falcons fans have come to expect from the Birds special teams. Grade – A+

Special Teams Game-BallEric Weems for seizing the momentum back on his 62 yard kickoff return with the game tied in the fourth quarter.

Great win for the Falcons, showing they can win when they don’t play the best of games and gaining the victory. The Birds are 4-1 and have only had one game (San Francisco) where they put it all together on offense, defense, and special teams. Defense and special teams deserve extra praise for keeping the Falcons in it until the offense finally found some rhythm.

4-1 and headed to Dallas!

 

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Your Turn

-Give your grades and assign your game-balls

-What’s your thoughts on the rushing attack: tough defense or officially worried?

-How much will Norwood’s injury hurt the Falcons?

-Play-calling, running backs, O-Line, or all need to improve?

-Worried on Ryan’s tough day or good Bears secondary?

-Ryan’s inaccuracy a one-time deal or reason for concern?

-Anxious about lack of a threat from the slot?

-Defensive line dominated or Bears weak run offense?

-Coleman and DeCoud one of the best safety tandems in the NFL?

-Seriously alarmed on lack of man-to-man DB skill?

-How bad will Brian Williams injury hurt?

-Is there a better overall special teams unit in the NFL?

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Sports Talk on Falcons Victory

What was/were the Play(s) of the Game?

View Results

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183 comments Add your comment

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:09 pm

I will wait…

BlackTalon

October 19th, 2009
11:22 pm

D3-
Nice new deal with giving game balls and everything.

So far, so good at 4/1.
Time to enter the tough meat part of the schedule.
If, the Falcons can come out of the next 5 games with only two or 3 wins, they will be in OK shape going down the stretch for a winning season and possible playoff spot.

BlackTalon

October 19th, 2009
11:25 pm

That said, the mounting injuries are a real concern.

Sarah B

October 19th, 2009
11:29 pm

For what Boxcar???

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:34 pm

I’ll skip #1 and go to
#2. Middle of the road on the rushing attack. We knew that Turner’s carries were going to go down, by design, so there is less of a chance to break off a 30-40 yarder.
#3. Norwood injury will have a minor effect. Snelling doesn’t have the speed, but can make the same medium yard plays receiving out of the backfield.
#4. Need to keep use of the no huddle the same amount, but start using it earlier in the game to gain advantage and avoid another SLOW offensive start.
#5. Everyone has an off day. That was Matt’s.
#6. See #5.
#7. Slot receivers will be OK.
#8 Great D Line play
#9. Safeties are pretty good. Dominant? Talk to me in four more games.
#10. YES!!! Scheme has helped out, though.
#11. TD pulls another TD move. See earlier post about veteran representation on defensive tiers.
#12. If we had a Hester, Yes. Very Very Good as is, though.

BlackTalon

October 19th, 2009
11:34 pm

BC was waiting to actually say anything but indeed cutting you off at the pass to claim FIRST!

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:35 pm

Sarah B.
For you, girl.

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:38 pm

Wasn’t sure if anyone was still out and about. I came across the opening, but didn’t want to utter the word “First”. It seems to upset some of the more sensitive members.

Sarah B

October 19th, 2009
11:39 pm

I don’t care about first. I care about Falcons…

Sarah B

October 19th, 2009
11:40 pm

SD is falling apart.

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:41 pm

Sarah B.
That is what we all care about.

Sarah B

October 19th, 2009
11:41 pm

Hi Boxcar trying to recover from last nights big win…

Sarah B

October 19th, 2009
11:42 pm

My voice is froggy.

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:42 pm

I wasn’t really watching. Did Denver win or did SD lose?

Sarah B

October 19th, 2009
11:43 pm

Nice rundown b4.

BlackTalon

October 19th, 2009
11:45 pm

It looks like the Bronco`s and Colts are the two best in the AFC.

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:45 pm

Did Chicago and Denver both get the right QB? Word was Cutler was a whiner and Orton wasn’t that good. Both QB’s seem to be in the right place at the right time.

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:47 pm

BT,
Who are the two best in NFC?

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:47 pm

Or on a better question, NO and who?

Sarah B

October 19th, 2009
11:49 pm

I think they both needed a change of scenery.

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:50 pm

Sarah,
Now we need for TD to find a DB who wants a change of scenery.

BlackTalon

October 19th, 2009
11:51 pm

The Saints and Vikings right now as top NFC teams

BlackTalon

October 19th, 2009
11:55 pm

Good night, y`all

Sarah B

October 19th, 2009
11:56 pm

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:56 pm

BT,
It seems that Farve is willing his team to win. Did he sell his soul for one more SB?

Sarah B

October 19th, 2009
11:56 pm

Boxcarar

October 19th, 2009
11:58 pm

Sarah,
You are right, Denver coach is a small guy.

Boxcarar

October 20th, 2009
12:00 am

Sarah,
Do you have any moves planned for your FFL team?

Dawson Devitt (D3)

October 20th, 2009
12:00 am

Great Late Night Cage Gents and Gals! :eek: Got a day off tomorrow, so up a little bit. What a game, and the Bears are a pretty good team, I was particularly impressed with their young and talented receiving corps. With Hester, Knox, Bennett, and Olsen they have one of the better corps in the league. Defense played lights out :twisted: , but our defensive backfield is still not up to par. Dimitroff is going to have to either pay much bucks for a big-time FA CB, or draft one first, because Houston is a number 2 corner at best, and really I’d go with a true nickel. It’s time to see Owens, Jackson, and Hill.

A win’s a win, but I was particularly disappointed with the early offensive play-calling :???: Very predictable: 1st down – play-action or regular pass, 2nd down – run up middle, 3rd down – long pass, 4th down – punt. Ryan was a little off last night, but I know he’ll get it corrected due to his work ethic.

Officially worried about running game at this point. :shock: Save the Niners game, it has llooked very weak. My thought would be that the defense would be softer with Tony G. roaming around back there. Hope it gets corrected, because we’ll have to play run, ball-control offense to beat the Saints.

Trainwreck

October 20th, 2009
12:02 am

Gr8 win for the Falcons… but boy the more I see the Saints they scare me more and more… Idk how we are gonna handle them… but I know we can

Trainwreck

October 20th, 2009
12:03 am

Also, I’m wondering if we will see Tye Hill at all next week due to Williams’ injury

Dawson Devitt (D3)

October 20th, 2009
12:04 am

Box – Excellent answers to all questions

Sarah B. – My bro and I went to the Landing. Is it the place where all the kids games are and stuff? We had plenty of brews, but didn’t really feel like a party atmosphere. We headed down to the WCC courtyard and hung out.

BlackTalon – Agreed. Saints and Vikings in NFC, and Colts and Broncos in AFC

Boxcarar

October 20th, 2009
12:05 am

D3,
Remember that CH23 was a 41st pick overall in his draft. Is there that much of a drop from first round to second round?

TheManMike

October 20th, 2009
12:05 am

D3,

Excellent post. Agree with all the grades and Game Balls – nice touch. This Brian Williams injury will hurt, but I’m holding out too much judgement until I see what moves we make and I’m, for some reason, confident in Owens to step it up. We must bring in someone to help the competition – but whom? I have not seen too many names being thrown around. Anyone know of any CB’s out there, working or not, that could come in a give our young guys a run for their money?

Boxcarar

October 20th, 2009
12:06 am

D3,
Almost forgot, another top line post.

Sarah B

October 20th, 2009
12:06 am

Not a whole lot on the waiver wire Boxcar. I def. need help. Any ideas? I’m doing great in my work league so I’m not an idiot. But feel free to take a look. Bear in mind it is a lot of luck. You never know who will run wild each week.

Sarah B

October 20th, 2009
12:08 am

You have the sign in, take a look.

Sarah B

October 20th, 2009
12:09 am

I jinxed Cutler by playing him so maybe I’ll play Romo next week so we win again…

Boxcarar

October 20th, 2009
12:09 am

Sarah,
Would never call anyone in the Cage, especially you, an idiot. As anyone knows, even in our Sunday night game, luck is the great equalizer.

Wabe

October 20th, 2009
12:09 am

I completely agree with you D3 about the run game. Aside from maybe a game or two, the run game has just been non-existent.

I’ll say this, on paper, the Falcons offense is just ridiculous. We always talk about Ryan, Turner, Roddy, Jenks, Gonzo, but it’s just not translating on the field. We’ve really let a lot of teams slow us down and knock our offense out of rhythm. I think more of that has to do with playcalling than execution. The coaches really need to find ways to get Matt Ryan into rhythm early. Get him firing early and often and use the pass game to open up those running lanes. I think a slight shift in philosophy might help get this offense rolling.

I’m hoping the offense gets clicking and rolling on all cylinders as the season moves on. But know this, this season, the Falcons will get as far as this offense takes them.

The DEF seems to be a middle-of-the-road DEF, but it’s good enough if you pair it with the “high-powered” offense that we’re expecting to see out of this Falcons OFFENSE.

Sarah B

October 20th, 2009
12:10 am

It really is!

Sarah B

October 20th, 2009
12:11 am

This team has just fallen to pieces, kinda like 2007.

Dawson Devitt (D3)

October 20th, 2009
12:12 am

Boxcarar – I guess you can’t really tell on CB talent, I suppose that they just drafted the wrong guy. Wonder if they call Glen Sharpe up to 53-Man Roster in William’s absence, or go out and either grab someone available, trade, or practice squad. I scanned the practice squad and keep an eye on this guy. Only thing is that we would have to sign him directly to our 53 man roster. I remember checking him out before the draft:

Mike Mickens (Cowboys Practice Squad) – 6′0, 186.
Pick Analysis: Mickens led his team in interceptions last season and was a track superstar in high school. He has speed and very good quickness. This is exceptional value for a pick in the seventh round. Mickens has a chance to be the third corner for the Cowboys.

Wabe

October 20th, 2009
12:12 am

You guys really think T.D. will make another move for a CB after seeing how long it has taken Hill to get up to speed with the defense?

Boxcarar

October 20th, 2009
12:16 am

Sarah,
BT was saying that you need WR help. I’m looking at FA screen. Can you choose anyone from this list?

Sarah B

October 20th, 2009
12:16 am

I’m thinkin’ Hill was a mistake

Sarah B

October 20th, 2009
12:17 am

Yes then you cut someone existing. Feel free…

Boxcarar

October 20th, 2009
12:18 am

Wabe,
I hope that TD won’t whiff twice on the same position. He got it right on B. Williams.

Boxcarar

October 20th, 2009
12:20 am

D3,
At least Mickens would quiet the posters with height issues. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Sarah B

October 20th, 2009
12:27 am

Boxcar why don’t you shop the waiver wire and set the line up for next week and see how you do. Really. I have to look for a job, go to the DR. b4 ins. runs out, go to unemployment… go for it, have fun, mix it up…