Archive for November, 2009

An Ugly Win is Still a Win

Falcons Find a Way to Get the “W”

Season Saving Catch? (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The Atlanta Falcons avoided a catastrophic defeat against the Tampa Bay Bucs on Sunday in a game that was one of the ugliest in recent memory, but found a way to claw and fight for the victory, keeping the playoffs still in the picture. Injuries were the theme of the day with the Falcons, losing starters across the board: Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Harvey Dahl, Sam Baker, and Chris Owens. The Falcons defense did everything they could to allow Josh Freeman and the offense to get into a rhythm, with the rookie QB going over 250 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. One drive lasting a whopping 2 plays, 80 yards, and a touchdown. There are serious issues on the defensive side of the ball, be it players, coaches, schemes, or a combination of all the above. The Falcons did do what they had to on defense to give the offense a chance to win the game, but after being up 10-0, the Bucs stormed back and did pretty …

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Back in Dome vs. the Bucs

Well Beyond a “Must-Have” Game

Snelling in for Another Big Day? (AP)

The Falcons return home to the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome after losing 4 of their last 5 games, all coming on the road. This team is in a pure must win mode through the rest of the season and really have no room for error whatsoever. The losses at New England, at Dallas, at New Orleans, and at New York aren’t necessarily bad given the state of “the process” of this team, but the loss to the now 4-6 Carolina Panthers looks to prove a dagger in most of the Falcons playoff chances. Playoffs should be one of the farthest things from the Falcons minds at this point, though, because they get the 1-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Georgia Dome on Sunday and have to take care of business against a team in pure rebuilding mode. (Check out DOL’s new blog on the Falcons mindset vs. the Bucs). There really is not much satisfaction in doing what needs to be done against the Bucs, but dropping one like this would …

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Defensive Letdown in Giants Stadium

Falcons Now in Tough Position

Familar Image: Defense Chasing (AP)

The Falcons playoffs hopes are fading fast after a gritty loss in New York on Sunday. The Birds played tough and showed an unbelievable spirit of fight in coming back from two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Falcons started off strong on defense on the first series with an interception, and proceeded on a complete collapse from that point on. The offense started slow again, but did great things in the second half in clawing their way back in the game that looked to be a blowout heading into the fourth quarter. Jason Snelling did a magnificent job filling in for the injured Michael Turner (and Jerious Norwood….again) and Matt Ryan got back on track, looking like the cool and collected quarterback most fans came to expect from last year. The defense, however, was a complete train wreck. The defensive line got little to no pressure on Eli Manning, the linebackers seem to be lost in coverage, and the …

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Playoff Drive in the Meadowlands?

Can Falcons Rebound Against the G-Men?

The Atlanta Falcons enter their most pivotal stretch of the season as they travel up north to visit the 2008 Super Bowl Champions in the Meadowlands. The Birds are coming off a loss where they were given every single chance to win in Charlotte and separate themselves from the mid-tier wild-card pack. The Philadelphia Eagles lost and the Giants were then idle, already sitting at 5-4. The team certainly could have taken a lot of pressure off this game, but as fate would have it, the Falcons look to take the hard way to the playoffs. Is there really any other way?

Really a Playoff Team?

A particularly frustrating aspect was to watch the a team the Falcons beat early in the season, Miami Dolphins, go into Charlotte minus their best player and take care of business against a team in Carolina that was supposed to be on the brink of a really hot streak. The comparison game can get fuzzy and can prove to have little relevance, but are the Falcons …

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Weak Loss – Falcons Throw Game to Panthers

Terrible Miscues Cost Birds

Game Tossed Away (David T. Foster III, Charlotte Observer)

The Falcons blew a big opportunity in many ways by blowing some momentous chances in the final minutes in Charlotte. This game had trap written all over it and the Falcons really have no one to blame but themselves, couple of players in particular, if this one decides a playoff berth down the road. But if they play like they did today, it won’t matter anyway. Tons of badness to go around, but the Falcons worked and pried themselves right back into the game, just to literally throw it away at the end. Jason Elam missed an easy chip shot go-ahead field goal and Matt Ryan made one of the worst decisions all year, possibly of any game, by throwing a terrible pass that was way too high to Michael Jenkins. Football is a team game, but those two plays pretty much sealed the loss. The Falcons are now going to have to fight like mad to get some wins down the stretch of the second half. The Falcons …

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Task at Hand – Falcons @ Panthers Preview

Battle Up I-85 North

Can Coleman and Co. Sweep (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The Falcons are 5-3 at the midpoint and right in the thick of the battle for the playoffs, likely not for the NFC South Crown barring a complete collapse by the Saints. Assuming they might be looking at a wild-card run, the Falcons have to keep a serious focus on the task at hand and worry solely about the NFC South rivalry coming up in Charlotte against the Panthers. Granted the Panthers aren’t having the best of years, sitting at 3-5 at the midway point, but they are an extremely proud team that knows that anything is possible in the second half of the season. Many teams have overcome worse to make runs and get into the playoffs. To say that this is a needed win for the Panthers would be understating it since they’re already well under .500 and John Fox’s seat might be burning hot. To Mike Smith’s credit, the Falcons have done a pretty good job of winning the games they’re supposed to for the most part. The …

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Mid-Week Quick-Slant – 2nd Year QBs, DT Strength, and Dome Wishes

Ryan’s Second Year Comparison

Is Ryan in a Slump? (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Much has certainly been made of the somewhat down year that Matt Ryan has been having this year, many may call it a slump. His touchdowns are up (13 to 9 at this point last year), but so are his interceptions (10 to 5 through 8 games last year). In general, Ryan is almost exactly on pace to match his mark in terms of yardage. Many factors may be at play this year. The Falcons certainly have played a much tougher schedule to date (Lions, Chiefs, Raiders of last year were replaced by the Patriots and Cowboys), times of being sacked is surprisingly the exact same as this time last year (10), and there have been a few that may not entirely been his fault (Jenkins tipped pass in Chicago, Vilma’s excellent tipped pass play in New Orleans, etc). Excuses aside though, Ryan doesn’t “look” the same as he did last year. He doesn’t seem to have the same poise and confidence he had a year ago, and many fans have …

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Streak Over – Falcons Run Redskins

Birds Pull Away from ‘Skins

What a Day for #33 (Curtis Compton/AJC)

The Falcons ended their only two game skid in the Coach Mike Smith era by blistering the Redskins in the first half, and then holding on in the second half after coming out completely flat in the third quarter. Not the most satisfying of victories in terms of complete games, but a needed win at home to snap the streak nonetheless. Michael Turner made us all remember why he is one of the best running backs in the game, basically putting the entire game on his tough-running legs. Matt Ryan continued his struggles as a second year quarterback, and the defense had a huge day in all aspects from the defensive line to the linebackers to the vastly improved secondary. The Falcons defense had 5 sacks in the first half alone and played lights out in quarters one and two, but came out maybe a little too comfortable in the second half and let the Redskins climb back in the game. A win that was expected and one where the …

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Tough Loss – Falcons Fall to Saints

Birds Miss Opportunities in Loss

(((((((((((( Technical Update)))))))))))))

Computer is still out of commission, so the posts will be a touch on the light side until the issues are resolved. Sooner, rather than later I hope.

The Falcons went into the Crescent City on Monday Night Football with no one in the world giving them a chance, including some of their own fans, but they played with a ferocity, toughness, and desire not seen much to this point in the season. The Falcons dropped another tough game, making that two in a row for the first time in the Coach Smith era, to the rival Saints. The Saints continue to put a stranglehold, not only on the NFC South crown, but also on the fight for the best record and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Falcons punched, took shots, and counter-punched the Saints to the very end, refusing to give in after a few huge miscues all but assured the blowout many were expecting. These Atlanta Falcons didn’t quit though, and they …

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