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 played arguably the best team in the NFL to the very end. 

The argument rages on whether there is such a thing as “moral victories” in the NFL, and it seems to be pretty split with fans.  But most can agree that this type of fight and intensity they brought on the national stage to one of the best teams is a huge building block for the future. The Saints are a better team, simply put, but they should be.  This is Sean Payton’s fourth year in New Orleans and they should be twice as far along as the Falcons, but they almost lost one at home to a very young team full of heart. A few quick hits from the game:

1) Tye Hill Sighting - Yes, it finally came to pass on Monday Night Football, the long awaited appearance of Tye Hill after his trade from the St. Louis Rams way back in preseason. Hill seemed to play pretty well, making some nice stops and flying around the field. Brent Grimes did come in play well for the cramping Hill, but it was nice to see Hill get some reps and maybe we have something after all.

2) C’Mon Mike! - Michael Jenkins has certainly had his ups and downs as a Falcon, but many fans thought that the drops had passed after last year’s big year, but not so fast. Yes it was one drop, but it was a really big one that could have led to a different outcome. Jenkins dropped a wide open 3rd and 4 that could have made a big difference in the momentum of the game. Granted, Jason Elam should have made the FG, but a first down there keeps the drive alive in the red zone and keeps Drew Brees on the sideline. When looking at the Saints corps of receivers there is amazing depth behind their number one Marques Colston, but as Jenkins noted, not so much in Atlanta behind Roddy White. As Jon Gruden said, “Jenkins has to be a better complement to White.” Well, he’s in his sixth year.

3) Matty Not So Ice – Mark it down as official, Ryan is in a sophomore slump. He did have very many nice throws throughout the game, but the ones that fans remember are the big two picks: one ugly INT that seemingly lost the game near halftime, and the other that was the ultimate dagger in the Falcons upset chances. Granted, the second one was the result of a really nice play by Jonathan Vilma, but still throw the ball away and high if nothing else and come back for a 3rd down try. The other one was just terrible. The deep passing attack just isn’t clicking, whether it’s Ryan’s fear of throwing it deep or Coach Mularkey’s play-calling, the weapons are there to go long for the attack. There’s a reason for such a thing called the “Sophomore Slump” because all teams have had a year to scout and plan for tendencies, weaknesses, etc. and they make young QB’s pay for it. Statistically, Ryan is still way ahead of many other great QB’s in their second year and has one of the best work ethics of any QB, so he’ll get there, just some bumps along the way.

4) The Old Turner – Michael Turner had a great night, running like the back who was second in the NFL in rushing and made the Pro-Bowl a year ago. The O-Line and play-calling may have also been better, but the Burner gets all the credit on this one. He was running like a man possessed last night and just near willed his team to a victory with his tenacious running, hitting holes with speed and never stopping his legs. Turner reminded fans of just how explosive this offense can be if the running and passing ever get into full sync. Excellent performance all around from the running back.

5) Gritty Defensive Showing - More on this later in the week, but the defense showed up and played very well against the number one offense in the NFL. Defensive line added pressure a couple of times, and the linebackers had their usual good night, but the comeback award goes to the secondary. One of the most maligned in the NFL, the Falcons secondary showed up Monday night and played with a sense of urgency not seen in previous games. They held Drew Brees to his lowest passer rating of the year to date. True that they gave up many big plays, but from where they were a week ago to now, there was much improvement. Still a ways to go, but a solid performance against the best offense in football in their house. They kept the Falcons in the game when the offense sputtered a couple of times down the stretch.

A loss is a loss, but the way the Falcons played last night reminded many fans of the potential of this team and that the trajectory is pointed very high in the coming years. The Falcons did come up short in New Orleans, but they came with a passion and fight not seen in the other two losses, or a few wins for that matter, and gave the Saints everything they wanted. One of the hardest parts of the schedule is over and the Birds stand at 4-3, with so much to improve upon.

Your Turn

-Your thoughts on the loss: moral victory or still a loss?

-Help fix Matt Ryan: play-calling, typical second year, or thinking too much?

-Is Turner back, or just a flash?

-What’s up with Jenkins drops this year?

-Your thoughts on the defensive performance?

-Good cornerback play or just needed?

-Did Tye Hill impress you, or Grimes deserves the spot?

-Does DeCoud deserve game ball?

394 comments Add your comment

Unca' Bob

November 3rd, 2009
9:48 pm

D3,

Usual good stuff. Keep it coming

anthony

November 3rd, 2009
9:57 pm

i dont agree that matt ryan is having a sophmore slump. he might have made a few bad decisions but i cant blame him i wouldnt want to throw to jenkins at all. he was probably looking for the players he could trust like roddy and tony. i actually think he should start throwing deep more because teams cant and wont stop roddy.

Wabe

November 3rd, 2009
10:11 pm

Ryan’s definately shown some things that we haven’t really seen much out of him up until these past couple weeks. I’ll be honest, when I heard Deion Sanders say Matt Ryan looks “scared” when pressure’s coming his way, I laughed and thought he was a hater. But, these past couple weeks, I’ve kinda seen it myself. When he’s being pressured, he’s developed a tendency of being jittery in the pocket and making “nervous” throws that are usually hitting the ground in front of the receiver. I’m not saying he’s “scared”, but it’s clear there’s still much work to be done on his part. Much of that has to do with the game itself. He’s still only about 24 games into his young career, and you’d expect to see some aspects of Ryan’s game that need polishing.

LRD

November 3rd, 2009
10:23 pm

D3..glad to have blog up again.
- Loss, but this loss should fire up the team and show the fans the birds are growing, and getting better and better
- Slight downturn, would not call it a slump. a hail mary interception heh.. the tip pass was a good play, the first pick though was his fault.. (yeah white was picked off ie interference, but even then it wsa a bad read I think for Ryan)
and again, Tony G is great to have, but every one knows Ryan is going to gun for him. Needs to spread the ball around.
- Jenkins.. I am still wondering if it is a mental block of being the #1 preseason and then White is back, and Jenkins is regulated back to #2..and therefore his head is not always in the game. Be nice to see him burn Hall for a TD this Sunday. And I am not giving up my #12 jersey yet …but we really need him to be considered a threat.
- Turner back..we shall see… I think he is in more of a slump than Ryan is.. but it was sweet to see him churning those feet and not going down after first contact
- Grimes interception was awesome and I like the fact he does not let his size stop him from sticking people… but I do not think we have seen enough of Hill to have a “controversy”……yet.
- I’d give the ball to Wire for the never quit attitude.

All in all, i am just bummed we did not pull this out. We had our chances, and we never gave up, and we need every game now (especially against the giants) to try and get the wildcard. But this game actually fired me up about our development and the future.

Shawty B

November 3rd, 2009
10:39 pm

I think Turner is back.

Shawty B

November 3rd, 2009
11:07 pm

Saints will lose in the Dome.

boxcarar

November 3rd, 2009
11:09 pm

Good late night Cagers. Tough loss, but I saw a great deal of promise. Matt looks a bit out of sorts, but isn’t in a slump. DB’s looked better. Turner is back due to a revised blocking scheme. Pressure was brought on Brees. The tipped ball to TG on the sideline was going to be picked off without the tip. Loved to see the team play with “urgency”. Can we duplicate this effort week in, week out? Looks like a great deal of talent is there, but can the coaching staff keep the team focused and this fired up? I don’t want to see a team “sophomore” slump.

boxcarar

November 3rd, 2009
11:15 pm

A chatty group tonight…

Shawty B

November 3rd, 2009
11:23 pm

Box, spotty at best. But I’m here.

boxcarar

November 3rd, 2009
11:28 pm

Proud of our team’s effort last night. Just a few bad breaks were the difference. How are you, girl?

MSS

November 3rd, 2009
11:30 pm

- its still a loss but its good to see the falcons play so hard but we could not get the win :(
- Matt is not in a slump hes just had some bad games every QB does
- i think Turner is back and i dont think he was in a slump its just every teams #1 goal is to stop Turner and make Matt beat them
- i think Jenkins just is not making plays like he should
- everybody talks bad about our D but they helped keep us in the game against the best offense in football and that shows we just keep getting better and better GO D
- i think our CBs played good there not the best in the NFL but there young and keep getting better and Falcon fans talk so bad about Chris Houston give the guy a break he is only in his 3rd year he will get better
- Grimes should start hill has not played much give him more time but he did play good
- DeCoud has played great all year and every game he gets better but i think Turner should get game ball The Burner is back GO FALCONS!!!

boxcarar

November 3rd, 2009
11:35 pm

MSS,
Great points. Welcome to late night.

Shawty B

November 3rd, 2009
11:41 pm

Box I spent the day painting the ceiling in my bedroom. Tommorow primer the walls, then paint… this is work. Mostly moving furniture.

boxcarar

November 3rd, 2009
11:42 pm

No help from JJ?

Shawty B

November 3rd, 2009
11:49 pm

He keeps ppretending he will come knock it out, but I can handle it myself, don’t need a man, would like one to take care of it, but don’t need it.

Wabe

November 3rd, 2009
11:52 pm

Houston’s a zone DB at best. The guy can’t play man for anything.

boxcarar

November 3rd, 2009
11:54 pm

You’ll find one.

Shawty B

November 3rd, 2009
11:58 pm

Maybe, but I don’t need one. Tomorrow primer the walls.

Shawty B

November 3rd, 2009
11:58 pm

The last 2 sucked.

Trainwreck

November 4th, 2009
12:00 am

No such thing as a moral victory, but this game provides us fans with some hope that they will build off of this and take care of business in the next few weeks. I fully expect Matt Ryan to correct his mistakes and impress against a tough Washington D

boxcarar

November 4th, 2009
12:00 am

As long as you stay friend and fan, more power to you.

Shawty B

November 4th, 2009
12:01 am

They say they’ll do it then don’t come through. Just do it yourself. You are better off. Built a good wall and you won’t get hurt.

Shawty B

November 4th, 2009
12:05 am

Trainwreak… a tough Washington D??? Is there anything tough about WAS???? BTW love the name, not hating, at all.

Shawty B

November 4th, 2009
12:07 am

Box we’re good I don’t hate random men. Just choose to stay uninvolved for now. Please stay my CEO. I love our late night chats.

boxcarar

November 4th, 2009
12:12 am

I have no reason to not stay assistant CEO. I also like being a “Late Nighter” I will only act on the team in emergency. This is your team. And you have made some great roster moves.

Shawty B

November 4th, 2009
12:14 am

But yet I continue to lose. HELP!!! Advise.

Shawty B

November 4th, 2009
12:17 am

If I am making moronic moves take over!!!

boxcarar

November 4th, 2009
12:19 am

I still am not yet savvy about this game. Spending time on my classes. Shoot from the hip and take a chance. Can you do any worse. I’ll send an email

Shawty B

November 4th, 2009
12:25 am

I left 58 points on my bench…… that should scream help.

boxcarar

November 4th, 2009
12:25 am

I’m out early tonight. Take care. Good luck with the painting.

Shawty B

November 4th, 2009
12:27 am

Ed

November 4th, 2009
1:18 am

As always great work D3, I look forward to your expanded coverage of the D in this game, especially the defensive line. I just don’t see the dynamic connection between Ryan and his receiving corp that was excpected. Jenkins has seemingly reverted to his 4 years before last year form, Harry Douglas is sorely missed, and Roddy White is very low on the totem pole when talking about elite receivers in the league. For Ryan’s part, he’s definitely not on an upward arc and may have put too much pressure on himself entering the season. Nice to see the Burner back!

[...] Tough Loss – Falcons Fall to Saints 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. [...]

Birdman

November 4th, 2009
7:49 am

Good morning D3 and cage
Another great post D3 . I really don’t think the ICE MAN is in a slump.I just think he is still learning and as you said for his second year he far exceeds most QB,s .I think he gets nervous at times tho which in turn he makes mistakes. Drew Brees is a class act to follow .You can see the mans quality by the way he reads the D line. Matty just ant there yet but give him time.
Turner may be coming out of his slump . I hope so .The birds seem to be improving and I think they will still have a winning season but the playoffs ,wildcard, I just don’t know.Look at the other teams in the NFL , Dallas, the Eagles, and others .They are
stepping there game up as well.The birds could win out the rest of the season but we will see . Remember when we play the Giants they will be coming off a bye and also the skins this week. We should take the red skins this week at the dome tho and NY is struggling right now. The Panthers are playing better football now and we still have the Saints again .Those are big games and we can beat the Saints but once again time will tell.
Grimes is the man right now but as he gets older his hight and jumps will be a factor.Its hard for any team to win at the super-dome .The excitement and crowd there is at the top in this game. But all said and done the birds played a very good game there.

alien_split_lip

November 4th, 2009
8:15 am

all i know is both my teams lost this past weekend…however, Grimes impressed me with his huge leap in the second quarter for an interception. I personally don’t think it’s the end of the line for the Falcons. I think once Matty gets out of the sophomore slump and gets back on track, the divison title will be ours again. GO FALCONS! GO DAWGS!

tdawg

November 4th, 2009
9:00 am

With the coaching and the talent we have, I think Monday night’s game gave the ‘cup half empty’ folks much hope and the ‘cup half full’ folks reason to claim a moral victory. Yea, maybe Ryan has been off a little, but with last years film on him, it makes sense that he perhaps isn’t as efficient as he has been. He’ll come around; just needs a little more time and experience. And Turner the Burner looked great. Nice to see him step up to the plate. And I still enjoy seeing Coach Smith get a little preturbed on the sideline. Such an enjoyble experience after watching the calm, stoic Richt. Thanks for the piece D3, well done as usual.

John K

November 4th, 2009
9:14 am

I looked at the replay of that first pic Ryan threw. It looked to me that if the reciever had not been blocked (illegally) out of the play that he was in line to be first to the ball. Instead of a pic 6, that play should have been a first down. Without the illegal block it would have certainly been a first down, and if the refs apply the same criteria to our recievers that the applied to the Saints recievers, (ie Perterson’s intereference call) that would have been a different outcome. I wonder how Matt’s qb rating would have fared if Jenkens caught the pass that he dropped, that pic six had been correctly called, and the resulting score would not have necessitated a hail Mary pass at the end of the game. That would have been two more completions, and two fewer interceptions. Then the only thing standing between him and a great night would have been the tipped ball. That pass should have been thrown, Tony was open, it was thrown well to his area, and just a little bad luck brought about the tip. Barring those three plays, one caused by poor refs, one by necessity, and one by bad luck Matty has a great night. No sophmore slump here, just good play in quick stressful situations.

That’s how I see it and I’m sticking to it.

Unca' Bob

November 4th, 2009
9:27 am

Shawty,

Good luck to you in our FFL game this weekend. No more Manninghams(lol).

The Redskins are tied #2 in the NFL in total net yards this year. They average 17.57 points per game scored on, with 18 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, and 22 forced fumbles. They should not be taken lightly…Just a thought.

CBrass

November 4th, 2009
10:07 am

D3,

As always great work!!! Hope you get your technical issues worked out really soon.

Turners is back. Loved that way that he ran the ball. Hope that we get Norwood and Snelling back soon. Once Ryan get hit or pressured he gets really flustered which causes some of his bad throws/decision making. He just need to settle down and play like the Matty Ice that we have come to know and love (this was a great point brought up my Wabe earlier).

The defense played great. The held a high powered offense to 7 POINTS IN THE SECOND HALF!!! Houston was flagged again which is not surprising at all. The guy simply can’t get his head turned around. Glad to see that Hill got in. A TD was scored on him but that was a very good catch by Colston. He got his hand in on the ball. Grimes…what can I say? He played well and that INT was simply amazing to say the least. DeCoud and Coleman both forced TO’s. DeCoud nearly knocked Brees into the middle of next week causing a fumble which my hubby picked up and scored!! Both Pete and Lofton played lights out. That holding call on Pete was pure BS. Reggie wasn’t going to twist his body and make that catch. That really changed the flow of the game.

**Just wanted to point something out. When Gonzo doesn’t have a TD catch we are 1-3!!!

WR

November 4th, 2009
10:09 am

Good morning cagers, Unca’Bob I couldn’t have put it better myself, coming off what some are calling a moral victory, the Falcons need a victory that counts in the stats. The team could look at what they did against the Saints and be happy or they could concentrate on what they didn’t do, work to improve and get ready for the Skins. Many say the Saints game proved the Saints are just a better team right now, I disagree, yes the Saints got the win, but with all of the shortcomings that we as fans believed the birds would have, and went all of the shortcomings the Falcons even thought they would have, they proved that the shortcomings are not something they could not overcome, a play here or a play there and they win, yes its shoulda, woulda talk, but the reality is that the Falcons are in a position to make some serious noise this NFL season, more will come in future seasons but this team can make plenty of gains this season and I thnk thats what they should take from the Saints gain. Ryan is absolutely in a sophmore slump, he knows it, he hates it, and most importantly he wants to overcome it, if you ask me, it makes things sound really good for the Falcons future, this year and beyond. As a perfect example, I was a big time fan of the Falcons former face of the franchise, he was the face in good time and definitely in bad times, nothing against the change in atmosphere and belief in the Falcons that he brought, but he didn’t work hard to improve at his shortcomings, which he admitted himself, Ryan does, Ryan will, and the Falcons will be among the elite now as well as in the future.

On a side note JJ, if your scratching your head over the up coming game in the FFL, thats just dandrum, don’t scratch so hard it will damage your scalp, you have to protect it as much as you can for this week’s game, because there is going to be some WarEagle scalping going on, you already owe me wings, this week your going to cover the bar tab, better get things up and going in the construction industry I plan to run up a very nice tab for you my friend. We probably need to play each other again in the playoffs so I can win a ride home off of the tab your going to be paying.

Flappin' Falcon

November 4th, 2009
12:34 pm

Falcon Food For Thought – Schedule Strength

True overall strength of schedule can never be determined until the season ends. But we can now look back at the 1st half of this season to determine who has had the toughest schedule so far (for teams still in the playoff hunt). And the results are interesting for Falcons fans. Of the teams ranked in the ESPN Power Rankings upper echelon the Falcons and the Ravens have had brutal schedules and easily the most difficult.

So what do these stats tell us? They don’t prove a dog gone thing but they provide a nice indicator that suggests the Falcons and the Ravens who have both come out of their tough schedules above .500 are stronger teams than their records indicate or their ridiculous ESPN Power Rankings might suggest. The Falcons must not stumble against a bevy of beatable teams, but the biggest game will be a visit from the Eagles. No not because of Vick, who has done a terrific job keeping their bench warm. The Eagles are our main Wildcard challenger. A win against Philly gives us the tiebreaker edge we may need.

Here’s a guide to the following stats:
Teams are listed in order of schedule strength through Week 8. The (number) in parentheses is the current ESPN Power Ranking. The 2nd numbers are the records of that team’s opponents through Week 8. The 3rd number is the record of that team’s road opponents through Week 8. And the final number is total amount of games to be played against teams coming off of bye-weeks. (God forbid the Steelers, Eagles, Cowboys or Patriots ever play more than 1 team coming off a bye-week. Roger Goodell would be fired.)

1. FALCONS(11) Opponents 30–19 / Road opponents 20–6 / Bye week Games 4
2. RAVENS(10) Opponents 29-22 / Road opponents 16-6 / Bye Games 3
3. DOLPHINS(20) Opponents 34-17 / Road opponents 10-10 / Bye week Games 1
4. CARDINALS(13) Opponents 28-23 / Road opponents 10-11 / Bye week Games 0
5. BENGALS(6) Opponents 29-22 / Road opponents 9-13 / Bye week Games 0
6. BRONCOS(4) Opponents 26-25 / Road opponents 15-14 / Bye week Games 2
7. SAINTS(1) Opponents 25-27 / Road opponents 11-11 / Bye week Games 2
8. GIANTS(15) Opponents 26-31 / Road opponents 18-17 / Bye week Games 1
9. PANTHERS(23) Opponents 23-26 / Road opponents Reord 13-15 / Bye Games 0
10. BEARS(17) Opponents 22-28 / Road opponents 15-13 / Bye week Games 0
11. PACKERS(12) Opponents 26-27 / Road opponents 9-15 / Bye week Games 1
12. STEELERS(7) Opponents 23-28 / Road opponents 10-11 / Bye week Games 0
13. PATRIOTS(5) Opponents 22-29 / Road opponents 10-12 / Bye week Games 0
14. COWBOYS(8) Opponents 21-28 / Road opponents 7-14 / Bye week Games 1
15. VIKINGS(3) Opponents 23-35 / Road opponents 7-23 / Bye week Games 0
16. EAGLES(9) Opponents 20 -31 / Road opponents 6 – 15 / Bye week Games 0
17. COLTS(2) Opponents 17-33 / Road opponents 9-20 / Bye week Games 0

JD THE MAN

November 4th, 2009
1:02 pm

M
A
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S
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LRD

November 4th, 2009
2:20 pm

Y’all mentioned a moral victory….just read Don Banks at SI and quote(ok cut/paste)
power rank of 11 up from 12 last week

Atlanta Falcons (4-3)
It’s not often we move a team up a notch after a loss, but I like the way the Falcons fought Monday night at New Orleans. They kept trading punches with the high-octane Saints, and were still scrapping for loose balls at the bottom of the pile in the final minute. For the first time in the 24-game Mike Smith coaching era, Atlanta is on a losing streak. I predict that’ll make the Birds plenty feisty when Washington comes to town this week.

Unca' Bob

November 4th, 2009
2:45 pm

LRD,

That’s a very good pickup. Every site I have visited since Monday night has had the same same theme and take on our team. They stood toe to toe and never blinked. Even die hard Saints fans sang praises for our team. They are not looking forward to their Roam to the Dome.

Sautee

November 4th, 2009
3:19 pm

D3,

Excellent, as usual.

I’m on the fence about a soph. slump. Yes, there’s more film on Ryan, but I think the biggest factor is that we’ve overall faced much better defense in the first 7 games than we did last year.

I also have to wonder if the coaches have been telling Matt to use his feet. Three different times he tried to run on a dropback when the lane just wasn’t there. That kind of decision making is NOT what he’s been faced with in the past. I think he will develop that skill as he has more reps (look at Big Ben for example).

Our defense played a laudable game against a powerhouse offense.

It was great to see Turner burning again.

Do y’all realize just how close we were to actually WINNING that game, despite the turnovers? I guess I’m in the moral victory camp, though it still doesn’t feel very good.

Flappin' Falcon

November 4th, 2009
4:17 pm

A Little Falcon Food For Thought – Schedule Strength

True overall strength of schedule can never be determined until the season ends. But we can now look back at the 1st half of this season to determine who has had the toughest schedule so far (for teams still in the playoff hunt). And the results are interesting for Falcons fans. Of the teams ranked in the ESPN Power Rankings upper echelon the Falcons and the Ravens have had brutal schedules and easily the most difficult.

So what do these stats tell us? They don’t prove a dog gone thing but they provide a nice indicator that suggests the Falcons and the Ravens who have both come out of their tough schedules above .500 are stronger teams than their records indicate or their ridiculous ESPN Power Rankings might suggest. The Falcons must not stumble against a bevy of beatable teams, but the biggest game will be a visit from the Eagles. No not because of Vick, who has done a terrific job keeping their bench warm. The Eagles are our main Wildcard challenger. A win against Philly gives us the tiebreaker edge we may need.

Here’s a guide to the following stats:
Teams are listed in order of schedule strength through Week 8. The (number) in parentheses is the current ESPN Power Ranking. The 2nd numbers are the records of that team’s opponents through Week 8. The 3rd number is the record of that team’s road opponents through Week 8. And the final number is total amount of games to be played against teams coming off of bye-weeks. (God forbid the Steelers, Eagles, Cowboys or Patriots ever play more than 1 team coming off a bye-week. Roger Goodell would be fired.)

1. FALCONS(11) Opponents 30–19 / Road opponents 20–6 / Bye week Games 4
2. RAVENS(10) Opponents 29-22 / Road opponents 16-6 / Bye Games 3
3. DOLPHINS(20) Opponents 34-17 / Road opponents 10-10 / Bye week Games 1
4. CARDINALS(13) Opponents 28-23 / Road opponents 10-11 / Bye week Games 0
5. BENGALS(6) Opponents 29-22 / Road opponents 9-13 / Bye week Games 0
6. BRONCOS(4) Opponents 26-25 / Road opponents 15-14 / Bye week Games 2
7. SAINTS(1) Opponents 25-27 / Road opponents 11-11 / Bye week Games 2
8. GIANTS(15) Opponents 26-31 / Road opponents 18-17 / Bye week Games 1
9. PANTHERS(23) Opponents 23-26 / Road opponents Reord 13-15 / Bye Games 0
10. BEARS(17) Opponents 22-28 / Road opponents 15-13 / Bye week Games 0
11. PACKERS(12) Opponents 26-27 / Road opponents 9-15 / Bye week Games 1
12. STEELERS(7) Opponents 23-28 / Road opponents 10-11 / Bye week Games 0
13. PATRIOTS(5) Opponents 22-29 / Road opponents 10-12 / Bye week Games 0
14. COWBOYS(8) Opponents 21-28 / Road opponents 7-14 / Bye week Games 1
15. VIKINGS(3) Opponents 23-35 / Road opponents 7-23 / Bye week Games 0
16. EAGLES(9) Opponents 20 -31 / Road opponents 6 – 15 / Bye week Games 0
17. COLTS(2) Opponents 17-33 / Road opponents 9-20 / Bye week Games 0

Flappin' Falcon

November 4th, 2009
4:55 pm

Some Falcon Food For Thought – Schedule Strength

True overall strength of schedule can never be determined until the season ends. But we can now look back at the 1st half of this season to determine who has had the toughest schedule so far (for teams still in the playoff hunt). And the results are interesting for Falcons fans. Of the teams ranked in the ESPN Power Rankings upper echelon the Falcons and the Ravens have had brutal schedules and easily the most difficult.

So what do these stats tell us? They don’t prove a dog gone thing but they provide a nice indicator that suggests the Falcons and the Ravens who have both come out of their tough schedules above .500 are stronger teams than their records indicate or their ridiculous ESPN Power Rankings might suggest. The Falcons must not stumble against a bevy of beatable teams, but the biggest game will be a visit from the Eagles. No not because of Vick, who has done a terrific job keeping their bench warm. The Eagles are our main Wildcard challenger. A win against Philly gives us the tiebreaker edge we may need.

Here’s a guide to the following stats:
Teams are listed in order of schedule strength through Week 8. The number after the team is the current ESPN Power Ranking. The 2nd numbers are the records of that team’s opponents through Week 8. The 3rd number is the record of that team’s road opponents through Week 8. And the final number is total amount of games to be played against teams coming off of bye-weeks. (God forbid the Steelers, Eagles, Cowboys or Patriots ever play more than 1 team coming off a bye-week. Roger Goodell would be fired.)

1. FALCONS-11 Opponents 30–19 – Road opponents 20–6 – Bye week Games 4
2. RAVENS-10 Opponents 29-22 – Road opponents 16-6 – Bye Games 3
3. Dolphins-20 Opponents 34-17 – Road opponents 10-10 – Bye week Games 1
4. Cardinals-13 Opponents 28-23 – Road opponents 10-11 -Bye week Games 0
5. BENGALS-6 Opponents 29-22 – Road opponents 9-13 – Bye week Games 0
6. BRONCOS-4 Opponents 26-25 – Road opponents 15-14 -Bye week Games 2
7. SAINTS-1 Opponents 25-27 – Road opponents 11-11 – Bye week Games 2
8. GIANTS-15 Opponents 26-31 -Road opponents 18-17 – Bye week Games 1
9. Panthers-23 Opponents 23-26 – Road opponents Reord 13-15 -Bye Games 0
10. BEARS-17 Opponents 22-28 – Road opponents 15-13 – Bye week Games 0
11. PACKERS-12 Opponents 26-27 – Road opponents 9-15 – Bye week Games 1
12. STEELERS-7 Opponents 23-28 – Road opponents 10-11 – Bye week Games 0
13. PATRIOTS-5 Opponents 22-29 – Road opponents 10-12 – Bye week Games 0
14. COWBOYS-8 Opponents 21-28 -Road opponents 7-14 – Bye week Games 1
15. VIKINGS-3 Opponents 23-35 – Road opponents 7-23 – Bye week Games 0
16. EAGLES-9 Opponents 20 -31 – Road opponents 6-15 – Bye week Games 0
17. COLTS-2 Opponents 17-33 – Road opponents 9-20 – Bye week Games 0

Sautee

November 4th, 2009
5:00 pm

This gives great hope.

Drew Brees didn’t even start until his second year.

Someone posted this on the other blog, and I thought it was insightful enough to copy to here:

“Drew Brees’ 2nd and 3rd year stats– please keep in mind this was with LT in the backfield at a time when he was All-Pro”

2002 San Diego Chargers passer rating 76.9 with 17 TDs and 16 Ints and a completion percentage of 60.8%

2003 San Diego Chargers passer rating 67.5 with 11 TDs and 15 Ints and a completion percentage of 57.6%

With THOSE numbers, I can see why they drafted Rivers. But as history showed, Drew got a LOT better with enough games under his belt. As will Matt Ryan.

The future looks BRIGHT!

Coop

November 4th, 2009
5:15 pm

John K – I’m late posting, but I totally agree with your 0914 post. Call me a homer if you want, but I keep watching this kid and saying wow. We got jobbed on that first pick. That made a HUGE difference. Without that and the Jenks drop, who knows. The biggest thing I liked, was he was still throwing. Some QBs would crumble after that pick 6. This guys is gonna win us some games.

Aikman and Manning were horrible in their first two years. We are way past horrible right now.

BT

November 4th, 2009
6:16 pm

D3-
Good job as usual.

Count me as one that is not into moral victories.
That said, they played fairly well as a team but they also lost as a team with the game being a much bigger game for the Falcons than the Saints.

On Turner, we will wait and see if he is back?
In my eyes, they used him too much last season and they are on a course to use him too much this season.
Very few RB`s in the history of the league have overcome the curse of 370.

The O-line did the opposite of their usual, the pass protection broke down a bit while the run blocking had a good night.

On Matt Ryan, he is not in a sophomore slump.
Teams have had a season plus opportunity to scout his tendencies and he has faced tougher defencses.
It`s my observation, he plays much better at home than on the road.
I am not sure why the disparity between his passer rating at home verses on the road?
It is probally him just needing to gain more experance in working in hostile enviorments?

On jason Elam, that`s a situation to monitor.
That is weak link we can`t afford.
Too many games are too close to have our kicker having a bad day.
Especially, in a key divisional matchup.
There are many good kickers out of work.
If, I am TD and Elam has one more bad game?
I would have a new kicker in here so fast it would make your head swim.