***Editor’s Note***Apologies for the lack of new post this weekend, but internet is down at the house.
Well, it wasn’t beautiful (especially in the 3rd quarter), but the Falcons found a way to win the ballgame and now sit in the lead of the NFC South and tied for the lead of the entire NFC with a much needed bye week coming up to heal some injuries before the long stretch run to the end.
After blitzing out to a 24-6 halftime lead, the Falcons came out sluggish and tried their age-old (and mostly failed) policy of just sitting on the lead and running out the clock. Bad decision. The Bengals came roaring back with 22 unanswered points to take the lead. The Birds then of course responded by re-taking the lead and held on for dear life to win a big game. After an embarrassing loss, the Falcons rebounded and made fans feel good once again about this years prospects.
Yep. Leads the NFL in receiving yards with 747 and has 5 touchdowns. Not to mention the fact that he’s a great blocker, team leader, and out-hustles many on the field. He went over 200 yards receiving yesterday with 2 touchdowns. Looks like Thomas Dimitroff made a good call basically locking Mr. White up as a Falcon for his career.
The Falcons finally mixed it up and started airing out the ball. Even though most of the yards went to White, Gonzalez, Jenkins, Turner, Snelling, and even Finneran got in on the passing yards. Matt Ryan looked comfortable and it showed with 299 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, and a 9.1 yards per pass average. Running lanes were obviously there for Turner going over 120 yards rushing with 2 TDs. The Falcons went back to their old ways of doing things in the 3rd quarter and almost lost the game. They tried the deep attack (even though not as much as some had hoped) and guess what? It was a success. Keep airing it out.
On the post game conference, Coach Mike Smith said that the 3rd quarter was “halloweenish” in lieu of the upcoming holiday. Being comfortably ahead at halftime, the Falcons came out totally flat and went back to their old trick of trying to sit on a lead instead of putting the opponent away. It almost cost them this time. The Bengals came roaring back with 22 unanswered points and actually took the lead. If the Falcons had come up short in this game, it would have been a total collapse or as one fan said in the stands “this is the season.” And it would have been a huge letdown and collapse if they would’ve lost this one. Instead of airing it out and spreading the ball, the offense went back to run-run-throw in predictable fashion. The defense softened up and let Ochocinco, TO, and Jordan Shipley gash them left and right. The Birds could’ve easily let this one slip away. But they didn’t and credit goes to them for putting it together when they had to. However, they’ve got to learn from this and not repeat it, because the next time might mean a terrible loss.
Yes, the Bengals boast one of the most talented and brand-name receiving corps with Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Jermaine Gresham, and Jordan Shipley, but the Falcons allowed Carson Palmer to eat them up in the second half. Dunta Robinson and Sean Weatherspoon were both out and that likely made a difference. The defense also appeared to soften up and allow the Bengals to work their way down the field with relative ease. Much of the passing came because the Bengals were so far behind and had to score fairly quick to get back in the game. Overall, Christopher Owens and Brent Grimes matched up pretty well on 85 and 81, but the receiving corps as a whole torched the Falcons defense in the secondary. It’s been an up and down year for the secondary (that was supposed to be better), but they have yielded large amounts of yards to good quarterbacks (Brees, Palmer, Kolb), while doing well against lesser QBs (Smith, Dixon, Delhomme/Wallace, Anderson). If the Birds have major postseason goals, that secondary will definitely have to tighten up.
More to come shortly…………..Until then add your own analysis.