Falcons Beat Panthers, Get to 11-2

Not the Prettiest, but Another Good Win

A Beautiful Connection (AP)

It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but the Falcons did beat the hapless Panthers by 21 points on the road. The Falcons are taking care of business and that’s all that matters. Style points count for nothing in the NFL. Even though the Birds once again tried to let an inferior opponent back in the game, they did a good job of recognizing what was taking place and were able to correct it. This Falcons team is doing some great things, but they are simply not designed to blow the doors off pretty much anyone, at least so far anyway. They seem to play up or down to their competition. All that’s meaningful right now is that the Falcons have put themselves in a magnificent position as the regular season comes to a close. A rather quick review post before a longer Seattle Seahawks preview later in the week. Five film reviews from the Panthers game………

1) This Team Plays to Their Competition’s Level

Whether you’re talking about the New Orleans Saints and the Baltimore Ravens or the San Francisco 49ers or the Carolina Panthers, this team consistently plays up or down to their competition. They always seem to get ready for a big contest and, obviously, show up accordingly since they’ve only lost two games, but they also have a real problem of playing down to their competition as well. They get up early on their foes only to let them right back in the game with their now standard and expected lull. They’ve gotten away with it for sure, but can they not just put away an opponent for good? On the flip side, they’ve shown up to every big contest put in front of them and have risen to the challenge, save for the Eagles game.

2) Turner’s Still Got It

One of Three (AP)

Without Jason Snelling , any help from the running back fill-ins, or a razor sharp afternoon from Matt Ryan, Michael Turner has shown he’s still got plenty of gas left in the tank and has no problem taking the load on his shoulders. Turner amassed 112 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns, showing that he’s evidently getting his major hot streak back at the perfect time. Even though Turner can carry the load all on his own, the Falcons need to get Snelling back healthy or coax one of the younger guys to produce to help share the load down the home stretch. As always, this offensive line gets major props and had silenced many critics who thought they were overmatched and under-talented.

3) Fear the Lull

It’s not a matter of if, but when now when watching the Falcons play. They get up to a good lead and, for whatever reason, simply allow the opposing team to get right back in the game. It’s usually limited to the 2nd or 3rd quarters (mainly the 3rd), where the Falcons have found a decent amount of success and have often built up some type of decent lead. It has happened in too many games to count (Bengals, Ravens, Bucs x 2, Panthers). Yes, they were always winners in those games, but why is there a need to be cardiac for cardiac’s sake? Is it Mularkey’s coma-like induced state when he gets a lead? Is it Van Gorder’s prevent to win defense when a lead is there? Or is it something larger going to Head Coach Mike Smith and his persona? Who knows, but it would be nice to play a complete game one of these days (hopefully in the playoffs).

4) A Disturbing (and Unusual) Trend: Run Defense

One of the cornerstones of the Mike Smith transformation has been one of the best teams against the run in the NFL. Regardless of talent on the OL or at running back, this defense has always done a fantastic job of shutting down the run. The defensive line, linebackers, and even secondary have always done a superb job of coming up, laying the wood, and stopping the run. The last two weeks have left some fans scratching their heads. Rookie LeGarrette Blount was the first to go over 100 yards rushing in a long time and Jonathan Stewart followed that with a 133 yard rushing performance. Hopefully, its just a lapse here and there and they can get it fixed, because this would be an absolutely terrible time to forget how to stop the run.

5) More Deep Attempts Please

Bier Truck Tripled his Sack Total (AP)

It finally happened, the Matt Ryan-Harry Douglas was finally cemented with a long bomb to the local Jonesboro product on a simple go route against man-to-man coverage. A great route and an even better throw finally helped the two connect after so many near misses this year. HD says he finally back to 100% and it couldn’t happen at a better time. Ryan obviously has the arm to go deep and the receiving corps has potential to go down the field with different deep threat weapons: HD (speed), Jenks (height), and Roddy (all-around stud). So the question is why do they not take more shots down field? It could be Ryan’s fault because you can see him pull up after looking deep at the beginning of plays. Maybe its Mularkey and his preference for a clock-control, grind it out offense. Or perhaps fans have become thirsty for more after a few nice connections. We’re not saying to thrown 70 yard bombs every play, but even taking more shots would seem to open the intermediate game and running game that much more.

Your Turn

-Simple….your thoughts on the game.

-Do the Falcons play up and down to their competition?

-If so, does that worry you going forward?

-Can Turner shoulder the load if needed?

-Should Snelling get some more work or continue to rest?

-Why, why, why the standard lull every game?

-Who’s to blame for lull: coaches, players, all of the above?

-What’s up with the all-of-a –sudden weak run D?

-Should the Falcons go deep more?

-Who’s most to blame for lack of deep shots: Ryan or Mularkey?

250 comments Add your comment

Eric C.

December 13th, 2010
11:42 pm

The Snelling question is tough…but given that the Falcons can just about lock up the #1 seed with a win against the Seahawks, it would be nice to have all weapons available if he is close to 90%. Great commentary…Go Falcons!!!

BigGAdawg

December 14th, 2010
12:35 am

As much as I want to see Snelling back in there, I think he should either be given another week to recover or at least a light load of work. He will be needed much more against N.O. and in the playoffs. Let’s see if Gartrell can step up in the relief role. If not give Mughelli more touches, he can certainly deliver.

Ed

December 14th, 2010
1:51 am

Great work as always D3. I was shocked when I saw the running totals for the Panthers. It has to be a concern looking forward to the playoffs. As far as going deep in the passing game, Philly is a good example of a team that makes a point of going downfield. In the last four games they have done so on the very first play of the game. It’s not to say that some of it isn’t on Ryan, but MM has long estabished his style of conservative football and lacks the creative thinking of some other OC’s.

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jason

December 14th, 2010
7:06 am

i know i have been a way for a while. Good to see ATL keep winning. It takes my mind away from the dismal season the DAWGS had. Hard to comment on gameplay since no way to watch games here in Afghanistan. Keep plugging along Falcons. I don’t care about margin of victory as long as ATL gets the win. The Falcons have to keep winning because my SQ leader and Team leader are both Saints Fans. Talk about a long days work with these 2.

Knievel

December 14th, 2010
7:16 am

Yesterday, I heard Buck and Kincaide say that the offense implemented and completed their gameplan. I think that Clabo needs to work on keeping his guy away from Ryan. I watched him let a lineman get the best of him and then sack Ryan. Otherwise, I feel the offense is full steam ahead. They kept the ball away from Carolina and ran ran ran.
Defense and the run is definitely a problem. Seems like our opponents can run up the gut without being wrapped up.
Yes, Jason, It does put a small bandage on the huge scab of Georgia football. Damn I love those dawgs and I guess I’ll just have to accept that its gonna be this way as long as Coach Richt keeps his buddies as coaches. GOOOO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!

DP

December 14th, 2010
7:17 am

Jason, thanks for your service! Merry Christmas.

Chop Buster

December 14th, 2010
7:52 am

-Simple….your thoughts on the game.
Great start to the game getting after the ball and stripping it; and then keeping Clausen on the run. I do think we need to bury teams early and keep our foot on their neck throughout the whole game.

-Do the Falcons play up and down to their competition?
It appears that they don’t keep the level of play high when playing a sub par team. They’d better stop going to sleep in these games, because now is not the time to put our winning in jeopardy. I’d like to see us win out strong.

-If so, does that worry you going forward?
Not really with the final three games. They know what’s at stake and don’t want to lose the advantage they have.

-Can Turner shoulder the load if needed?
Even if he could he shouldn’t. We need to mix it up using Gartrell just as a change of pace against the defense.

-Should Snelling get some more work or continue to rest?
I say rest him now, because we’ll need him for the New Orleans game definitely. Let him rest that thigh and then bring him back.

-Why, why, why the standard lull every game?
Partially because they’re young and haven’t learned to keep the pressure on team for a full game. Some of it could be attributed to the offensive and defensive play calling as well.

-Who’s to blame for lull: coaches, players, all of the above?
A mixture of both. I believe it’s the coaches responsibility to call it to their attention and make them get back into the game–like they probably did in Carolina.

-What’s up with the all-of-a –sudden weak run D?
Undisciplined play, offensive linemen getting to our second and third levels wiping our LBs and safeties out of the play. We need another Grady (space eater) in the middle that has to be blocked with at least two Olinemen. They just need to stay home and hold their gaps against a speedy offense. Sometimes being too aggressive can be used against you (see the Eagles game).

-Should the Falcons go deep more?
Definitely! I say come out on the first play of a game and go deep to Harry, Mike or Finneran; they’ll already be focused on Roddy. I’d even like to see them attack the middle of the field behind the LBs with a RB or even Weems (who should get more plays). We need to keep our opponents guessing and on their heels.

-Who’s most to blame for lack of deep shots: Ryan or Mularkey?
I believe it has to be Mularkey. Ryan has a little gun slinger in him and he’d probably go deep every chance he got. I hope that Ryan is working on his deep ball timing with his speed receivers during the week. Now is the time to begin taking this offense to the next level–but at the same time, we don’t want to show too much now.

Chop Buster

December 14th, 2010
7:55 am

Jason…you hang in there. Soon you’ll make their days long working with you as a Falcons fan. LOL

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 14th, 2010
7:58 am

Hey D3,

How’s it going? I’m going to take a stab at the questions. AWESOME JOB as always!!!

-Do the Falcons play up and down to their competition? I don’t think so. They are a young and growing team, especially at QB and on defense.

-If so, does that worry you going forward? Nope, they’re young. Buzz word from Coach this year has been “consistency.”

-Can Turner shoulder the load if needed? Yes.

-Should Snelling get some more work or continue to rest? More work. Split the load down the stretch.

-Why, why, why the standard lull every game? Young, young, young.

-Who’s to blame for lull: coaches, players, all of the above? The young players, trying to find that mental edge for the full 60.

-What’s up with the all-of-a –sudden weak run D? Not sure. Need to do some work on that. They’ll say they mis-fit and that they were trying to do too much and that they got out of their gaps. THE TRUTH — They got knocked back and Carolina took the perimeter.

–Should the Falcons go deep more? NO DOUBT. Get them out of the box.

-Who’s most to blame for lack of deep shots: Ryan or Mularkey? Coach Smith. He has a say in the game plans. He called all of those runs vs. New Orleans in overtime. Watched Inside the NFL and he kept telling Mularkey to pound ‘em. Run the ball. “Yes, that is what I want.” It was classic old school football.

Chop Buster

December 14th, 2010
8:04 am

DLED, good insight into Smith. I saw that on Inside the NFL as well. That’s why I’ve been saying that Mularkey may not be the one to completely blame. After all, the HC does have the last say.

dean

December 14th, 2010
8:30 am

Simple….your thoughts on the game.

-Do the Falcons play up and down to their competition? YES

-If so, does that worry you going forward? YES

-Can Turner shoulder the load if needed? YES

-Should Snelling get some more work or continue to rest? REST 1 more game

-Why, why, why the standard lull every game? *LACK of focus.

-Who’s to blame for lull: coaches, players, all of the above? *Human nature. All of above

-What’s up with the all-of-a –sudden weak run D? **Lack of focus

-Should the Falcons go deep more? **I like body punch after body punch then BAM! I prefer Quality opportunities versus how many deep balls just for the heck of it.

-Who’s most to blame for lack of deep shots: Ryan or Mularkey? *I believe Ryan has the authority to change the called play to anything he wants based on what he see across the line. Therefore…

But what do I know? They’re 11-2. Go Falcons.

Troudawg

December 14th, 2010
9:14 am

Why is it given, by so many, that the Falcons will lose to the Saints in the Dome on Monday Night Football? This just strike me that the talking heads have this forgone conclusion that the Saints will win the game. I haven’t seen anything between the 2 teams that say this is an automatice loss. I think Coach Smith & Co. will have something to say about it.

FrontRow

December 14th, 2010
9:18 am

Great work as always D3. Here’s my take:

-Simple….your thoughts on the game.
Methodical drubbing of an inferior team.

-Do the Falcons play up and down to their competition?
Falcons run the same formula each game – wear the other team down. Going for the throat on every series would just leave the defense on the field more than the Falcons want.

-If so, does that worry you going forward?
Somewhat – some teams don’t mind scoring in a minute or two. In the end, the tortise wins the race.

-Can Turner shoulder the load if needed?
Yes but I worry about wear and tear. Once the tournament begins, I expect the grind level to increase but for now rest him as much as possible.

-Should Snelling get some more work or continue to rest?
If the hammy can go, let him work. Just more grind without wearing Turner down.

-Why, why, why the standard lull every game?
D’led said it – a very young defense.

-Who’s to blame for lull: coaches, players, all of the above?
Players. When the coach says “box and one” then the team needs to execute the box and one.

-What’s up with the all-of-a –sudden weak run D?
Players not executing. The D is great against the run when they have needed it.

-Should the Falcons go deep more?
Get Harry Douglas more involved (deep or not). If HD has to be respected like Roddy, TG, or Jenkins, the entire league is in serious trouble.

-Who’s most to blame for lack of deep shots: Ryan or Mularkey?
No blame. The Falcons have not executed – yet. For all those that complain about it, look at the last drive of the half against the Panthers (pick “going for it”) or any number of series when the Falcons are up big (3rd quarter pick & fumble against the Bengals, 2 missed shots against the Ravens, etc, etc, etc.

Chop Buster

December 14th, 2010
9:21 am

Troudawg…I’m with ya! I just don’t see the same Saints team as last year IMO. They have had difficulty against teams with losing records this year (Cardinals, Browns, Cowboys). I know they’re getting their players healthy and are ready to make another run, but people forget we played them tough in both games last year with a below average secondary. Brees will be seeing a lot of our defense once again!

momdawg

December 14th, 2010
9:43 am

Glad you addressed the lull in the falcons games. It would be nice to watch them get a nice lead and keep it to win in the 4th quarter. Maybe there’s a hidden clue to look for when Ryan does the play calling himself. Always seems to be longer passes and positive gains during these times on the field. Yes, the defense worries me. The entire team seems to play to their competition which is worrisome. At some point you wonder if they may not be able to work that magic. In the payoffs it only takes one time. However, they are 11-2, so I guess we have to give them credit. Its been a great season so far.

FrontRow

December 14th, 2010
9:53 am

I really don’t care much about the “lull” thing or the perception of not putting a team away.

I would much rather see the Falcons win the way they have won some games during the season…at the last second. It demoralizes the other team.

Take a look at how the Saints played in the games after we cut their heart out; at least one of those losses to inferior teams was due to the demoralizing beat down we layed on them.

FrontRow

December 14th, 2010
9:57 am

Let me add a little more concerning the Roddy White attitude. All should note – Roddy is not initiating any trash and has not been the first to shove in any game.

As soon as the refs decide to flag the opponent when they mug Roddy or shove him after the play, or otherwise penalize the opposition for using non-football tactics to try and contain #84, the problem will stop.

In the mean time, I do not blame Roddy for defending his turf. If and when the refs decide to not let the other team cheat on Roddy, expect another huge game from #84.

Chop Buster

December 14th, 2010
10:01 am

FrontRow, it just wasn’t questionable tactics against Roddy in the TB and Carolina games, but both team’s defense got away with holding, mugging our WR/TE, and initiating cheap shots. I guess teams can’t defend us normally so they’re consorting to dirty tactics to get in our player’s head.

Troudawg

December 14th, 2010
10:02 am

That’s right Chop Buster! Had it not been for as Richt would say ” a drop here or there” we win last year over the Saints. The birds went to NO against that crowd, Drew Brees, Reggie, and beat’em. PERIOD!

This “we were hurt”, “slow starters” that Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long love to throw around makes me sick to here a grown men make excuses, HEY TB, Birds won!! Flat Out!! 11-2!!

All these so called better teams than the birds? Falcons beat’em!!! ( except Eagles but they aren’t the cream of the crop ) Bucs X 2, Ravens, Saints, Packers…keep running them out and the Falcons will beat them!! Prove me wrong with this past season!! You can’t!! So shut up, sit down, and watch the big dog run!!

Reid Adair

December 14th, 2010
10:05 am

I am concerned about the run defense, but I am not worried about the lulls or the idea of “playing down” to their competition. As D-Led said, this team is young. Very young.

These players will learn from this season when they look back at various games. Unfortunately, with the NFL schedule, you don’t have a lot of time to look back right now.

Troudawg

December 14th, 2010
10:13 am

I have zero problem with Roddy maning up on the field. I like to see some fire and kiss my a** from players. Just don’t hurt the team, get sneaky with it as the other teams do. HA!

After watching the comatose Dawgs all season, what a relief to see someone Man up and defend the turf! And that’s exactly what the birds will do on MNF. Defend the turf!!

Hey Jason! Thank you for defending our turf against those botton sucking murderers in Afgan!! Be safe brother we have your back here in the States. Merry Christmas!!

FrontRow

December 14th, 2010
10:23 am

The problem of “mugging” was so obvious that MR and TG literally drew up a play in the dirt to trap the Bucs into a PI call.

All I’m saying is that when the refs decide to make a call at the beginning of a game, the opposing D will have no choice but to play within the rules and Roddy will have a monster day.

But, it would not bother me to see the refs actually call the opponents for unsportsmanlike (ala Geno Hayes) BEFORE Roddy retaliates.

Zoomie

December 14th, 2010
10:26 am

Thoughts on the game — About what I expected. The outcome was never in doubt from the opening play from scrimmage.

Do the Falcons play up and down to their competition? Yes, but as DOL wrote, this is a symptom of a youthful defense.

If so, does that worry you going forward? No, because both the offfense and defense have shown the ability to make the needed plays in clutch situations.

Can Turner shoulder the load if needed? Yes, but I hope he doesn’t have to. Whether it’s Snelling’s return, Mughelli, or one of the young troopers stepping up, the Birds need to get Turner some help.

Should Snelling get some more work or continue to rest? No reason not to work him if he’s ready. If he’s iffy, don’t want to bring him back too soon. Falcons need him healthy in the playoffs.

Why, why, why the standard lull every game? In the case of the Carolina game, Abraham said the defense got complacent; he was in the game and on the sideline and should know. I’ll take his word for it. Again, the youth showing through.

Who’s to blame for lull: coaches, players, all of the above? I think it’s primarily the players with an assist from scheme. Prevent defense + softened focus = disaster in waiting. Either the coaches and veterans will be able to fix this issue with the young guys, or it will cost the Falcons a game. Not a good time to start losing.

What’s up with the all-of-a–sudden weak run D? Don’t really know. In both the Bucs and Panthers game, the Falcons D just got handled for short periods. It’s late in the season; 13 games into it, conditioning and minor dings may be starting to take its toll.

Should the Falcons go deep more? When it’s open, they seem to be taking the shots. Ryan has just been missing them. I think we’ll see more attempts and more success through the home stretch.

Who’s most to blame for lack of deep shots: Ryan or Mularkey? I think it’s mutual. The Falcons know what they see in practice and know their potential in this part of the passing game. When the risk/reward weighs in the Falcons’ favor, they’ll take the shots. Don’t forget, prior to the season start, Ryan talked about studying the short/intermediate passing game of the league’s more successful QBs. I think the short/intermediate passing game has been adopted as a strategy for Falcons success. It’s working pretty well so far . . .

Zoomie

December 14th, 2010
10:45 am

I’m also troubled by the perception that nearly everyone is just assuming the Saints will win in the Dome on the 27th. That mentality assumes that the game won’t matter. Well, it does.

Coming from a person that has to travel to the west coast from time-to-time: that trip is brutal. Seemingly endless hours crammed into a cattle car and a three-hour time change. The game starts at 7:15 PM by the Falcons’ biological clocks, giving the Seahawks a conditioning advantage. On top of this, Seattle will be desperate, as they just took a humiliating beatdown from SF. They’re still tied for first in their division with the surprising, but youthful, Rams, with a surging SF breathing down their necks. Seattle may come out against the Falcons like the Bucs did: fighting for their lives. Don’t look past this game! A loss here makes the Saints/Falcons game huge.

LRD

December 14th, 2010
11:29 am

Jason: Howdy! Good to see you back in the cage. Hope all is well!

I was unable to watch the game, and only listened to parts of 3Q and 4Q.. so my impression is just looking at stats and highlights
- Turner with over 100 yds.. that is sweet
- Allowing Panthers to have over 200 yds rushing total.. not so sweet
- Allowing opposing team to score (yet again) in the 3rd Qrtr .. not so sweet.
BUT we are 11-2.. and that is way better than I had initially thought this year.. so Super Sweet.

We need Snelling back, but I much rather have him healthy for Saints..and especially healthy in Jan.
But we have to beat Seattle…. such an important game.. and then it is Dome Sweet Home!!

JJ

December 14th, 2010
11:33 am

Bangkapi Ajarn

December 14th, 2010
11:59 am

Hi Cagers (including DOL here, your insights are always welcome here!!).

I will try to take a shot at the D3 questions de jour, see what idiocy flows off my frozen fingers (feels like I am back in Harbin/Daqing China, savoring the icy breezes bowing briskly off the flat, ice covered oil derrick littered plain – useless bit of trivia for the day – guess which oil field has produced the most oil – period. NOT in the Middle East, look to Daqing).

-Simple….your thoughts on the game.
I think the Falcons continued their trend of coming out flat in the third quarter (or maybe opposing coaches are coming out of halftime with some really outstanding scripted play sequences – same difference really). They did what they needed to do to win, as usual. It was impressive to me that they are milking this streak of road wins (Smitty seems to have changed his preparation to maximize his chances on the road late in the season, props to a damn good coach for anticipating and reacting to this scheduling issue proactively).

And don’t call me simple (respect to Leslie Nielson)

-Do the Falcons play up and down to their competition?
Seems so, can’t figure that one out. That will become a VERY dangerous approach later as teams get revved up about playing the Falcons (what a novel concept!! – I could really get used to that).

-If so, does that worry you going forward?
Yep – BUT – The competition will really ramp up in the post season so that will cease to be an issue, Smitty and crew has yet to win a playoff game, we needed to eliminate that little flaw. 3 offseason wins should take care of that nicely.

-Can Turner shoulder the load if needed?
Yep, but be wary of Burner burnout. We need a RB early in the next draft, 1st or 2nd I think.

-Should Snelling get some more work or continue to rest?
Rest one more week, playoffs coming. Assuming he is at 50%-60% or so. If he is at 95% or better, turn the sucker loose!

-Why, why, why the standard lull every game?
My guess is halftime adjustments by opposing staffs, against Carolina I suspect the Panthers changed blocking schemes to spring their RB – quite successfully – and we needed time to react and counter-adjust. We have a rebuilt, young D and they may well be susceptible to such machinations.

-Who’s to blame for lull: coaches, players, all of the above?
All of the above, but I still think it is schematic and temporary. It has been adjusted to by the 4th qtr for the most part.

-What’s up with the all-of-a –sudden weak run D?
Good question. Injuries slowing down the troops just that little step? Blocking schemes against the 4-3 D?

-Should the Falcons go deep more? YESSSSS!!!!!!! But, I don’t get a vote (for good reason). To be fair, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, BUT this will be an issue in the playoffs.

-Who’s most to blame for lack of deep shots: Ryan or Mularkey? I would have said Mularkey, but will accept DOL’s insights that Smitty is going old school, wear down the opposing D (like Vince Dooley did so successfully for so many years).

Bangkapi Ajarn

December 14th, 2010
12:08 pm

Nice link, JJ, Thanks

CBrass

December 14th, 2010
12:12 pm

For those of you who want an open air stadium just think about that long and hard.

Bangkapi Ajarn

December 14th, 2010
12:19 pm

Haven’t kept up the last couple weeks, but hoping everyone here is well.

Moose, hope the eye is 100% now.
SW, your Angel remains in more prayers that there are stars in the sky.
Sarah, Hope the new Job continues to provide all you were looking for
Jason – Saw you checked in, keep your hear down and your spirits up, the Falcon nation is worldwide and springs up in the most unlikely places, you ALWAYS have a falcon fan at your back.
Coop – congrats on that surge to challenge Box and snag second place in D3’s contest.
Box – all respect, you are hereby annotated King of the predictions!!
D3 – Thanks for bringing it every week with class and intelligence. The falcons nation wouldn’t spawn a cage family without daddy D3.
DOL – As you are now a cager, thanks for all the insights. We may not say it enough, but thanks!

To you guys and everyone else;
Merry Christmas (yeah OK, I’m not terribly politically correct).

Troupdawg

December 14th, 2010
12:31 pm

To all, please excuse my spelling. I’m down with the flu…I’m just hoping I don’t give away any family secrets. Ha! Zoomie, I agree with you, the game in Seattle worries me more than the MNF with Saints. To much travel late in season with such a big game on the near horizon.

BUT the birds have a been beaten by only 1 team in the NFC this year. To those that have the Saints in the W column for that MNF game, To be the man you gotta beat the man! Birds beat the man earlier in the year in HIS house. The question now is, How can the Saints beat the Falcons?

Why the lack of deep shots? Just my opinion, Ryan doesn’t have confidence in the deep pass. When I see the birds go to the no huddle, Matt calls the plays right? Notice he never calls the deep ball. I don’t think it’s lack of confidence in his receivers or his arm. I think it’s his touch for the deep ball that he has a mental block over. No shrink, just what I’ve noticed.

CBrass

December 14th, 2010
12:50 pm

BA,

So good to see you back hon!!! I was getting worried.

ShempHoward

December 14th, 2010
1:31 pm

I can tell you what I know for a fact! All the wins are great and its definitely fun getting used to a winning Mike Smith team tradition. But in reality, if the Falcons dont win the superbowl (Vince Lombardi trophy) the season is a complete waste. Thats all I know. This season is starting to feel much like the 1998 Falcon campaign which is the teams Lone superbowl season. The only problem then as it is now is that when you come up on the short end of the superbowl score, no one remembers who loses the superbowl. The winner in the superbowl is remembered forever. I hope the Falcons are serious about winning the superbowl because in my mind the season will be a complete waste of time.

Paddy O

December 14th, 2010
1:40 pm

The almost 2 cents – good: Shut out 1st half, looked promising for the entire game. Missed the bomb to HD, very disappointed to miss is. Despite the score, I was disappointed that we did not shut them out. We seem to get the “no call” ref squad every week – against TB, it was pretty blatant that Aqub gave Roddy a shot ON THE SIDELINE – he should have been kicked out of the stadium ala that scrub on the Jets coaching staff. So, his jawing may be retaliatory. Weems looks awesome. Our pass rush – 2 sacks for the Truck, Babs & ABE both played a good game. Peterson interception. BAD: Rush defense in 2nd half, that is about it. As stated, I was really rooting for a shut out. HOwever, I think we focused so entirely on sacks, we let some run plays get past the line & into the 2nd & 3rd level, which allowed yardage – but, not much scoring. We do generate intensity in accordance with our opponent – which is why we came out so great against NO, Balt & GB. However, our best game of the season, where we played to our strength and not just to opponents ability was the AZ game. If we had limited Carolina to a field goal, this game would have been a complete success. As it is, a 21 point differential is quite good. I think we should man handle Seattle, 31-10.

Paddy O

December 14th, 2010
1:42 pm

Shemp – you stooge! Of course the rest of the nation does’nt give a mouses butt about the loser, but their fans should be dang proud. I’ll be ecstatic if we get to the SB. Only way I am totaly disappointed is if I am in the stands and we get our butt kicked. Not going to happen.

Paddy O

December 14th, 2010
1:43 pm

We are clearly better than Seattle. NO will give us a very intense battle.

Troupdawg

December 14th, 2010
1:52 pm

Shemp. C’mon man! Have you already forgotten the years of losing that this team used to post year in and year out? Those clowns for owners, Smith Family, using the team as a tax shelter and not caring what kind of product hit the field. Watching this team out of contention by mid October every year.

No, this season isn’t a waste, with or without a SB win. Outside of the Eagles, who has really whipped the Falcons? Steelers didn’t.

FrontRow

December 14th, 2010
2:00 pm

The ONLY game is this Sunday. I neither assume the Saints win December 27 nor assume the game is for all the marbles. IMO the game will be meaningless – that only means the Falcons will have the division wrapped by December 27.

What’s troubling is the assumption that the Saints will come in with the division on the line. First, they have to beat the Ravens who have played pretty mediocre in the last few weeks and will be primed for a decent showing. All are quick to note the Falcons are a “dome” team but the Saints are (presumably) the next dynasty. Aren’t the Saints a “dome” team going into a cold, hostile outdoor environment?

Further, the Saints and Falcons both have dispatched their last 6 opponents HOWEVER the Falcons have defeated 4 (of 6) teams with winning records – the Saints have only played 1 TEAM with a winning record during their run.

The Falcons have a much better chance to TCB on Sunday than the Saints. If the most likely scenario comes to reality (Saints lose, Falcons win) the division race is over. Given that NYG, Philly, Bears, Packers, etal all play each other in the last 3 weeks, a win THIS SUNDAY gives the Falcons the inside track at home field throughout.

All that said – back to the December 27 MEANINGLESS game. Meaningless does not mean lay down. As discussed with SW and others last week, an old fashioned GA DOME butt kicking is in order. Never mind beating them with the division on the line – it will be more impressive to beat them down (as we will) with nothing to gain for the effort except a little respect.

Troupdawg

December 14th, 2010
2:13 pm

FrontRow..RIGHT ON RIGHT ON!!!

Coop

December 14th, 2010
2:39 pm

Afternoon Cage – BA, good to see you again.

As I look at the playoff race taking shape, I offer the following prediction:

1. Falcons 13-3
2. Eagles 12-4
3. Bears 11-5
4. Rams 8-8
5. Saints 12-4
6. Giants 11-5

In the Wild Card round, I’ll take BOTH wild card teams. The Saints will kill the Rams and I think Manning is better than Cutler (barely) and the Giants beat the Bears.

That brings the G-Men to ATL, where I predict an @ss whippin’. We pick Manning twice and sack him about 4 times. Turner runs crazy.

New Orleans goes to Philly and finds a way to win a HUGE shootout.

Then the Saints come back to the Dome where they beat us on MNF. We turn the table and absolutely rout them. We get the game we’ve waited for all year and win by 3 TDs. Brees gets knocked out by a Beer Truck sack fumble. Falcons roll to the Superbowl.

At least, that’s the way I see it…

I gotta say, no matter how the season ends, the absolute worst case scenario to me is losing to Philly in ATL with Vick at the helm. I simply couldn’t bear it.

tboneforever1

December 14th, 2010
2:46 pm

Falcons go on 3 game losing streak to end the season, then get beat by Rams in first round. Bank on it.

FrontRow

December 14th, 2010
2:53 pm

Did we leave a truck load of sour grapes in Tampa?

Hamad Meander

December 14th, 2010
2:53 pm

Questioning going with the deep ball: two things must work very well to have the 4+ seconds to throw deep. 1. Generally you must use play-action to freeze the linebackers so that they don’t blitz 2. Your offensive line needs to give you a safe pocket to set your feet, wind up, and let it go.

I saw Carolina put good pressure on Matt when he was looking far downfield. We can’t let him get hit as much as we did against Carolina when we are in a tighter game in the playoffs.

CBrass – great comment on the outdoor stadium. With the wind chill near zero this morning, I didn’t even want to walk outside to my car today, much less sit on my butt for three hours watching a football game. The Georgia Dome works for me!

LRD

December 14th, 2010
3:04 pm

BOO.. missing seeing the game again this weekend. In FL Fox is not showing the Late Game past Jacksonville.. so further south I am stuck watching the other channel.. ny jets vs steelers.. argh!

[...] AJC: It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but the Falcons did beat the hapless Panthers by 21 points on [...]

LRD

December 14th, 2010
3:37 pm

COOP.. I do hope you are the Oracle… nice scenario

Others will not agree, but I would not mind if we wiped up/out you know who, here in our house, on the way to the big dance, to just finally cleanse that from our system

Sarah B

December 14th, 2010
4:21 pm

FrontRow

December 14th, 2010
4:35 pm

I don’t mind the cold – I can always add another layer of clothing.

It’s the wet part that bothers me – once you get cold and wet there’s no turning back.

My first pro game was 1977 Eagles-Falcons playoff. 40 degrees and pouring rain but we made a bunch of noise banging on the aluminum bleachers.

And, who can forget hanging playoff tickets for Christmas ornaments in 1980? Too bad there was no “neutral zone” back then.

Paddy O

December 14th, 2010
4:38 pm

OK, SarahB, last reference thought we were ranked too high. #2, with consideration of the high octane Patriot attack. looks about right. Although, we still need to defeat the Eagles & Mike Vick to be genuinely #2.