Falcons Edge Past Vikings

Another Needed Win

Not Beautiful, But a Win (C.Compton/AJC)

The Falcons did what they had to do to get a much needed victory in a very tight wild card race. It wasn’t the prettiest win in the world, which seems to be a recurring theme, but the Birds took care of business against another inferior opponent during this stretch run for the playoffs. They played pretty darn good in the first half and not very much at all in the second half. Any win in the NFL is huge, but fans are still waiting on them to play that elusive complete game and we’re on game 11. A look at the Birds win……..

1) Another Needed Win

As mentioned above, it wasn’t the prettiest and surely another case of extreme inconsistency, but the Birds found a way to win the game and have put them in contention for a potential playoff run. If they lost here, it certainly would have been a fatal blow to any talk of making the postseason. There was some good plays and performances by a lot of individual players, such as Chris Owens potential game-saving tackle and another outstanding performance by Sean Weatherspoon.

Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Harry Douglas, and Roddy White all had good days at the Dome, but once again there was a lot left on the field in terms of points and looking for a complete game as they get ready for a stretch run. The Falcons should have won and they did, even if it wasn’t beautiful.

2) Epitome of Inconsistency

Huge 4th and Goal Stand (C.Compton/AJC)

Add this game as yet another notch on a team known for they extreme inconsistency. The Falcons couldn’t do much wrong in the first half as they completely shut down an Adrian Peterson-less Vikings and actually made a rookie quarterback look like a rookie. They put together some impressive and long touchdown drives where they spread the ball around and used a ton of different personnel seemingly on each play. Matt Ryan looked comfortable in the no-huddle and got almost everyone involved in the game. They stormed to a 17-0 lead in the first half and looked as if they finally would put together a complete game…….wrong.

They came out after halftime and got a quick stop on defense, but the rest of the way it’s almost as if the Falcons were TRYING to let the Vikings back in the game. The offense went into it’s typical shell, where all the momentum and rhythm from the 1st half evaporated. The no-huddle offense was seen no more and they achieved just one first down through most of the second half.

The special teams had a total collapse, the defense let off the gas and let the rookie QB Ponder get in a rhythm. Ponder threw a touchdown pass to Percy Harvin when he appeared double-covered, and the defense had one of its worst plays of the entire season when they let the Vikings score on a 4th and 13 from mid-field where there was an inexcusable blown coverage. After scoring to go up 24-14, Percy Harvin broke free for a 104 yard kickoff return before being tackled by Chris Owens. Enough can’t be said that these Falcons under Coach Smith almost always find a way to win the games they should, but will they ever get a complete game put together this year?

3) Injuries Abound

Overall, the Falcons have stayed pretty healthy throughout the year especially when compared with other teams, but some the injuries are starting to pile up. William Moore didn’t play yet again and the Birds lost Brent Grimes very early in the game. Stephen Nicholas was injured in the game as well and had to be replaced by Mike Peterson. The Falcons have been without Kelvin Hayden and Sam Baker for some time now and lost Ovie Mughelli for the year early on in the season. As mentioned before, the Falcons are very lucky when compared to other teams, but the injuries are starting to pile up, especially in the secondary.

4) Hopefully, the 3 WR Set is Here to Stay

The Falcons officially opened the game with Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Harry Douglas all listed as starters and it appeared to be the base formation for the offensive scheme. And most fans say to that: thank you. Fans have clamored forever to get White, Jones, Douglas, and Gonzalez on the field at the same time more often and inhibit the defense from keying on any one player. The results seem to be paying off. Harry Douglas caught a nice drag, broke a tackle, and scored a touchdown.

Palmer With a TD (C.Compton/AJC)

Tony Gonzalez played a prominent role, Roddy White seems to be getting back to his old self, and even Michael Turner is still very important in the run game. Even though Julio Jones didn’t get involved as much today, his talent provides the defense to pick their poison and not many around can cover all the weapons that the Falcons have. Matt Ryan seems most at ease not only when he’s running the no-huddle offense, but also when the offense is more spread out with at least 3 receivers on the field at all times. It was awful losing Pro Bowl fullback Ovie Mughelli to a season ending injury, but this could be a very large positive to a seemingly big negative.

5) Special Teams Collapse

The special teams have had their issues for sure, but nothing on the scale that was witnessed today. Two enormous mistakes on special teams alone very nearly cost the Falcons their lead. It can be said that the ball hitting Dominique Franks could be a fluke, but that’s something that is practiced all the time from the youngest of ages of football on getting out of the way when the returner calls for a clearance. For the most part, the defense did their part until a repulsive 4th down and 13 went for a touchdown from midfield.

One major mistake might could be stomached, but a second one very nearly cost them the game. After the Birds offense takes a nice long drive down the field for a touchdown with less than 5 minutes remaining, the kickoff return allows Percy Harvin, one of the best return men in the game, to take it 104 yards nearly for another touchdown. If not for Chris Owens heroic play running down Harvin, the game could’ve easily gone a different way.

6) Questionable Calls

Just a few weeks ago, Coach Smith was lambasted by many for choosing to go for it on 4th down on their own 30 yard line in overtime, which ended up losing the game when they didn’t get it. Even though the media were considerably hard on the call, most fans felt the call to go for it was a good idea even if the play chosen was a terrible choice. The hard thing to understand is when he decides to go for it sometimes, but others he doesn’t it. With everything on the line and all the risk in the world, Smith went for it and lost the game when they didn’t get it. On the flip side was a decision not to go for it today.

HD with Another Good Game (C.Compton/AJC)

The Falcons were in heavy command of the game and were up 17-0. They were around mid-field and had a 4th and 1 in the 3rd quarter. It was a very low-risk decision where the offense actually stayed out on the field thinking they were going to go for it. The defense had held the Vikings to minimal gains and hardly any positive yardage and he offense had been doing very well. The worst that could have happened was the Vikings get a short field and even if they score, the offense gets the ball right back. The best that could have happened was the offense gets the 1st down, go down and score, and essentially end the game.

7) Why Can’t Falcons Close Out?

First of all, it should be said that the Falcons usually find ways to win games they should win including victories against the Seahawks, Panthers, Titans, and Vikings (it could be argued they should have beat the Bucs, but at the time the Bucs were doing well). This has been an issue during most of Mike Smith’s reign as head coach of the Birds: his teams just can not put teams away, regardless of how inferior they are….plain and simple. It’s almost as if the Falcons literally try to find ways to let their opponents get back in the game.

No one else can get the blame anymore than Smith himself. The coaches, coordinators, and players all take on the attitude of the head coach and for whatever reason, the Falcons just can not put anyone away. Most of this can go back to Smith’s hyper-conservative philosophy in trying to sit on leads. Again, to their credit, they haven’t slipped up and lost one so far, but if you play with fire long enough…….

8.) The Road Ahead

The Falcons have moved into the #6 wild-card spot and would make the playoffs if the postseason were to start today. They mostly control their own destiny with five games remaining and they should be favored in all but 4 with the Houston Texans quarterback woes. They have the 4th easiest strength of schedule in the NFL with the remaining games, but nothing should be taken for granted.

Big Game from Spoon (C.Compton/AJC)

The game at the Texans was considered one of their toughest when the schedule was released, but they have to take care of business and can’t afford any slip-ups on this stretch run. To put themselves in a good position, the Birds need to go 4-1 over the final 5 games to put them at 11-5. The NFC South division is even still in reach if they find a way to win in New Orleans. In other words, the road to the playoffs has eased up a little bit, but not very much.

Your Turn

-Take a spin at reviewing the Falcons win over the Vikings

764 comments Add your comment

painter

November 27th, 2011
9:14 pm

Getting there. Slowly.

stendek

November 27th, 2011
9:15 pm

Hi Dawson. I am not overjoyed but a win is a win as is 7-4. Oh well. I changed my mind about Chris Owens. The young man singlehandedly pulled the Falcon tailfeathers out of the fire against a vastly inferior team from the Twin Cities. Thanks Chris. The defensive coordinator should have been given his walking papers when the Vikings converted that fourth and forever into a TD. Indefensible. Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and company proceeded to claim a 17-0 lead then went into hibernation. The conservative approach is sort of like the prevent defense – it more often than not prevents a win. MR had some decent throws but was way off on many others. Too many. MT started out with 40 or so quick yards then finished with well under 100. So much for controlling the game tempo and clock. The fourth down TD pass infuriated me but I also give kudos to the Falcon D for the game preserving goal line stand. Who cares if it came against a group without its top RB or QB? Not me. The FG kicker was fine as was the punter. Now that KO unit is another story. Which brings me back to Chris Owens… :)

painter

November 27th, 2011
9:18 pm

2-1 had a big S under his jersey. He also delivered some good tackles. And that season-saving dash … I’m speechless.

uga_b

November 27th, 2011
9:29 pm

Well, the good news is that even though this team plays down to competition, we won’t face bad teams if we make the playoffs. Wasn’t pretty but the fact is: we won by double digits; covered the spread; and held the Vikings in check for a few flukey plays. I do think that we saw how much losing Grimes hurt us with those second half points. And if you are honest with yourself, you might realize that we still had this game put away halfway through the 4th quarter so we weren’t really as close to losing as some might have you think.

waynester

November 27th, 2011
9:43 pm

Lots of guys deserve criticism today but Matt Ryan ain’t one of them. This was statistically his best game of the season and he won the thing. Lord help Grimes get well soon….

JB FALCON

November 27th, 2011
9:47 pm

Dhunt , your last post should be transfered over.

Wabe

November 27th, 2011
9:48 pm

“First of all, it should be said that the Falcons usually find ways to win games they should win including victories against the Seahawks, Panthers, Titans, and Vikings (it could be argued they should have beat the Bucs, but at the time the Bucs were doing well). This has been an issue during most of Mike Smith’s reign as head coach of the Birds: his teams just can not put teams away, regardless of how inferior they are….plain and simple. It’s almost as if the Falcons literally try to find ways to let their opponents get back in the game.

No one else can get the blame anymore than Smith himself. The coaches, coordinators, and players all take on the attitude of the head coach and for whatever reason, the Falcons just can not put anyone away. Most of this can go back to Smith’s hyper-conservative philosophy in trying to sit on leads. Again, to their credit, they haven’t slipped up and lost one so far, but if you play with fire long enough…….” – D3

————

Co-freakin’-sign.

falcon21

November 27th, 2011
9:50 pm

Bad coaching leads to players quitting on their team. I didn’t see that today. I saw a lot of hustle out of players that believe in their coaches. We beat another NFL team by 10 which is not easy to do and the playoffs are within our reach. I may be wrong but the coaching staff have made changes over the last 4 or 5 weeks that we all have been calling for. We are getting there, and at the right time. GO FALCONS!!!

JB FALCON

November 27th, 2011
9:51 pm

This was posted at 9:08 amd the first resonse was 9:14. You didn’t even have enough time to read the post! Why didn’t you call “first”?

Coop

November 27th, 2011
9:54 pm

Stendek – Agree with most of what you said, except for the Matt Ryan being way off on many others. He was pretty superb today. A couple more drops or he’s almost 85%. Isn’t a QB rating of 128 with 3 TDs and no INTs good enough?

uga_b

November 27th, 2011
9:54 pm

D3

November 27th, 2011
10:05 pm

Hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving with your family, friends, and loved ones.

Some random thoughts before bed…………

We should be favored in all the games except the Saints. We are very much in playoff contention, especially with Cutler being out for Bears, we win either way tomorrow night because either team losing is good for us, and we have the 4th easiest schedule in the NFL moving forward.

I’ll have to give myself a pat on the back calling the Tampa Bay implosion. I just had a feeling that the ol’ head case coach Morris would run its course at some point and it finally appears to have happened. Makes me so thankful for a coach like Smitty.

Chris Owens may not be the best CB in the world, but he surely earned some serious quality points with his immense hustle play. That was a d@mn fine play. He may never rise up to be a starting CB, but he’s a tough player who hustles his tail off.

We may have gotten a glimpse of why D.Franks hasn’t cracked the starting lineup. Two major errors: major blown coverage on 4th and 13 (even though that was mostly James Sanders fault) and the special teams error. Still like his upside though.

We should beat Texans with their #3 QB………..plain and simple.

Carolina game scares me to death as a major trap game sandwiched between Texans and @ Saints (even though technically we have Jags after Panthers). They would love nothing more than to ruin our season. They did struggle with the Colts. BTW, I wouldn’t be doing too many endzone “Superman” dances if my team was 3-8 and struggling mightily to beat the worst team in the NFL.

As I mentioned above, the 3 WR, 1 TE, Single Back formation should be our base offense from here on out and as much as I love Ovie, I think it should be our base formation for future going forward as well. Think that Ovie may be a cap casualty in the off-season with the emergence of our spread and Mike Cox’s good play.

Coop

November 27th, 2011
10:07 pm

D3 – Great writeup. Continue to hope and pray that Smitty will give his team a chance to crush an opponent. I think he’s trying to do two things:

1. Be honorable and NOT run up the score, and
2. Be safe so he doesn’t give away a game or a big lead

These are admirable and decent things to attempt. Further, in the first two years, this was the way to play for us. We were finding our way and not quite good enough to win if we made mistakes.

Now, we are way different. We have the talent to not only play win, but beat EVERY team in the NFL. That means NE, PIT, NO, GB, etc. Smith should recognize this and try to get his team to believe it. They need to believe that they can overcome mistakes. They need to believe they can blow out bad opponents routinely and will be favored against good ooponents.

The one thing missing from this being a Superbowl caliber team is the leadership from the top. I want to see Smitty succeed. But c’mon man. See what is going on and grow some balls. Let this team go out and beat the ver loving dog sh!t out of Houston. We absolutely are capable of beating them by 21. With Smitty, we’ll be lucky to win.

Coop

November 27th, 2011
10:12 pm

D3 – Agree on Cam Newton. Don’t be surprised if he isn’t another Vick. Immense talent that can’t put team first. Ryan, Brees, and Freeman lead their teams. Not sure about Newton.

As for playoffs, it has been a huge week for us. Bears lost, Lions lost, Seahawks lost, we won. If NO loses, we control our destiny for the division. Win out and we COULD win the 2nd cede.

D3

November 27th, 2011
10:19 pm

To be honest here, if we can’t go at least 4-1 over the next 5, especially with Texans QB issue, we really don’t deserve to go to the playoffs.

We are tied for the league’s worst in dropped passes this year. What the hell is up with that?

Loved when they put up on the screen about what we “missed out on” with what we gave up for Julio. 1) Phil Taylor, DT…..2) Greg Little, WR……….4) Owen Maricic, FB. Man, am I so pissed we didn’t keep these picks and draft these guys………………… :lol: Obviously, we have a 1st rounder on the table next year, but sure is looking better and better all the time.

Matt Ryan was superb today. If you haven’t been paying attention, he’s gotten a pretty good roll lately. He’s up to 18 TDs to 10 INTs. Remember when he was 10 TDs vs. 9 INTs only a short while ago?

Don’t look now, but HD has already had his best season as a pro. 31 receptions, 428 yards. Absolutely MUST lock him up long-term. We have only scratched the surface of his potential.

Loved seeing Michael Palmer get his 1st TD of the season. Still say that he “could” be a replacement for TG, especially if our base O includes Roddy, JJ, and HD. If nothing else, he certainly can be a bridge to the future @ TE……..the guy we thought Justin Peele might be.

Sure would be nice for Sam Baker if he can play RG, because he sure as the H better not glimpse a look at LT ever again as long as Will Svitek is in town. Looks like TD and OL Coach Boudreau may have groomed themselves an LT. Pssssst…………he’s only 29 and has started only 6 games before this year in his entire career. Like Palmer, if nothing else, than he’s a bridge to the future. But I think he IS OUR IMMEDIATE LT right now.

For all those that have doubted Spoon, I think its safe to say he’s the real deal. Hell, he probably could have 8 sacks by now if BVG used him correctly.

Sure hope that Grimes and Nicholas heal quickly.

That’s about it for now. You guys have a good week and I’ll check in tomorrow.

Cheers!!!!!!! :twisted: :grin: :mrgreen:

uga_b

November 27th, 2011
10:20 pm

On the plus side, we held the Vikings to 55 yards rushing and are now number 2 in the NFL against the rush.

D3

November 27th, 2011
10:23 pm

Thanks Coop! — Dawgs got a chance on Saturday? Last time this was the set up we won 34-14. Best position in the world. Heavy under-Dawgs and have nothing to lose.

gg

November 27th, 2011
10:25 pm

i kind of like the way the end of this reg season is shaping up. we are still growing and as disappointed as many of us has been with julio i think he may have some great moments before the season is over. as teams are watching our game film, they are not probably seeing much from julio, but that’s when it’s gonna happen…mark my words!!

uga_b

November 27th, 2011
10:25 pm

D3, UGA has the horses to stop the LSU ground attack. If we have a good game out of Murray, we should be able to give them a good game. Orson gives us a dimension they haven’t really seen yet. Just excited we have the chance.

Coop

November 27th, 2011
10:28 pm

D3 – Dawgs do have a chance. We have a very good D now that Grantham has things rolling. Love Jarvis Jones (wait till next year). LSU offense doesn;t scare me. Question is, can we score???? I think the ace up our sleeve is LSU being focused. Everyone is telling them they play for the national title no matter what happens in the Dome. Could work to our favor.

I’ll say this, if we beat (and I mean beat) LSU, then beat Michigan (??) in the Sugar Bowl, I’ll give Richt a ton of credit and let up some. But I want to see it first.

D3

November 27th, 2011
10:30 pm

uga_b — Yeah, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…..I officially eat the hottest, steaming, funkiest pile of crow ever. I thought that the Richt Era needed to be over after the last 3 years and an 0-2 start. I was dead wrong and this has been a great season, regardless of Saturday’s outcome. Hell, I think our WR corps is probably the best young receiving corps we’ve EVER had with Mitchell, Bennett, and Conley. I think Charles will be going pro, even though I don’t think he should. Would love the Falcons to get a hold of him. Have a good night! Go Falcons and Dawgs!!!!!!!!!!!!

Coop

November 27th, 2011
10:32 pm

D3 – On Falcons remaining 5 games, there is no reaosn to not go 6-0. Really, less than 5-1 would be a dissapointment (with Schaub out for Texans). Losing to CHI and TB early sucked and put us in a bad way. Losing to NO and GB just demonstrates the last 6 inches we need to egt over the wall.

Regardless, beat HOU next week and we are clearly inthe driver’s seat. No excue to lose to JAX, CAR, or TB. So 10 wins should be a lock. Beat HOU and/or NO and the playoffs are a lock. Win out could get us the 3 cede. Certainly a worthy goal.

Think back on our four losses. Anyone believe we don;t have the talent to be 11-0 right now? Not me…

Screen Pass

November 27th, 2011
11:03 pm

“Think back on our four losses. Anyone believe we don;t have the talent to be 11-0 right now? Not me…” – Coop

Lol. What’s even scarier is that we had most of this firepower last year. The addition of JJ, J quiz, of the emergence of Svitek as a competant, even really good LT makes what we are capable of quite gaudy. Where we are and what we are capable of isn’t at the proper crossroads yet…when they get there look out.

Mike

November 27th, 2011
11:52 pm

first I would like to say that the past feew weeks MR2 has been lights out…not sure if he is just in a zone right now, or if it is because he is calling more of his own plays. However it still bothers me tha \t the offense goes very conservative when they get a decent lead. We witnessed today tha they let Minnesota right back in the game, and when needed they went down and added another score. However I do like what I have seen from the offense a little more than earlier in the year, my only concern is taking your foot off the pedal when things are going well. The defense for the most part playe very well. I am very impressed with our group of line backers. Our problem on defense is not personel, or scheme as much as it is philosphy. For the 2nd week in a row they had a team down big, had been pretty dominate, and allowed a team to convert a 4th and 13. On both 4th and 13’s had they brought pressure and made the QB’s throwq before they were ready, I am almost certain both would have different outcomes. However they rush three and let routes develop, and one ends up a first down, and today one ends up a touchdown. I think the group of players we are putting on the field every Sunday has the right mentality…would love to see some of that carry over to the coaching staff.

Big Lou

November 28th, 2011
12:25 am

How about that Matt Ryan, huh? He’s been on fire lately. He would have another 300 yard game if they kept him in no huddle… and if we didn’t have dropped passes. He’s finally getting use to having all those options. Let’s see if he could keep this us against the Texan’s D. That will be a true test. This offense is on the cusp of exploding into elite status.

I have to admit that Van Gorder really dropped the ball on that Percy touchdown… 4th down and you don’t send any pressure? What the heck was he thinking? Spoon is the freaking man!

Our run D gets a real test next week. Number two D vs number two rushing. We stop the run… we win, period.

GO FALCONS!

DHunt

November 28th, 2011
12:58 am

5 out of the 28 teams that have played this week scored more points than the Falcons. 23 of the 28 teams to play so far this week gave up more points than the Falcons. Only two teams won by more points than the Falcons. So we are scoring more points, and giving up less points than most of the teams in the league. That has to be a good sign.

I’m not trying to ignore the negatives, but it just seems that the positives so far outweigh them.

DHunt

November 28th, 2011
1:00 am

Since JB asked for it.

There were a couple of no-huddle series in the 2nd half that didn’t end up with touchdowns. since this is obviously about find as much fault with as many coaches as possible, on whom should we blame that?

And the whole no huddle offense argument is making less and less sense to me. Ryan has the option to audible at the line even when the play is called in the huddle. I saw him do it several times today. So anytime he doesn’t change the play and the play doesn’t work, should we then blame Ryan for not changing the play?

The Falcons 1st two series in the 2nd half ended with a pass to Tony G that was low, and came up one yard short of a first down, and a pass that HD caught then apparently dropped. (I saw him on the sidelines explaining to Roddy that he was just tossing the ball away after he thought the play was over). So is that conservative play calling or not doing what needed to be done on the field? The defense got burned on a 4th and 13, but almost everyone plays a deep coverage in that situation, so is that a failure of coaching on BVG, or a lapse by the two safeties for not getting deep?

I’m really trying hard to understand the intense criticism of the coaches in the midst of a 5-1 winning streak. Some of the rationales just seem to not make much sense to me. I just didn’t see the complete reversal of scheme that some folks evidently saw. I think the defense played hard all game, and the offense missed a few opportunities to put up a few more points. Are they really expected to score on every offensive series now?

DHunt

November 28th, 2011
1:21 am

Complete collapse on Special teams? They broke 1 play, on a ball nobody really thought he was going to bring out, and got zero points out of it because our guy evidently wanted it more than their guy. And the bad bounce that got Franks shouldn’t even be part of the discussion. Franks was trying to do his job and his job is not finding where the punt is, it’s blocking the gunners. As soon as he got close enough to hear the get away call, the ball lands and bounces backwards into his back as he is trying to get away. How is that a collapse?

Just a question. Are we getting hyper sensitive about the Falcons miscues, because we expect more out of them? that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it can get stressful if we start expecting too much, like perfect games. Recall that there are some mulit-millionaires on the other side of the ball too, who are doing their level best to stop us.

All I really have is kudos for this game.
Matt Ryan – great game, and still showing improvement.
M. Turner – ran hard again today
Quizz – with very few touches still manages to make an impact every game
Roddy – great game
Tony G – great game
HD – lethal on any type of crossing pattern
O-Line – kept Ryan upright most of the game (2 sacks against the league leading team in sacks)
D-Line – outplayed a Vikes D-Line that is (or was) considered to be better than ours
Weatherspoon – Defensive MVP of the team, and perhaps the league if he keeps this up
Franks – handled his biz when his time to step in and step up came around
Owens – hustled hard all day, and didn’t get burned on that deep pass to Harvin (which was not a touchdown). he came off his man to help and was a fraction of an inch away from making that play.

I could go on (Sid for example), but really, nobody had a bad day (even though a couple of guys may have had a bad play), and that is a recipe for a good day at the Dome.

trademark

November 28th, 2011
3:58 am

The problem is clear, and also not so clear. Here’s the rub: we all know and have screamed to the high heavens that this conservative play-calling crap has got us into more hot water than we deserve, letting teams back into games that they have no business being in in the first place. BUT, we do end up winning a ton of these games. I think what the coaching staff doesn’t know is that this formula WILL NOT work in the playoffs. That’s probably a good reason the Falcons (current incarnation) haven’t won one. It’s a big problem; we know how to win games in the regular season, but haven’t established that “killer” identity needed for the playoff run. Maybe the Jekyll/Hyde approach we’ve seen from the Falcons so often lately, ala “play one half ,balls to the walls, the other, meh” is them testing the waters to see if this approach is working. I would say a big yes. The other thing is that it is also possible that this is not the coaching staff. I remember a game in Ryan’s rookie season where John Abraham was miked-up and highlighted on “Inside the NFL” The Falcons built a big lead, and Abraham said something along the lines of: “I love games like this, we can relax and chill for awhile…over by the third quarter”, or something like that. I remember thinking, and still do, that this is NOT the attitude of a “killer-instinct” team. I’m wondering if this attitude is somehow coming from the players side as well. Not necessarily Abraham, but maybe it permeates the roster. If so, there is a HUGE problem to address, bigger than just adjusting some play calling. I hope I’m wrong there.

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Ken Strickland

November 28th, 2011
5:20 am

D3-The Falcons have what it takes, ON THE FIELD, to close out gms, but our HC won’t let them do it because he lacks anything even close to a KILLER INSTINCT. His long standing strategy is to get an early lead and then shutdown and see what the opposition can do against the OFF and DEF he prefers. I don’t know if it’s stupidity or extreme stubborness, both of which are unacceptable, but he steadfastly refuses to allow his team to play beyond the 1st half.

When the 2nd half starts, he refuses to allow them to do most of the things that got the lead in the 1st place. Why would anyone, other than a fool, continue to switch, without fail gm after gm, from an OFF that moves the ball and scores points, to an OFF that struggles mightly to move the ball and score points, WITHOUT FAIL?

And why would anyone, but a clueless individual, or incompetent, switch from playing a DEF that has definitely limited opponents, to a SOFT PREVENT DEF that has yet to PREVENT or LIMIT a damned thing? And the fool has done this without fail the entire season, regardless of the fact every that team has made a serious 2nd half comeback when he’s done it.

If all of you Smitty supporters think we’re going to GET THERE, or IMPROVE our ability to defeat the better teams, or get beyond the 1st rd of the playoffs, assuming we make it, with the approach Smitty is using, then you’re not being realistic. THE ATLANTA FALCONS WON’T IMPROVE UNTIL SMITTY IMPROVES, OR IS FIRED.

This stupid and senseless approach he’s adopted of playing one half of aggressive winning football, then shutting down offensively and defensively and playing CATCH ME IF YOU CAN FOOTBALL, won’t get us anywhere. Those of you who choose to ignore the obvious, had better savor our current streak of victories over weaker, and wounded, opponents while it lasts, because the chickens will come home to roost.

Please, somebody tell me what kind of mental block, or level of stubborness and/or stupidity, makes a HC consistently and continuously spit into the wind?

Ken Strickland

November 28th, 2011
5:41 am

DHUNT-I don’t know if it’s hype sensitivity, but when Smitty forces the team to revert to his much loved SMITTY BALL, the team is put in a position of having to play what amounts to error free football. And when they do make a mistake, our OFF and DEF are too conservative and unproductive to make it a none issue. But because of the aggressive and productive way he allows the OFF and DEF to play in the 1st half, this has been a 2nd half problem only.

And how can you say the whole NO HUDDLE OFF is beginning to make no sense? We’ve used it extensively in the 1st half of the last 2gms, and scored 20 and 17 pts respectively. We’ve abandoned it in the 2nd half of those gms and played SMITTY BALL, and we’ve scored 3 and 7pts respectively. We also won the gm against the Eagles using it.

Based on these results, what’s so confusing about the NO HUDDLE? While it hasn’t worked to perfection everytime we’ve used it, the success we’ve had with it over the course of the season has been head and shoulders better than anything we’ve gotten out of playing SMITTY BALL.

Chop Buster

November 28th, 2011
7:38 am

The Falcons let up because the coaching staff lets up–plain and simple. They do not play with the same level of intensity as they do in the first half. Another problem is our coaching staff’s lack of adjustment in the second half. We need to get hot and for four full quarters through the remaining games. We need momentum going into the playoffs.

Terrell

November 28th, 2011
7:45 am

DHunt, I agree with you that people are getting picky, but it’s better than what it used to be in past. There was a time where we just hoped Atlanta wouldn’t get blown out.

Oh there were a few BIG BAD PLAYS for us.

Chris Owens missed the long pass to Harvin that set up the 1 yard TD run by Minn.

BVG called a bad play with the Tampa Cover 2 on 4th and 13 and Harvin scored on that deep pass (It was a TD, look at the replay). He had two feet down when he caught it and his butt hit the ground as well. The butt hitting the ground is the same as having both feet on the ground.

darrell starks

November 28th, 2011
7:57 am

DHunt What game are you watching, the no huddle offense is the reason why the Falcons have won the last 4 games out of 5, when Falcons turn away from the no huddle this team become stagnant on offense with lack of production on the field, i never understand the coach why in the second half he turn of the the green button and try 2 slow the clock down because of the big league they build up in first half, coach must stick with the no huddle from starte until the end of the game.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

trademark

November 28th, 2011
8:03 am

Ever wonder WHY these bad plays keep showing up when the Falcons have their foot off the gas? Simple equation, to quote Donald Trump: LUCK = Opportunity + Preparation. This is the NFL, of COURSE the other teams is prepared, records mean nothing, they’re all top level professionals. And they’ve seen the film, they KNOW EXACTLY when the Falcons are playing soft. There’s the opportunity. And more often than not, that’s where the bad luck (For the Falcons) comes into the game. Simple answer…CUT IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is all.

darrell starks

November 28th, 2011
8:03 am

WILL SVITEK get’s my game ball again,he dominated JARED ALLEN WHO LEAD THE NFL WITH 14 SACKS ON THE YEAR.
Great game Will Svitek.
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chop Buster

November 28th, 2011
8:54 am

Ken you seem to be as frustrated with Smitty ball as I am. The HC sets the tone of the team’s play. It’s as though he’s experimenting to see what will and won’t work. We know the no huddle works, the regular offense struggles when MM calls the plays, and teams get back in games due to our lack of aggressiveness–or players taking time off. This team hasn’t put four quarters of play together since Smitty’s existence.

E43

November 28th, 2011
8:58 am

Ive been away from Falcon football long enough to say that I think there’s a SEVERE case of group think in this blog… I blame it on Michael Vick… LOL

SG

November 28th, 2011
8:59 am

My concern is that we’ve beaten only one team with a winning record – and had some real squeakers against teams we should’ve thumped. I know, I know, “on any given Sunday…” (look what almost happened in KC last night to the Steelers), but I’m agreeing w/ Ken S. > for the most part we have the players that can do what it takes – and for me no question about MR2’s ability to lead an extremely versatile, precision offense – but as the team’s matured talent wise since ‘08, the coaches haven’t evolved from the conservatism that was needed in ‘08.

Smitty’s going for it on 4th down against NO was a step in the right direction, but not going for it on 4th and 1 in the 3rd yesterday shows he’s still not as confident as I think we’d all like to see – and what we know will be needed to win that 1st playoff game.

Paddy O

November 28th, 2011
9:11 am

I’ve gotta concur with Stendek. Although he gets burned a lot, the gumption he showed in the Harvin return gets him a permanent place on our ST’s. If I was TD, I’d order Mike Smith to NOT slow down the offense until they get to 35 points, or have the lead. This lack of a killer instinct, when looked back upon a decade from now, will be the reason most agree on why we can’t win against the top 10 teams in the league. OK: For those who have NO PROBLEM with our scheme – who was required to cover Harvin on the 4 & 13? Was it Lofton? Franks who released him & appeared to go into zone coverage? Certainly NOT Owens, who read the play & tried to give assistance?

Willie Coyote

November 28th, 2011
9:15 am

1st sentence in the second paragraph is it in a nut shell. Mike Smith is holding this team back from reaching his potential.

HE makes the decision when to go to the no-huddle. They are at their best in the no-huddle but he refuses to use it; I guess he doesn’t want to score 30 a game.

I used to be all over Mularky about the offense but I think Smith is handcuffing him too. Hell, I’m even rethinking my position of Van Gordner now; Smith may be dictating to him too much also.

The Falcons can win with him as coach but they won’t win it all unless something changes drastically.

DHunt

November 28th, 2011
9:27 am

Gentlemen (KS and darrell) you misunderstand me. I don’t question our use of the no-huddle. I question the argument that this is the best or only way for Ryan and the Falcon offense to be successful. And I question what game some of you were watching yesterday, because we did use the no huddle in the 2nd half, and we went in and out of it during the productive 1st half. Ryan can check into and out of plays no matter what, so the only significant difference is tempo. I’ve gone back and looked at the tape, and we really don’t seem to have changed much from 1st half to 2nd half yesterday. We didn’t execute well on offense in the 3rd qtr, and the Vikings did, so they had the ball most of the 3rd. It wasn’t bad defense or even prevent defense. It was great plays made by another PROFESSIONAL football team. Some of us seem to think these other teams are just going to lay down and stop playing because they fall behind. Maybe the opposing coaches are making more adjustments because they are the ones who need more adjustments. Maybe we are sticking with what is working, because it is working.

And people need to stop with the we’ve only beaten one team with a winning record nonsense. Some of those teams would have a winning record, IF WE HADN’T BEATEN THEM! The Titans are in a fight to win their division, and the running back we got little or no credit for shutting down last week, broke off 190 yards this week, against a team that beat us this year.

I heard Primetime say something that seems to fit a lot of the Falcons fans who seem intent on a “glass half empty” mentality. Some of you have become so fixated on worrying about what MAY happen (i.e. we will never win a playoff game playing Smitty ball), that you are really missing out on what is happening. Namely, the Falcons are playing at a high level and they are winning games! So what if it was a little closer that we might like. The Steelers just barely beat a pretty pathetic KC team, and I don’t hear everyone screaming for that coaching staff to be fired.

And let’s discuss Smitty’s playoff record for a second. Lost an away game in his rookie coaching year, with a rookie QB who didn’t have a great game, and a defense that couldn’t make a play at the end of a game against a probable HOF QB in Kurt Warner. He lost a game at home, where again, the QB didn’t have a great game, against a Packer team that hasn’t lost since. Is this really a complete indictment of all things Smitty? That is just not rational.

Feel free to continue to worry, because some people thrive on stress and strain. I’m going to enjoy the ride and focus on the positives.

SG

November 28th, 2011
9:40 am

Hat tip to Sidbury and his 2 sacks! Now tied w/ Abraham for team lead.

DHunt – I stand corrected on the teams w/ winning records issue – TN had one too before they met up w/ us.

LRD

November 28th, 2011
10:15 am

Everyone is saying Houston is a W now with them starting a 3rd string QB.. but folks remember that Houston does have the #1 defense…. and if we have another 3Q offensive lull like we usually do, we could easily come out of Houston beaten and bruised. And right now we cannot afford any more injuries.
Our Run D is going to have a nice challenge on Sunday.

Again, still very happy with the performance of Svitek.
Spoon has really come into his own.

I truly think Ryan;s happy feet have somewhat disappeared when Baker was out
I truly think our Defense has tackled better ever since Sanders has been starting.

Paddy O

November 28th, 2011
10:35 am

group think usually downplays problems. We defeated 2 teams we are blatantly better than. Both teams came back – we could have 2 shut outs. Again, for those in pollyanna land: Who was supposed to cover Harvin in our zone scheme? (and does he get THAT open in a man system?) Sanders may have made an error, but if the scheme required Lofton to do the covering, that is a big problem. On 4th & 13, that was exceptionally embarassing.

Paddy O

November 28th, 2011
10:37 am

WE also got darn lucky – Harvin looked to me as though he scored on our goal line stand. BUT, that call on HD was garbage – it may be this same officiating crew. The pass was completed, HD was tackled, and the ball loss control as he went out of bounds – similar to the Cox catch; I’ve watched other games, those calls don’t get made on other teams.

Paddy O

November 28th, 2011
10:40 am

dhunt – we OCCASIONALLY (even in some points MOST of the game), play at a high level. But typically, in the 3rd quarter, the opponent comes roaring back on us. AGainst GB, that cost us the game. We should NOT have lost to TB. The Chicago game was just a bust; but, I’d rate Chicago with Cutler in the top 7 of the NFL this year. This type of play hard/ mail it in scenario is fine againt the lower 60% of the NFL; against the top 10%, it gets you beat. We need to be top 5 to win the SB, IMO.

12 men in the huddle

November 28th, 2011
11:01 am

All the teams we still have to play have serious flaws….but then so do we! We couldn’t have a better game handed to us on a silver platter than going to Houston and facing there 3rd string quarterback! The only other tough game will be the Saints in N.O. and we have already shown we can beat them there if we play smart and well. Basically, we need the Bears to lose as they are the only ones with the tie breaker on us head to head. Lions are toast….Giants are toast….nobody else is going to threaten our wild card position.

OC Dinosaur

November 28th, 2011
11:04 am

I wonder how many players on this Falcons team are playing at a level a little lower than they are capable if the coaching staff would lead, motivate, and turn them loose.

COwens made a big time play on the kick return. I would say none of us thought he had that kind of effort in him. It was the longest non-scoring play in NFL history. All of a sudden, RWhite is playing at a higher level. We saw JSnelling with the incredible pass-run for the 21 yard touchdown in a previous game.

Yesterday’s game of injuries also presented the importance of beating some of the teams by a margin to let some of the younger players gain some game experience.