Atlanta Falcons: Birds Beat Cowboys, Stay Undefeated

Falcons Beat Dallas, Stay Perfect

110412 ATLANTA: Falcons running back Michael Turner celebrates his touchdown run with guard Peter Konz during fourth quarter action against the Cowboys at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.    CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Turner Comes Through (AJC)

It wasn’t beautiful or awe-inspiring, but the Atlanta Falcons did what they had to do when it counted most to beat the desperate Dallas Cowboys to stay undefeated. The defense played a great game, the offense played good but fell short in the red zone, and even normally perfect Matt Bryant missed two field goals. Even though the media-elite talking heads will claim the Falcons still haven’t proven anything due to their style of play, the fact remains that the Birds are the only undefeated team in the NFL for a reason, despite their refusal to acknowledge the team’s quality. A look at another big win on another big stage……

Just Keep Winning

Evidently the media-elite-ditto-talking-heads are trying to incorporate style points into the NFL, at least where the Falcons are concerned. It’s not good enough to win the games anymore, but rather they must utterly dominate by at least 50 points and if it doesn’t hit that margin, than they’re frauds or they haven’t won a playoff game, or the teams a legit opponent only until they lose to the Falcons. All the Falcons have to do is keep winning any way they can. They always haven’t been the prettiest and the Birds all know that the streak will likely come to an end at some point because as many of them have said, winning in the playoffs means more than being undefeated. Thank goodness, the NFL is all about results and doesn’t rely on computers to determine rank and championships like the BCS. Just keep winning.

Good Offense, but Red Zone Woes an Issue

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan gets off a pass under pressure during 1st half action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.    CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Good Stat Night for Ryan (AJC)

The Falcons racked up some pretty impressive numbers against one of the NFL’s best defenses on Sunday Night. Even though Matt Ryan didn’t toss a touchdown, he did complete 70% of his passes for 342 yards. Michael Turner ran for over 100 yards, and both Roddy White and Julio Jones hauled in over 100 yards a piece. The offensive line wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great either, but the biggest issue was the red zone woes that cropped up against the Cowboys. Be it play-calling, execution, or whatever the reason, the Falcons had to kick 5 field goals (missing 2) and could only muster one touchdown. Give credit where it’s due that the Birds scored a TD when it counted most, but that won’t always be quite good enough when facing some of the best offensive teams and must keep up with touchdowns instead of field goals.

Roddy White: Atlanta Falcons All-Time Leading Receiver

He’s had 5 years of over 1,000 yard receiving, been to 4 Pro Bowls, and now just . eclipsed one of the most impressive marks in Atlanta Falcons franchise history: he is in sole possession of the Falcons all-time leading receiver. He may not have stormed out of the gates as a rookie, has had his share of off-the-field stuff, but no one epitomizes the Atlanta Falcons more than Roddy White. He just became the Falcons all-time leading receiver and he’s got plenty of gas left in the tank. A huge congratulations to Mr. Roddy White and signing his invitation to the Falcons Ring of Honor in the future.

Slow Start

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith pumps his fist as the Falcons pick up a first down on the final drive of the first half on the way to tieing the game 6-6 with a field goal at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.    CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Smitty with Another Big Win (AJC)

Although many fans were hoping for the fast start the Falcons showed in Philadelphia, they quickly realized it would be a different game entirely in the first few minutes. The Falcons got the ball first and had one of the worst three and outs in recent memory. A fairly predictable run up the middle, an extremely weak screen / flare pass to lumbering Lousaka Polite, and a 3rd and long that came up short. The first series was a whopping 3 plays and 1 yard. The special teams had an uncharacteristic breakdown and the Cowboys returned it to the the Falcons red zone. Thankfully, the defense bowed their necks and made a huge early stop. The offense got a little more on track soon thereafter, but finished an 8 play, 61 yard drive with a missed field goal. Of course the Birds got it together, but the game surely got off to a slow start on offense.

Quizz the Man

His stats were miniscule and was not a factor at all in the run game, but Jacquizz Rodgers made two of the biggest plays of the game. Needing a 3rd down conversion with the Cowboys desperate to get the ball back, Quizz fielded a pass well short of the first down marker, but broke a tackle and rumbled for another 20 yards or so. Another 3rd down conversion had a similar setup later in the game and Rodgers basically broke a Cowboys defender’s ankles with an amazing juke move to get another first down. After a big week in Philadelphia in gaining over 100 all-purpose yards, his totals and targets were down against the Cowboys but he made two of the biggest plays of the entire night en route to victory.

Mike Nolan the Master

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson kicks up his heels reacting as the defenses makes a big stop on Cowboys running back Phillip Tanner on third down forcing Dallas to punt on fourth down in the final minutes of the first half at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012. The Falcons drove for a field goal after the play to tie the game 6-6 at the half.   CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

MPete Saved on Special Teams (AJC)

He lost Brent Grimes in the season opener, lost Sean Weatherspoon late vs. the Eagles, and lost Peria Jerry early in the game vs. the Cowboys. Mike Nolan may not have the top ranked defense in terms of statistics, but he’s doing a superb job of limiting some of the best offenses in the NFL on a weekly basis. He forced Peyton Manning to throw interceptions in one half, dominated Phillip Rivers and Michael Vick, held super-talented Robert Griffin III in check, and held the talented Cowboys offense without a touchdown until just over 5 minutes in the game. He was without the leader, and arguably the Falcons best defender in Sean Weatherspoon, and figured out a way to keep the Cowboys in check.

Matt’s Misses

The normally perfect Matt Bryant definitely had an off-night on Sunday evening. Bryant has been automatic this season, kicking several game-winning or game-securing field goals. Bryant missed not one, but two field goals in a game that turned out to be a field goal battle. Probably nothing to get worried about and hopefully it was just a bad night for Bryant’s usually automatic field goal kicks. Of course when the Falcons needed it most, Bryant delivered in with the last field goal that would force the Cowboys to score a touchdown with no timeouts instead of a field goal.

Dent Improving

He won’t be confused with the absent Sean Weatherspoon anytime soon, but Akeem Dent turned in a really good game against the explosive Cowboys and gives fans hope that he may very well have the ability to be in the Falcons long-term plans. He struggled pretty mightily in the first few appearances, especially the Oakland game, but did a little better vs. Philadelphia and showed real signs of comfort against the Cowboys. He took over the captain helmet with Weatherspoon being out did a pretty darn good job. He certainly has areas to improve, but overall he showed a great sense of promise at linebacker that some fans had started to fret over.

Spotty OL Play

110412 ATLANTA: Falcons kicker Matt Bryant, who missed two field goal attempts and made four, hits his final attempt for a 19-13 victory over the Cowboys during fourth quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.    CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COfoura

Rare Misses from Bryant (AJC)

It wasn’t the worst performance, but it surely was nowhere near the best play from the offensive line against the Cowboys. They were matched up against one of the best and most dominant pass rushers in the NFL in Demarcus Ware, but had some issues from time to time. Some of it may have been play-calling for the screen didn’t seem to be used against the aggressive Cowboys the way it was against the Eagles. Peter Konz is settling in at right guard, but Tyson Clabo is still having issues at right tackle. Again, it was far from their worst, but they need to clean up things this week for sure.

Home Field Advantage?

The fans have turned in some rocking times at the Georgia Dome this season and Matt Ryan’s home record of 30-4 is on the way to becoming one of the best in NFL history, but for whatever reason, the Falcons have played some of their best games on the road this season. To be fair, they’ve obviously won ALL the games they’ve played, but some of their best games (Kansas City, San Diego, Philadelphia) have come on the road. And some of their closest calls have come at home (Carolina, Oakland, Dallas). The Falcons did win one of their biggest games at home on Monday Night Football against Peyton Manning and the Broncos and the level of opponent has surely had something to do with it. But two of their worst performances came against teams with some of the worst records when they played them in Carolina (1-2) and Oakland (1-4) at home. The Cowboys game was a huge win on Sunday Night Football, especially from the defense, but wasn’t one of their best overall games.

Media-Elite-Talking-Heads Disrespect as Motivation

110412 ATLANTA: Falcons fans celebrate being 8-0 after defeating the Cowboys at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.    CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Numbers Over Opinions (AJC)

Instead of talking about the undefeated Falcons, most NFL opinions are centering on where the first loss will come from. Or they mention how the Falcons haven’t won a playoff game yet. Guessing the NFL changed some rules in the off-season to allow for playoff games in November. Another said that Falcons fans crave respect. Correction: we don’t “crave respect,” but simply want them to objective and impartial towards all teams, not just the drama-filled favorites. Otherwise, just stop pretending that being balanced is a part of your business model. On NFL Network soon after the game there was an actual question whether the Falcons being undefeated or the Cowboys collapse was a bigger story. It’s curious to fans whether the players and team are noticing it and it appears they are. Tony Gonzalez mentioned how he was sure it would be about the Cowboys losing instead of the Falcons winning (correct) and Roddy White echoed something similar in an interview by former Falcon Alge Crumpler. The players are saying all the right things and that’s a testament to Smith’s leadership of the team. Hopefully, the players are using the lack of respect as a fuel for motivation.

Bird Cage Voters Turn

1) Simple Quick Slant – what’s your overall thoughts on the victory over the Cowboys and the Falcons general state of affairs?

2) Thoughts on the offensive output vs. the Cowboys? Worried about the red zone woes?

3) Is Roddy White the Atlanta Falcons best all-time receiver? Destined for the Ring of Honor?

4) Do the Falcons have to start fast to play a great game? Your thoughts on the offensive play-calling vs. Dallas?

5) Is Jacquizz Rodgers purely a change of pace back or could he be something more?

6) How impressed are you with Mike Nolan’s work so far? Anything he can have the defense doing better?

7) Concerned about Matt Bryant’s two misses going forward?

8.) Have some of your concerns regarding Akeem Dent started alleviate?

9) Thoughts on how the OL played?

10) Are the Falcons playing better on the road this season?

11) How humorous is the media-elite’s obvious bias towards the Falcons?

851 comments Add your comment

The Hitman

November 5th, 2012
11:09 pm

The falcons did what they needed to do….WIN!! Although I’m getting pretty concerned about the RT situation and how SLOW Michael Turner is.

DHunt

November 5th, 2012
11:10 pm

D3 I see you are getting in the groove and going with the winning flow! 8-0 has to feel good no matter how you slice it!

Atlanta Falcons | NewsTrendr

November 6th, 2012
1:11 am

[...] Atlanta Falcons: Birds Beat Cowboys, Stay UndefeatedAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)It wasn't beautiful or awe-inspiring, but the Atlanta Falcons did what they had to do when it counted most to beat the desperate Dallas Cowboys to stay undefeated. The defense played a great game, the offense played good but fell short in the red zone …Atlanta Falcons Breaking Team and Individual RecordsRant SportsAtlanta Falcons keep winning; Chicago Bears turn into monstersNFL NewsAtlanta Falcons 2012: 8 Wins, 0 RespectBleacher ReportOpposing Views -PennLive.com -FOXSports.comall 2,193 news articles » [...]

Stephen

November 6th, 2012
1:59 am

Good article. Being a Falcons fan and watching all the hard times they been through in the early 2000’s and all the media couldn’t wait to get a piece of it. Braves never get any media attention unless it is negative as well. Just the life of an athlete who plays for either Atlanta team. To be honest I can care less what the outside world thinks of our beloved teams, they are not playing for those people they are playing for the people who support, and care about them, as well as a chance for the SB championship. I just wish Atlanta fans would show more support at games, No matter the event Atlanta fans are never pumped up. I was at a Falcons game more fans were more worried about facebooking on their phones then cheering the bird on. I heard more cheers for Cowboys then I did for Falcons(IN OUR OWN STADIUM!) RISE UP FANS, let the birds know we are behind them 10000%

BILLY MAYS HERE

November 6th, 2012
3:02 am

Beating the Saints 2X this year is good enough for me.

Northbysoutheast

November 6th, 2012
5:32 am

I’m a lifetime Falcons fan, but I can understand some of the hesitation out there to get on the bandwagon. For example there’s the often inconsistent play or the state of their opponents. The Boys and Eagles are arguably the best teams the Falcons have played so far and both teams are in a bit of a tail-spin. Also, there’s something to be said about teams that don’t necessarily get off to a great start but improve as the season goes on. Those are the teams that always seem to carry momentum into the post-season, like the Giants did last year.
All that said, you don’t pick your opponents in the NFL, you just take what you get. It’s also tough to win on the road against anybody. The Falcons have won all their games, and you can’t ask for more, half of those games coming on the road. I think we’ll know what exactly we’ve got after the next 2 road games in N.O. and T.B. The Saints are not as bad as their record might indicate and the Bucs have become one of those teams to watch out for in the second half. Win those two games and no one can deny this is a truly great team.

London Falcon

November 6th, 2012
6:03 am

11) I don’t think it’s bias against the Falcons, but just a media love affair with teams that are loud or gaudy (NY Jets anyone?). So they focus on teams that may look good, but lack the fundamentals that actually make the difference in the NFL (hello Eagles….)

Just to put it in some context, here are the Falcon NFL ranks since the beginning of the 2008 season.
Wins: #2 (51 wins. New England #1 with 53)
Point Differential: #7 (+359)
Points Scored: #7 (1790)
Points Allowed: #5 (1431)

At some point things have to stop being about style and start being about substance. Ultimately, we’ve all seen that under MS and MR, the falcons are winners and they are closers. Who cares if they look slick doing it? To quote Al Davis – they just win, baby. If they keep this up, eventually the media will have to change the conversation to how clutch, sound, gritty, and professional the Falcons are. And that sounds an awful lot better than something ridiculous like “Dream Team”…

Singletary

November 6th, 2012
6:39 am

Not worried (yet) about AutoMATTic. He’s done this too long … and saved us from a potentially losing effort against the Raiders in OT with an extremely long field goal … for me to question the real ice king.

Let Quizz develop. He and Snelly both have the ability to make us a lot better if we can find our ability to boost them in from the 1 yard line! (It does require holes, not just mano a mano.) Quizz does have the juke ability which is just outrageous and really traps bigger guys into not being able to keep up, no matter how nimble they are.

I honestly think we’ll lose NOLA away or Giants (or both), but I’m not upset about that. Everyone has already given Peyton the MVP, and he looked inept (but coming back) against us. I just think the media is being retarded. If you didn’t see Siciliano on NFLam this morning, he announced on the air that soooo many Falcons fans had written him about “no respect.” His quote was “just because we don’t talk about you, doesn’t mean we don’t respect you.” I DARE HIM TO USE THAT LINE WITH HIS SIGNIFICANT OTHER. What a smarmy, weasel-like attempt at a very bad apology. Does he think we are stupid, too?

We have to step it up, whether next week or the rest of the season. Everyone else is being tested too. Again, I’m not hung up on perfection. Just getting the fundamentals right. (This means you, Dunta.) And the OL needs to step up again for the running game as it did diffuse pressure on the passing game.

Always will be proud to be a Falcon, but it is nice to have 53 + people making that much easier this year. RU ATL!

Blue Fender

November 6th, 2012
7:22 am

A win is a win!

Blue Fender

November 6th, 2012
7:22 am

A win is a win!

waynester

November 6th, 2012
8:08 am

I didn’t like what i saw last night. I saw a NO team that was on the verge of getting it’s act together and looking hungry for respect, too. We’ve got the better team this year but I sure hope nobody’s taking this next game for granted. Staying focused the rest of the season gets tougher with each passing week. Seems like our veterans are keeping things moving forward but the distractions are about to get multiplied exponentially. Getting recognized by the media isn’t always a good thing. Getting interviews on the sports shows, offers to do commercials, appearances etc etc can get into your head real easily if you let it…it’s simply human nature…our coaches and team leaders have to keep doing things the way they are now. Preaching the “humble but hungry” gospel and maintaining the tunnel vision needed to stay on task for the next opponent while drowning out the noise from outside(including US) is a hallmark of Smitty’s tenure. The next few months will really put our organization to the test…..

atlfalconsfan0125

November 6th, 2012
8:22 am

The NOLA D looked a lot better than it really is last night. All they did was blitz since Vick cant read defenses. If they try that against Matt, he will shred them.

If our D can get a couple stops on Brees (very tough thing to do), Matt and the boys can put the game away.

GregKennesaw

November 6th, 2012
8:31 am

The ain’t ‘D’ gave up 447 yards last night, they try to blitz Ryan like that on every down and he will eat them alive. Their ‘D’ is pitiful……….

atlfalconsfan0125

November 6th, 2012
8:55 am

1) It was a good win. We have to realize that since we are the only undefeated team left, we will get the best shot out of our opponents. Also, our previous opponents have been playing to save their season, so they werent gonna lay down. Im not worried about this team, not until the playoffs (but thats an whole other article)

2) Offense was good. They made the plays required to win. Not once did I feel the game slip away (although it did get a little close at the end). I felt like Matt and Co had control over the game the whole time. I would like more TD’s and less FG’s but a win is a win.

3) Yes. Roddy White is our old faithful. He didnt have the best start to his career, but he has a come a long way and its a good sight to see. Although, i think Julio Jones will take over someday, Roddy is still out number 1 receiver. Ring of Honor is a must.

4) Fast starts would be preferred, but they arent required to win. I like the offensive play-calling, its a huge upgrade from previous years. No complaints from me.

5) I think Dirk is trying to make Jacquizz into a Jones-Drew type back. Koetter knows how to use small backs and Jacquizz had a bright future, especially if he keeps catching passes and putting on sexy moves to move the chains.

6) I love the creativity and use of the available personell. I would love to cut down on the big plays. But I dont mind giving up yardage as long as points arent scored.

7)Everybody has an off day. Yea me missed two, but he a crucial FG at the end when it mattered. He still is Matty ICE II.

8.) Yes. It seems like Dent is getting better. Im hoping the upward trend continues.

9) It was a decent for the most part. But I saw at least two instances in which pass rushers got a clean un-blocked shot on Matt Ryan from his blind side. One of those was an untouched Ware, that is unacceptable. If we want playoff success, Matt Ryan needs to be protected.

10) The road schedule has been easier than the home schedule. We have played against opponents that simply cant matchup with us on the Road. I like the improvement on the road game though.

11)It is humorous, but I stopped caring a month ago. Let them talk, we will keep winning.

Go Falcons!

Zoomie

November 6th, 2012
9:00 am

That was a good, hard-fought win against Dallas. The ‘Boys came to play ball, they were convinced they were going to go home with the win, and they played hard. The Falcons did well to win this game. Not too worried about anything except the injuries starting to rack up. I think that’s where the Birds’ biggest problem is looming.

The O-line has actually started looking better in the last two games. Dallas’ D-line can make anyone look bad, so I think the Falcons’ O-line held their own for the most part. Don’t know if Nawlins’ D has clicked, or if the Eagles’ inept O-line made them look like world-beaters, but next week will give us more of an indication of how our O-line is doing. Nawlins is the Falcons biggest rival and they always bring something special to the table. Word’s out that Atlanta’s O-line is its offensive Achilles’ Heel. Nawlins will try to expoit.

At the same time, I can’t wait to see how Atlanta’s D plays the Aints; I have a feeling this is gonna be good. In Nolan I trust!

I’m just not worried about sports media’s “lack of respect” for the Falcons. What else are they gonna say? Week after week Atlanta blows their predictions, dashes their expectations, and hands yet another team favored by the media their collective arses. When the talking heads hang their hats on the franchise’s history, expecting the let-down every week, and it doesn’t materialize, they have no recourse but to revert back to their juvenile, school-yard, taunts: “Yeah, but they haven’t won a playoff game!” “Their opponent laid down.” “They haven’t beat anybody with a winning record.” “Their mama’s wear combat boots and their breath stinks!” “Waah, waah, waah, the Falcons are making me look like I don’t know what I’m talking about!” “Waah, waah, waah, my _______ hurts!”

If you look at it objectively and disregard the emotional component of being a Falcons fan, it’s actually pretty hilarious! Just enjot it, folks!

waynester

November 6th, 2012
9:04 am

Bryant’s been struggling with a bad back–to the point that we kept him out of practice working with the trainers. I don’t know if that was the problem Sunday but a back takes a while to get back to normal. I actually hope it IS something physical or mechanical. Those are correctable….

Zoomie

November 6th, 2012
9:21 am

Oh yeah, and make sure you’re mentally prepared for it: when Atlanta does finally lose a game, the team’s gonna get all the media attention it can stomach. There will be a lot of “I told you so!” “Same ol’ Falcons.” “Can’t beat the elites.” That sort of thing.

Just be prepared . . .

Chop Buster

November 6th, 2012
9:47 am

1) Simple Quick Slant – what’s your overall thoughts on the victory over the Cowboys and the Falcons general state of affairs? They do what’s necessary to win the game. Chris Carter tryed to give the Falcons some play on MNF by saying he believes the Falcons are for real. The thing he noticed is that they play each team differently than one style of defense. He said that will probably benefit the Falcons in the playoffs this year.

2) Thoughts on the offensive output vs. the Cowboys? I thought we came out very conservative and Mike Smith was determined to get the running game going. My personal belief is you loosen the defense with the pass and then when you have them on their heels, you go to the running game. We should have attacked them through the air, because I didn’t believe Dallas’ secondary was as good as people said. and it was proved as Roddy and Julio started to abuse them during the night. They may as well have jumped on their backs, as much as they were hanging all over our guys. Worried about the red zone woes? Not worried, but we definitely need to take the mindset of striking from the 30-40 range instead of waiting until the field shrinks in the red zone. When we do get down there, they still need to be creative to get the 7 points.

3) Is Roddy White the Atlanta Falcons best all-time receiver? His stats say he is, his leadership says he is, and his play on the field is definitely showing he’s the best all-time receiver. Destined for the Ring of Honor? I definitely think he is.

4) Do the Falcons have to start fast to play a great game? No, but you should do whatever it takes to get into a good rhythm–and they have done that at times. Your thoughts on the offensive play-calling vs. Dallas? Again, I think it was a little conservative and they gave Dallas’ 4th ranked defense too much respect. We need to have that aggressive killer mindset from the moment we get the ball. Julio and Roddy were fired up and we should have kept feed them the ball.

5) Is Jacquizz Rodgers purely a change of pace back or could he be something more? I would have to see more of him on the field, but I think he’d be no different than any other running back–more carries will get him into a rhythm. Turner is just too slow and has no change of direction (strictly North-South runner).

6) How impressed are you with Mike Nolan’s work so far? This guy’s leadership has been like night and day from BVG. We all know that we don’t have all the pieces on the defense, yet he’s getting these guys to play at a consistently high level. That’s a testament to his coaching. Anything he can have the defense doing better? No, other than get more dominant defensive players at the end of the year. I’m not going to second guess him, because he’s studied the film and knows how to best defend the teams they’re playing.

7) Concerned about Matt Bryant’s two misses going forward? No, I chalk it up to a bad night or something going on with the snapper and holder’s timing that game.

8.) Have some of your concerns regarding Akeem Dent started alleviate? He showed improvement and that’s all you can ask. Only more playing time will get him the experience he needs on the field.

9) Thoughts on how the OL played? We need to make some changes. If not this year, then the next. Put Holmes at LT, move Baker to RT, keep Konz at RG, bench Clabo, and replace McClure with someone younger and stronger (gets bull rushed too much). The RBs didn’t pickup Ware coming off the edge and allowed him to blow Ryan up. That’s inexcusible. Protect your QB at all cost–even if you have to hold or drag the guy to the ground.

10) Are the Falcons playing better on the road this season? Most definitely. They play like a team that has a mission and is going to get it done no matter where they’re playing. Strangely enough, like you mentioned earlier, they aren’t playing as well at home for some reason. You’d think that’s where we’d be blowing teams out.

11) How humorous is the media-elite’s obvious bias towards the Falcons? I’ve been a Falcon fan for many, many years and very well know the history of this team. We were never going to build a championship team because that wasn’t the Smith’s goal. I look at it this way, we are still going through the process that Smitty talks about: be relevant every year (get to the playoffs) and put yourself in position to compete for the Superbowl. Well we’ve done that three out of four years and this might be the year we take the next step to our ultimate goal. Media will jump on our bandwagon as soon as we become a yearly winner. After this year they won’t be able to use the “they haven’t won in the playoffs” excuse.

RISE UP FALCONS!!!

Matty Bicep

November 6th, 2012
9:49 am

1) Simple Quick Slant – what’s your overall thoughts on the victory over the Cowboys and the Falcons general state of affairs?

We are 8-0, with a 4 game lead. We are in position to get HF throughout the playoffs, the closest thing to a regular season trophy they have. We have our issues, but who does not?

2) Thoughts on the offensive output vs. the Cowboys? Worried about the red zone woes?

Struggled in the Red Zone, it comes and goes. Got the ball in the end zone when it counted the most.

3) Is Roddy White the Atlanta Falcons best all-time receiver? Destined for the Ring of Honor?

Yea, I will give it to him, not sure how long he hold it though.

4) Do the Falcons have to start fast to play a great game? Your thoughts on the offensive play-calling vs. Dallas?

Since blowing leads is not our MO, obviously getting the lead puts us in a big advantage…But we are too bad at coming back either. We did seem a little conservative, but no turnovers is nothing to be overlooked.

5) Is Jacquizz Rodgers purely a change of pace back or could he be something more?

Jacquizz is just starting to carve out his role, he needs more time on the field, I say he takes some HDs snaps and we use him as an outlet receiver. Defenses will have to account for him tight every play, and that will open up running lanes for Turner or Snelling.

6) How impressed are you with Mike Nolan’s work so far? Anything he can have the defense doing better?

Nolan is the maestro.

7) Concerned about Matt Bryant’s two misses going forward?

No, it was not like he was shanking them…Go ahead an get it out of his system. Remember the perfect season the Vikings kicker had in 98?

8.) Have some of your concerns regarding Akeem Dent started alleviate?
Yes, I sense good chemistry, all his teammates seem to really like him, and he even got a semi seal of approval from Nolan. I sense he is really really working hard on all aspects and wants it bad. He is the Anti Cam. He does not hang his head, I think he is a sponge and learns from his mistakes and may one day be an all pro. He is the little engine that could.

9) Thoughts on how the OL played?
Meh, ok since we played one of the better D lines in the league….Konz seems to be making a difference and giving Ice a place to step up.

10) Are the Falcons playing better on the road this season?
Yep, especially out doors.

11) How humorous is the media-elite’s obvious bias towards the Falcons?

Don’t hardly pay attention, totally insignificant. We wear the playoff failures, and the only way to get respect is to make a run there. We control our own perception.

Arno

November 6th, 2012
10:34 am

It was Yasinskas who said we fans desparately crave respect. He obviously hasn’t read this blog. As for Collinsworth, that guy should either be fired or forced to wear Cowboys gear– whichever is worse.

LRD

November 6th, 2012
11:00 am

2 concerns from the Cowboys that may become even more apparent in the Nola game.
1) Missing Spoon. Dent did well, but so many over the middle passes that I would think Spoon could have impacted. Nola running game.. we need Jerry back in the line up so that we have the rotation going, and we need Spoon in there to help stop the run.
2) Dunta: So far, no gripes with him until the Cowboys game.. where he was picked on by the Boys offense. Bad game? Maye… flashes of the past.. Maybe.. but you know Bree;s looking at film will see it and try to exploit it.

Overall.. very happy with the falcons. Could care less about the talking heads..and loved Quizz making potential tacklers look silly.

darrell starks

November 6th, 2012
12:43 pm

Good win by the Falcons.

Robert MacClain is balling, he have turn out the biggest surprise on this team so far this year.

Dent played okay this game but still have a long way go, still must see more from him.

Dunta had the worst game so far tis year ? Dunta has stop playing so far of WR, some time Dunta play around 15yards of his man, he must play up alot closer.

I like the 3man DT in the game at same time with 1 DE giving the Falcons more bulk up front.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

November 6th, 2012
12:52 pm

Julio when all said and done will be 1 of the best WR to ever play the game.

Im sorry HD have not showed me anything so far, Drew Davis just make this team more explosive i would see him more in the slot than HD.

Ice Man is getting more respect game by game, when he took that shot blind sided by the best defensive player in the game Demarcus Ware, he got right backup like nothing happen, if your not rooting for the Ice Man then your a hater.

Konz is beasting at RG making this OL much better.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

November 6th, 2012
12:54 pm

I WANT SEND A SHOUT OUT 92.9 THE GAME

THE BEST SPORTS TALK SHOW ATLANTA.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vinson

November 6th, 2012
1:19 pm

The Falcon’s have a balance, solid team this season. There are only 2 columns in the NFL stat’s that truly reflect which team is the best team during the season (W or L). We are entering another week of football play and the Falcon’s are 8 – 0. It’s not rocket science, we are the best team in football at this point in the season. Check the win/lose column for the facts. You don’t have to be a sport’s writer to understand win’s and losses.

L.A. Mont

November 6th, 2012
1:30 pm

Great game Falcons! Enjoyed every moment from Section 319! Defense saved the game on the first two possessions by limiting the Cowboys to two FGs. Could have easily been down 10 or 14 points. Dallas got their one TD during a hurry-up offense when the Falcons couldn’t sub or set their D, and seemed winded. (Take note of that..expect the Saints to try that if Brees and Co. start slow.)

I’ve been very impressed with Matt Ryan’s pocket presence this year. He definitely looks much stronger and elusive when he needs to. Hanging in there and delivering strikes! And when he does get hit, he’s holding on to the ball. (Now he did fumble (understandbly) after a big hit on a sack, but good old Roddy came back to cover the fumble.) Good job #2.

He also seems to have really settled down from having those interceptions against Oakland. I think he was salivating the chance to burn the Oakland DBs and got ahead of himself. He’s been really solid the last 2 1/2 games, like he was the first 3 games.

Now let’s get healthy and get ready for the Saints! Can’t wait!!

DHunt

November 6th, 2012
2:20 pm

1) Overall thoughts: Great win. This year’s team has helped me to progress beyond the point where I agonize over every bogged down drive or defensive lapse. Sometimes that kind of thing can be indicative of major issues, but this Falcons team is showing that it can and will do what needs to be done to address and overcome deficiencies both in game and during the week. Against the Cowboys we couldn’t screen because their corners were playing press all night, so we gashed them over the top and on some nice crossing patterns. then we took advantage of their aggressiveness with Quizz on the edges. The points weren’t there, so it didn’t look as dominating, but the swagger and poise showed throughout the game in all phases.

2) Offensive output: Obviously could have been better. Even the two missed field goals would have changed the complexion of the game. Give Dallas some credit for performing like you would expect a top 5 defense to perform. The Falcons weren’t as aggessive as they could have been, but they were by no means conservative. They were careful, and that will be a good thing as we move along. Remember that playoff loss to Green Bay where careless play turned a close game into a debacle? That won’t happen again.

3) Roddy White Is the Atlanta Falcons best all-time receiver, and Destined for the Ring of Honor. Not to downplay the efforts of esteemed Falcons alum, but Roddy is the total package. Catches the ball all over the field. Is an absolute iron man. Unguardable on 3d down. As good a run blocking receiver as we’ve ever seen. And he is being instrumental in the development of the next generation JJ 11 who may prove to be even better.

4) Fast starts: Would be nice to score on the first six possessions of every game. Would be totally unreasonable to expect it. Strategy is a great thing until the bullets start flying. Then the test becomes whether or not we can improvise, adapt, and overcome. The other team came with a strategy as well. The Falcons offensive play calling has been so much better than I have ever seen it, that it’s hard to really criticize. I would still like to see a different rush strategy for Turner. Don’t know whether it’s counters, designed cutbacks, draws, or maybe lining him up closer to the line (ala the FB set looks we see occasionally) and letting him hit the holes quicker. That’s the one place where I can see a real need for improvement. A faster start for Turner and the rest of the run game would certainly benefit an already potent offense.

5) Jacquizz Rodgers is purely a talent that properly utilized can also make the Falcons far more potent. It’s been said repeatedly that the Falcons make you pick your poison. I defy any defense to stop everything we can possibly throw at them. Quizz performance on Sunday will certainly make defensive coordinators give much more consideration to stopping him. That’s one more thing they have to worry about. The more creative we can get with getting him involved, the more he will produce.

6) Mike Nolan’s a genius. And it’s worth repeating that this is his first year, and he hasn’t had a chance to put his stamp on the personnel or the total program. The defense has improved both as a unit and as individuals, which is certainly due in large part to Nolan. I am a little concerned that Dunta is not performing up to the standard I would expect from a starting CB. It’s been noted that he is better in press man coverage. But we see him far more in soft zone coverage. And this past week he simply got abused in that scenario. Not sure if this is a Dunta thing or an overall scheme thing that is necessary because of other factors. Maybe he just had a bad day. In Nolan we trust, so I expect he will do everything in his power to shore up that area.

7) Concerned about Matt Bryant? Not at all. In fact, I expect this glitch will cause him to focus even more, and perform at the high level we’ve come to expect of him. Both misses were close, so there doesn’t seem to be a major issue.

8.) Akeem Dent was never a concern for me. A lot of young guys get thrown in the fire and have a lot more reps to both make mistakes and develop skills and instincts. Dent has only had two games with significant playing time, and he has shown improvement from day one. If we can stay healthy he will not have to be a major focus of the defensive effort, but I’m confident that he will perform at a level that continues the overall theme of defensive improvement. Dallas has a pretty good offense as well, and we held them to 13 points. Everyone that played deserves big kudos for that kind of effort.

9) The OL played reasonably well for most of the game. Those free rushers were for the most part not a result of substandard individual play. We got out schemed, and Matt missed seeing it a couple of times. Obviously we’d like to see improvement in both pass and run blocking. But they aren’t getting worse, and that in itself is cause for guarded optimism. Konz is going to be a road grader once he gets in a groove, and builds up a bit more strength. His block at the goal line to get MT33 in the endzone was outstanding. The needle is pointing up overall where the OL is concerned.

10) On the road this season is certainly looking better than it has in some years past. The toughest road games are probably ahead of us. This team is built to succeed, and as long as they continue to take it up a notch on the road we should continue to see good things. The difference between road games and home games may be that they are more comfortable at home and perhaps don’t lock in the focus as much as they could/should. As we get closer to the playoffs, I see this team getting more focused and showing up with their A game, no matter where they might be playing. As good as we’ve been on the road, I still look forward to homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, and a Super Bowl game in NO would be something like a home game for the Falcons faithful.

11) The media is caught between a rock and a hard place with the Falcons. They gushed over the Falcons a little more in the 13-3 season, and were rewarded with the debacle in the dome. so their a bit ansty about putting their reputations on the line by becoming Falcons cheerleaders. You can be a Cowboys cheerleader, and then fall back on the line that the Boys just aren’t playing up to their potential, same thing for the Giants, Packers, and Patriots. How the Bears and 49′ers get a pass is beyond me, but I guess some people think because the franchise won in the 80’s and 90’s that means something in 2012.

I have been reading far more national coverage this year than I ever have in the past. I used to stick with the AJC, Bleacher report, and Pat Y for most of my Falcons media. Now I’ve got the Google feed set up to cull all the info that comes out on the Falcons. I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks that the “haven’t won a playoff game” mantra is starting to die down a bit. The analysis is more about the current year and trying to figure out why we keep winning in spite of some glaring flaws. I read one today saying the Falcons weren’t anything like the 16-0 Patriots team, and that’s actually a pretty accurate statement. That team was an offensive juggernaut, with a passable defense and a proven coach. This Falcons team could be that good in the next couple of years, but it’s a work in progress right now.

Reading the national media can be useful in giving a different perspective on how we should look at the current manifestation of the Falcons. I’ve tuned out all the haven’t won in the playoff noise, because it’s rehashing a past that is not relevant and it’s nothing that can be addressed for the next two months anyway. The people who think a few other teams are “more complete” or significantly better, either have a good faith argument or are blatantly biased. It’s pretty easy to tell either way. One group we can win over, the other can kick rocks and pout when we prove them wrong.

D3

November 6th, 2012
2:35 pm

Great Tuesday Cage Family! — Great comments as we roll along at 8-0 and come upon “Hate Week.” Even though there’s a major dislike of the Kitties and the B(s)UCS, it holds no flame to the hatred we have for the sAINTS.

Vinson — Welcome to the Cage. That post is up for “post of the year.” Can’t say it any better. Just keep winning and ignore all the garbage.

LA Mont — We’re practically neighbors. Section 317 was rocking. Quite a few ‘Boys fans, but not nearly as many as I expected. They were pretty cordial this time. Last time they played in the GA Dome, they were obnoxious.

Chop — I agree with you on Turner. He’ll eventually get his “big run” each game, but does that mean we basically have to sacrifice a ton of 1 yard runs throughout the game and thus continually putting our passing offense in 3rd and long? Still think Snelling should get some more looks. Also completely agree with you on loosening the defense with the pass (our strength) and then ramping up our rushing attack.

Big Lou

November 6th, 2012
2:47 pm

waynester

I would have to disagree on your assessment on the New Orleans Saints. They made many mistakes last night… that a more mishap-happy Eagles team could not take advantage of. They were VERY lucky to win that game. Eagles threw a pick six in the redzone that changed the momentum in the first quarter, after getting down the field with absolute ease. Not to mention, the offensive line of the Eagles is atrocious compared to the Falcons. They allowed Vick to get sacked by the Saint’s subpar defensive line seven times…. yeah, seven freaking times.

In my opinion, our defense is way better and our offense is more efficient/doesn’t make mistakes. The Falcons should win by at least 10 points. Division opponent, or not.

I am more worried about our game versus the Tamp Bay Bucs, tbh.

D3

November 6th, 2012
2:52 pm

Stephen, Hitman, NorthbySoutheast, atlfalconfan — Welcome to the Cage fellas, if you’re new, if not, Welcome Back!

Arno — You’re exactly correct. What I meant to put in the article is that NO, we aren’t craving respect, we just want to see these @ss clowns be OBJECTIVE and IMPARTIAL, and stop using double standards when discussing the Falcons as opposed to any other team. We’re surely not the only one (the Lions, Vikings, Bucs, Dolphins, and several others come to mind), but it seems particularly egregious with the Falcons. We don’t give a d@mn about respect, just stop pretending that you’re anything other than a for-profit business that makes money off of drama and storylines in the same vein as “Entertainment Tonight” or “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” Drama sells, and our Atlanta Falcons are the anti-thesis of drama.

darrell — Agreed. Konz is doing well at RG. And I keep waiting for HD to be a part of this offense, but I just don’t see it happening. My buddy and I were talking about that very fact on Sunday Night. We came up with the idea that because Tony Gonzalez is so good, that maybe he takes up the entire middle and there’s only so much space and so many targets. Perhaps when Tony hangs it up, than HD will shine. But I agree, it’s frustrating because we know how talented he is. I still agree with your OL for next year…… LT-Holmes, LG – Blalock, C- Konz, RG – Clabo, RT – Baker. Hawley, Reynolds, Johnson, and one more.

LRD — Sorry didn’t meet up, we’ll get there one day. There must have been more ‘boys fans in your section because their was a decent amount in ours, but nothing outrageous. I’ve learned to come to expect the traditional teams (Cowboys, Giants, Bears, Packers, etc) are going to pack it out b/c there’s so many transplants down here that will pay whatever it takes to get to the game.

LRD

November 6th, 2012
2:58 pm

Y’all see Don Banks mid season review??

MOST OVERLOOKED STORYLINE — The 8-0 Falcons go where no Falcons team has gone before, and a football nation yawns: I know we’ve gotten a bit jaded by all the perfect season runs we’ve had in recent years (Packers, Patriots, Saints, Colts, etc….), but wouldn’t it be crazy if this was the year the crotchety old 1972 Dolphins finally had to keep the cork in the champagne bottle? I know, we’re a long way from 19-0 in Atlanta, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. And let’s throw a little credit to the Falcons for their gutsy move of hiring two new coordinators despite being a playoff team in three of the past four years. Dirk Koetter on offense and Mike Nolan on defense didn’t sound like masterstrokes to me when they signed on, but something’s working like a charm for Mike Smith’s resilient team.

DHunt

November 6th, 2012
3:00 pm

Blog monster ate my homework. I know it was a little extra but I really worked hard on it.

Big Lou

November 6th, 2012
3:01 pm

1) Simple Quick Slant – what’s your overall thoughts on the victory over the Cowboys and the Falcons general state of affairs?

Tough win–showed moxie. I love the fact that these Falcons are undefeated, but still playing mistake free football… and with a chip on their shoulder.

2) Thoughts on the offensive output vs. the Cowboys? Worried about the red zone woes?

No. Cowboys have one of the best defenses in the league. They have held many opponents on scores. The game plan was obviously make it an old school grind out and it worked. As far as the red zone issues, it happens. I think the Falcons still ran down the field easily throughout the game.

3) Is Roddy White the Atlanta Falcons best all-time receiver? Destined for the Ring of Honor?

Yes, for now.

4) Do the Falcons have to start fast to play a great game? Your thoughts on the offensive play-calling vs. Dallas?

It seems that way so far, but they had a great game versus Carolina(defense did not)… and they did not start fast. I think the offensive play-calling made sense. You are going against one of the best secondaries in the league, who have a dominant pressure package. The game plan was to obviously take advantage of the weak interior LB core they have and run the ball, while setting up the play action pass/dink and dunk plays. They just did not execute in the red zone. Falcons racked up over 300 yards passing, and 100 yards rushing… yeah, I think the game plan was fine.

5) Is Jacquizz Rodgers purely a change of pace back or could he be something more?

Obviously more. We are starting to use him that way. Sproles Jr.

6) How impressed are you with Mike Nolan’s work so far? Anything he can have the defense doing better?

I have been preaching Mike Nolan since day one and he has not disappointed. I feel he could do better on protecting the run, which we will get a huge test versus the Saints. Also, Kudos with being able to still run a defense effectively with people out. No Sean W. or P. Jerry(half the game)…. and the Falcons had a really good defensive game versus a potent Dallas offense.

7) Concerned about Matt Bryant’s two misses going forward?

Depends on his health. I rather it happen now then in the playoffs.

8.) Have some of your concerns regarding Akeem Dent started alleviate?

Always said that we need to give him a year before running him out of town. Some people are just too impatient for that. But this is football, and it takes time to learn things, especially when you have to play out of your natural position.

9) Thoughts on how the OL played?

Matt Ryan admitted that the sack Ware game him was his fault. Either than that, the offensive line did alright. Dallas has a really good defensive line, and sacks are going to happen versus that team. They did a much better job on the running game late. Konz is looking like the right move.

10) Are the Falcons playing better on the road this season?

Yes, and I am loving it.

11) How humorous is the media-elite’s obvious bias towards the Falcons?

I think it’s a good thing, to be honest. The more they doubt the Falcons, the bigger their chip gets. I hope they are screaming angry when the playoffs come around.

D3

November 6th, 2012
3:03 pm

LRD — Good point. And to be fair, there are a few “experts” that talk positively about the Falcons including Jimmy Johnson, Steve Mariucci, Jon Gruden, and even Trent Dilfer has been positive about the Falcons, particularly Matt Ryan, but by and large they’re the tiny minority. Even Pat Y can’t help himself from throwing in some type of jab when writing a positive story about the Falcons.

D3

November 6th, 2012
3:04 pm

DHunt, Big Lou, London Falcon — All your posts are out.

DHunt

November 6th, 2012
3:04 pm

Disregard that last comment…

LRD

November 6th, 2012
3:11 pm

D3. Lets plan on the Cardinal game… email me where/when and my wife and I will pop by..

LRD

November 6th, 2012
3:18 pm

One more from Banks… should have put it up wiht the first one…
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER — Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta: Peyton Manning is making an impressive case for himself week by week, but Ryan has been the best player on the league’s best team in the first half, and that still defines the MVP requirements for me. His play has been both consistent and clutch, and Atlanta’s 8-0 record speaks volumes.

LRD

November 6th, 2012
3:20 pm

Crap.. this one didnt cut/paste ( and now I am done for the day)
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR OF THE YEAR: Dirk Koetter, Atlanta: The Falcons’ new offensive coordinator has instilled an aggressive, pedal-to-the-metal approach and it’s working. Using the same players that former Falcons OC Mike Mularkey had at his disposal, Koetter is getting much more explosive results, and eye-popping production out of quarterback Matt Ryan, receiver Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez.
( and we all have been saying the same thing… bye bye Mularkey)

BullDogMike

November 6th, 2012
3:29 pm

How can Falcons win against Saints. when we have Dunta Robinson as a starter? Answer : They can’t. He can’t cover a really good college receiver.

snacktastic

November 6th, 2012
4:03 pm

For all the ugly wins we’ve had this season, I won’t mind one bit if we look like garbage and still pull out a win against the Saints next week. Of course, I’d rather we went down there and shredded them in front of their own fans (D3: How about “Birds Shred Saints” for next week’s headline?), but the one thing I cannot accept is a loss. Not to them.

tdawgmom

November 6th, 2012
4:04 pm

I was at the game Sunday night and loved watching my Falcons win! It has bothered me that the sports media hasn’t seen fit to give us our due, but what the heck? Who cares what most of those knuckleheads think? If Matt Ryan doesn’t care, why should I? Just appreciate being a fan of such a stand up team.

waynester

November 6th, 2012
4:26 pm

Looks like Konz is going to be getting a lot more PT with Reynolds going on IR. I think he’s up to it….

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Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

November 6th, 2012
5:15 pm

D3 – Great Article and it was a great win for the Falcons against the Cowboys.

One of the issues that I wished you had addressed and questioned the Bird Cage about is whether or not Dominique Franks should continue to be the team’s primary punt returner??????

He just seems lost the majority of the time and his decision making ability has the potential to really put the team in a bad spot in terms of field position. Not sure if Harry Douglas should be used due to the potential for injury, but with Drew Davis showing promise as the slot receiver, HD should be seriously considered by the special teams coach and Smitty.

snacktastic

November 6th, 2012
5:20 pm

@Sick: I heard Smitty’s interview on the radio yesterday, and he mentioned that the emphasis on punt returns is to make sure the ball ends up in our possession, and not necessarily to pick up extra yards.

Confused? Me too.

The special teams coach is supposed to be on the radio later this week, so I’ll be interested in what he has to say. I agree with you about HD, though–I still think HD belongs in the slot, but given how rarely he’s targeted (correct me if I’m wrong on that), it might best if we put him on punt returns and put Davis in the slot.

JB Falcon

November 6th, 2012
5:22 pm

Sick, somehow Franks and punt returner doesn’t fit into the same sentence. Try punt catcher. And yes, you’re not the only one wondering about that.

Birdman

November 6th, 2012
5:35 pm

Good Voters Evening Cage.

Saints game is scary as always
How is Weatherspoon doing ? Anyone heard ?

If you have not done it already GO VOTE !!!!

God gave us a great Country .So please vote for the people you want to run it.

God Bless & Go Falcons !!!!!!

McNasty

November 6th, 2012
7:14 pm

D3,it all comes down to how well Matty Ice plays.If he can continue to make the Quizz reads, and the zone vs. single coverage reads AND getting it there on time, we will be good. However somebody (not New Orleans) will figure something out and will give us a loss
Our coaching staff has been better than our opponents. Its called creativity and experience working with specific player talents, each week.
We had the talent last year.

Lets do away with “Smitty Ball’, “Boy Genius” and all those other derogatory characterizations, because this is GREAT @ 8.0

Matty Bicep

November 6th, 2012
7:15 pm

Heard Spoon is game time decision. If in doubt, they outta let him sit. Not sure about Franks either, on the plus side, he hangs onto the ball.