Atlanta Falcons: Birds Fall to Saints

Too Little, Too Late

New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer (33) breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (84) on fourth down, ending the Atlanta Falcons hope for a win, in the second half an NFL football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. The Saint won 31-27. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

That's About Right (Bill Feig)

All the media-elite-talking-heads should be ecstatic, the Falcons finally lost and they lost to everyone’s favorite darlings, the hated Saints. But hey, it’s only the regular season and, as we all know, the regular season doesn’t matter, right? The late game magic finally ran out and, frankly, the Birds deserved to lose. They started fast, blew way to many opportunities, and allowed the Saints to dictate the entire game, save the last quarter. Even Falcons fans and Bird Cage members knew they’d lose at some point, but it just had to be to the Bountygate Saints. A look at the Falcons first loss……….

Blew a Fast Start

The Falcons couldn’t have asked for any better start to the game. They had some big plays, scored on their first drive, and literally intercepted the first play of the hated Saints. Even though there was a shadow, garbage penalty on Asante Samuel for “excessive celebration,” the Falcons bogged down and settled for a field goal. Sure, it was points, but the chance to go up 14-0 was definitely a wasted opportunity. After a hot start, the Falcons evidently went back into conservative mode where Drew Brees had enough time to bake a cake and do his taxes and the offense was hell bent on running Turner through a brick wall and taking losses on first down. It looked as though the game may get out of hand until the defense finally found a way to stop the hated Saints and the offense pulled themselves out of their hyper-conservative funk. Fact is, the Falcons had been living on borrowed time with their comebacks, and that magic finally ran out.

Let Matt Ryan Carry This Team

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Lance Moore (16) makes a leaping pas reception in front of Atlanta Falcons middle linebacker Akeem Dent (52) and outside linebacker Stephen Nicholas (54) in the second half an NFL football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Defense Shredded (Bill Haber)

Ryan had a career high with 402 yards and 3 touchdowns and yet the Falcons offense always finds a way to bring it back to Turner. This is a new day and it’s a new Falcons team. Michael Turner has done a magnificent job for the Falcons since he’s been here and may be on a track for the Falcons Ring of Honor, but his time has passed. Not sure whether it’s Smith or Koetter, but the truth is that most times when Turner gets the ball instead of Ryan, it’s usually not as good. This doesn’t mean that the Falcons have to throw the ball 50 times every game, but at some point, Ryan should be allowed to do what Brady, Manning, Rodgers, and Brees do with their teams.

ZERO Pass Rush

For the longest time fans were able to blame Brian Van Gorder and by extension Mike Smith. Well, we have one of the best coordinators in the game and it’s true that Sean Weatherspoon was surely missed, but the Falcons don’t have much of anything in terms of rushing (or even disrupting) the quarterback. Drew Brees had enough time to cut the grass, do the dishes,  and plan his Bountygate party in the pocket on Sunday. The Falcons mustered one sack, but rarely was pressured whatsoever. The defense stepped up some in the second half, but overall it was another pitiful display by the defense in pressuring the QB. Fans no longer know whether it’s the defensive tackles, the defensive ends, the linebackers, or the scheme to pressure the QB. They were sent on bltizes on Sunday, but most times they looked pedestrian and were easily picked up. John Abraham is the lone exception and how long does it take to get him some help. This did not look like the defense who confused and stymied Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers at all. Somethings got to give with the defense and lack of pressure.

Wasted Plays

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes from the pocket in the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

400 Yards, 3 TDs = Loss (Bill Haber)

This is not a hatchet job on Michael Turner. The guy has done wonders for this franchise and likely will get a look at the Falcons Ring of Honor, but fans can easily see and call a wasted play coming on first down to Michael Turner. Given first and goal and a chance to go ahead in the game, the Falcons predictably go to Turner (as they always seem to do) to not only a stop, but a loss on the play. It was brought up in the offseason whether or not Turner fits in the offense and it becomes painfully clear every single week that giving the ball to Turner on first down is a wasted play. It’s not necessarily his fault, but seeing undrafted Chris Ivory run like a man possessed makes Turner seem like relic on the Falcons offense.

Franks Not the Answer

This is not meant to be slam against Dominique Franks, but the punt return game has become nothing more than catching the punt with a fair catch and surely is not threat to return it and get some yards. Perhaps Eric Weems was undervalued after all (this author admits). Dominique Franks had a blast on the scene in preseason with his dynamic punt return for a touchdown, but ever since he seems tentative at best and weak at worst at returning punts. The Birds put Harry Douglas back at punt returner with the game on the line and he offered little more.

Shadow Calls

The Falcons deserved to lose. Period. But of course this will come off as sour grapes and may have not made a difference in the grand scheme, but there were some pretty bad calls in New Orleans, a city known for it’s penultimate honesty (Bountygate’s the same as the Iraq War, right Brees?). There was the first part of the game and the “excessive celebration” that Fox never showed. Antone Smith evidently made a penalty on special teams, also not shown at all on Fox. There was the catch that Harry Douglas made as we all saw on tape, but they couldn’t overturn because the initial call was botched to Hades. Again, the Falcons deserved to lose, but the calls all seemed to go the Hated Saints way.

Chris Ivory vs. Michael Turner

New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory (29) carries on a touchdown run in the first half an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

One of Most Pitiful Plays on D EVER! (Bill Feig)

This is not meant to be a hatchet job on Michael Turner. It really isn’t. Turner has been a rock, a stud, and one of the main reasons that the Falcons have been one of the most consistent teams in the National Football League. The argument is always that Turner isn’t very good because the offensive line is so bad. That is an accepted truth with Falcons fans. We all know how poor the OL is. It’s been that way ever since Bill Fralic and Mike Kenn retired.  However, one needs to take one look at Saints running back Chris Ivory and the way he runs the football and how Michael Turner runs. Ivory was an undrafted free agent and ran like a man possessed against the Falcons, running tough, delivering blows, refusing to go down, and generally carrying the ball with force. Flip over to Michael Turner and you see the exact opposite. Turner has never seemed to fit in this offense and evidently Coach Smith is afraid of upsetting Turner because after he seemed frustrated with his lack of carries (and subsequent production), Smith and Co. have been committed to giving him the ball regardless. Again, it’s not a hatchet job on Turner, but the fact is that Turner is the exact opposite of dynamic.

Make Changes or Expect Insanity

Even though the media elite are salivating over the Falcons loss and their emphasis that these are the “same old Falcons,” the coaching staff have control over that. Although they seem to overdramatize the Birds issues on the offensive line and running game, they do have a point. The Falcons had woeful losses last season and in the playoffs because they couldn’t muster a few yards. That point couldn’t be any more true, but it can be broken down into a few areas. Albert Einstein said that “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is the definition of insanity. The Falcons have changed only one thing in moving Peter Konz to right guard (only after Garrett Reynolds was injured) on the offensive line from last year’s OT debacle to the hated Saints and Meltdown in the Meadowlands. Why did fans expect anything different? After a supposedly “open competition” in the offseason, the offensive line looked exactly the same. Some were holding onto a new “OL coach and new offensive coordinator” in making all the difference. Please. Same goes for the running back situation.

Atlanta Falcons guard Mike Johnson (79) catches a touchdown pass  in the first half an NFL football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

At Least Mike Johnson Scored (Bill Feig)

Thomas Dimitroff hasn’t done a great job of drafting offensive linemen or invested hardly anything in the running back corps, but he did draft two potential-laden OL and it took Garrett Reynolds getting injured to get Peter Konz in the lineup. For all the talk of other running backs getting looks, that’s become a distant memory. It’s the Turner show and all others are lucky to get scraps. Jacquizz Rodgers has shown he can run the ball and we all know that Snelling can too. Antone Smith has speed, but is never seen. After seeing the Saints plug in a new offensive lineman at right tackle and bring up their 4th or 5th running back to look fantastic (Ivory), the Falcons seem stuck in their same old, same old. There’s evidently a refusal to make many changes on the Falcons offensive line or in the backfield, so Albert Einstein’s looking pretty correct.

What Happened to the Defense?

The same defense that held a slew of quarterbacks in check and forced Peyton Manning into three interceptions in the first half, looked just as pedestrian as any Falcons defense that’s lined up in recent years. The Falcons produced no pass rush whatsoever, only mustering one sack and never pressuring Brees at all. How many times will defenses allow elite QBs to pick them apart. Great teams and defenses have proven that pressuring the quarterback is the only way to knock them off their game. While it wasn’t quite reminiscent of the Debacle in the Dome seeing Aaron Rodgers pick apart the defense, it wasn’t far off. Not only that, but tackling was as bad as it ever was under Brian Van Gorder. That long TD run by Ivory has to go down as one of the worst defensive meltdown plays in Falcons franchise history and completely jumpstarted a struggling Saints team. After being so creative with his multiple and different looks, Nolan’s defense was a mirror image of it’s failed soft-zone predecessor. Why not try William Moore in some linebacker looks, for instance. The Falcons defense of old was not good, and especially not good against the Saints. The thought was that Mike Nolan was supposed to change all that.

Overrated? Sure………….

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith reacts while talking with an official in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

C'mon Smitty, It Was Time (Bill Feig)

A word of advice to Falcons faithful would be to tune out the MTV Sports, Entertainment Tonight Media Elite for the next few weeks. They finally got everything they wanted: the Falcons lost, they’re overrated, they should be 1-8 instead of 8-1, the Bountygate Saints are back on top, and it’s the “same old Falcons” as everyone always says. Too bad Mary Hart and Mario Lopez can’t give their opinions on the NFL, football, and those terrible, overrated Falcons.

Bird Cage Brothers Fallout Corps’ Turn

1) Simple Sack – how bad of a loss is this: just a loss or a reason to believe the Falcons are the worst team in the NFL?

2) At what point did you get a bad feeling on the game? How tough was blowing a good start?

3) Is this Michael Turner or Matt Ryan’s team? Are there still handcuffs on Ryan?

4) Please, please help fix this anemic pass rush.

5) Why has the Falcons pass rush remained so terribly poor?

6) How about those Turner playcalls right up the gut?

7) Anyone else at punt returner?

8.) Thoughts on the Mercedez-SuperDome officiating?

9) Please explain the Curious Case of Michael Turner.

10) Has Albert Einstein pegged one Coach Mike Smith?

11) What happened to Mike Nolan and his defense? Yikes

12) Promise yourself a prize if you can ignore the MTV Sports / Entertainment Tonight media-elite-talking-heads-experts for a few weeks………..or maybe ever.

1,221 comments Add your comment

D3

November 11th, 2012
10:41 pm

I know everyone’s winding down for the weekend, but a few thoughts before bed……..

+ — Turner’s done. I’m not sugarcoating anymore. Anyone who knows me, knows that I even advocated for the Falcons to drop him in the off-season, free up a lot of money, and go with Quizz / Snelling / Antone Smith. Would it be a gamble? Sure. But what the hell did we have to lose? I knew when we brought him back that (regardless of what they all said) that Turner would be the main focus of the offense.

+ — I find it very convenient that after Turner b!tches and complains about it being “their team and their offense” that he starts getting his same old 20 plus carries that he always gets. I will not apologize or concede on the “well, he always breaks at least one big run a game.” Really, is that what we’ve come to expect from our $7.5 million RB? I appreciate everything he’s done, but when Malarkey left town, so should Turner in my opinion. Look around the league and you’ll see all these lower drafted (or undrafted) rookies tearing it up in the NFL. Hell, the sAINTS were on their 4th RB and he made Turner look like an old man. A friend said to me today during the game, “the offense seems to grind to a halt when he’s in the game.” Perfectly put.

falcon21

November 11th, 2012
10:41 pm

This should be Matt Ryans team but Mike Smith wants to keep it his team. So at this point the handcuffs are still on. Otherwise we would have won the game.

Tom

November 11th, 2012
10:42 pm

Great article and hit all the points. A tough lose that we saw coming. If you can score 2nd and goal from the one….. You are right the Falcons deserved to win today. The Saints were the better team. Need a running game, to one dimensional and interesting it was brought up about punt returns. Tired of fair catches. We still should win the division and will have the chance to knock the Saints out of the playoffs at home. There are pieces missing still. Fill the gaps Smitty.

Tom

November 11th, 2012
10:43 pm

Sorry, Saints deserved to win, my bad.

Ray

November 11th, 2012
10:44 pm

Ray

November 11th, 2012
10:49 pm

Turner is done don’t get me wrong love what the guy has done, but really and truly it felt as though he was extremely slow today.

Overall though Falcons did okay we really missed Spoon big time today, but Graham seems to always get us same thing for Moore(Saints).

Right now Ray Edwards and Peria Jerry are busts in my eyes and as for Turner show him the door come off season.

Right now Quizz and Snelling should be a one-two punch.

D3

November 11th, 2012
10:51 pm

+ — I really don’t know what the defense needs, but it needs something. Hell, I’ve just given up trying to figure out what this team needs on defense anymore. Sometimes we need a DT, sometimes we need a DE, sometimes we need an LB, sometimes we need a CB. Goodness gracious, do we need a whole new defense? Really, REALLY disappointed in Nolan’s approach today. It may have well been good ol’ Brian Van Softserve’s defense out there. I think we got to Breesbag once for a sack and that’s about it. Again, I really don’t know what we need, but we need something. I still say that a big ol’ boy DT may very well help, but what the hell do I know. It’s hard to rank what we need most on D, because today it seemed we needed everything.

+ — Compare the Saints and their running game to ours. They don’t have the road-grading OL for power football and really not one of the best OLs, but all their running backs (save for Ingram who ran well today) are shifty and can make people miss (Thomas, Ivory). And they were even missing Darren Sproles. I still like Quizz and Snelling, but we need some speed in that backfield and it’s the exact same thing I said a few weeks ago. Antone Smith may not be Walter Payton, but what the hay, can he be worse than Two-Step Turner?

+ — Stephen Nicholas looked pretty bad in coverage out there today. I keep going back and forth on what’s a bigger need: DT or LB. I think that Dent’s going to be alright when it’s all said and done, but even Nicholas looked bad in coverage today. Then again, the defensive tackle situation isn’t any clearer. Vance Walker should be ahead of Peria Jerry for the rest of the year. Jerry, Babs, and Walker are all too much alike in slicing DTs and Peters is the closes we got in terms of an NT, but still think we could use a big ol’ boy.

falcon21

November 11th, 2012
10:53 pm

I’m not really worried about Nolan, he is doing the best he can with what he has to work with. Spoon missed the game and it hurt but it will take Nolan a couple of years to build this Defense.

Wabe

November 11th, 2012
11:04 pm

Final thoughts on today…

I’ve heard this quite a bit, mainly from Saints fans, but, in the grand scheme of things, nothing really changed today beyond 0 in the loss column. Folks might want to act as though we were exposed. But, folks have known for a while now that we struggle to run the football and stop the run. Those were the main culprits of our loss today. When we needed to punch in TD’s a yard or two out, we couldn’t get it in. And the Saints ability to run the football kept our defense off balance all day.

Regarding Michael Turner, I think most folks are starting to take notice of Turner’s slowdown. Deion Sanders echoed it on NFL Network when they showed our highlights. He mentioned how folks ‘may not wanna hear this, but Jaquizz Rodgers should be the starting RB of this team’. Not sure Quizz is the long term answer, but, it’s evident that Turner ain’t cutting it at this point. I’d love to see more of a split amongst everybody on the roster, including A.Smith. At this point, with the run game as anemic as it is, no option should be left off the table.

It’s possible that nothing may change in terms of the standings as well. If the Texans can hold on here, we’ll still be looking at essentially the same playoff picture we were looking at before this loss.

I’m bummed about the loss. But, they happen. 8-1 through 9 games still keeps us atop the NFC through 10 weeks. No reason for folks to be too downed. Some concerns? Absolutely fine. But, in general, we’re still sitting fine. And although I wish this one came against anybody else, having this ‘undefeated’ garbage out of the locker room will be good for this team moving forward.

The schedule gets tougher. A loss next week would be inexcusable. I fully expect to win, and in blowout fashion at that. That Cardinals offense is beyond inept. No offensive line, no run game, no pass game. No reason that shouldn’t be a blowout. After that, it gets tough. Tampa’s playing good football. @ CAR won’t be easy. NOLA again. And then throw in the games out of division vs. Giants and @ Detroit. Bottom line, stay healthy, and continue to work on that run defense and run game. Those are two glaring flaws that we have a handful of games to address.

D3

November 11th, 2012
11:05 pm

+ — Where the hell was William Moore today? I mean, I thought he could really be a weapon for getting to Breesbag and disrupting plays. Why not have Chris Hope in there at SS and let Willy Mo roam around like an LB. Just supremely disappointed in the defense’s approach today. To their credit, they tightened up in the second half, but much of the damage was already done…..28-17.

+ — I’ll keep saying it until it happens. Starting OL should be LT – Holmes, LG – Blalock, C 0 Konz, RG – Clabo, RT – Baker. I mean really, what the hell do we have to lose? That brings up another point that I talked about non-stop this offseason: Todd McClure is showing his age. He’s already light at center as is, but he’s getting blown up and that’s putting even more pressure on Blalock and Konz. Why do we expect anything different from the EXACT same OL from last year.

+ — I’m not really that upset in the end, but I was worried it was going to be a blowout there for minute. They fought back and it was another close game, but we have some serious soul-searching to do if we want to achieve our goals this season. I’m not saying we’re frauds, but we surely didn’t look the part today.

[...] Atlanta Falcons: Birds Fall to SaintsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Falcons Vs. Saints: Roddy White says Atlanta 'gave' game awaySB NationWLOX -NBCNews.com -NOLA.comall 1,405 news articles » Share this: Posted by joshua on November 12th, 2012 Posted in Sports Cancel Reply [...]

Wabe

November 11th, 2012
11:14 pm

D3, regarding what the defense lacks…

I’d say it’s on the line. IMO, it’s DT. Our DT’s get absolutely no pressure up the middle. Our speed rushers get around the corners, but QB’s can simply step into a clean pocket. Babs/Peters are both ok. Jerry’s not been what we anticipated.

But, we don’t really have any dominant players on that line aside from Abe. They’re all rotational type peices. Peters is still young, hopefully he can step his play up as his career progresses. But, again, aside from Abe, you don’t really see Pro-Bowl type talent on that line.

Teams like the Giants, Niners, and Bears all have multiple Pro-bowlers on their fronts. The Falcons have adequate players, but our success really depends on the matchups up front. With guys like Peppers, Abe, JPP, Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, the great guys up front, it doesn’t matter whose lining up in front of them, they’ve got the upper hand. With most of our guys [Abe being the exception], it really does boil down to matchups. Some weeks, our DT’s might get penetration. Other weeks, they just don’t. Not because they’re inconsistent, well they are, but it has more to do with the matchups up front. We don’t have too many guys on this line, none really aside from an aging Abe, that’ll have the upper hand week in and week out regardless of whose playing on opposing O-Lines.

Wabe

November 11th, 2012
11:20 pm

I mean, when you look at it, we shouldn’t expect all that much out of some of these guys on the D-Line…

Peters was a 3rd round peice. Vance Walker was what? A 7th rounder? Biermann was a 4th or 5th rounder. Babs and Abe are aging. Jerry’s a 1st rounder, but he hasn’t really panned out.

We’ve all known about the D-Line though. That’s mainly why I was stoked we hired Mike Nolan because his philosphy isn’t as reliant on the greatest of D-Lines.

Ray

November 11th, 2012
11:39 pm

Right now going into this offseason my main things to be focused on.

Cutting M.Turner glad he was here not going to lie he helped build us up during these past 4 years, but he’s finished he’s slowed down and not in a good way.

Helping our D-line honestly this upcoming draft should be exclusive to defensive side of the ball.

D-Franks needs to go bring me Eric Weems darn it lol.

Big Ray

November 11th, 2012
11:40 pm

Wabe

Good posts.

You’re right….D-line is pretty much the same. Walker is a good rotation guy. Peters is really our best guy now because Babs is aging…but as I cautioned earlier…Peters is NOT anywhere close to 100%, which means he’s nothing close to what he was the last two years – a very solid player and a legit starter.

Jerry is a waste of a first round draft pick…hindsight being 20-20 and all that, but I’ll make the claim anyway because I wanted Ziggy Hood or Clay Matthews or some damn body besides Jerry at the time, LOL.

I look forward to the development of Travian Robertson and hope it goes way better than it has with Jerry or guys like Trey Lewis.

Big Ray

November 11th, 2012
11:46 pm

In the meantime, we’re gonna have to draft at DT. As far as I’m concerned, Babs is rotational…a borderline starter mostly because we don’t have a better guy right now. Peters probably won’t be “right” for the rest of the season if I had to guess. Maybe by week 12 he’ll be close to maybe….90%? One hopes…

Walker…again, a big body and good rotation guy. Babs has come back down to “ok” but still makes some plays some days. Problem is he’s an undertackle…a penetration guy. He can’t do his job when he doesn’t have help next to him. Today, he had no help.

I’m wondering if we shouldn’t have gone with the “Big three tackle” alignment.

Not having Weatherspoon out there hurt more than I think we’d like to really know. He’s the defensive QB out there. He’s fiery. He makes plays all over the place. He has swagger. He can play the pass or the run.

Because of his absence, Graham had an easier day than he should have. Due to the Saints passing attack, we couldn’t even assign Willy Mo to Graham often enough. Because there were other guys to deal with like Lance Moore and Devery Henderson.

dbird1

November 11th, 2012
11:46 pm

8-1 is better than 4-5 last i checked. taints can go to sleep feeling good tonight. we are still on top of the nfc….period. facons vs taints and refs. holds all across the taints o line all feekn night. enjoy it d- bags.

Big Ray

November 11th, 2012
11:47 pm

Funny how all the talking heads are now seeing with Turner what fans were seeing months ago….

All some folks could see were all the thousand yard plus rushing seasons. They couldn’t see that this was OVER.

Big Ray

November 11th, 2012
11:48 pm

I do look forward to revenge in the Georgia Dome.

Ah well. Time to get ready for the Cardinals. They won’t be an easy out, but we shouldn’t lose to them either.

Big Ray

November 11th, 2012
11:59 pm

In other news ….

The world-beating Giants led by the uber-elite Eli Manning lost to the Bengals. Badly. By three TDs. Yep…Eli threw 2 INTs, no TDs. But you won’t hear much about that, I bet….Oh and the Bengals are another 4-5 team hoping to limp into the playoffs. 4-5 teams are dangerous when you’re a winning team…

I realize that San Diego has major issues and Norv Turner is an idiot of global proportions…the kind that I hope Mike Smith never turns out to be (but he won’t…Blank would not tolerate that).

But damn….Tampa Bay is becoming for real. Just sayin’.

Few things amuse me like Carolina totin’ a whoopin’ though. Courtesy of Peyton and his Broncos…whom the media is all over (when they can get away from Eli’s crotch, that is).

[...] unbeaten team, fall to SaintsThe Seattle TimesFalcons' flight ended by familiar foeUSA TODAYAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -bestofneworleans.com (blog) -SunHerald.comall 1,490 news [...]

Box

November 12th, 2012
1:18 am

Turner’s best production came within a different offensive scheme where he had a guy named Ovie leading the way on many plays. This just shows that this new scheme needs a different style of RB or a few more two back sets for short yardage plays. Linemen do not have the vision or speed to line up in the backfield and lead block effectively. Turner isn’t going to make it on a 1 yard conversion up the middle by himself. And why do we not try more plays running to the edge instead of up the middle because they stack the box? For all of our speed at WR, an outside to inside WR motion by Julio to flare around for a pitch for a race to the pylon seems a no brainer. We only needed 1 yard, not big play yardage. With a motion to gain a head of steam, maybe one guy catches him, and the beast fights his way into the end zone.

BobbyDawg

November 12th, 2012
1:46 am

On several running plays I couldn’t tell if Matty Ice handed the ball off to Turner or it was one of their D guys handing it off. I know that’s exagerating but our O line stunk up the place, and their D line had by far their best game all year. You can’t overpower a team without power. This is the same team that was 8-0. Is this failure due to COACHING? On one play that I remember above all they had the box stacked with 8 guys and Turner still got the ball and just kind of fell into the pile of bodies in front of him. I thought MR2 could audible at the line and change the play if he sees a trap. I gotta get over it. GO FALCONS !

dheadms

November 12th, 2012
2:00 am

Shout out to all you civil Falcons fans. I was in the Dome today. watched it all with joy as I am a Who Dat. Kudos to the Falcons. I am proud of their record. good job. I have totally hated the bias and disgust spewed over the Saints recent troubles. We have not deserved the hate. I hope what was settled tonight is.. we are both quality teams. win or lose we are brothers. today was a great day for me, not so great for you, but may the best win. We meet again soon. The best team will win that one too.
With sincerity, good luck to you. What I am relieved about is that this game will shut up the ignorant haters, or shut up at least the ones who are smart enough to know they are ignorant.

Big Ray

November 12th, 2012
5:15 am

Frauds don’t start the season 8-0, you raving lunatic.

Big Ray

November 12th, 2012
5:24 am

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/41618/saints-bring-falcons-down-to-earth

Pat Yasinkas. The biased sports writer, the closet Saints fan who forgot to close the closet door….

Brutal

November 12th, 2012
5:42 am

I currently live in Atlanta but I am from Houston,so I have no choice but to watch the Falcons game, even though I’m a texans fan ….

I feel like you all are overreacting. The falcons had alot of key players out which hurt them in the long run. Falcons D stopped the Saints pretty much the entire 2nd quarter which let the falcons come back from trailing 2 scores.

A loss brings a team into reality. My texans lost and the next week came back to dominate. It’s not the end of the world….seriously.

My Texans vs Falcons SB pick is still looking pretty good

Wings

November 12th, 2012
7:24 am

And it had to be a memorable, drama-filled game that left the Falcons frustrated by the 1 meager yard they could not get to take a lead inside the final 2 minutes of a 31-27 loss Sunday.

”It’s very frustrating,” said Falcons coach Mike Smith, who is 2-7 against the Saints and 49-15 against the rest of the NFL in his four-plus regular seasons as Atlanta coach. ”We were close. … This will be something we will learn from.”

You will? Hasn’t this happened before in other New Orleans games? I’m frustrated that you continue to run Michael Turner in these one yard situations.

Wings

November 12th, 2012
7:36 am

JB Falcon – “MB. don’t take this personally but could you at least put the first letter in God’s name as a capital “G”? There’s alot of Christians on here.”

You are the best.

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: Bird Cage ← Event: "Fifty Shades of Stay" at W Atlanta – Buckhead at W Atlanta [...]

Wabe

November 12th, 2012
8:09 am

Brutal,

Good post. Sometime, perspective goes out the window with some of us fans. It’s a knee-jerk type league. A week to week type thing. Whose up, whose down. Also, I think we have a tendancy to micro-analyze things like no other.

But, with that said, you’re right. I don’t think anybody’s throwing in the towel. Just simply pointing to some trends that the Falcons have to debunk as the season progresses. Most folks didn’t wanna acknowledge the Falcons when we were undefeated and only pointed to postseason success/failures. Despite being the lone undefeated team in the league, folks simply chalked it up to, “What will they do in the playoffs…that’s all that matters…” So now, after suffering our first loss, I don’t think the coversation should really change. Folks have been talking about postseason play with this squad and claiming that’s all that matters [and to an extent, that's true]. So, this loss doesn’t really do anything to the Falcons in the grand scheme of things. Still atop the NFC. Still positioned to get that 1st round bye. We didn’t really walk out of the Superdome yesterday with too many more questions than we already had [run defense? run offense?]. We’ll see how it plays out come playoff time.

Stumpknocker

November 12th, 2012
8:10 am

Turner is long past his prime, that’s for sure…………but what happened to the shifting and stunting defense that looked so good against the Broncos?

SeminoleWarrior

November 12th, 2012
8:23 am

Good morning Cage Family…

First, a deeply sincere thank you from the TeePee family for all the kind words, thoughts, prayers, text messages, and emails over the last month. Your calm resolve helped immensely in dealing with a very difficult time. Time was needed to recover, reflect, and move forward. I thank each of you more than you can ever imagine.

D3

November 12th, 2012
8:24 am

SW — Welcome back my brother. You’ve been sorely missed and we all hope / are glad that all is well with you my friend.

SeminoleWarrior

November 12th, 2012
8:27 am

Now, it has been a LONG, LONG time since I have been able to focus on anything football related. But the time is now to get back into my grove. And that begins right now…so sit back and let’s see if I still have my mojo.

Going to take you back a little bit it I may. I told you that there has been an ongoing disconnect with the Atlanta Falcons. I have stated for the longest that there is something, something I can not put my finger on, but trust me, it is STILL there, about this team. This team STILL lacks a killer instinct on the defensive side of the ball and is almost laughable at times. I do not want to hear all the calls about the Giants, the 49ers, etc. and their defensive issues. I simply do not give a damned. What I care about is the Atlanta Falcons. And people, things are not getting better on the defensive side of the football team.

Wings

November 12th, 2012
8:30 am

D3 – I think this post of yours is the best one ever. I loved your “tongue and cheek” comparisons (time to bake a cake and do his taxes; living on borrowed time with their comebacks; Mary Hart and Mario Lopez; etc). I was so worn out after watching the game that I went to sleep sitting up and never saw one play of the night game. Good reading this morning.

And of course, you put the focus on the biggest problem that this team has. I have been an advocate of benching/cutting Turner for more than just last season. I listed the negative yards from each game even going back to important games from previous years. Even when Ovie was his personal blocker in the important games lost. Michael Turner must be removed from the first team running back slot for this team to play at its potential.

Smitty must remove some of his influence from the the game plans. If we believe Smitty is responsible for Turner’s role, then we have to assume Smitty has his hands in the defensive pie. I really believe he gave direction to Mike Nolan regarding how to structure the defense against NO. It failed!!! Nolan made adjustments at half time that improved the performance some what.

Also, I am not saying anything regarding the offensive line until there is a new running back in place to adequately make judgements. The OL can pass block reasonably well so why can’t the OL run block better. I think a lot of it is because of the relic RB and plays.

Mike Smith has the traits of Marty Schottenheimer, and Marty never won the big game. I am so afraid the talent on the Falcons team will remain untapped and the Super Bowl will pass us by too.

SeminoleWarrior

November 12th, 2012
8:30 am

Sure, we are a flashy-based, Sports Center seeking defense. Samuel make one play for each three he gives up. You know how I feel about Robinson, a free safety faking the funk as a cornerback. I love William Moore but what in the hell is he doing in coverage the last few weeks. And the linebackers could not cover in pass defense if I threw a damned quilt over their collective butts!!

Pressure..what damned pressure!! I get more force out of my garden hose than the Falcons have shown in a pass rush this season. And it is getting to be rather silly.

Edge Team

November 12th, 2012
8:31 am

It’s simple. This team is a team that lives and dies on the edge on both sides of the ball. Speed and ability on the offensive side of the ball is 3 guys named Ryan White, Gonzalez and Jones and it will all live and die in their hands week after week. Unless, you talk about a pick 6 against a team like the Raiders to save your bacon (but again an edge player). The Falcons chose to ignore the Core, so have next to zero depth in the positions in the middle of the field so get exposed easily when one guy goes down. In other words they have to 100% healthy to be mediocre and once the long season takes its toll ,, the destination is south of Mediocreville. They have enough to pull out a win on any given Sunday, but not having a running game is going to ultimately do them in come playoff time. They keep pushing the running game b/c they have fooled themselves into believing they have one when they look back at certain games (most recently Cowboys who have a good to great D). That success is not pound the ball up the middle football, but rather misdirection or “fooled ya” successs in playcalling. When it is predictable on 1st down and they get stuffed they are predictably trying to keep enough of the D in the box to open up passing game, yeah we get that and that is all necessary and such b/c you can’t throw on every down ,,, the problem is when they call up those plays, like yesterday in a crucial 3rd down at then goal line. Did they really think that was going to work? To the blog post, it absolutely miffs me how we never picked up an Ivory versus thinking we will soley rely on Turner w/ Jacquizz as a sub. Jacquizz is at best a screen pass back who needs to get in open to be effective and has such great cutting ability that I like him in that role. Bottomline that will haunt them come the playoffs is that you can’t ignore the core… and ignoring the core also includes sorry draft results with the likes of Jerry and Baker, etc. TD needs someone else doing his scouting of OL and DL talent.

Edge Team

November 12th, 2012
8:31 am

Sorry, bad math on it being 4 guys!!

SeminoleWarrior

November 12th, 2012
8:35 am

Many, myself included, were shocked at the hiring of DK as the offensive coordinator. However, it is clear that DK knows how to use the weapons that he has been given on the offensive side of the ball. He is opening up the passing attack, the Falcons are increasing vertical, the running backs are very active in the passing game, and we move the ball very well. Our rushing attack is a struggle (and there were those of us that called for the drafting/FA signing of a RB). No one has defended MT33 more than I but it is official…dude simply does not have it. It also does not help him that the OL is once again is a state of flux.

Tell me…why can we not be effective at both PASS and RUSH blocking? Konz and Blalock are doing very good things at the guard position but the center and tackles STILL are areas of concern.

SeminoleWarrior

November 12th, 2012
8:42 am

The defense is filled with overpriced, underachieving personnel. I have often compared it to the Eagles defense. Those comparisons were not a reach if you ask me. When it matters the most, with a QB that is cold blooded, the Falcons can not stop the pass. When faced with a team that is tough with its rushing attack, the interior of the Falcons defense is laughable.

This team is 8-1 but if you HAVE watched the action closely over the last month, this has been coming. This exposure has been building since the Carolina game. And I have a new flash for you; this team had better get it together QUICKLY on defense or it is going to be a tough time in the off season.

What has eluded the Falcons is the ability to win in the hostile environment or show evidence of the clutch gene. Offensively, we are among the best in the league. Rodgers is a emerging talent. MT33 is on the decline and will have to be replaced in 2013. The defensive front is in need of a MAJOR overhaul as it simply is not capable of getting it done.

Lady luck is fine for winning some game but it will not carry you to a Lombardi trophy. And there is no way, none, that you are going to convince me that this defense is championship caliber.

It lacks focus and discipline too often. Fundamentals are ragged too damned often. Blown coverage and missed tackles are common place. And it sucks!! I truly sucks!!

snacktastic

November 12th, 2012
8:46 am

SW! Good to see you back. Hope you’re doing well.

All I have to say is this: You earn a lot of good will going 8-0. So much so that I would have been able to accept a hard-fought loss…as long as it wasn’t against the Saints.

And yet who do they lose to? The Saints.

I’m still sold on this team. 15-1 is within reach, as is an NFC Championship, at least. But now I’m back to the default of rooting for them just because they’re “my team”. I’ll need to see some concrete improvement, and maybe a bit of change, before I can get excited again.

And with that, I think I’ll take D3’s suggestion and avoid the news this week. We had better stomp Arizona into the ground on Sunday.

SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TELL THE TRUTH

November 12th, 2012
8:47 am

Good to see you back in here SW.

SeminoleWarrior

November 12th, 2012
8:49 am

Going to give a little love to a guy that I have roasted in the past. Akeem Dent had some great plays yesterday. He was effective in rushing defense, leaving a lot to be desired in the pass coverage area. He looked a lot like what we had in Lofton in years past.

Speaking of linebackers, the Falcons need to draft some and do it SOON. Nicholas is slipping and Pete is past his prime. Biermann could be an element of surprise but the three coordinator approach we have on defense can not seem to figure out where to use him.

Pass rush? What rush? Has anyone see Abraham or Edwards lately? Is Sidbury STILL in the witness protection plan? I mean damned….

Mike Franklin

November 12th, 2012
8:52 am

Monday morning QB’ing? Yup, that’s what a fan does because that’s what the desk jockeys will be doing at all the sports networks.

Similar to the Texas A&M vs. Alabama game in college, the Falcons and Saints affair displayed one team out-playing itself with another giving less than they could have. The outcome was an upset and one that didn’t have to happen.

For the next week, the sports media will be howling about how the Falcons are not as good as their record and the Saints fans will be ripping and clawing at every Falcons board on the web. This is the price the fans will pay for this loss.

The team itself has some soul searching to do… a lot of it.

Chop Buster

November 12th, 2012
8:53 am

Simple Sack – how bad of a loss is this: just a loss or a reason to believe the Falcons are the worst team in the NFL? It’s one loss, but it was to the Aints. This team has Smitty’s number because he goes into scared mode anytime he plays them. This team looked exactly like the same Falcons teams with Mularkey and BVG. The common denominator is Smitty. His ultra conservative nature is killing this team ability to dominate.

At what point did you get a bad feeling on the game? Um, the phantom calls started. The Aints began getting in our players heads and the moment the tackling started. How tough was blowing a good start? This is a team that still does not know how to keep their foot on the pedal on both sides of the ball. I feel like the defense is a true patchwork of players and needs to be blown up after this year.

Is this Michael Turner or Matt Ryan’s team? Matt’s team of course. That’s why he’s the franchise QB. Turner is a has been and has always been a RB that needed gaping holes and a FB leading him. Are there still handcuffs on Ryan? Of course there is. The minute you see the offense go from aggressive to handing off to Turner, you know whose hand was in that.

Please, please help fix this anemic pass rush. Again, we never built the defensive line the right way like they did in say Tampa. We keep bringing in backup level players and trying to make them starting pass rushers. All of them are done…including Abe. It’s pathetic.

Why has the Falcons pass rush remained so terribly poor? Because of what I just said…not drafting/signing the right FA AND the infamous Falcon filter. Wonder how that will effect Nolan’s picks this year.

How about those Turner play calls right up the gut? A wasted play. How about run him off tackle, pitch him the ball on the move, something other than running him into a pile.

Anyone else at punt returner? Keep playing Harry Douglas. I read somewhere that Smitty has been directing these guys to just catch the ball, because he’s not concerned with field position and more concern with a possible turnover. If this is true, again this man is the epitome of conservatism.

Thoughts on the Mercedes Super Dome officiating? Like we always say…we have to play against the Aints and the referees anytime we play this team. I get very frustrated watching the poorly officiated games that are one-sided. Their players hang all over our receivers and they don’t get one call–except on the obvious one where Roddy was almost beheaded.

Please explain the Curious Case of Michael Turner. Poor footwork, slow to the hole, runs with no power. That sums him up in a nutshell. With his lower body power he should literally be carrying guys four to five yards after contact. Instead he stops his feet and goes to the ground.

Has Albert Einstein pegged one Coach Mike Smith? Yes he has. Smitty is a stubborn control freak. It’s obvious he wants to still keep a hand in calling plays on both sides of the game.

What happened to Mike Nolan and his defense? It’s called Mike Smith. That defense yesterday looked exactly like the same scared zone defense that BVG had always called. Now it makes me wonder if BVG was actually calling so much zone and Smitty not the one.

The media is always going to support a winner. No make that a dominant winner who convincingly beats teams. That’s why they love the 49ers, Bears, Giants, etc. because they all have shown they can dominate and win “playoff games”. Until the Falcons get game changers on the defense and shut teams down they will always be suspect. Even in the fans minds.

Big Lou

November 12th, 2012
8:55 am

Seminole W.

Glad to see you back… too bad it’s after a loss, go figure.

SeminoleWarrior

November 12th, 2012
8:55 am

Snack, this is an OFFENSIVELY good football team. But this team and its defensive approach is not ready to take the next step. Again, yesterday’s loss has been four weeks in the making. Defensively, from week to week, we are torched against the pass too often and are becoming more and more suspect against the run.

Say what we may about the pathetic BVG but damned, at least we were respectable against the run. With the HIGH priced, SPECIFICALLY acquired secondary members we have, I am not buying the failure, the ABSOLUTE failure of this secondary to be a greater presence than what they are.

It’s garbage too damned often. It really is. Especially when you are looking at a veteran presence on that side of the ball. We have no rookies in the secondary….it is totally a joke too often.

Big Lou

November 12th, 2012
8:58 am

Wabe

I have to say, as usually, your post is probably the only objective on in here that isn’t overflowing with emotions. Great stuff.

Big Lou

November 12th, 2012
8:59 am

Kudos to snacktastic, as well.