Atlanta Falcons: Birds Steamroll Giants

Wow!

What a Game! (AJC)

Fans have been waiting a long time for a statement game, and boy was it worth the wait. The Falcons utterly dominated every aspect of the game against the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. It was one of the best and most complete games in the 5 years that Mike Smith has been head coach and likely one of the best in franchise history. Wanted to go ahead and get a new thread up and let you all discuss the great game that was. Rest of post will be finished soon. Enjoy………..

One of the Best Wins in the Smith Era

Last week was one of the worst losses in the Smith Era, but he followed it up with one of the best wins not only in his tenure, but likely in franchise history. The Falcons utterly dominated pretty much every aspect of the game. They moved down the field with ease on offense, getting almost every playmaker involved. The offensive line had one of it’s best game in years versus one of the best defensive fronts in all of football. The defense not only intercepted two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning twice, but also held the Giants on three 4th down conversions in the Falcons territory. The special teams stepped up to the plate and held David Wilson in check and the planning and preparation on the coaches part has to be one of the best in years. If fans were waiting for a complete game, they finally got it and then some.

Ryan’s Great Day

JJ with Two TDs (AJC)

AJC columnist Jeff Schultz wrote an article about Matt Ryan asking every player for an extra 30 minutes this week and promising an hour of his own time for every 30 minutes the players gave. The leadership off the field translated to an excellent day on the field. After a bad trend started to emerge the last few games, Ryan bounced back in superb fashion and led the team to one of it’s best offensive outputs of the season. Ryan was efficient (23/28), checked in to correct plays throughout the game, threw the deep ball, and came away with 3 touchdown passes. He did one of his best jobs distributing the ball in a long while. He found a way to include almost every offensive playmaker in some form or fashion. Here’s to hoping that Ryan is hitting his stride at just the right time and that turns out to be true, he’s going to a tough out for almost every defense.

Great Coaching Effort

Many of us here in The Bird Cage have been guilty of heaping criticism on the Falcons head coach (this author as guilty as anyone), but it’s only fair to give effusive praise when warranted as well. Coach Smith seemed to take the embarrassing loss to the Panthers personal and it “heightened their focus” while planning and preparing for the Giants. The scheme on offense, defense, and special teams was magnificent. They confused and harassed Manning on defense. The offensive scheme was one of the best in a long while, making a point to getting as many playmakers involved as possible and making it virtually impossible for the Giants to focus in on one or two players. The special teams held one of the most explosive returners in the game in check as well. A huge kudos to Coach Smith and the entire coaching staff on a near-flawless gameplan, preparation, and execution. Here’s to hoping that Smith can find a way to bottle that special week of practice for the playoffs coming up soon.

Excellent Tackling, Defense

Falcons D Stands Tough (AJC)

The Falcons found a way to fix one of their biggest issues on defense all year long: tackling. They wrapped up well throughout the game, which was a big factor in stopping the Giants 3 times on 4th down conversions. They carried a gameplan that did wonders to confuse and harass Eli Manning throughout the game. Only a few times did the Birds have issues stopping the Giants. They were able to shut down one of the more talented receiving corps in the NFL with Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Dominik Hixon. It also was a total team effort. Chris Hope did an excellent job filling in for the injured William Moore. Stephen Nicholas had one of the better games he’s had in awhile, adding to the already stellar play of Sean Weatherspoon and rapidly improving Akeem Dent. The defensive line generated pressure and held firm against the run, one of the weakest areas through the season. Asante Samuel has brought a swagger to this defense and his presence was readily felt early in the game. Hats off to one of the best defensive efforts in recent memory.

Nice Run Mix

Michael Turner led the way and Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling added in some nice balance and formed a very complementary trio in the backfield. Turner saw most of the carries and ran as hard and well as he did all season. Rodgers may not have had the best final stat sheet (11 carries for 25 yards), but he injected some needed versatility and shiftiness in the backfield to Turner’s hard charging style. One of the most pleasant surprises was seeing Jason Snelling rack up 39 yards on 6 carries, running with drive and toughness. Snelling hasn’t gotten many touches this season, but he may have earned himself some more with his play on Sunday. Some will say that it was only a product of mop-up time, but there didn’t seem to be any wholesale changes on the Giants defense. Snelling basically ended the game all by himself, running for several first downs to end the game kneeling down inside the Giants own 10 yard line. It will always be a struggle getting all the backs involved with markedly less carries than the past due to the emergence of the passing game, but Dirk Koetter did a darn fine job of it on Sunday.

Huge Game by the Offensive Line

Great Day by Ryan (AJC)

No other unit has been so beleaguered and criticized as the Falcons offensive line. They may not be a more maligned unit on any team in the entire NFL. With their backs to the wall and facing one of the best fronts in the league (ones who owned them in last year’s postseason nonetheless), they gave Matt Ryan plenty of time and opened plenty of big holes for the running backs. It was by far one of the best played games by the Falcons OL in a long time. Like Smith with the Giants gameplan and preparation, only if they can figure out a way to bottle that scheme and execution for the playoffs.

HD’s Big Day

Sure, it was only 3 catches for 83 yards, but fans finally saw what they’ve been waiting so long for, which was to see the extremely talented slot receiver make an impact in a game in a big way. The thought was always that Douglas would start to get a ton of looks with defenses focusing on Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez first, but that hasn’t really come to fruition this year as expected. There’s only so many touches to go around and the Falcons already have two 1,000 receivers and a tight end that is well over 800 yards himself. However, Douglas had two huge receptions for long gains that helped change the face of the game. The catches added an element of versatility not seen to this extent in 2012 where defenders found themselves in an impossible position of trying to cover all the Falcons weapons. In fact, if Ryan had hit Douglas in stride on the first long reception, he may have taken it to the house. It was a beautiful sight to behold seeing essentially all of the Falcons weapons get in on the action, including HD, and much of the credit goes directly to Dirk Koetter for his superb gameplan and scheme.

Keep It Going……

Smitty Gets Huge Kudos! (AJC)

The Falcons have a 2 game lead in the NFC for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and seemingly only need to win one of the two final games to lock up the home-field advantage. However, if history has told us anything in the NFL lately, the team that’s playing the best football as the playoffs approach are usually the ones that go the deepest in the postseason. They couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the final drive towards the playoffs, but they will have their focus tested as they travel to the Detroit Lions who are 4-10 on the year and host the Bucs who sit at 6-8 after being 6-4 only a month ago. They talked about keeping the pedal to the metal before their clunker of the year in Charlotte. They also will not have the luxury of getting up for the defending Super Bowl Champions and also the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. With so many goals right in front of them, an issue of focus and motivation shouldn’t be a problem.

Bird Cage Victors Turn

1) Simple Steamroll – where does this game rank for you?

2) Is this the best game in the Mike Smith Era?

3) How does the coaching rank for you?

4) Is Ryan taking that final, next step?

5) Is the defense peaking for the playoffs?

6) Just a one game surge, or are the Falcons finally clicking?

7) Your thoughts on the running back mix?

8.) Can Smith and Co. bottle that preparation and practice for the playoffs?

9) Most importantly, can the Falcons keep it going?

688 comments Add your comment

Paddy O

December 16th, 2012
6:02 pm

Exactly Wow. our first complete game of the season. Makes you a little confident going into the playoffs.

falcon21

December 16th, 2012
6:04 pm

This is the game we have all been looking for, now keep it going. No better time to get hot!!!

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
6:10 pm

JB Falcon

December 16th, 2012
6:11 pm

After thoroughly dominating the Giants, the Falcons have surely sent a resounding message to the rest of the league: beware of this team in the playoffs.

Great article on espn, read the rest of it and smile;
http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=321216001

JB Falcon

December 16th, 2012
6:13 pm

Steeler Cowboys game on WCGL (Ch 46) halftime show, not one word about the Falcons. That blows.

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
6:15 pm

Seattle looks freaking scary.

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
6:15 pm

JB

That channel focuses more on the AFC.

Geo

December 16th, 2012
6:18 pm

I’m back from the game, and all I can say is, “wow, beautiful game.” Took my Dad and my two daughters as a birthday present for him. He was thrilled, “best birthday present ever.”

There were a ton of very glum NY Giant fans there. They had like two plays to cheer for.

I will now shut up about Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Coach Smith, Arthur Blank, Dirk Koetter, and the Falcon logo. (D3, hope everything is ok)

JB Falcon

December 16th, 2012
6:21 pm

D3, hope your grandmother gets well. Sickness does not make appointments.

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
6:36 pm

DHunt

December 16th, 2012
6:59 pm

Got to give credit to the Fox NFL crew. Jimmy, Howie, and Michael all ate their crow like men on live tv in the postgame wrap up. Jimmy especially, even though he wasn’t confident enough to pick the Falcons to win, when asked the question about what’s happened to the Giants flipped the question and made it clear that the Falcons happened to the Giants.

Yo Vince

December 16th, 2012
7:06 pm

Great story Geo. I’ve taken my son to 4 game this year and had a wonderful time. Go Falcons

snacktastic

December 16th, 2012
7:15 pm

Barnburner in Dallas. This one’s turning out better than I expected…much like the Falcons beating down the Giants.

Matty Bicep

December 16th, 2012
7:18 pm

Say what you want about our schedule, but our best games were against he best teams we faced. Redskins, Denver, Cowboys, and Giants were our best played games. I think when the schedule game out, we all had this game circled.

Matty Bicep

December 16th, 2012
7:20 pm

We clinch a bye with a Pats W tonight.

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
7:25 pm

MB

No we don’t. GB won. They had the same record as the 49ers and now are 10-4.

JB Falcon

December 16th, 2012
7:28 pm

Big Lou, that link to Schultz’s blog told a story. MR has decided to own this team. MR spoke and the entire team listened. We got 100% effort out of every player on this team and guess what? They discovered that they are a very good football team to be reckoned with. This game made a statement! We are the Falcons and we will kick your butt. Winning is fun! We like winning! We just needed someone to tell us how good we are. I am more optimistic about the future of this team than I have ever been. Forty six F’ing years I have been down this road but I have always let that little 1% of reality creep into my hopes for a SB, and I have always been graced with reality.
I truly believe that this team, if they keep playing like they did today, we just might get to have that parade we have all looked forward to for so many years.

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
7:29 pm

Lol

Rodney got told on NBC tonight.

Who are afraid of the Falcons? Lmao!

Sportaree

December 16th, 2012
7:39 pm

JB Falcon, Amen I would love to see that parade!

Matty Bicep

December 16th, 2012
7:48 pm

niners are 9-3-1. an L puts is in a bye, not HF, but the bye.

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
7:56 pm

MB

Ah, I get it. Good point. Go Pats!

Arno

December 16th, 2012
7:59 pm

Only a NYTimes reporter could write this: “Their pass rush rarely ventured into Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan’s peripheral vision, let alone his personal space.”

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
8:02 pm

Turner still needs to be benched.

Snelling and Rodgers had way better games.

Franks needs to be taken out of PR, as well.

Matty Bicep

December 16th, 2012
8:11 pm

Yea, we want to pats to roll. A Pats W tightens things up in the NFC west, just makes things a little interesting.

JB Falcon

December 16th, 2012
8:12 pm

BL, Franks needs to be used as a doorstop somewhere within the organization.

LDawg

December 16th, 2012
8:18 pm

DHunt – I was impressed with how those guys on Fox took it on the chin like men. I think ESPN would rather suck lemons than admit that any team from Georgia is good.

Matty Bicep

December 16th, 2012
8:18 pm

You see Aldon Smith doing “the spoon”? I did not know that was mainstream.

Birdman

December 16th, 2012
8:27 pm

Good eve Cage

Hats off for getting ready for this game . To the team to the coaching and to all involved .

Super game !!!!

We might get a bye week tonight .And a no 1 seed next week with a win.

Wabe

December 16th, 2012
8:32 pm

amazing game today…

I’d say that was by far the best game in the Mike Smith era.

The gameplans on both sides of the ball were great. Someone on NFL Network pointed out how Ryan only had 28 attempts today. He said that the offense flows so much better when Ryan’s not having to throw it 40+ times a game.

The run game was good. The pass game was solid.

But, the big ups go to the O-Line. That was by far one of the best games they’ve played all season. They kept Ryan relatively clean. There was a point where it seemed the Giants pass rush was starting to pick up, but it never sustained.

D E F E N S E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Quick question, is there anybody in here that’s really scared of playing any of the QB’s in the NFC playoff picture? Not to take anything away from them, but I’m oooooooober confident in Mike Nolan’s ability to rattle the best of em’.

Birdman

December 16th, 2012
8:34 pm

The way this team Plays at the dome it would be nice to see all roads go threw Atlanta.

NOTE THIS .

Yesterday we were talking about how bad this team has gotten
and we were one and done.

Today the shoe is on a entirely different foot……..GO FALCONS !!!!!!

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
8:35 pm

Wabe

Agreed on all points!!!

And we didn’t have William Moore!

Greg Mendel

December 16th, 2012
8:48 pm

Great win. 12-2 headed for the playoffs. Smitt happens.

waynester

December 16th, 2012
8:55 pm

Our O-line was phenomenal and our defense awesome today. Man, if we could only maintain the level of play we enjoyed today we’d shock the world in January….

Birdman

December 16th, 2012
9:01 pm

LRD

December 16th, 2012
9:02 pm

yowza sums it up the first julio td was just beautiful
D3 prayers foryou and family

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
9:02 pm

Lol

49ers with the fake punt.

Wings

December 16th, 2012
9:04 pm

Big Lou – “Turner still needs to be benched.

Snelling and Rodgers had way better games.

Franks needs to be taken out of PR, as well.”

Exactly Right!!!!

Matty Bicep

December 16th, 2012
9:04 pm

What is up with 9ers doing the spoon? Anyone know anything about this? Kinda pissin me off.

Matty Bicep

December 16th, 2012
9:06 pm

That and the brady Snott Rocket during the moment of silence.

Geo

December 16th, 2012
9:11 pm

@Yo Vince, my Dad and I have great memories of cheering on the Bartkowski-era Falcons together on the color console in the paneled living room of our 70s ranch-style home in Forest Park. 1980 was soooo close to magical. Sharing the love through the generations just makes it that much better, doesn’t it?

DHunt

December 16th, 2012
9:11 pm

Snelling ran like a man possessed at the end of the game. If only I could be convinced that he would have those results against a defense that hadn’t already quit, I would be a little more prone to subscribing to the start Snelling chants.

Rather than that, I’ll pay a little homage to Koetter for getting over 100 yards rushing using all the weapons at his disposal. The Falcons may not have a dominant RB this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a productive rushing attack.

Geo

December 16th, 2012
9:13 pm

Snelling was a total beast today!

Matty Bicep

December 16th, 2012
9:13 pm

8 Falcon players ran the ball.

Hamad Meander

December 16th, 2012
9:19 pm

I’m thrilled with this win. This was a statement that when you come to Atlanta in January, you will go home with a loss. Congratulations to the whole team.

JB Falcon

December 16th, 2012
9:23 pm

DHunt, the defense didn’t quit. Snelling is better than MT.

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
9:26 pm

Dhunt

We won’t know until they try it. If I remember correctly, he ran very well in 2010 when Turner got injured.

How about that Matt Ryan, huh? See what happens when the Oline does their job? He made great throws all day. Also, got HD a few times.

DHunt

December 16th, 2012
9:28 pm

JB, by the end of that game, all the Giants wanted to do was get the hell off that field. If they had given Snell the ball one more time, the Giants defenders would have let him walk into the endzone just so they could get back to the sidelines. And that’s how we should be making other defenses feel when they come into the Thriller Dome. Not trying to take anything away from Snelling, because he did exactly what he should have been doing in that situation; continuing the beatdown until they cried No Mas.

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
9:30 pm

Tell him, JB!

Snelling has always been a hard runner. I remember when he faught for a touchdown against the Saints last year.

DHunt

December 16th, 2012
9:31 pm

NO doubt Big Lou. Give the man enough time and he will be the QB we all know he can be. Even when the pressure got close, he still looked very very good. His poise was evident today from the first pass. He challenged himself and his entire team to step it up and it was apparent that they all did.

Big Lou

December 16th, 2012
9:32 pm

I wonder if the Matt Ryan haters have anything to say this week? He carries this team, period.

Suck a fat one!