Atlanta Falcons Show Guts in Win Over Bills

Not Pretty, but a Win’s a Win

Gonzo with a Good Game (AP)

Even though the season’s long been lost, the Atlanta Falcons showed some grit and found a way to win against a very talented Buffalo Bills team. It took some big strokes of luck at the end of the game (recovering not one, but two fumbles on possible game-winning drives), but the Falcons will take any breaks they can get in a season full of woes and faceplants. In actuality, the Falcons probably shouldn’t have won, but there’s quite a few games they probably shouldn’t have lost earlier in the year either. Going out and winning games such as this when the season’s over in terms of the postseason shows a toughness of character that the Falcons can use next season. There’s still a long, LONG ways to go, but there are some signs of life in this team and that couldn’t be said a few weeks ago. They have a good schedule in terms of difficulty, where they can use as a possible jumping off point for 2014. At this stage in the game, any win’s a good win and there’s a lot of positives to be gained from a win on the road (their first of the season) against an upstart Bills team. A look at the game that was……….

Wanted to get new thread up. Will be back later with a more in-depth analysis. Until then, share your thoughts on the Falcons win in Toronto.

425 comments Add your comment

Coop

December 1st, 2013
9:01 pm

Despite Smitty’s piss poor coaching and worse game management, potentially the worst OLine of all time, and a still non-existent pass rush, the gods smiled today and we got a “hustle” win. And you know what? I’m thrilled. It’s been what, 6 weeks since we won? It feels good to win, regardless of who it’s against.

Yeah, we should be blowing teams like this out, but we have completely fallen apart. Perhaps we hit rock bottom and are beginning our climb out.

The one negative… More evidence for Smitty to come back next year.

But for today, I’ll smile and sleep content. Dawgs won, Birds won, even my UTSA Roadrunners won. I’ll take it.

paddy O

December 1st, 2013
9:13 pm

considering how bad the game started – giving up 2 very big 3rd down sacks on the first 2 possessions, our O line played better as the game progressed. I’ll be glad when trueblood not on the team – he is not consistently good. Nice to see RW84 back. Over all, a fun game – Buffalo needed the game and our D created 2 crucial turnovers. Excellent.

waynester

December 1st, 2013
9:16 pm

Yeah–for all of my “we ought to take a dive” talk about getting that high draft pick–it does feel great to win one on the road. I still covet that #2-3 slot in the draft, but this was a glimpse of what the season could have been when those 2 or 3 plays per game go our way instead of the other guys’. There isn’t really all that much difference from top to bottom in the NFL and if those bounces go the other fella’s way ANY team can experience the kind of season we’ve “enjoyed’ so far. Today–we got the bounce…..

Chop Buster

December 1st, 2013
9:20 pm

Positive – we won the game?
Negative – Mike Smith is still one of the dumbest HC’s in the league. Give the ball to Antoine Smith once for a nice TD and try to throw the guy a long pass. Get on your guys for trying to score on the turnover. SMDH How in the world we had winning seasons with Mike Smith at the helm I don’t know.

JB Falcon

December 1st, 2013
9:22 pm

Coop, agree all around but am not familiar with the Roadrunners. I owned a ‘68 once, very fast.

Big Ray

December 1st, 2013
9:27 pm

Glad to see guys like Worrilow continuing to show they belong in the game as starters.

Glad to see Darius Johnson still get some burn, and HD showing he really does have what it takes, and not just in spurts.

Glad to see the OL finally start to get off the ground, making running and passing possible. They have a long way to go and some of those guys still can’t be on our team at the start of the 2014 season. But maybe others will get a chance where the incumbents have failed.

Glad to see Matt Ryan not playing like a kid whose dog was run over, or a guy who is satisfied to just get a big paycheck, damn the circumstances. He’s still a leader, and he’s getting markedly better at it. He’s there , I feel.

Glad to see our defense get some vindication, long way to go…but notice that the guys who SHOULD be part of the future were the ones actually making the plays. Not a bit of coincidence there.

Big Ray

December 1st, 2013
9:28 pm

Agreed with Coop .

JB ,

Did it have a 440 or a 426 Hemi?

E43

December 1st, 2013
9:29 pm

I figure Antone Smith getting one carry, 38 yards and a touchdown are three different sequences. With his six yard catch, he had contributed with 5 sequences and was in need of a vacation.

falcon21

December 1st, 2013
9:30 pm

It was a win, not a great win but a win. I am happy for the young bucks on the team that busted their azz to get this win. As for Smitty, I looking forward to the day he is gone. Maybe another team is looking for a former LB coach that has failed as a Head Coach. Hell, we took a chance on him when he had no head coaching experience at all!! Depressing!

E43

December 1st, 2013
9:31 pm

I also didnt like MS peeing his pants over the lateral. That’s public embarrassment and worse than what goes on in the Dolphins locker room.

JB Falcon

December 1st, 2013
9:40 pm

E43, we don’t know what MS was saying.

BR, tricked out 383 that smoked a 440 and a Hemi on the top end. 12.8 qtr.

Coop

December 1st, 2013
10:27 pm

JB – I’m partially deaf due to hanging out of airplanes in flight. I clearly read MS telling Alford, “don’t ever do that again”. Truthfully, I totally agree. However, no need to show him up on TV. Save it dumbaaassss. But that’s Smitty.

Ok, the Roadrunners are a new CFB team from San Antonio. They are from the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA). They have been playing for 3 years and have winning seasons all 3 years. They were FCS in year one, WAC last year, and CUSA this year. They went 7-5 and barely missed the CUSA championship. They beat La Tech, Tulane, New Mexico, North Texas, UTEP, etc.

We’ve been season ticket holders since day one. It is an awesome atmosphere in the Alamodome. They have set all the records for attendance including 58,000 for the very first game. Larry Coker is the coach and runs a great program that plays hard and correct.

That’s my Runners, beep beep!

Flo-Ri-Duh

December 2nd, 2013
8:29 am

Mixed feelings about the Falcon win. Need to finish in the bottom 3 to trade back and still take Jake Matthews (LOT) with 1st pick.New OL (LOT, ROG and C) and the “O” will be good to go.

They almost got MR killed Sunday – was it 5 or 6 sacks? Do we need a new OL coach?

Fresh

December 2nd, 2013
8:50 am

Glad to get a win, however this win didn’t happen by good coaching. Smith was out coached again, by a rookie coach. The plays the Bills called at the end of regulation and in overtime beat the defense and hustle plays saved it for Coach Smith. There is still some heart left on this team but Smith needs to be let go before he kills the little bit of fight left in this team.

Unca' Bob

December 2nd, 2013
9:00 am

paddy O

December 2nd, 2013
9:03 am

Trufant had a heckuva a tackle. Why would you feel the need to INSTANTLY berate Alford for the lateral? Smitty is one high strung SOB.

paddy O

December 2nd, 2013
9:08 am

honestly, we should have lost – but Nolan’s guys made 2 sweet strips. Typical “lucky” Smitty ball run.

Paula

December 2nd, 2013
9:43 am

Falcons Stink!!!!!

Grits Blitz

December 2nd, 2013
10:12 am

Falcons defeat Bills in OT. (Or better, the dead horse gets resurrected for a game.) Contrary to hypesters who think we’ve turned the corner, winning meaningless games now only changes our draft status. Anyone who really thinks the co. line about generating “Big Mo” for next year is enjoying their seaside retreat in Arizona. A.B. has already said we’re saddled with T.D. and the DFA (Dir. of Field Admin.) or PLO (perm. latrine orderly) for next year so little will change…injuries or no injuries. Just run out the season – fast. No rush for next season either with lack of changes = no real hope. Lights are flashing, gates are down, but the train’s not coming anytime soon. A.B. just doesn’t get it. Rise up = beat down. Just keep buying those tickets and “we’ll fix it”. P.T. Barnum would be proud…

LRD

December 2nd, 2013
11:00 am

Howdy Cage. Smitty was actually coaching. Brought back memories to me when I did the exact same thing in a game, and my coach was talking to me about it.. and laughing.. but trying to instill the fact, that I (alford) could have easily turned the ball back over again.

good to see Roddy back in the mix.. and looking health.
I think we we are going to be ok at TE when Gonzo leaves.
Our Oline is still horrible.
but We WON A GAME@!@@@@ whoooo hoooo@@@@

Arno

December 2nd, 2013
11:21 am

Having Roddy back made up for some of the weaknesses, but still, this win was a breath of fresh air. I’m happy for the players who showed determination. I could feel an attitude, after we went 14 down, that Falcons have a winning tradition and we are going to prove it. Refreshing.

I heartily approve all that ‘bad situational football.’ Our situation would seem to indicate a little needed inspiration, ya think? Trufant also ran down that tackle. Contagious fire from that guy. Buy him a beer– don’t lecture him on the sidelines!

Like the inspiration of the two punched out balls, after the rookie Manuel started slicing up the coverage. Or the o-line fairly consistently creating some gaps in the middle. It’s got to help their confidence even though we got nothing out of those two drives in the fourth that started around the fifty.

D3

December 2nd, 2013
11:41 am

Monday Greetings Cage

According to Stats LLC., Trufant’s 14 passes defensed in 2013 are the most by a Falcons rookie in a single season, surpassing Darnell Walker, who broke up 13 passes in 1993

I know it sucked giving up that 3rd round pick, but I still stand behind my boy Trufant. I’ll toot my horn a little bit on this one.

Also, in other former draft news……….

Knile Davis with a 105 yard TD return. Remember him?

Ladarius Green – big day at TE for Chargers. Remember him?

Hamad Meander

December 2nd, 2013
1:30 pm

D3 – with you there on Knile and Ladarius – they were very tempting players in the later rounds. I hate to say this, but I am worried that the Falcons will get on some sort of winning streak and end up with the 12th pick in the draft. The 12th pick isn’t going to help us as much as having the 1st pick in the draft would due to value. Let’s play math here – according the to value chart, the 1st pick in the draft is roughly worth the 7th and 8th picks combined. No team would be in position to trade the 7th and 8th pick, but I hope you get my point. The value in having the 1st pick is the trade down spoils you could demand. If a QB needy team has a lot of picks, you are golden.

Let’s not screw this up too much more by winning more meaningless games.

Mike in Minnesota

December 2nd, 2013
1:35 pm

D3 – We wouldn’t remember them had we drafted them…They’d still be on the bench !

paddy O

December 2nd, 2013
1:36 pm

After the first 2 series, I thought Hawley (other than one ole whiff) and Holmes played pretty well. I’m still seriously worried about Konz – he gets pushed back WAY too much. A little disappointed we did not get the rookie S in there. Massaquo played a very smart, run reaction DE – I saw two lateral scrimmage moves where he stopped the RB for minimal gain. Worrilow really has a nose for the ball – Spoon played a bit better – thought his personal foul call was pretty bogus – if the QB leaps and drifts laterally, when you leap to hammer him, he is going to move. Some really lousy calls in that game to me.

paddy O

December 2nd, 2013
1:38 pm

Why does TD seem not to care about line development? That is our most glaring – on both sides of the ball – shortcoming. I’d rather have a stout O line first, though.

SG

December 2nd, 2013
3:18 pm

Several bright spots yesterday. For me the main thing was that after the miscues early on, I saw the Birds starting to gel w/ a unified focus, even when we were still behind. Where’s that been?

Can’t say enough about Trufant, Alford and the Warrior. And Bartu’s coming on strong too.
SJax and Roddy back at 100% made for good viewing along w/ MR2 refusing to give up, the erasing of any doubt about HD’s heart and ability, and of course the Antone Smith sightings.

WillieCoyote

December 2nd, 2013
4:04 pm

Antone Smith has been our fastest running back for 3 years now and can’t get a chance. Why is Rogers the kick returner and not Smith? Why can’t OUR FASTEST BACK ever get a dang carry until the season is lost?

Typical Smitty:
Alford laterals to Trufant and that directly results in 20 additional yards of field position and puts the Falcons in field goal range at the start of their drive. Smith, of course chastises Alford I guess because that wasn’t the safe play. THAT is the mentality that holds this team back.

SG

December 2nd, 2013
4:19 pm

WC ref: “Typical Smitty”
That has to be the one time this year I agree w/ MS’s thinking. Don’t do that in OT > trust that your O will get you the yards as opposed to risking turning the ball back over when everyone’s adrenaline has gone off the charts.

What I do agree w/ you on is the bad timing / delivery of the message > which is the “by the book” mentality (read: restrictor plate), that has held us back.

Big Ray

December 2nd, 2013
5:09 pm

SG ,

Regardless of whether or not I agree (think emotion vs. logic), your point is very well made. And that, I can appreciate.

Big Ray

December 2nd, 2013
5:17 pm

Pains me to say this, strangely…but I am so mixed on a possible winning streak.

I want to see our guys’ hard work pay off…but there is no good end result to it, because I don’t know how that could carry over to the next season. Plus, I think it may detract from the FO and CS’s ability to focus on what is actually needed.

In other words, no reaffirmation of whatever stupid ideas they already have (stupid, because we see that our OL is horrible on most plays and our DL is porous on the best of days, yet they think “getting a couple guys healthy” will solve the problems…which it won’t, of course).

So I must side with losing and be satisfied with improved individual performances (our young LBs and DBs, WR/TE, and UDFA OL, because I have little-to-no hope for our actual drafted OL…we either pick them wrong or simply cannot develop them).

Big Ray

December 2nd, 2013
5:20 pm

Antone Smith has been our fastest running back for 3 years now and can’t get a chance. Why is Rogers the kick returner and not Smith? Why can’t OUR FASTEST BACK ever get a dang carry until the season is lost?

This is ALSO typical Smitty. It drives me insane. Other teams figure out their specialists, and how to use them. We take 3 years to figure something out, then we use it once, put it up wet…and move on like nothing happened. I can’t take it anymore.

Typical Smitty:
Alford laterals to Trufant and that directly results in 20 additional yards of field position and puts the Falcons in field goal range at the start of their drive. Smith, of course chastises Alford I guess because that wasn’t the safe play. THAT is the mentality that holds this team back.

That particular play aside, this MENTALITY is the problem. Let no one confuse the difference between the typical overall mentality and the discretion of a particular play.

[...] News here – Atlanta Falcons: The Cage ← Firefighters save man during Marietta’s Gobble [...]

Hamad Meander

December 2nd, 2013
5:42 pm

Wait, y’all are still actually watching the Falcon’s games on Sundays? At least, I feel like our two cornerbacks are getting better all season and will be ready to play next year with smarts and experience. I also like that our linebackers look set for next year too.

Do we spend big bucks to bring back Babineaux next season or go with fresh legs at the DT spots? I think we are going to have to break the bank on Julio’s new contract. I’ll take fresh legs at DT and sign Julio looooooooooooong term.

Unca' Bob

December 2nd, 2013
6:23 pm

Big Ray

December 2nd, 2013
5:17 pm
Pains me to say this, strangely…but I am so mixed on a possible winning streak.

LOL. Me too.I would hate to miss out on a difference maker for one or two wins.

Unca' Bob

December 2nd, 2013
6:30 pm

The lack of A Smith simply confounds me. I think something like 5 touches and somewhere around 150 yards. No research done, but I think I’m close. Okay, he dropped a pass. Really?

JB Falcon

December 2nd, 2013
6:52 pm

“emotion vs. logic”. That’s the perfect descripton of the situation we are in. I guess I will have to go with the “vs” part.
Logically and statistically, the best losing record gets the first pick, trades down, and gets more possible improvements to the team. I guess that’s planning ahead.
And there’s always a “however”, and I cannot bring myself to accept the idea of not putting forth your best effort to do the job you are getting paid well to do. I believe it is human nature to want to win and I think it is built into every player we have. “Logically”, they wouldn’t be on our team if they felt otherwise.
In conclusion, like I really know what I’m talking about, the only way to conive a losing season would be the FO’s responsibility, i:e: crappy play calling, not giving good players the opportunity to help the team win, etc. We’ve seen hints of that in A Smith but really don’t know the reason for his lack of playing time.
Maybe some of us have not riden a horse but there’s a reason for the old saying, “Never run a horse to the barn.” You’re allowing that horse to do what he is designed to do, run, and once you give him that permission it’s dam near impossible to stop him. I once clipped down four metal clothes lines with my chest when the hosrse ran under them. The only way we can “play to lose” will be controlled by the one riding the horse.

JB Falcon

December 2nd, 2013
6:58 pm

horse, not hosrse.

E43

December 2nd, 2013
7:26 pm

JB- Agreed, we dont know what MS is saying.

Arno

December 2nd, 2013
7:41 pm

Let your less experienced guys get some real playing time. Give them a generous, determined number of snaps and don’t pull them if they make mistakes or the score is close. Play to win absolutely, but with the players you commit to the game. From my own competitive angle, that’s about as close as I can come to satisfying the ‘vs. problem.’

JB Falcon

December 2nd, 2013
8:15 pm

Arno, 7:41, your post is absolutely correct but you left off the first four words, “The Falcon coaches must.” Most coaches make a mental note of things that need to be done and play the game accordingly. MS doesn’t have anything to mentally write on so he uses a pencil and paper. He spends too much time writing and reading that he doesn’t have time to watch the game and do what needs to be done.
“Lateral, lateral, lateral, when to use, (flippin’ thru his notes) Oh there it is! Alford! Get over here!” Five minutes later, “Okay, what’s the score?”

paddy O

December 2nd, 2013
8:17 pm

maybe A Smith gets paid BY THE CARRY? Who here thought he was pass receiver, based on his limited experience? If the HC thinks he can catch a bomb, why is he not returning punts??? McClain, Alford and Trufant all played pretty darn well.

D3

December 2nd, 2013
8:22 pm

Official Stats on Antone Smith………..

5 Carries, 145 yards, 2 TDs, 29 YPC average.

Yet another reason that Mike Smith should be canned. Stop trying to justify your contract to SJax and give this kid the effin’ rock.

S-T-U-P-I-D!!!!!!

WR

December 2nd, 2013
8:56 pm

Whoa, what a long Thanksgiving holiday, but it was well worth it. Now getting back to the Falcons, did they really win this weekend, yep, this is going to be a rough winter. All kidding aside, and the win aside, the long time cagers understand, and if your a long time Falcons fan you understand, why has it took a loss season for Antone Smith to get opportunities. I mean really, how much promise have we seen from a number of players, not just Smith, only to see them vision to the Falcons mysterious purgatory.

Again really, how many of you think we would be seeing much of Worrilow or Bartu if not for the injuries. Please don’t use the excuse, well of course with the injuries you have to play these guys. Without the injuries these guys should have been playing to keep the D fresh, I can almost guarantee this however would not have been the case if not for the injuries. Do you really believe Antone Smith would even be seeing the field outside of special teams, if this season wasn’t lost, nope, he would be keeping the pine warm as usual for any none Falcons starter, or coaches favorite, sorry but this is just this coaching staff’s belief.

Yes, let’s all just gather together and hope the Falcons get an early draft pick, why, so that they can take a bust top 5 pick, and sit the talented 6th rd pick, been there, done that.

JB Falcon

December 2nd, 2013
9:12 pm

WR, agree with the results you predicted. Key words, “Yes, let’s all just gather together and hope.”
And that’s all we can do. I hate to keep repeating myself but, Hope is not a Plan.
I feel like a mushroom whereas they keep us in the dark and expect us to thrive on BS.
Our last game proved to me that the team has not lost their will to win. That’s the most important thing. I don’t like losing but as long as we lose while trying, I can accept that.

Falconssince70

December 2nd, 2013
10:13 pm

While it is small consolation, I urge Falcon’s fans to go to the New Orleans Times Picayune web site to see the Saints’ fans comments about the total beating they are getting from Seattle. It’s great reading and makes me hope for the day when it’s the Falcons doing it to them, not the Seahawks.

WR

December 2nd, 2013
11:09 pm

JB, I’m with you as well as probably most Falcons fans are, hope can only take you so far, at some point you have to have actions behind that hope to get to where you want to be. It wasn’t an accomplishment to build hope with Falcon fans, we as fans were use to losing, a winning season and in this case multiple winning seasons, move us past hope to expectation, and then what?

It would be one thing if the hand writing wasn’t already on the wall, sure, we choose to believe otherwise because our hopes had changed to expectations. Then the carpet was snatched from under us, and we’re back to being the same old Falcon fans.

Flo-Ri-Duh

December 3rd, 2013
12:31 am

SeaHawks took Aint’s to the woodshed and the Panthers are looking like division champs more and more.

Wouldn’t mind if Falcons took a chance on Aaron Murray in the 3rd or 4th round . They need a decent backup with Matt Ryan on the endangered list behind this OL.

trademark

December 3rd, 2013
5:20 am

It sure was nice to get a “W” for a change. That remains for me a huge positive from the weekend, exclusively because it was a road “W”, and those are tough in the NFL.

Positives:
- The “W”
- Antoine Smith
- MR2 (aka Rocky Balboa)
- Defensive hustle plays resulting in turnovers (I posted before, that makes the biggest difference from this season’s close games and the last few)
- TG getting a TD reception
- The return of Roddy White

The negatives:
- A very, very lucky, OT “W” over an opponent we should be decimating. Again. Reminds me a ton of every close “W” we’ve pulled off in the last 5 years under Mike Smith. Nothing new here, except the final result.
- The WPP of Antoine Smith
- Our O(ffal)-Line
- Our run defense

Still and all, it kind of puts things in perspective when we are so starving here that an OT win over the BIlls is cause for joy. But no complaints, really, I will take my joy. Good job with the “W”.

Arno

December 3rd, 2013
8:01 am

A tip of the hat to Vaughn McClure, who is consistently on his game with Falcons coverage. http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/2408/smith-likes-how-ryan-handles-pressure
This one could be headed, “Smith likes how Ryan bails out team.”