Falcons’ charmed existence ends, problems start with Turner

Here's a familiar scene from Sunday: Michael Turner getting hammered by the Dallas defense. (Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Here's a familiar scene: Falcons running back Michael Turner getting hammered by the Dallas defense in Sunday's 37-21 loss. (Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

ARLINGTON, Texas – After a performance that saw them commit three turnovers, allow four sacks, have their running back again look like he was trying to move with bricks tied to his ankles, allow a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown and generally get slam-danced Sunday by a Dallas team that struggled to defeat Kansas City, we can safely say this about the Falcons:

They’re probably not this bad.

But do you know what they have been?

Fortunate.

After weeks of tiptoeing over hot coals with a scrambled secondary, they finally watched an opponent turn yards into touchdowns. After weeks of skating on offense despite mediocre performances from a sluggish-looking Michael Turner, having only half of a well-functioning offense finally came back to bite them.

That’s how a 4-1 start turns into a 37-21 loss. That’s how a charmed existence suddenly blows like a Peep in a microwave.

“I felt like we did some uncharacteristic things,” coach Mike Smith said.

And folks, rest assured that his analysis in a team film session Monday will not be put so delicately.

Matt Ryan hadn’t been sacked in four games. Against Dallas, he was sacked four times and pounded often. His offensive linemen resembled milk bottles being knocked over by a softball. Protection was weak. Run-blocking was weaker.

“We got whipped,” tackle Tyson Clabo said.

Acceptance is wonderful thing. It’s the first step toward fixing a problem.
Michael Turner might want to try that.

The field was covered with enough Falcons’ dread Sunday that to pin the loss on one player wouldn’t be right. But Turner is a good place to start. Bottom line: He hasn’t been the same running back he was a year ago. He averaged only 2.8 yards per carry Sunday (18 for 50). He is averaging only 3.4 yards per carry and has gone over 100 yards once in six games, after breaking 100 eight times last season (all wins).

grimes

Even illegal mugging (see the penalty flag) couldnt help Brent Grimes stop Miles Austin from scoring this touchdown. (AP photo)

Now, we can sit here and bang on the Falcons’ defense in general and the secondary in particular. But the defense wasn’t expected to be great this season, and it took a big hit when it lost defensive tackle Peria Jerry for the season. The secondary wasn’t expected to be great, and an already suspect group suffered a huge loss when Brian Williams was knocked out for the year last week.

And yes, Brent Grimes was awarded the Charles Dimry Trophy posthumously Sunday, after he was largely responsible for Miles Austin looking like Crazy Legs Hirsch (six catches, 171 yards, two touchdowns). A pile of ashes sat in front of Grimes’ locker after the game.

But Turner was supposed to be a constant. Nothing against Jason Snelling. But when he’s leaving Turner in the dust (seven for 68, including a 31-yarder) on this team, there’s a problem.

Turner carried 376 times last season. The obvious question: Did that take something out of him?

“Physically, I feel the same,” he said. “I’m still healthy. It’s not about 300 and some carries last year.”

Here’s the problem: Turner seems to not be accepting much (or any) responsibility for what’s going on. You don’t hear comments like, “I have to be better.”

When asked what he believed the problem was — be it a lack of holes up front, him not being able to get into a rhythm or something else — he said: “I don’t know. It seems like there’s always guys we can’t get to, we can’t block.”

The offense opened the game with a 16-play, 80-yard, eight-minute touchdown drive. But that turned out to be an aberration. In their next five possessions, the Falcons committed two turnovers (a Ryan interception and fumble) and had three three-and-outs.

You know it’s bad when even Keith Brooking is trash-talking. The ex-Falcon taunted his teammates with his words and, at one point even broke into a bird-like arm flap.

He apologized later for the trash-talking. But the arm flap?

“I ain’t apologizing to anybody,” he said.

The bitterness about being let go following last season finally flowed. Good timing. The Falcons made it easy on an opponent. Too much caught up with them.

501 comments Add your comment

Who Dat

October 25th, 2009
9:59 pm

What until next Monday night casue the Saints are going to put a show.

number 1 fan

October 25th, 2009
10:03 pm

bad games for us today. I think we definetly need some more secondary help via free agency if we are going to compete late in the season. we need to put more pressure on turner and maybe give snellings more carries its obvious turner is tipping. other than that lets rebound and beat the saints next week GO FALCONS!!!

hiramsaint

October 25th, 2009
10:04 pm

Reality for Brooking

October 25th, 2009
10:05 pm

Might want to mention to Brooking that he stuck it to alot of fans that spoke up for him for the past few years.

Rectal Bleeding

October 25th, 2009
10:05 pm

When he and anyone else is stopped behind the line of scrimmage, that indicates the blocking up front has failed.

ga peach

October 25th, 2009
10:06 pm

Wow blame it on everybody but ryan wow!!!! Amazing Matt Ryan is not Jesus Christ he didn’t play well at all and you all are afraid to say it

Bill

October 25th, 2009
10:09 pm

Yes, a good show today by the Saints…right Who Dat!

Monday films and Tuesday is A@@ kicking time by Coach Smith.

Thanks Jeff for good job although we lost.

Matty Ice

October 25th, 2009
10:11 pm

Keith Brooking did nothing to affect the game positively to affect the win for the Cowboys – just like Brooking did nothing for the last 3 years he was in the A-T-L collecting his $6million/yr paycheck…..no class…

Michael in Dunwoody

October 25th, 2009
10:16 pm

Keith, you “ain’t apologizing to anybody”? What about to the supporters of the team that took you to your one (and likely only) Super Bowl? You lost a lot of fans with your antics this afternoon and looked like a complete jerk in the process. And this is how many Falcons fans will remember you. What should we think of you if/when you return to have your number retired by the team in a few years??

It’s understandably an emotional event, and you said as much before the game began, but it doesn’t mean you are entitled to arrogantly show-up your former team, especially without amounting to much by way of your defense.

Atlanta got out-played today, plain and simple. We knew this would be a tough stretch of the season, especially with so many teams coming off byes. It’s my hope the coaches and players will prepare and show up for what likely could be our biggest game of the year. We can’t afford to fall three games behind.

GTJackets

October 25th, 2009
10:23 pm

Ga peach that wasn’t on Ryan. It wasn’t his best game but he is the reason2 of the three td’s were scored. You can’t blame it on the QB when he is sacked 4 times and rushed out of the pocket by piss poor blocking all game.

That was a very uncharacteristic game for the burn unit. Who looked burned out much like Turner.

I know you are a Vick fan most likely judging by your ignorant and uninformed opinion, but the Vick team was built around Vick and he accepted that type of team, so yeah when he made his usual stupid mistakes that cost the game on many occasions you most certainly can blame him. Not with the new team, because unlike Mora, Smith built a complete team dependent on more that one player on offense. End of story.

hop

October 25th, 2009
10:29 pm

i think keith brooking was a very good falcon player and he represented the city with class.

needless to say, we saw a different keith brooking today, that showed a person who showed a total disdained for atlanta falcon fans and his former team.

his classless cheerleading behavior and his total disregard on the field was a brutal message of “in your face message” to the atlanta falcons was pathetic.

yes, he made a few tackles along the way ,but was he a difference maker; hardly, his performance ws not the reason dallas won,but one would have thought he was the star of the game.

what a an absolute joke he was and one that many of our fans will never forget!

GT GRAD

October 25th, 2009
10:30 pm

Brooking was a solid player and represented the Falcons well for 11 years (on & off the field). He has not said anything negative about the Falcons (not in public anyway). He was obviously bothered by the way the Falcons decision makers decided to let him go (they told him this is a young man’s game and that he had no place on the Falcons roster) eventhough he wanted to stay with the Falcons organization. He had to be sick and tired of the ridiculous abuse he was taking from some fans (mostly ignorant of facts). I am not proud of his emotional antics during the game, but I understand the “chip” on his shoulder considering the past transgressions…………..we all know he is an emotional player who gives the game his all; I imagine he was simply pumped and very excited to prove to the people who did not believe in him that they were wrong. He came into this game as the leading tackler for the Dallas Cowboys and his new teammates have consistently stated that he is making a huge impact (positive ) on the entire defense.

I am a huge Falcons fan & yes I am also still a Brooking fan.

Before you negative punks start to trash Brooking…………..think about it a little………..how would YOU have handled the same situation. Overall, Brooking has shown solid character throughout the transition. His emotions and desire to prove he is still good enough to contribute got the best of him a couple of times, but anyone who has played the game of football knows how easy it is to get jacked up while playing the game. Let’s all move on and try to focus on what the birds need to do to win games (i.e. motivate Turner to run with a “chip” on his shoulder like last year and find/develop better cornerbacks!!)

Go Falcons!

willie

October 25th, 2009
10:32 pm

The combined record of the 4 teams the Falcons have beaten is 10-14. I do think we are building toward something, but we clearly aren’t there yet. That being said, is it too much to ask that we try to stretch the field occassionally? They are loading the box but we continue to run and throw mostly short passes. White and Jenkins are both big and fast…throw the ball down field to these guys!

jroc

October 25th, 2009
10:33 pm

Enter your comments here

51sx

October 25th, 2009
10:33 pm

Brooking was a non-factor especially on the Weeks TD when he ran the wrong way like he did on 3:16. Why didn’t we just dump the ball in Brookings vacant spot? Just a lot of hot air and hype as usual. I guess he feels he got his revenge yapping when he was on the bench since he doesn’t play when they need to play good D. I’m happy for him even though Blank gave him way too much salary cap money over the years. But Romo will let him down in the playoffs and we’ll go farther than they will so we’ll get the last laugh. Ha Ha Ha.

Franky

October 25th, 2009
10:34 pm

It’s true, the falcons are weak at cornerback. I’m sick and tired these little corners who can’t cover. How do you get a holding call fall down let the receiver catch the ball and still can’t make the tackle.Pitiful that’s how. Then the other corner hasn’t turned around yet to see the ball in flight. Won’t be no superbowl around here until that is fixed. Yes, Turner the burner is running like a girl, all his tiptoeing like he’s scared to get hit. Jason Snelling out shined him easy, maybe he should start. Plus we miss Norwood who can stretch the defense. And last but not least Matt Ryan just don’t look as good as last year. He makes stupid mistakes I didn’t see last year. Same Ole Falcons F@#& Keith Brooking!

MAD-DONNA

October 25th, 2009
10:34 pm

Falcons Fans, it only gets worse from here!

Randy in Dalton

October 25th, 2009
10:39 pm

Tough game today but they’ll bounce back.

As for Brooking, I thought he was a class individual. Now we actually find out he has no class. He will live to regret what he did today.

BrookingRANT

October 25th, 2009
10:39 pm

So you’ve just alienated yourself in Atlanta Keith, 11 years of great football in Atlanta erased by one manic half cocked frenzy directed at a team that you let down in the playoffs…

FSJR

October 25th, 2009
10:41 pm

Turner says there’s a block or two being missed yet Snelling finds open space. Turner used to have a cut back now he plods into piles.

I’ve always been indifferent about Keith Brooking. I have an opinion of him now.

Bangkapi Ajarn

October 25th, 2009
10:43 pm

I had a chance to catch the game on TV, and Turner seemed slow- even getting caught from behind by linemen, not turning the corner, etc. It is as if he has a physical problem that slows him down, but with two rb’s out with injury already perhaps he has to suck it up and go out there and give it his best shot.

Also, has the injured FB been that big of a factor blocking for him, I wonder?

Moses

October 25th, 2009
10:43 pm

There is absolutely no doubt that on this particular Sunday, Dallas was the better team. We were outplayed, outhit, and frankly outsmarted. While I will admit that we did not play our best game, I am extremely disappointed and angered at the antics of Keith Brooking. He has every right to be excited and happy to beat his former team; he can even have a personal grudge or vendetta. However, his gross disrespect for the organization and owner that paid him millions and his total disregard for fans like myself who helped pay his salary is inexcusable.
If you look up the word “unprofessional” in Webster’s dictionary today, you will see a picture of Keith Brooking. Arthur, do not ever allow his number to be retired into the Falcon Ring of Honor.

Jroc

October 25th, 2009
10:44 pm

I know it probably wont happen but…. we are 6 games into the season and Michael Turner is ( for whatever reason ) not living up to expectations but I definitely think that Jason Snelling should be given more snaps. He runs downhill and with more determination. Also, Keith Brooking did the same thing with the Cowboys as he did with the Falcons…… Nothing.

Jroc

littlebird

October 25th, 2009
10:44 pm

Brooking sure was a jerk today. He claimed there was no animosity toward the Falcons when they let him go in free agency . . . well he showed he lied about that today! The camera crew was on him a lot and you could see his REAL emotions by the way he was running up and down the sidelines yelling. Classless man, really classless! Never have I seen another player in that same situation act like Brooking did. Good riddance . . . glad you’re a Cowboy!

benadawg

October 25th, 2009
10:46 pm

Every time i saw brooking acting out i thought hell you cost us last year when a tight end ran by you, i can’t blame him for hating the front office but if we retire his number now it will be a joke…..f him and the horse he rode out on…

greg

October 25th, 2009
10:47 pm

The Falcons rode Turner last year and rode him in the ground. He has nowhere near the quickness and burst that he had last year. Happens every time.

AUG24

October 25th, 2009
10:48 pm

Keith Brooking looked like a total idiot out there flapping his arms. I’m not bitter about the loss, but I feel Brooking has more class than he exhibited, today. I have always thought very highly of Brooking, but he showed little class, today. Maybe, we will meet them in the playoffs and turn the table. There are alot games to be still played.

BrookingRANT

October 25th, 2009
10:49 pm

Brooking has totally alienated himself in Atlanta…way to go! I would’ve gladly cheered you for 11 years of tough footbal…now I’m thinking you’ll get booed whenever you set foot in the dome…

AUG24

October 25th, 2009
10:53 pm

Turner looks really slow this year. He has people tackling him from behind. For some reason, Snelling hits the hole faster. Turner does not look like the burner from last year. Something has got to be wrong. An injury, worn down, or a lack of passion. Maybe, Snelling will push Turner. I believe Turner will get it turned around.

R.U.KIDDINME

October 25th, 2009
10:54 pm

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MORE BACKWOOD’S,NO PLAYMAKIN’,LACK OF CLASS,REDNECK IN YOUR LIFE??!! I KNOW YOU TECHIES HAVE GOTTA BE PROUD OF THIS SOUTH END OF A NORTH GOIN’ MULE !! WHAT A CLASSLESS UNPROFESSIONAL HAS BEEN!! HEY KEITH,BITTERNESS DOES NOT BECOME YOU !! IS THERE ANY DOUBT IN ANYONE’S MIND WHY THIS CHILDISH JERK WASN’T RESIGNED??!! WHAT A PITIFUL DISPLAY OF UNPROFESSIONALISM ON A NATIONAL STAGE!! YOU ARE SOOOOOOO LUCKY I’M NOT A FALCON PLAYER B/C INSTEAD A HANDSHAKE OR A HUG I WOULD HAVE KICKED YOU RIGHT SQUARE IN YOUR ASS!! TALK ABOUT POOR SPORTSMANSHIP!! HOW ABOUT THE YOUNG INSPIRING KID’S WHOM VIEWED THIS INEXCUSEABLE LACK OF SELF CONTROL!! I’M BETTIN’ YOU HAD THE WIFE WEAR A #2 JERSEY ALL WEEK LONG DURING SEX THIS PAST WEEK TOO!! YOU HAD 2,COUNT’EM 2 TACKLE’S ALL GAME LONG AND YOU BIT ON EVERY SINGLE PLAY ACTION ALL GAME LONG!! DUDE GET OVER YOUR WASHED UP ARROGANT SELF!!

gabeaux

October 25th, 2009
10:55 pm

Turner is to tentative. He used to steamroll through the line. Now, he stops and sidesteps, looking for a hole, rather than making one on his own.

Mister Earl

October 25th, 2009
10:57 pm

Forget Brooking. The Falcons have bigger worries contending with the Who Dat Nation on Monday.

I watched Drew Brees, sir. Matt Ryan is no Drew Brees.

Who is covering Colston?

Will The Superdome be loud?

AUG24

October 25th, 2009
10:59 pm

Atlanta really needs to get Norwood back. He puts alot of pressure on the defense. We need to take some chances throwing the ball down field. Michael Jeinkins needs to get more involved. Why can’t Christopher Owens beat out Brent Grimes? We have all these little corners. Chevis Jackson is our biggest corner but he isn’t very fast. We should have addressed this problem earlier.

Wow.

October 25th, 2009
11:00 pm

Wow. You Atlanta fans can’t see the forest for the trees. Brooking has been acting that way (cheerleading, etc) in EVERY game this season, not just against Atlanta. As a Dallas fan, I would know – I’ve seen every game. Take off your Falcons-colored glasses awhile and realize that what Brooking has been doing isn’t showing up Atlanta – it’s called leadership. There’s a reason he wears the C on a Dallas team full of veterans. Get off your high horses.

Pamela

October 25th, 2009
11:00 pm

The Falcons made some mistakes today just like the Steelers and the Patriots have. This loss will be good for them to re-examine and work on what needs to be fixed. I did not see vastly superior play. I still prefer the Falcons over the Cow girls. They will flame out when we have recuperated. Remember last year. They will actually believe they are good. Their coach still seems bewildered. Coach Mike Smith is far more introspective. Good teams lose games too. We are not the Panthers, the Browns etc. Does 37-0 by the NY Jets make them the dream team again? Atlanta, stand by our Falcons…..We know the Monday morning quarterbacks like Jeff will be writing all week long while our team will be taking their licks. Let us be classy and move forward. We are not quitters.

DJ The Realist

October 25th, 2009
11:06 pm

Get over it crybabies…every former player gets a big kick out of beating his former team. Congrats to Keith Brooking..while he’s not a difference maker he held his own. The Dallas defense mauled Atlanta today. I’m really not sure what kind of team we have…when I heard the local sports talk guys proclaiming that the Falcons organization was better than Dallas ( right now )..I knew we were in big trouble.Now it’s time to see what the Falcons are made of….Here come the Saints!!

Driver 8

October 25th, 2009
11:07 pm

Looks like the secondary we saw in the preseason vs San Diego. They did a remarkable job shoring things up to start the season, but with the loss of Williams, they are pretty much that same group again- with predictable results.

Turner definetly isn’t running downhill, but truthfully he hasn’t had a lot of plowed road.

Brooking is a Tech guy, always gracious in victory. You win, you can do whatever you want-doesn’t mean it’s classy.

GaFB

October 25th, 2009
11:07 pm

Falcons need to fix their problems and quick, they’ve still got plenty of good teams left to play and more slip ups could easily cost them a winning season and a playoff appearance.

JB

October 25th, 2009
11:11 pm

Turner’s not the biggest problem. OL couldn’t pass protect or run block. DL can’t pressure the QB. Corners are weak.

FalconFan

October 25th, 2009
11:12 pm

The Falcons did not look good today. The entire team including Mattie Ice had issues. When the line did protect him, he made poor decisions. For the first time, he looked like a second year player.

My biggest concern is the lack of a pass rush.

You true Falcon fans, stay behind your team. The Falcons will continue to win and make the playoffs.

Like many of you, I agree Brookings had no impact on the game. On Weems touchdown catch, Brookings looked just like he did in the Arizona Playoff game last season – CONFUSED.

GO FALCONS

Josh

October 25th, 2009
11:12 pm

If we want to compete for a wildcard, we better sit Turner down NOW and start SNelling before Turner dig us deeper. Our play action is our best passing plays, and nobody bites on them cause I run game needs no more respect. Also, You got to put in Owens and Tye Hill, there is no way in the world their worst then those two boneheads that played today (Chris “No Neck” Houston or Brent “2lbs” Grimes)

R.U.KIDDINME

October 25th, 2009
11:13 pm

HEY DJ,AIN’T NO CRYIN’ ABOUT k.b. HERE! JUST SAYING HE WAS BIT OVERBOARD IN HIS UNPROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR!! IF I’MA CRYIN’ IT’S DUE TO THE FACT WE GOT OUR ARSSES HANDED TO US TODAY!!! THAT’S THE REALIST IN ME!!

Josh

October 25th, 2009
11:14 pm

I think we have to fight for that winning season a little more than what we thought, and Playoffs is out of the question and even if we do go….There is no way we win with that secondary…PERIOD!

Ted Striker

October 25th, 2009
11:15 pm

Most criticizing Brooking’s harmless arm-flap are likely bloggers who took verbal shots at Brooking when he was a Falcon.

I was pulling for the Birds but I have no problem with Brook enjoying himself.

Falcons Hero Zero

October 25th, 2009
11:18 pm

“When he and anyone else is stopped behind the line of scrimmage, that indicates the blocking up front has failed.”

Yep. The work on The O-Line is not complete… They have a good scheme.. Somebody is secretly hurt, or tired..

I think that Turner should drop some lbs.(bulk), but The Falcons don’t seem to have confidence in their deep passing game, nor do they punish opposing teams for watching for the run. Get those defenders to drop back away from the line of scrimmage!

Teams should scheme for Turner because if he beats you early with the run, it’s going to be a long blow-out..

Secondary, D-Line, and O-Line..Plays….always with the problems with this team.

Falcons Hero Zero

October 25th, 2009
11:21 pm

Falcons offense could be “tipping-off” the run as well… They need to study themselves more closely on DVD..

thunderbull56

October 25th, 2009
11:21 pm

Lotta cheap shots,lotta cheap officiating, lotta cheap Brooking.He, of the lead’s the team in tackles,5,10,15 yards down the field,a la Nobis and his fabled pred’s.Good riddance Brookie and may you, the AJC’s Homers, and T Roy Aicche Munnn live Happily ever after in Cowbouiy Valhalla! Pardon me while I Puke on you and ‘T Roy’s KLEETS.Not a Vegas kinda fan, but , 2 outta 3,3 outta 4,4 outta 5,Feather Heads win.No one asked but,Snelling and Finneran deserve more credit and clutch player awards.Finneran for GUVNR Snelling for Ltnt.

MV777777

October 25th, 2009
11:22 pm

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
ITS ALL STARTS WITH MATT RYAN(NOODLE ARM) MATTIICE (MELTED)

Atl Resident

October 25th, 2009
11:23 pm

To keep it real, that game was Ryan’s fault and it needs to be said. Falcons was playing okay until he fumbled. Yeah Turner didnt run well, but Ryan’s turnovers was the main factor. That needs to be said and since no one is talking about it. It’s no one else to blame but him. Oh by the way, White saved Ryan by catching that pass which almost got intercepted for which would have been another turnover.

MV777777

October 25th, 2009
11:24 pm

THE GOLDENBOY MATTIICE
S
U
C
K
S
!
!