Falcons punch out Lions, then rip Suh for taunting Ryan

Roddy White celebrated with Tony Gonzalez after his 18-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan in the second quarter, then had some choice words for Detroit after Sunday's win. (AP photo)

Roddy White celebrates with Tony Gonzalez after an 18-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Then he had some choice words for Detroit after Sunday's win. (AP photo)

DETROIT – It was less than an hour before the game when the Falcons emerged from a tunnel at Ford Field and found the entire Detroit Lions team standing there in the corner of the end zone. Mike Peterson, self-appointed drill sergeant in matters such as these, announced his team’s arrival.

“We had somewhere to go and they were in our way,” the Falcons linebacker said.  “I said, ‘We’re not going around them — we’re going this way [straight ahead].’ I said, ‘Get the bleepity bleep out of the way.’”

Some pre-rumble-like jawing ensued. There were no punches but it got uncomfortable enough that pipsqueak  game officials were forced to step in and separate a thousand pounds of humanity.

This was a good sign for the Falcons.

There hasn’t been a game this season when they didn’t slip a gear at some point. Sunday’s game was no exception. But what they gave us after the pregame stare down was easily their most impressive victory of the season and one of their edgiest.

They beat a 5-1 Detroit team, 23-16. They won on the road, where they hadn’t been impressive. They saw Matt Ryan leave the game with what appeared to be a serious knee injury, only to see him return and immediately fire a 49-yard completion to Harry Douglas. They saw Michael Turner leave the game with a dislocated finger, only to have someone on the sideline pop it back into place, after which Turner came back and broke off a 50-yarder.

Ndamukong Suh grabs the facemask of Matt Ryan in the first quarter, drawing a penalty. (AP photo)

Ndamukong Suh grabs the facemask of Matt Ryan in the first quarter, drawing a penalty. (AP photo)

They were smack-talked, taunted and treated to cheap shots by the Lions, and they won anyway. Ryan threw two interceptions but he made plays to win the game. The defense, maligned for much of this season, held the Lions without a third-down conversion until late in the third quarter. Calvin Johnson was relatively held in check (one touchdown).

After a loss to Green Bay had them reeling at 2-3, the Falcons have responded with consecutive wins over Carolina and Detroit, and have reason to feel good about things going into the bye week.

“This changes a lot,” said center Todd McClure. “We knew the type of team we had, we just hadn’t put it together. We weren’t perfect today. I know we had some penalties, but we overcame them. This win I think could catapult us for the rest of the season.”

The game started with some ill feelings. It ended that way, too.

When Ryan tripped over tackle Will Svitek with 10:13 left in the third quarter, he fell awkwardly and immediately grabbed his left knee. Tight end Tony Gonzalez said later, “I thought it was something bad. Anytime they come get you off the field, you think it’s something serious, especially when you have to go back to the locker room.”

As it turned out, Ryan missed only the first two plays of the Falcons’ ensuing possession, returning to throw a 49-yarder to Douglas on third-and-8 to set up a field goal that increased the lead to 20-9. (Coach Mike Smith on Ryan: “It just shows you the resolve and resiliency of this guy.”)

But when Ryan was down, writhing in pain, Lions defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril taunted him, according to the Falcons.

“I had respect for Suh before the game,” McClure said. “But when Matt was on the ground, the things he was saying and the trash he was talking was definitely uncalled for. There are certain things you don’t do. [He said], ‘Get the cart’ and several other things that I can’t repeat.”

Roddy White said, “I lost a whole lot of respect for 90 [Suh] today, and also 92 [Cliff Avril], the [bleep] they were doing when Matt got hurt. That was unacceptable. … Like 92 was kicking [Ryan’s] feet, saying, ‘Get him off the field.’ We don’t do stuff like that. We don’t rally over guys when they get hurt. It was just inappropriate behavior. I mean, ‘Get the cart’? Are you serious? Come on. When you compete, you never want to see a guy get hurt.”

Suh and Avril were not around to respond to the comments afterward. But it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing somebody would make up after a win.

Detroit has lost two straight since a 5-0 start. The Falcons have won two straight since 2-3. This could be a market correction. Certainly, the Falcons feel like it is for them.

“They were 5-1 and they were absolutely drinking the Kool-Aid over here,” White said. “We just wanted to get a win. We didn’t want to fuss and fight and argue with those guys, like, ‘Who’s the better team?’ We got the W. That’s all that matters.”

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSchultzAJC). Friend me on Facebook (Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC).

369 comments Add your comment

flanker

October 23rd, 2011
6:54 pm

Reid Adair

October 23rd, 2011
6:59 pm

The sad part is that Jim Schwartz is probably thrilled with behavior like Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril exhibited. It’s been a while since I’ve seen so many personal fouls and cheap shots.

Macon Falcons fan

October 23rd, 2011
7:00 pm

Lots of dirty plays by the Cubs today. How many personal fouls did they have?

On one was when they jumped off-sides (or were drawn, I don’t recall) and one of them flattened Ryan on a dead play. The TV guys seemed to think the PF was for one of the Cubs throwing the ball at Ryan, but I think it was the hit on a dead play.

Anyway a win is a win but the Falcons should have beaten them by a wide margin. Too many mistakes.

Hummon

October 23rd, 2011
7:00 pm

Wow. No class. Now an even more satisfying victory.

4-3 is great considering how unimpressive our performance has been.

dirty bird

October 23rd, 2011
7:05 pm

No class by the Lions .Suh is a thug.

UGABugKiller

October 23rd, 2011
7:08 pm

Good win.

But.

This team is going nowhere until Mike Mularkey is relieved of play-calling duties and they’re given to Ryan, who it is proven in every verifiable stat over the last two years to be a FAR better play-caller than he.

I don’t know if it’s because he has a better feel for the game, he knows what the offense needs, he can “feel” the rhythm, or what, but when Ryan is calling the plays, the Falcons move, they score touchdowns, the offense is more BALANCED, Turner’s YPC is exponentially better (maybe because opposing DC’s find Mularkey so utterly predictable, as do we fans?), the WRs YPC is better (maybe because Ryan doesn’t call nothing but stop routes (outs & curls) as Mularkey does (more slants), and most importantly, Ryan is NOT sacked nearly as much (maybe, again, because Ryan calls for more 3-step drops to quick slants and hot receivers, and he’s not as predictable).

Ryan has proven, in unassailable FACT, over the last two years, that he SHOULD be trusted to run the offense as Kelly once did, and as Manning and Brady do now, and when he does, the Falcons move, they score TDs, and they WIN.

It’s time to say goodbye to Mularkey and his refusal to throw screens, his refusal to create routes for the receivers that are designed to gain YPC (no more outs & curls!), his banal predictability, and his complete lack of feel for the offensive rhythm of this football team.

Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports sees it. Pat Yasinskas of ESPN, who covers only the NFC South, sees it. Don Banks of SI sees it. Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com sees it.

Basically, any and all national writers who’ve watched the Falcons for the last two years KNOWS Ryan should be running the show, NOT Mularkey. Hell, even most Falcons players see it, in DOL’s piece, they said the Falcons NEED to run the no-huddle more. And no-huddle doesn’t mean hurry up. It means Ryan runs the show.

The Falcons can go far with Ryan running the show. They will go NOWHERE with Mularkey continuing to do so.

Does Mike Smith have it in him to do what’s right, to do what’s best for the team? Or will his Marty Schottenheimer philosophies get in the way?

Triple Lindy

October 23rd, 2011
7:08 pm

The lions are starting to reflect their coach: immature and classless. Suh’s a major cheap shot artist. He and Nick Fairly seem to be getting along just fine.

Ole Smoky

October 23rd, 2011
7:08 pm

Detroit is “who we thought they were”….

Joe

October 23rd, 2011
7:08 pm

That was the worst game of football I have ever watched. I literally had to will myself to sit through the 1st quarter. Good win, and it got going a little bit in the 2nd half, but that was some ugly football.

Delbert D.

October 23rd, 2011
7:11 pm

Yet more evidence of the dissolution of human society.

UGABugKiller

October 23rd, 2011
7:12 pm

That should be YAC. Mularkey refuses to use or create routes for receivers that gain YAC (yards after catch)… he calls for outs and curls almost exclusively, and you CANNOT have explosive plays like that.

Also, Mularkey is badly mismanaging the talents of Harry Douglas. Any competent OC would use Douglas as the Patriots use Welker. Match him up in the slot on the slowest LB, then call for a 3-step drop and quick slant pass, and let the WR do his athletic thang after the catch, gaining large yards off of short passes.

But Mularkey REFUSES to do this. He MUST go. It’s time. The Falcons are on the cusp of being great, and Mularkey continually pulls them back to average.

real braves fan

October 23rd, 2011
7:13 pm

think about it people, what kind of a team would draft nick fairly?

george

October 23rd, 2011
7:13 pm

sounds as if they are trying to challenge the dawgs for being the most classless organization is sports.

Big Enos Burdette

October 23rd, 2011
7:13 pm

Them sumbi…es couldn’t close an umbrella

Mr Charlie

October 23rd, 2011
7:14 pm

Does anyone realize that Mularkey took over the worst team in the NFL and is 37-18 as OC since?
Just SHADDUP.

Hate Falcons GM

October 23rd, 2011
7:15 pm

The D played GREAT — added by Stafford not being accurate

Ryan threw 2 terrible picks, still isn’t accurate deep, but when he’s hot on his 5-15ard range, we’re a good team.

The offense needs to work out the kinks over bye, and we may be okay

Weaseal

October 23rd, 2011
7:15 pm

It was a great day to be a Falcon Fan ….

Joe

October 23rd, 2011
7:15 pm

I love the lions and boys

Vain Jangling

October 23rd, 2011
7:15 pm

4-3 is miles better than 3-4.

Now, based upon that keen insight, can I be a sports columnist? I understand it’s an inside job with no heavy lifting. Oh, and I’m pretty good with verb tense, too.

5150 UOAD

October 23rd, 2011
7:16 pm

Too many Mistakes and Flags on both side.

Younger Than That Now

October 23rd, 2011
7:16 pm

The more football I watch, the more I realize that the game has become as American society has… the thugs are taking over and the class-less lead them ahead!!

The Nature Boy @UGABugKiller

October 23rd, 2011
7:16 pm

Your argumentative essays are the BEST…!!!! and I mostly agree w/ you…thanks!

mtnfalconfan

October 23rd, 2011
7:18 pm

we hung in there after all the penalties and everything else. i was most impressed by our defense. they didn’t quit or make stupid mistakes like they have all year.

WE dat

October 23rd, 2011
7:20 pm

I’m glad you’re happy that your dirty birds won but 23-16 is hardly a “punch out”

Supes

October 23rd, 2011
7:21 pm

Wow, the Lions are vastly over rated and were exposed today.

No Running Game – Check
No effective play fake I formation – Check
No established number 2 WR – Check (and please don’t even try and mention Pettigrew here, show me more!)
No ability to stop ground and pound over 4 quarters – Last week San Fran, this week Falcons, even Dallas ran the ball on them.
A QB who is exhibiting the same flaws he had while QB at UGA (and yes I’m a big Dawgs fan but I’m objective). – Stafford, lacking touch, rushing decisions and still gunning inaccurate throws.

I’m proud of the way the Falcons refused to take the Lions crap (defensively) and came away with the win. It was an ugly game, but you can learn and correct mistakes, etc while having won a lot better than while having lost.

Lions – Frauds. Falcons – Just getting started!

PS…Where are all the Tampa Bay fans…talk about an enigma of a team….the Bucs got owned by the Bears today.

Delbert D.

October 23rd, 2011
7:22 pm

UGABugKiller – Back in the very late ’50s and through the ’60s there were often public discussions by some of the starting QBs at the time of whether they would be allowed to call their own plays. Tarkenton and Jurgenson are two that I recall. Many of today’s QB have the intelligence and experience to handle that job. For guys like Peyton Manning, the coaches in the boxes upstairs should be making suggestions, seeing tendencies that the QB could use to gain advantages.

Ben

October 23rd, 2011
7:22 pm

WE dat,

Win is a win clown, how bout you worry about your coaches leg, and be ready for the falcons game in a few weeks.

WTF?

October 23rd, 2011
7:23 pm

Falcons still are going nowhere, so don’t get your hopes up.

Sam

October 23rd, 2011
7:24 pm

I was really impressed with svitek. He should start over baker from now on.

A Punk Named Suh

October 23rd, 2011
7:24 pm

ur jus fraid of me cause im King Kong. Let Godell fine donte robinson all he wants, he wont do nothin bout me cause hes scared of King Kong

Brian

October 23rd, 2011
7:24 pm

We are ready to take off…………..can’t wait to have a healthy Julio again!

StevoDeg

October 23rd, 2011
7:28 pm

Whats the word on Ovie?

Michael M.

October 23rd, 2011
7:28 pm

The Lions are no class act as we saw out there today when the Birds were pulling on their Tails and that is uncalled for out of those two players mentioned in this blog I am so glad The Birds kick their butts today and put them in their place as losers this Sunday evening ! ! !
You know that was just dirty how the Lions treated their opponent today even before the start of the Ballgame…it makes me sick to know that some Jerk-Off player was running his Big Mouth tellin em to ” Get the Cart”………..yah a Jerk Boy !

P. Bull Terrier

October 23rd, 2011
7:28 pm

“UGABugKiller” REMINDS me of one of those REPORTERS who covers the Michael JACKSON trial, with extra EMPHASIS on every few WORDS. I don’t exactly DISAGREE with him, but I’m just SAYING…

The Wad

October 23rd, 2011
7:29 pm

O line was much tougher today against a supposed beast of a defensive line. Detroit is not handling the spotlight very well. I agree we have a hidden and under used weapon in Harry Douglas. Looked like he pulled up lame on the 49 yard reception. I think Mr Ryan showed what he`s made of today….but that won`t stop the detractors. He is getting hit because the offense sends EVERYBODY with a number other than the 50`s or 60`s out on a pattern to overwhelm the D. Go with it but we better learn to use ALL the targets available. Turner is looking better these days. We`ll see how he goes throught the year because the running game is imperative with this offense. Good win guys. Suh and his boys look awfully cheap now. Hope they go 7-9!

WE dat

October 23rd, 2011
7:30 pm

Ben, you and your falcons be ready. WE OWN THE GEORGIA DOME.

WHO DAT

mtnfalconfan

October 23rd, 2011
7:31 pm

where do these punks come from?

um

October 23rd, 2011
7:31 pm

I know who just became my LEAST fav team in the NFL. Calvin get out of there! Hope Lions get what they deserve.

Uuuuugh...

October 23rd, 2011
7:32 pm

What other kind of team would draft Nick Fairly!? Apparently he fits right in!

BigFan

October 23rd, 2011
7:32 pm

Someone is going to need to Kick Suh in the pants. He thinks he is all world, and I heard his name called probably 3 times the whole game. Someone needs to sucker punch that little SOB. When he pushed down our lineman today after the play, that should have been a 15 yard penalty and the Ref just kinda pushed him back. Ridiculous. He will get his before it’s over along with his thinking he is the best DT around. Well, guess what? He’s not!

ATLol

October 23rd, 2011
7:33 pm

The Lions board not showing any love for Stafford. One comment is “Hopefully Stafford quits smoking pot with the girls.”
…the OC Linehan is getting majority of the blame

5150 UOAD

October 23rd, 2011
7:33 pm

You OWN the NOLA Superdome cause they couldn’t pry your punk citizens out of it, but you don’t Own the Ga. Dome.

WE dat

October 23rd, 2011
7:34 pm

Saints will come marching in to the GEORGIA DOME and RISE victorious. Guaranteed ass kicking (who says “punch out”???)

WHO DAT?!

BigFan

October 23rd, 2011
7:34 pm

Suh is a punk and someone needs to Sucker punch him and his arogant ego. I sure didn’t hear his name very much today? Did he and the Auburn punk play in the second half? LOL

phil

October 23rd, 2011
7:35 pm

Svitek tried to break Ryan’s leg, but he sure played better than the typical Sam Baker effort!

Sick

October 23rd, 2011
7:35 pm

The AINTS had to kick the idiots out of the dome that didn’t leave during Katrina so that Peyton could have somewhere to sit and nurse his little leg.

phil

October 23rd, 2011
7:36 pm

The Aint’s looked great losing to Tampa last week….

Way to go!

Michael M.

October 23rd, 2011
7:36 pm

Id like to slap the Dog Piss out of him….he might whup me but he know I had been there…………..Cheers !

stendek

October 23rd, 2011
7:36 pm

Grumble Jeff. The Falcons won. I am okay with that. Roddy White made a TD catch worthy of a Pro Bowl receiver. I am okay with that. Future NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez became the number two pass catcher all time in NFL history. I am really okay with that. The Falcon defense allowed 16 points to the Lions of Matt Stafford. I am okay with that. I am okay with the Falcon field goal kicker. What I am not okay with is failing to pick up a first down on a third and an inch then letting the Lions off the hook with a fourth down FG, the Falcon punter who could not earn a spot on a decent high school outfit, an offensive lineman that almost ends career of Matthew Ryan, Michael Turner runs for no or minus yards, idiot penalties well away from play which negate big yardage and Falcon defenders who drop easy as pie interceptions. Congratulations Mr Gonzalez. Way to return to action Matthew Ryan. It is obvious if MR goes out the losses will mount up quickly. Other than all that I am just plain okay. Have a nice one. :)

BIG-D

October 23rd, 2011
7:36 pm

Mularkey has alot of similarities of a Bobo! Turnovers and penalties are killing us,Defence is really starting to play great,that’s the best sign of things to come from the game.What’s the status on Mughelli,man that replay was hard to watch!