Archive for October, 2011

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 …

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LIVE: Falcons’ win over Lions crucial to playoff hopes

DETROIT — This is what I see when I look out of my hotel window . . .

That's Comerica Park on the left, Ford Field on the right.

That's Comerica Park (Tigers' home) on the left, Ford Field (Lions' home) on the right.

This is what I see when I look out the back of my hotel coffee shop . . .

That's Caesars Palace and the casinos of Windsor, Ontario, just across the Detroit river.

That's Caesars Palace and the casinos of Windsor, Ontario, just across the Detroit river.

So yeah, I was tempted. But then I remembered I wouldn’t get a paycheck if I chose option No. 2. So here I am. (Besides, the casinos will still be there tonight. The challenge: Making a receipt for red and blue chips look like lunch with Thomas Dimitroff.)

The Falcons play the Detroit Lions today. I would never refer to a game in Week 7 as “must-win” but this comes pretty close. Here’s why: A win leaves the Falcons at 4-3 before the bye week, still in a contention to win the NFC South (which nobody is running away with) or a wild card berth. But a loss drops them further down in the division and playoff race, as they’ve already lost three conference games …

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Fight predictions: Falcons win, Jackets fall, SEC cowers

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What is going on with all of this violence lately? Coaches going after coaches. Coaches going after players who went after coaches. One player even punched another right in the soft part of his zone defense.

A man can’t even go hunting any more without the whole animal kingdom getting upset about it. True story: Some Alaskan moose hunter — and doesn’t every great story start that way? — went out the other day with his musket, hoping to blow off the head of one of nature’s, unarmed creatures, who were just sitting around playing gin-rummy.

Anyway, this guy gets attacked by a grizzly bear, because unbeknownst to the hunter, the Moose, the Grizzlies and the Deer (Wake Forest) have all formed some super alliance and soon plan to announce a conference championship game and a mega-TV deal with ESPN. (That part, I might’ve made up.).

Anyway, the hunter ends up escaping, and I think the grizzly’s head is now on somebody’s wall, and the moral of the story is that the guy with the …

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SEC punishes players, but why no reprimand for coaches?

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin stated his case to Mark Richt after the game.

Vanderbilt coach James Franklin stated his case to Mark Richt after the game.

(Updated with SEC statement on coaches.)

Georgia’s attempt to achieve a rare exacta — 1) beat Florida; 2) win the SEC East — just got a little more difficult.

The SEC, in an expected move, has suspended two Bulldogs defensive starters — safety Shawn Williams and nose tackle Kwame Geathers — for their actions in last week’s victory over Vanderbilt. Each must sit out the first half of the Florida game. Also suspended for a half was Vandy center Logan Stewart.

Meanwhile, the conference chose not to act on the actions of Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham or Vandy head coach James Franklin. That’s odd. It sends mixed messages.

This is not to suggest either Grantham or Franklin should have suspended, and a conference spokesman wasn’t even aware if there is precedent for a coach being fined for an on-field action. But the minimum of  a public reprimand certainly seemed in order.

I sent an email …

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Bill Curry learning some things hard way at Georgia State

Bill Curry's team already has lost as many games this year (1-5) as it did last season (6-5).

Bill Curry's team already has lost as many games this year (1-5) as it did last season (6-5).

Five straight losses, but not one person has thrown a brick through Bill Curry’s window. There’s a reason for that.

“I don’t think they know where my window is,” he said, smiling.

Obscurity has its advantages. But it’s Season 2 at Georgia State, and reality has hit Curry over the head like a sledgehammer. He turns 69 years old Friday. Football has consumed his post-crawling life, and when he first took on this project he figured there was little left to learn. But there he was Tuesday, using words like “blindsided” and “stunned” when answering questions about his fledgling program’s season. A five-game losing streak wasn’t on the blueprint.

“It’s been a quantum leap in learning for this old guy,” Curry said. “But we’re living in America. We’ve got to win.”

In the shadows of the SEC, ACC and almost everything else, Georgia State has followed a 6-5 first …

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Todd Grantham is YouTube gold — and that’s a problem

Todd Grantham's actions at Vanderbilt shouldn't be defended by anybody. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Todd Grantham's actions at Vanderbilt shouldn't be defended by anybody. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

I hadn’t planned on writing any more about the incident between Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin Saturday night. But I’ve been astounded by how many Bulldogs fans have come to Grantham’s defense, so let me just get this out once:

There’s a line between emotion and stupidity, and Grantham crossed it.

Coach Mark Richt knows as much. Athletic director Greg McGarity, who has met with Grantham according to our Chip Towers, knows as much. The SEC is reviewing the incident.

Even Grantham — once he cooled down 36 hours later — somewhat admits he overreacted, saying this morning:  “… It was unfortunate that things escalated to a confrontation. However, I’ll use it as a learning experience for myself as well as my players so that we all become better men.”

To recap quickly (video below): The Georgia-Vanderbilt game was an emotional one …

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With Lattimore out, Dogs’ hopes rest on Florida game

Mark Richt didn't like what he saw at Vanderbilt but his team's in a good situation.

Mark Richt didn't like what he saw at Vanderbilt but his team's in a good situation.

Not that anybody wants to see a great athlete have his season ended by an injury. But could anything more possibly go right for Georgia?

South Carolina has lost running back Marcus Lattimore for the season with a torn knee ligament. Lattimore was the key to the SEC East title last season. It was reasonable to think the Gamecocks might be able to overcome the personal and career meltdowns of quarterback Stephen Garcia and still win the division if they could get reasonable play from backup Connor Shaw. But losing Lattimore might be too much.

What does that mean for the Bulldogs? Just this: Beat Florida in two weeks and there’s a good chance they’ll be in the SEC championship game (against either Alabama or LSU).

Consider the top three teams in the East and the remaining schedule:

SOUTH CAROLINA (4-1): The Gamecocks hold a tiebreaker edge over the Dogs for their win in game two. They …

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After another flawed win, are Dogs ready for Florida? (Updated with Grantham video)

Aaron Murray and Georgia had some shaky moments Saturday at Vanderbilt. (AP photo)

Aaron Murray and Georgia had some shaky moments Saturday at Vanderbilt. (AP photo)

(UPDATED: 11:50 p.m.)

NASHVILLE – There’s a saying in sports: It’s not how, it’s how many. That assumes, of course, we’re not talking about college football polls or perceptions heading into the Florida game.

Georgia won again Saturday night. That makes five straight. If ever a five-game winning streak can cause discomfort, this is it. Vanderbilt, a team that had managed just three points in its previous two games, scored three second-half touchdowns. One came on a 96-yard kickoff return. Two others came on alarming efficient drives of 75 and 84 yards against a Bulldogs’ defense that was thought to be improving. So much for thought.

The Bulldogs, after leading 23-7, held on a for a 33-28 victory. The words “held on” never should appear before “victory” for a team that aspires to something higher than the Liberty Bowl again.

The Dogs’ four straight SEC wins have come over teams — Mississippi …

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LIVE: Another win keeps Georgia in SEC East hunt

Another "partial sellout" flows through the gates at Vanderbilt Stadium.

Another "partial sellout" flows through the gates at Vanderbilt Stadium.

NASHVILLE — If I’m a little slow getting this live blog started, it’s because I just ate about 27 pounds of barbecue — the combo plate of ribs, pulled pork and brisket — at the Wildhorse Saloon. Seriously, it’s some of the best Q I’ve ever had — and I’m sure I’ll be sweating it out in the middle of the night.

PETA did not endorse my lunch. But I will.

PETA did not endorse my lunch. But I will.

Most of you probably have been to Nashville at some point. For those who haven’t, I highly recommend it. Watching Steve Spurrier and South Carolina almost blow a game at Mississippi State is about the only thing that prevented this from being a perfect day. That is to say, they didn’t blow it. The Gamcocks got a touchdown pass from Connor Shaw to Alshon Jeffery with 3:50 left and escaped Starkville with a 14-12 win. A South Carolina loss and the door to a division title would’ve blown open today

Elvis, Elvis, everywhere. (How much BBQ could he put away?)

Elvis, Elvis, everywhere. (How much BBQ could he put …

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Falcons, Jackets, Dogs win (Lies! Lies, says Spurrier!)

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We will commence with this week’s blue chip indicators immediately following Steve Spurrier’s testimony to his superiors regarding the stolen strawberries aboard the U.S.S. Caine. Ssssh. I think he’s losing it …

“Lies! I tried to run the ship properly by the book but they fought me at every turn! They encouraged the crew to go around scoffing at me and spreading wild rumors about steaming in circles! And then old yellow stain! I was to blame for Lt. Merrick’s incompetence and poor seamanship. Lt. Merrick was the perfect officer but not Captain Queeg. Ah, but the strawberries! That’s where I had them! They laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, and with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox did exist! I … I … I …”

I post this for no reason other than fact I stumbled upon a "50 dogs in Star Wars" costumes list at BestWeekEver.TV.

Darth Dawg! (I post this only because I stumbled on a "Dogs in Star Wars costumes" list at BWE.TV).

Come back to us, Steve.

I never really noticed the resemblance between Spurrier and Captain Queeg until …

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