LIVE: Falcons look for 3-0 start (and some help from Turner)

There will be more fans in the stadium later, but not enough to satisfy ownership.

There will be more fans in the stadium later, but not enough to satisfy Chargers' ownership.

SAN DIEGO — Welcome to the city where it’s impossible to miserable, or so would you think. Great restaurants, a revitalized downtown, beaches, Shamu — what more could anybody want? But temperatures have been in the 80s lately and people are complaining that it’s too hot. (They should try Georgia in August — and this little thing called humidity.)

Folks here don’t seem to have embraced their NFL team, either. The San Diego Chargers are 2-0, like the Falcons, but they couldn’t sell out today’s game and the contest is blacked out locally. It’s not an unusual occurrence. That fan apathy has fueled the organization’s public relations battle against the city for a new stadium deal.

It’s similar to the Falcons’ situation. Chargers owner Alex Spanos says he needs a new venue to generate more revenue and stay competitive. If he doesn’t get it, it’s possible they will be the team that moves two hours north on I-5 to Los Angeles (assuming that stadium deal ever gets done). The only difference between Spanos’s complaints and those of Falcons owner Arthur Blank is Spanos has a more legitimate gripe: The Chargers’ stadium was built in 1966, the Georgia Dome in 1992.

Back to football. We’re going to find out something about the Falcons’ resiliency today. They are a better team than San Diego but there are three significant factors they’ll need to overcome to start 3-0 for only the fourth time:

• 1) They’re playing in a short week, having beaten Denver Monday night.

• 2) They’re playing on the road and far from home. (Though the Falcons are 5-0 on the West Coast under coach Mike Smith, including a win at San Diego in 2008, they have never had to make this trip in a short week.)

• 3) They’re pretty banged up, particularly defensively, where cornerbacks Brent Grimes (torn Achilles) and Chris Owens (concussion) both are out and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (thigh) is questionable (although he’s expected to play). Right tackle Tyson Clabo (hip) also is questionable. I’ll post the inactives when they’re available.

It also will be interesting to see how running back Michael Turner performs in his return to San Diego. Turner, signed as a free agent from the Chargers, ran for 120 yards in the Falcons’ 22-16 win here four years ago, but those were far different circumstances. He is off to a poor start this season (28 carrries for 74 yards, a 2.6 average) and was arrested for speeding and suspicion of DUI in the early morning hours following the Monday night win over Denver.

Even with the early success of the passing game, the Falcons will need to be able to run the ball at some point this season to be successful, certainly late in the year and in the playoffs.

If you missed it, here’s a link to a column I wrote on the Falcons’ defense, where players have taken to the “calmer” ways of coordinator Mike Nolan and suggested they had burned out on Brian VanGorder’s screaming.

One last thing: If you missed it, the barrister, D. Orlando Ledbetter, broke down the Falcons’ previous 2-0 starts. In a statistical anomaly, they have made the playoffs only two of the previous seven times (the 1998 Super Bowl team and the 2004 NFC title-game team). The Falcons have started a season 3-0 three times: 1981 (started 3-0, finished 7-9), 1986 (started 4-0, finished 7-8-1) annd 2004 (started 4-0, finished 11-5 and went to the NFC title game).

That’s all for now. Weigh in with your thoughts about today’s game and I’ll be back shortly.

By Jeff Schultz

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752 comments Add your comment

LOL at the Aints

September 23rd, 2012
2:31 pm

LOL at the Aints

September 23rd, 2012
2:32 pm

OK 1st,, there I said it,, Go Birds,,

LOL at the Aints

September 23rd, 2012
2:35 pm

Maybe Turner should do a couple of shots of Jack before kickoff,,, tends to make him want to go fast.

felix the cat

September 23rd, 2012
2:36 pm

Falcons NFC champs.. Book it Dano!

Tonyb

September 23rd, 2012
2:37 pm

As for Turner, I’m not sure if its him or poor run blocking by the O line? Certainly Turner has a lot miles on him the last few years, and seems to have lost a half of step. What like to see what you, Jeff, and the readers have to say.

Saying that, I think the Falcons offense will be very good today, and we get a big win on the West Coast.

GO FALCONS

LOL at the Aints

September 23rd, 2012
2:40 pm

The Chefs are hanging in there against the Aints,, Interesting,,LOL

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

September 23rd, 2012
2:50 pm

COMMENTARY:

Clutch Genes versus Hype Genes

When it comes to being elite in the NFL, to win the locker room you have to have the ability to lead your team past the regular season, but well into the playoffs. Sure CHOKE can stuff the stats but what is not seen in the stat sheet is a bunch of dink & dunk, and is the same reason why he is not clutch when the team needs him the most.

When it comes to being clutch the Great Mike Vick has clutch genes running through his veins. Think I’m wrong? Well lets do a recap. When Vick was a true freshman at Virginia Tech in A.C.C. Championship ship game, Vick single handed put the Hokies on the map.

In 2003 Vick at the ripe age of 22 went up to a freezing Lambeau Field and did something that had never been done in the history of the NFL – He landed the Packers their first ever playoff loss at Lambeau.

Oh who can forget that thrilling overtime win versus Minnesota with the run off 46 touchdown. Then you have the amazing 4th and goal with time running out against Carolina.

If that was not enough, fast forward to that thrashing of the Redskins on the biggest stage on Monday Night Football, where put up the best numbers by a quarterback (4 passing & 2 rushing tds), all in just over 3 quarters. His jersey was archived in the Hall of Fame for a single game performance.

Not enough? How about The Miracle In The Meadlowlands II? With the Eagles down by 21 points with only 8 minutes left to play, Vick passed for 2 touch downs and ran for another.

Okay folks, I know you want to believe that you have an elite qb for the current Falcants, but he just doesn’t have the clutch genes. Lets recap:

Versus Arizona……Disaster
Versus Green Bay…..Humiliated
Versus New York….Embarrassed.

I rest my case folks. This guy is not the answer because he is more hype and doesn’t possess the clutch genes. I mean look at Vick’s last two games this season. He lead game winning drives in the final drives of the game. The one versus the best defense in the NFL was an 80 yard drive right down their throats.

Sorry guys but you guys will be disappointed once again.

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
2:50 pm

Bad call on the refs giving the ball to the Caints after Number 22 on the little chiefs went down and probably broke his arm…………………..neither team playing like they want to win though…………no wonder they 0 – 2 teams …………………………………………

Dr. Warren

September 23rd, 2012
3:07 pm

How the Falcons started and finished before the Blank-Smith-Dimitroff era has no bearing on anything anymore. Irrelevant. Go you big red birds!

Dr. Warren

September 23rd, 2012
3:15 pm

From what I recall, Jeff is a SoCal native. As a USC alum who lives abroad, San Diego sure looks like a nice option for when it’s time to repatriate, if only they had the Varsity, some decent bbq there, a Canter’s Deli, and a team with a better coach.

Big Daddy

September 23rd, 2012
3:19 pm

Falcons will win this one if they don’t stall in the red zone. Falcons 24 – Chargers 14.

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
3:24 pm

Falcons 34 – Chargers 26 …………………………………..

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2012
3:37 pm

Sorry folks. Major technology problems. Here’s the Falcons’ inactives if you haven’t seen yet: Dominique Davis, Chris Owens, Antone Smith, Joe Hawley, Lamar Holmes, Jonathan Massaquoi, Cliff Matthews. … No surprises. Weatherspoon and Clabo in lineup.

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2012
3:38 pm

Falcon Jim — Keep it clean or you’re out.

A note to all: EVERYBODY keep commenting north of the gutter or risk being banned.

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
3:39 pm

Drew Sleeze……………………………ha ! ha ! ha ! 3 and out again…………………..lmao ……………………………………………

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2012
3:41 pm

Falcon Jim — Actually after seeing some of your recent comments (just removed), you’re gone.

Big Crimson 75

September 23rd, 2012
3:47 pm

Falcons 31 Bolts 20
Time to get the ground game moving today.
Another big day for Matt Ryan.
It’s nice to have an level-headed coach — Smitty would never resort to busting out a California State Championship Trophy alas Glanville!!

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
3:50 pm

Hey Jeff Schultz, give the dude a break… He feels that his religion was disparaged…

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
3:51 pm

I hope Magic Mike redeems himself this afternoon and turns back into ” Turner the Burner ” we all know and love………………………..

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
3:52 pm

You got to admit, he’s got quite the vocabulary! He just doesn’t know how to take a walk and smell the roses!

Big Crimson 75

September 23rd, 2012
3:52 pm

Guess We gotta hold the phone on that 49er Dynasty in the making.

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
3:53 pm

JSS………..he threw the whole dictionary in those few sentences………….I was like wow……………………………….

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
3:53 pm

Did you get their early enough to get some Fish Tacos?

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
3:55 pm

Oops “there”

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
3:57 pm

Saints still look terrible…………………….if only the little chiefs had a couple of those field goals traded for touchdowns…………….they would probably win this game………….

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
3:57 pm

I hadn’t heard language like that since Palermo!

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2012
3:58 pm

JSS — A few great meals but no fish tacos (yet)

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
4:01 pm

Hate the politics there, but that is a great place to dine!

LOL at the Aints

September 23rd, 2012
4:04 pm

Chefs still hanging in there against the Aints,,, LOL

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2012
4:04 pm

Chargers kicking off.

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
4:04 pm

I wish I’d screen shot that before it was deleted… That dude was something!

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2012
4:06 pm

Coming out firing.

UGA ECONOMICS MAJOR

September 23rd, 2012
4:06 pm

COME ON ATLANTA FALCONS YOUR ALL I LOVE ABOUT ATLANTA ANYMORE…COME ON BIG RED AND BLACK!!!!!!!!!!MAKE DADDY PROUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
4:08 pm

Pride of Washington County

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2012
4:08 pm

Some nice moves by Quizz there after catch.

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2012
4:11 pm

Ryan looks really good early. Methodically moving offense.

Big Crimson 75

September 23rd, 2012
4:12 pm

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2012
4:13 pm

Ryan looked to White on outside, quickly threw back inside to Rodgers. It threw off Chargers’ defense. Efficient 80-yard TD drive in 10 plays … Then a botched PAT on bad snap. 6-0.

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
4:13 pm

Big Crimson 75

September 23rd, 2012
4:13 pm

Ground Ball to Chipper.

UGA Grad

September 23rd, 2012
4:14 pm

Matt Ryan is on a mission. He’s ripping every defense he faces so far. And these past two weeks he has faced cupcakes. Denver has a great pass rush and San Diego is one of the best defenses in the league through week 2. Ryan is ready.

UGA Grad

September 23rd, 2012
4:15 pm

Excuse me, it’s supposed to say he HASN’T faced cupcakes on defense. My bad.

Go Falcons

September 23rd, 2012
4:16 pm

Julio is Hurt?

Dr. Warren

September 23rd, 2012
4:16 pm

Any po boy sandwiches for sale at Jack Murphy stadium, Jeff?

Michael M.

September 23rd, 2012
4:17 pm

Still watching the Caints game to see if they can get the win, KC has the ball with 2 mins left…………………………………….24 – 21 NO

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
4:17 pm

Did Bosher pull an Oblique?

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
4:19 pm

Right side, I’m just sayin…

Big Crimson 75

September 23rd, 2012
4:20 pm

Ray Edwards getting the nod over Bierman today.

Jeff Schultz

September 23rd, 2012
4:21 pm

Palmer shoulder injury questionable.
Julio Jones hamstring questionable.