Falcons are easy highlight in Atlanta’s dark sports weekend

Roddy White jumps on Julio Jones' shoulders after the rookie receiver's 18-yard touchdown catch gave Falcons a 14-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. (AP photo)

Roddy White jumps on Julio Jones' shoulders after Jones' 18-yard touchdown catch gave the Falcons a 14-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. (AP photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After another playoff cameo role by the Braves on Friday and the ugliness by whatever remains of Georgia and Georgia Tech on a college football Saturday, the Falcons didn’t need to accomplish much Sunday to achieve some degree of popularity.

Almost anything north of humiliation would’ve been an improvement.

They provided more than that. They won.

They weren’t great. The quarterback threw a pick-six in the second quarter. A fumbled snap ended their next possession. The offense made the NFL’s 29th ranked defense look almost impressive at times. The defense allowed Washington’s far lesser of two rookie quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins to throw a 77-yard touchdown pass (and he hadn’t taken a snap all season).

So they weren’t perfect. Or close. And yet: They’re still perfect.

They rallied with a 17-point fourth quarter to beat the Washington Redskins 24-17.

They are 5-0 for the first time in franchise history — this after being 4-0 for only the third time in franchise history. Suddenly, they are punching through ceilings.

Are they great? No. It’s a little early to phone Don Shula and ask if he’s worried about the Falcons posing a threat to the 1972 Miami Dolphins. (Hey, once you win five, how tough can 11 more be?) But in the last two games against Carolina and Washington, the Falcons managed to pull out victories in games where they seemed less than whole. That is something that really good (and potentially great) teams do.

“I’ve said since the beginning of the season that this is the best team I’ve been on as a Falcon,” said tight end Tony Gonzalez. “It might be the best team I’ve ever been on as a player. But it doesn’t mean anything? No. It feels good to be 5-0, but I’ve been 9-0 and lost in the first round of the playoffs [in Kansas City in 2003]. So we just have to go one week at a time. I know that doesn’t sound sexy but it is what it is. We’ve got a target on our back now.”

The Falcons: The hunted. Let that sink in. There’s only one other unbeaten team left — Houston (4-0), which plays Monday night.

When the NFL schedule has stretched into the second month and a team still hasn’t lost, nit-picking should be held to a minimum.

“They’re playing with a tenacity I haven’t seen in the last couple of years,” said former running back Warrick Dunn, now one of the team’s minority owners. “They’re playing with aggressiveness. When you win games where you really don’t play that great, it’s a positive sign. It shows that you can respond to adversity. That means something as you move down the road and the games get bigger.”

The Falcons sputtered offensively until late in the third quarter. The exception was Gonzalez, who had one of those just-stupid-great games: 13 catches, 123 yards, one touchdown, as a 36-year-old. The Redskins were intent on bracketing Roddy White and Julio Jones on the outside but they couldn’t do anything about Gonzalez in the belly of their defense.

In the Falcons’ first five possessions, they had three punts and two turnovers. They had only seven points after eight drives, but started to take over late in the third.

“What do you want talk to us for — we stunk,” White joked when media approached.

Not coincidentally, the momentum shifted  after Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III was knocked out of the game by Sean Weatherspoon. (It was a clean hit: Weatherspoon crashed into Griffin as the rookie ran out of the pocket and was sliding down. The back of Griffin’s head appear to come down on Jonathan Babineaux, causing a concussion.) Cousins took advantage of a breakdown in the secondary, throwing a 77-yard TD pass to Santana Moss. But Matt Bryant tied it at 17-17 with a 53-yard field goal and Michael Turner’s 13-yard touchdown with 2:46 left gave the Falcons the lead.

The best teams find a way to get it done.

“It’s the first time since I’ve been here that we’re just going out there and expecting to win,” White said.

That’s five out of five. And this weekend, the Falcons were the city’s shining light.

By Jeff Schultz

EARLIER: Short Takes: Gonzalez, Bryant and no RG3 key Falcons’ win

228 comments Add your comment

Realist

October 7th, 2012
7:34 pm

Tonyb

October 7th, 2012
7:35 pm

After today, I’m totally in. This team has the talent and mental makeup to do something special. Hang on Atlanta, this is gonna be fun.

JSS

October 7th, 2012
7:40 pm

More opium, I thought Congress outlawed that in the 1880s?

USMC

October 7th, 2012
7:54 pm

The Georgia Bulldogs got MANHANDLED by a much better team AND COACH.
(sorry, I am a Dawg fan but just being honest)

The Falcons are the REAL DEAL! Great victory on the road. Go Falcons!

Dawgdad (The Original)

October 7th, 2012
7:56 pm

Winning ugly is always good! Winning with Uggla, now that is a different proposition.

USMC

October 7th, 2012
7:57 pm

We (Native Atlantans) knew that Chipper has ALWAYS choked in the post season.

Life Lesson: You don’t uncork champagne and celebrate until AFTER you actually win a playoff series; not before like the Braves did this year. What a joke.

Dawgdad (The Original)

October 7th, 2012
7:59 pm

The Dawg beatdown was more thorough than the one Obama got. You don’t see two like that in the same week often.

jhartford

October 7th, 2012
7:59 pm

Should have been a penalty called on the quarterback hit. Now we know how the got their nickname.

What is the problem?

October 7th, 2012
8:00 pm

I keep getting deleted. I don’t know why. This team is lighting up an excitement in me I haven’t felt since 1980. It is even more intense now, These guys are special.

Dawgdad (The Original)

October 7th, 2012
8:01 pm

South Carolina was less merciful than Romney.

ijonathan

October 7th, 2012
8:02 pm

Ha Ha Ha…watching Brees on NBC…it’s all about Brees, the record, Johnny Unitas, begging Goodell to have Payton, Vitt, Loomis there to share hugs and kisses.

Oh…what? They’re 0 and 4?

Nevermind…

time

October 7th, 2012
8:02 pm

Great win, Falcons.
We’ll need constant adjustments, make sure to study the tape, and don’t get complacent.
Tough stretch of opponents coming up: Philadelphia, NO (they’re 0-4 but always play us tough).
It might not be a bad thing if they lose one, get the monkey off their back, so they can concentrate on the game at hand, not a perfect season. And you learn a lot after a loss.

USMC

October 7th, 2012
8:02 pm

GT Yellow Jackets looked much better than my Georgia Bulldogs this weekend. just saying.

ijonathan

October 7th, 2012
8:02 pm

jhartford…please cite the rule/penalty that should have been called on Weatherspoon.

What is the problem?

October 7th, 2012
8:04 pm

It is a pleasure to come on here and read the comments without having to suffer through the BS rhetoric. Jss being the main exception. Some people simply have no life.

JSS

October 7th, 2012
8:07 pm

What is the problem?
October 7th, 2012
8:04 pm
“Some people simply have no life.”

You shouldn’t put yourself down like that in public…

What is the problem?

October 7th, 2012
8:10 pm

You, JSS, have no life. You are an inferior life form. You have nothing better to do than invading a team forum and spreading your vile garbage. You are a waste of space and should be banned.

Jeff Schultz

October 7th, 2012
8:10 pm

Come on everybody. I know it’s an election year. But hug it out. The sun is out . . . the birds are singing . . . OK, not here, but Maui maybe.

What is the problem?

October 7th, 2012
8:13 pm

Sorry Jeff!! I read the blogs every day. I never comment but, I couldn’t help myself this time. If certain posters hate the birds thatmuch, why are they here?

What is the problem?

October 7th, 2012
8:18 pm

Their attitude is showing. They can’t handle the fact that this team is special. I don’t know if they prefer another team or if they simply want to bait folks…SO SAD. Grow up.

WTF

October 7th, 2012
8:21 pm

USMC is a Bookman homer….Dawg fan my arse….never seen you on sports blog before but hangs with the libtards frequently.

JSS

October 7th, 2012
8:22 pm

1. Not a team forum, it is a “columnist’s blog…” >>>>> D3 blog is open all night long!
2. “Vile garbage?” Now as Danny P (from House of Pain) said on the famous song that was not ‘Jump Around’: “Put on your (explicit lyric) kickers!” Where’s the infamous “vile garbage?”
3. Armies invade, you take yourself (and your affiliation) too seriously…

When you get your 5 year blogging badge, try that little rant again…

WTF

October 7th, 2012
8:23 pm

Tough week on your dog (Millie ??) picking UGA as a winner, Jeff. At least the Falcons held it together for the local area sports teams. Frustrating weekend for the most part………..

YouKnowWho is a Troll

October 7th, 2012
8:24 pm

JSS the Troll is here because he was an abject failure in a former life, has drifted through a couple of “downsizings” since then, and is a miserable excuse of a human being.

He’s one of those guys who has no idea why his “brilliance” isn’t more appreciated by everyone who’s ever known him.

It’s obvious how much he thinks of his own fake brand of google-search-related intelligence. So much so as he refers to one of the most respected men in all of the NFL, and the best GM this team as ever had as “the boy genius,” with a kind of dismissiveness reserved for people of actual acumen and intelligence, of which this troll has none.

He finds no joy in the shrinking circle of people who still put up with him, so this waste of space continues to invade these blogs, trying to suck all of the joy and happiness out of everyone else. If he’s a miserable craphole, well, by God, everyone else must suffer, too.

JSS is a troll, and the absolute worst kind of troll there is. He’s worse than the very worst basement-dwelling fanboys who populate internet forums the ‘net over.

He’s a pathetic waste of humanity. Only deriving pleasure by deriding others in the very blogs he populates day after day after day, “gracing” us with his wonderful presence. Sad, sad little pitiable man.

Matt

October 7th, 2012
8:26 pm

If you MUST talk politics, go over to Bookman’s or Wingfield’s blog. This is a sports blog.

JSS

October 7th, 2012
8:26 pm

“Bait?” you using live or artificial? ;-)

TrishaDishawareagle

October 7th, 2012
8:29 pm

Lets go San diego SUPER CHARGERS..I’ll take a 0-5 saints over a braves playoff win :)

shane#1

October 7th, 2012
8:29 pm

Schultz is right. Group hug everybody. At least the Falcons won. I predict they make the playoffs. Then being from the ATL they will lose and go home. If any of you ner..er,Techies, are around Albany tomorrow night come by The Catch and I will buy you a beer. That does not mean all three of you and I am only buying one beer.. I did not take in every out of work Nerd to raise. No smart comments, I am trying to be nice! Misery shared is misery lessened.

Scott Case

October 7th, 2012
8:30 pm

Correct the typos please. Otherwise you aren’t a real reporter and I’d have to give you a late hit.

Big Crimson 75

October 7th, 2012
8:31 pm

Problem — not on shultz’s blog.
He’s stated this is “his” blog, not the AJC nor the Falcons Game blog, even though it was addressed as such.
He also won’t allow race-baiting, unless of course it’s in the original thoughts of Matt “choke” Ryan, which apparently he isn’t smart enough to recognize the race-baiting in every post or he’s what some might refer to as a hypocrite.

Y’all can kiss up all you want. This Sports section in this paper is a far cry from what it used to be.
Steve Hummer, Furman Bischer & yes, Terrence Moore aren’t walking thru that door anymore.

JSS

October 7th, 2012
8:33 pm

What is this “downsizing” you speak of? Your legislature loves the entertainment industry! Don’t you wish your fantasy cut and paste ramblings that you carry from blog-to-blog (you’re starting to get luster’s ‘Stinger2′ stalker) was true… On Wednesday’s do you lay down (on the docs couch) and lament about why you can’t win this battle? Or do you do it in some VIP room crying “Mommy, mommy,” hmmmm?

WTF

October 7th, 2012
8:35 pm

Looks like the NFC South is weak this year…..after the Falcons other teams have one win tops. Warms my heart to see Cam Newton becoming Vince Young II.

Falcon's 4 life

October 7th, 2012
8:36 pm

Glad we have gonzaleous there to ground the young guys….he played on some great kc teams that couldn’t make it happen when it counts……hopefully he can keep this group focused all season..

YouKnowWho is a Troll

October 7th, 2012
8:43 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

You troll the blog. My job isn’t to win anything. Just to point out the miserable ridiculousness and stench of failure that is every attempt you make to continue to suck the energy out of everyone on the blog.

You’re a pathetic human being, subsisting on trying to make others miserable, cloaking yourself in a “better than everyone” attitude and a fake intelligence very few on here believe anymore.

We know who you are. We know why you are. We’re not going to allow to hold sway any more. You’re a joke. A sad, pathetic joke.

Tell us some more of your imagined and self-deluded intelligence, “blog genius.”

E boogie

October 7th, 2012
8:44 pm

5-0 When will the bandwagon start running?

YouKnowWho is a Troll

October 7th, 2012
8:46 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You troll the blog. My job isn’t to win anything. Just to point out the miserable ridiculousness and stench of failure that is every attempt you make to continue to suck the energy out of everyone on the blog.

You’re a pathetic human being, subsisting on trying to make others miserable, cloaking yourself in a “better than everyone” attitude and a fake intelligence very few on here believe anymore. We know who you are. We know why you are. We’re not going to allow to hold sway any more. You’re a joke. A sad, pathetic joke.

Tell us some more of your imagined and self-deluded intelligence, “blog genius.”

Back 2 The Brown Paper Bags

October 7th, 2012
8:51 pm


What was the key to the loss? Michael Vick. To paraphrase Mike Singletary,”Can’t win with him. Can’t do it”.
— essell

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0 like this / 0 don’t • Posted 4:23 PM, 10/07/2012
Not a Vick hater. We need to see another QB. Can’t keep leaving points on the field with redzone turnovers. Maybe Foles can perform better. He may be able to see the field unlike Vick. We’ll never know unless he is tried.
— Servo

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0 like this / 0 don’t • Posted 4:24 PM, 10/07/2012
Sayonara Vick,Juan,Marty and Andy! There’s the cure…
— Onsidekick

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/hofmann/Eagles-fall-to-Steelers-16-14.html#ixzz28fFPWIaA
Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else

Supes

October 7th, 2012
8:53 pm

this is for CHOKE and any N.O TROLLS who are still around…although they’ve abandoned this site b/c their team is a sinking ship:)

**********************************************************

Matt Ryan engineered his 18th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime during Sunday’s win against the Redskins. That’s the most in the league since 2008 and the most ever by a QB in his first five seasons since 1966.
Here’s where Ryan ranks:
Quarterback Comebacks 1st Season
Matt Ryan 18 2008
Ben Roethlisberger 16 2004
Peyton Manning 16 1998
Jake Plummer 16 1997

**********************************************

The Matt Ryan haters can go cry themselves to sleep now….

buzz6868

October 7th, 2012
8:56 pm

love the falcons, but also a die-hard GAMECOCKS fan GO COCKS great game, Geogia is way to overated.

Back 2 The Brown Paper Bags

October 7th, 2012
8:57 pm

0 like this / 0 don’t • Posted 5:28 PM, 10/07/2012
vick is done.
fumble him off the bus on the way home.
so sick of this slop.
— bloodymess

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Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/hofmann/Eagles-fall-to-Steelers-16-14.html#ixzz28fGvtVpP
Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else :mrgreen:

Big Crimson 75

October 7th, 2012
8:59 pm

Props to Drew Brees.

JSS

October 7th, 2012
9:02 pm

Ha ha, quoting Singletary (on Vernon Davis by the way), well you kinda know how that ended up…

Kelvin

October 7th, 2012
9:04 pm

Yes, the Falcons saved what was an otherwise brutal weekend for Georgia sports.

DawgNole

October 7th, 2012
9:07 pm

time
October 7th, 2012
8:02 pm

It might not be a bad thing if they lose one, get the monkey off their back, so they can concentrate on the game at hand, not a perfect season. And you learn a lot after a loss.
_______________________

Might not be a bad thing, but I’d still just as soon they put off that first loss for as long as possible.

Kelvin

October 7th, 2012
9:10 pm

this is for CHOKE and any N.O TROLLS who are still around…although they’ve abandoned this site b/c their team is a sinking ship:)

@Supes It’s amazing how those guys don’t show up when the Falcons are winning and Matt is the #1 rated passer in the league. I’m proud of my Falcons. Thank you for saving an otherwise brutal weekend in Georgia sports.

Great Falconi

October 7th, 2012
9:14 pm

Oh, but Jake Plummer is on that list! Ryan ain’t better than Jake Plummer! We need Vick back! He protects the ball and has a dog now!

DawgNole

October 7th, 2012
9:17 pm

Next week is huge in so many ways. Nothing would take the shine off this 5-game run quicker than a loss to an inferior Raider bunch before a loud, enthusiastic crowd at the Dome. If we can just get by next week with a W, then it’s a bye and plenty of time to let it all soak in while resting and healing up. Stay grounded, Falcons, and do your jobs next week, then go out and celebrate a superb start to the season.

DawgNole

October 7th, 2012
9:20 pm

Kelvin
October 7th, 2012
9:10 pm

this is for CHOKE and any N.O TROLLS who are still around…although they’ve abandoned this site b/c their team is a sinking ship:)

@Supes It’s amazing how those guys don’t show up when the Falcons are winning and Matt is the #1 rated passer in the league. I’m proud of my Falcons. Thank you for saving an otherwise brutal weekend in Georgia sports.
____________________

Naw, it’s not amazing. That’s what cowards do, and make no mistake about it, they are cowards of the highest order.

Kane337

October 7th, 2012
9:20 pm

Great win today. Yes it was ugly but I’ll take it. Feels good to be 5-0. We get the Raiders at home next week. The chances are we will be 6-0 heading into the BYE. Love it!

Falcon James

October 7th, 2012
9:20 pm

They is nothing wrong with a 5-0 start. Just think, we could be like the great Super Bowl ring wearing team, the Saint right now.

Could someone ask Seen to come back and tell us the story again?