Short takes: On Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, no turnovers

Falcons have followed the franchise mandate through eight games (all wins).

Falcons have followed franchise mandate through eight games (all wins). (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Here are my three short takes from the Falcons’ win over Dallas Sunday night:

1. Julio Jones is a difference maker: With every play he makes, the Falcons’ receiver buries concerns by some that the Falcons might have given up too much in trade for him before the draft two years ago. Jones finished with five catches covering 129 yards. That includes a 38-yard catch in the first quarter while he was being mugged by Morris Claiborne (who was called for pass interference) and a 48-yard gain in the fourth quarter when he lined up in the backfield, took a short pass and bolted past the likes of DeMarcus Ware. He also ran for eight yards on a reverse on third-and-1.

2. Matt Ryan shows toughness: Ryan was hit so hard on a blindside sack by Ware that it looked like he might have to come out for a few plays. He didn’t. He was sacked three times and leveled after several throws on a night when the offensive line had its worst game in pass protection (which had been a strength this season). Statistically, Ryan threw for 342 yards on 24-of-34 passing, and that doesn’t account for at least two drops and two throw-aways).

3.  This team doesn’t beat itself: Do the Falcons have flaws? Of course. The NFL is devoid of great teams. But they don’t beat themselves. They committed only two penalties for 15 yards and did not have a turnover. (Ryan fumbled on the aforementioned Ware sack but it was recovered.) A team can go far in this league if it doesn’t make dumb mistakes.

– By Jeff Schultz

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89 comments Add your comment

rob

November 5th, 2012
9:41 am

some sense

November 5th, 2012
9:49 am

So now we go into our next week of wondering how good the Falcons are, a broken record. But one thing is for sure as Jeff points out; when they lose it’s not gonna happen because they beat themselves.

Not Impressed

November 5th, 2012
10:04 am

Dallas (3-5) may have lost a game they were in total control for most of the game, but do you really believe this team puts the fear in Green Bay, Chicago or San Francisco? This looks like the same team that wins a bunch of regular season games and gets brought back down to Earth in the playoffs. What’s different about how they are winning compared to the 13-3 team that got blown out 48-21 in the Dome?

The Falcons still...

November 5th, 2012
10:05 am

…have to play at N.O. at TB, at Carolina, at Detroit, and play the Giants, N.O., AZ and TB at home – and unfortuantely, they lose at least 3 of those four road games, plus at least one at home – they will then have to travel to Chicago to make the Super Bowl, so, i just don’t see it happening despite this feel good, 8-0 start –

And, I know, I am just one of many “doubters” – but like Bradshaw said yesterday, until Atlanta actually wins something that means something then they deserve to be doubted…

Thomas Brown

November 5th, 2012
10:06 am

Are the Falcons consensus # 5 coming off a 37-10 win over Ole Miss here over the beautiful weekend outdoors, here in this college football town ?

Ted M

November 5th, 2012
10:07 am

Wasn’t Ryan sacked 7 times by someone earlier this season?

I wouldn’t call the OL a strength but they are a little better then last yr.

Rodgers is looking pretty darn good lately.

tooltime234

November 5th, 2012
10:10 am

some sense, i could see if the offense came out flat one game maybe a team like the saints with a big offense could put up enough points to put the falcons in a big hole that they cant get out of. This team is really soild right now though. I just feel like they are going to win most days and I think they do too

Zach

November 5th, 2012
10:11 am

The difference between that team and this team is that they find a way to win even when the opposing defense “takes away” our identity. In the past 4 years the blueprint for beating the Falcons was to take away the run and let Matt Ryan beat you. Now there really isn’t a blueprint. You can “take away” any facet of our offense and yet someone else steps up.

Escaped from Email Purgatory

November 5th, 2012
10:15 am

@Not Impressed says:

“… do you really believe this team [falcons] puts the fear in Green Bay, Chicago or San Francisco?”

I don’t know. Does it matter right now?

And I think the difference in the way they win this year as opposed to 2010 for example, is a better offensive and defensive scheme and Matt Ryan’s maturing as both a leader and a QB. The #2 we see on game days now is the real deal.

You could be right, the Falcons might fold in the playoffs – again.. Or they might lose honorably to a better team But they are a different team than the one we saw in both 2010 and last year.

And I expect – win or lose – that they’ll acquit themselves well in the playoffs.

DP

November 5th, 2012
10:15 am

While Julio Jones is a great talent, that’s not all he brings to the Falcons. He doesn’t run his mouth, is physically tough, blocks, doesn’t whine about not getting the ball enough. He’s the anti T.O./Ochocinco/Moss/Rison, the kind of high character, strong work ethic player you want as a core player for the franchise. The Falcons didn’t give up too much for him.

Given that pass happy New Orleans apparently can find no productive use for Julio’s college teammate Mark Ingram, who is the same type of winning, hard working, high character player as Julio, perhaps the Falcons could get him on the cheap during the offseason and have a younger replacement for Turner to complement Jacquizz Rodgers.

Not Impressed

November 5th, 2012
10:20 am

@Falcons still…..

Exactly.

Thomas Brown

November 5th, 2012
10:22 am

That’s really nice of the 4 Falcons’ fans in his college football town, to come in here and talk about the Falcons like that. How many Falcons’ posts can we expect ? 55 again ? 28 of those saying not 1 word about the Falcons. Had a Falcons post yesterday and didn’t even get off the 1st page of comments. The one before that had 55 total, again, 28 of which were not in the least about the Falcons. It’s great the Falcons are on top of the heap, half-way through the season. But, that is the issue with the Falcons, it’s winning play-off games, now, isn’t it ? Atlanta will never be anything but a college football town. Jeff Schultz writes a blog about UGA and we get 1100 or 800 posts, all about UGA.

Thomas Brown

November 5th, 2012
10:27 am

How honorable is it to be a team who does not win play-off games, again ?

I missed that one.

We have had 1 exciting play-off game in 45 years of Falcons’ Frachise and that was beating the Vikings to play in the Super Bowl. Other than that one game which stands out like a sore thumb, what we have is a Falcons’ franchise which has fans who don’t support the team, and who don’t know anything about football or about any of the 53-man roster.

It will be nice to build that, and honestly, I think Arthur Blank has brought us that. He stands alone for professional sports in this town up there with Ted Turner before he SOLD US OUT and moved to Montana.

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

November 5th, 2012
10:33 am

Where is CHOKE?

dedge

November 5th, 2012
10:33 am

@not impressed- A game dallas was in total control of? I think that your stupid a@@ and I were watching a different game. Go get on your Saints blog.

Ted M

November 5th, 2012
10:34 am

It was pretty darn exciting when when Vick & the Falcons beat Green Bay in the playoffs.

Falcon James

November 5th, 2012
10:35 am

Ryan was lucky to get up with his head still attached. He is some kind of QB. I know of 31 other starting QBs who would have needed help to get off the field.

Tron5000

November 5th, 2012
10:39 am

Sure the Falcons haven’t had playoff success lately. But their GM, head coach and QB are all only in their 5th years in their jobs. They were all rookies together and have all grown together. They now have better coordinators on both sides of the ball than in previous years. Matty Ice is maturing and making the right decisions. Dude was on point last night. Quizz is a spark this team has needed for a while, and Julio is obviously a difference maker whenever he’s on the field. I think these boys are ready to do some damage.

DavoB

November 5th, 2012
10:39 am

Need to double check the penalities. Falcons had more than two. I know Jones was called for offensive pass interference on the last drive.

drew

November 5th, 2012
10:46 am

It’s apparent that many “fans”, detractors, and commentators alike, simply won’t be impressed with the Falcons until they win a Super Bowl (or at least a playoff game). Fine…that’s your right. So keep on doubting, worrying, fretting, dismissing, and distancing yourselves from the team. The rest of us will get on with enjoying the moment. As a long time fan, I’ve suffered more than my fair share of disappointment, and I gonna enjoy this season until there’s nothing left to enjoy. If the Falcons trip again in the first round of the playoffs, I’ll be as pissed as the next guy. But I’m not gonna sit on my hands and expect the worse…I’m gonna enjoy every minute of the season to it’s max, and we’ll cross the playoff bridge when we get to it.

And Thomas Brown…what’s your problem? Are you retarded or something? If you want to suck the dawgsdicks, go on over to THEIR blog and post your gibberish there. OK then.

Boo Boo

November 5th, 2012
10:50 am

The potential blame for failure would have gone on Matt Bryant’s shoulders, for missing 2 field goals, had Romo come up with a 17 second miracle. Because of one Bryant miss and then a Cowboys’ miss, Smith chickened out of a 50-yard field goal attempt and punted. The Falcons only had two penalties, but one negated (and created) an interception. Samuels dropped a potential interception before the Cowboys missed their field goal attempt. The unrecognized “turnover” was when Jay Ratliff reinjured his ankle just before halftime. His being out of the game helped Ryan take us down to get the tying field goal with no time left, and Ratliff’s shell of himself being on the field in the second half led to the Falcon running game breaking open enough to turn the tide and go up by 10 points.

Athens Tider

November 5th, 2012
11:01 am

@DP.. That is an excellent idea for the Falcons to somehow acquire Mark Ingram. He is a great player and a better person. He is also a very tough runner who almost never goes down at first contact. He is wasting away in New Orleans, and the Saints will not let anyone take the starring role from Brees, especially now that they’ve paid him $100M.

mark

November 5th, 2012
11:02 am

Jeff you forgot to mention Rodgers who I think will be the biggest story to come out of the second half. I really like the way Kotter uses him and I think down near the goal line he can start to make a difference. His play in the last 5 minutes put the game away and down the line is the answer to teams like Chicago and Greenbay that like to blitz, he is hard to cover out of the backfield and can take a 5 yard play and turn it into a 20 yard play.

DP

November 5th, 2012
11:10 am

Athens Tider, have you seen how New Orleans uses Ingram, when they bother to use him? They run him right over center on first down, then he comes off the field for Sproles, used almost exclusively as a receiver out of the backfield, or Pierre Thomas. If they have a 3rd or 4th down and a couple of feet, they bring Ingram in to slam the ball into an 8 man front. Which is why he barely averages 3 yards a carry for his career to this point.

I have no idea why they spent a 1st round draft pick on Ingram when they have no interest in running the ball and turned around and signed Sproles to a big free agent contract shortly after. They could have gotten a big back to pound the ball into the line 5 or 6 times a game with a late pick or at almost no cost via free agency.

If Ingram stays in New Orleans for another couple of years he could be another Michael Turner, a 25-26 year old back who still has a bunch of productive years ahead because he’s barely been used and hasn’t taken a beating.

ItsMe

November 5th, 2012
11:11 am

@ not impressed…is that a nickname given by your girlfriend?

Not Impressed

November 5th, 2012
11:13 am

@TRON5000

How long was Jim Mora a Falcon before his playoff win and Championship game appearance? Stop the excuses please. Baltimore hired a new coach and new qb the same year as Smith and Ryan.

Ryder

November 5th, 2012
11:13 am

@Not Impressed and Falcons Still, the question is “Can Chicago, SF, and the Giants stop Atlanta’s playmakers?” New coordinators, a QB with a chip on his shoulder, and a team that doesn’t beat itself can make a world of difference. If Eli, Alex Smith, or Cutler get down by 10 or more points they’re toast. Matt Ryan can be down by 10 and knows he can come back.

Atlanta’s biggest question is can they stay healthy for the stretch run.

FalconDawg

November 5th, 2012
11:14 am

The Falcons look GREAT! YOU DONT GET TO 8-0 IN THE NFL WITHOUT BEING PRETTY DAM GOOD! (Only 14 times since 78 when they went to 16 games, 9 of those went to the Super Bowl, 6 won it.) Havent even played our best ball yet and still we beat EVERYBODY! Dallas has a top 5 defense and we scored 19 with two missed field goals. I like this team. Keep your heads down Falcons and keep on truckin’!

Not Impressed

November 5th, 2012
11:16 am

@itSME

Are insults your way of debating why this team is not impressive? Being soft on playoff failure only hurts the team further, similar to a parent turning a blind eye to their child on drugs.

Not Impressed

November 5th, 2012
11:19 am

@FalconDawg

Green Bay was 15-1 & New England was 16-0 and lost to a 9-7 Giants team. It’s not about your record, it’s about the quality of opponents. The Falcons have not beaten a winning opponent, and they have struggled to put away the mediocre teams.

Not Impressed

November 5th, 2012
11:22 am

@Ryder

Dallas held this so called explosive offense to 6 points well into the 2nd half, and Dallas is far from the caliber of Green Bay, San Fran or Chicago. If they play this way vs those teams they will get blown out like they have vs Green Bay and New York in the last 2 playoff games.

Stan

November 5th, 2012
11:25 am

Falcons look better this year, and no matter who’s on your schedule, perfection is tough to come by. Just ask the 31other teams in the NFL.

Better coordinators, a maturing and talented QB, and top shelf receivers and backs have been enough to cover the iffy O-line and sometimes porous defense. Good thing the secondary have been ball hawks giving us a decided advantage in turnover ratio.

The Giants appear to be the only test remaining in the regular season, and hopefully we get game film showing how the Steelers shut down Eli. We could still get blown-out in the playoffs, but it’s appearing more and more likely the road to the SuperBowl comes through Atlanta, and this team just feels different than the last few years – they’ve learned how to win even when performing below potential. The front office has done a nice job of filling holes with impact players each off season.

pb

November 5th, 2012
11:25 am

FalconDawg,

Please come back down to Earth! Nice to be excited for your team, but until they beat someone good really convincingly, just don’t excite. They did not play Super Bowl great yesterday, but good enough to win. When win a playoff game or two, I will be excited and impressed. But agree, this is a much better Falcon than past two years.

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

November 5th, 2012
11:34 am

There was a time when the New England Patriots had never won a Super Bowl, and had had very little playoff success. Before 2001, they had been to the Super Bowl only twice – in 1985 and 1996 – and lost both.

As they began to win games in 2001, there were many detractors who bemoaned their prior lack of playoff success.

Every great team has to start somewhere. There is always a beginning. Once begun, the past is forgotten.

This could be the Falcons’ year. If you’ve been a long-suffering Falcons fan, why not enjoy this winning streak? Why whine about the past? This could be the start of a great run. Enjoy it.

Quitcherbitchin.

MLH

November 5th, 2012
11:43 am

@Not Impressed

Actually Dallas has the #4 defense in the league.

Not Impressed

November 5th, 2012
11:45 am

@Mike Choke Dogs

You do realize that before any team wins their 1st superbowl that there was a time when they never won one – right?

Not Impressed

November 5th, 2012
11:46 am

@MLH

And they also are 3-5.

Riser Upper!

November 5th, 2012
11:46 am

To all of the fans of other teams who like to bash this Falcon team I say this: 8-0. I don’t care about the Giants. I don’t care about the Jets. I don’t care about Green Bay. I don’t care about the Cowboys. I don’t care about _______________ (insert your team here). This is Atlanta. If you want to be where your team is, Delta’s ready when you are. We’ll help you pack. For Falcon fans, we’ll continue to RISE!

Boo Boo

November 5th, 2012
11:49 am

@not impressed – “The Falcons have not beaten a winning opponent”

Denver was 1-0 when the Falcons beat them (they are now 5-3)
San Diego was 2-0 when the Falcons beat them.

Additionally, Kansas City (0-0), Washington (2-2), and Philadelphia (3-3) did not have a losing record when the Falcons played them. The only teams that had losing records before the Falcons played them were Oakland (1-3), Carolina (1-4) and Dallas (3-4). Check your bias by checking your facts.

Anti-Not Impressed

November 5th, 2012
11:49 am

You know what an ugly W is? It’s a W. We got 8 of ‘em!

DP

November 5th, 2012
11:52 am

Not Impressed, judging from your whining about the Cowboys defense holding down the Falcons, you much not have watched the Cowboys pretty much shut down the Giants offense the previous week. Most of the Giants scoring was from defense and special teams plays. Their offense sputtered all day.

DP

November 5th, 2012
11:55 am

Jeff Schultz, a sign of the coming apocalypse: Fat blowhard self absorbed juvenile insufferable ESPN gasbag gets interview with both Obama and Romney tonight on the eve of the election. I’m old enough to remember when there was some level of dignity associated with the Presidency.

red hill

November 5th, 2012
11:57 am

There is a lot of football left to be played. The beauty of the NFL (unlike college) is that it will all be settled on the field. All of the Falcon doubters will either be proven right or proven wrong. All we have to do is keep watching.

Ben

November 5th, 2012
11:57 am

I love it when people say the Falcons have not beaten a good team. That totally ignores that fact that a lot of the teams the Falcons beat were supposed to be good. It’s only when the Falcons beat them that everyone is suddenly, “Oh, well that team isn’t any good.”

Just look at Dallas. Last week, after they barely lost, all the talking heads were all about how the Cowboys are good, and just need a little spark to take off and start dominating. Then the Falcons beat them and all of the sudden the Cowboys suck and were never any good and the Falcons only beat bad teams.

Well, here’s another point. The Falcons can only play the schedule the NFL gives them and they are undefeated on that schedule. Find me another team that can say that.

You naysayers can talk about the playoffs all you want once this team plays a game in the playoffs. Last year doesn’t matter, that was a different team. The team I’m following is the 8-0 2012 Atlanta Falcons!

KC Falcon

November 5th, 2012
12:04 pm

The Choke Police detects another alias- Not impressed and Still on here to stir the contrarion waters.

Falcons wins trump everything, Choke.

Peter

November 5th, 2012
12:10 pm

All Falcon’s fans should be excited..and wow the coaching staff has made all the difference this year…….

The players beleive in the coaches and themselves…… Wonderful to watch !

Ivan

November 5th, 2012
12:10 pm

“It’s not about your record, it’s about the quality of opponents”

Someone get Mike Smith on the phone and tell him to stop picking easy opponents to play each week.

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

November 5th, 2012
12:20 pm

Not impressed, that is correct. That is my point exactly. Those saying the Falcons can’t win the Super Bowl because they never have before don’t seem to get that simple fact.

Ivan

November 5th, 2012
12:29 pm

Nativebird

November 5th, 2012
12:37 pm

Matt Ryan is the real deal. I told you so in 2008. again, he WILL win a superbowl probably more, the question is…with WHAT TEAM. Surely this age old crappy franchise with a Lying sack of #$%^ hammer salesman owner will mess this up too and end up watching Matty Ice hoist the Lombardi trophy for say…..Philadelphia (mark my words).