Falcons’ line on a roll, now gets rematch against Suh

Ndamukong Suh grabbed Matt Ryan's facemask (and did a few other things) when Falcons and Lions last played. (AP photo)

Ndamukong Suh grabbed Matt Ryan's facemask (and did some other things) in last Falcons-Lions game.

FLOWERY BRANCH – This won’t play well with any coach who believes his weekly game plans belong on life’s top shelf, along with quantum physics and atom-splitting. But football really isn’t that complicated. To quote Vince Lombardi, “Some people try to find things in this game that don’t exist, but football is only two things – blocking and tackling.”

Which is why, after the Falcons’ most impressive victory among their 12 this season, it seems appropriate to throw a few roses at their offensive line. The blockers on this team don’t get talked about a lot, except maybe when Matt Ryan gets drilled or Michael Turner gets stuffed for no gain on third-and-1.

They’re not unique in that regard. Nobody thinks about the pipes in their house until they leak.

“That’s most o-lines,” Falcons tackle Tyson Clabo said. “Who has a good o-line? Across the league, everybody’s o-line is the [supposed] reason they can’t win games. So we’re not taking it personally.”

The Falcons have not been a great running team for most of the season, and, yes, the offensive line gets a share of the blame for that. But collectively, (left to right) Sam Baker, Justin Blalock, Todd McClure, Peter Konz and Clabo are coming off their best game of the season. The Falcons rushed for 129 yards and Ryan was seldom touched in a 34-0 win over the New York Giants. The line neutralized a Giants’ front four that buried them in last year’s playoffs.

Ryan ranks seventh in the NFL in pass attempts (539) but only 21st in times sacked (25).

By nature, offensive linemen don’t brag a lot. Besides, they know better. This week, the Falcons could get steamrolled by Detroit assault weapon Ndamukong Suh for a few sacks — between pile-drivers and kicks to the groin — and suddenly nobody would be worshiping at the altars of Baker to Clabo.

As McClure said when asked if the Giants game had altered perceptions of the line being just average, “Well, for one week we have. Next week we could be the worst guys to ever play the game. You guys may write we shouldn’t even be on a high school football field. But we bust our tail. We don’t take this lightly.”

This week, it’s the Lions and Suh. Will Ford Field be encircled with barbed wire?

When these teams met a year ago, the Falcons won 23-16 and it was as close as they ever came to a street brawl. Before the game in the tunnel, they saw Lions players standing in the corner of the end zone, blocking their path to the field. Linebacker Mike Peterson recalled telling teammates, ‘We’re not going around them — we’re going this way [straight ahead]. Get the bleepity bleep out of the way.’”

Then came a game filled with cheap shots. Suh and end Cliff Avril reportedly taunted Ryan when he was on the turf writhing in pain with what appeared to be a significant knee injury. McClure said later, “I had respect for Suh before the game. 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.’ … I mean, ‘Get the cart’? Are you serious?”

Suh denied it all. But there has been no shortage of incidents and accusations since. The Falcons said nothing Tuesday to fan the flames. Ryan said he never actually heard Suh say anything, joking, “I think I was too busy yelling at [trainer] Marty [Lauzon].”

When asked if McClure and White would fabricate that, Ryan smiled and said, “They’ve always been pretty honest with me.”

Clabo actually praised Suh. He called him “a throwback. Back in the old days nobody would’ve batted an eye about the way he plays. Part of me appreciates the violence that he brings to the game.”

Reminded of comments by McClure and White, Clabo said, “I don’t need to try to hang out with him or have him over for a barbecue. I just have to block him.”

If the Falcons can do that, the line will be a non story, which is just what they want.

By Jeff Schultz

Recent blogs you may have missed

Haters’ roundup: National view on Falcons has changed (including video)

Ryan asks for more, gives more at right time for Falcons

Falcons, Smith know now is time they’re going to be judged

SEC’s decision to not suspend Dial sends wrong message

Dale Murphy sounds off on steroid users in Hall of Fame and his own candidacy

Bobby Petrino finds a school willing to sell its soul

Falcons give a performance that leaves us wondering again

“Sack Schultz” unveils Bowl Blowout Contest (from Potato to BCS)

216 comments Add your comment

Harrison

December 18th, 2012
4:20 pm

First.

Go birds.

Maybe we go back to the zone blocking scheme and chop block Suh.

Buckeye

December 18th, 2012
4:35 pm

Second

and long. What Stafford will face all day

SawThat1nce

December 18th, 2012
4:51 pm

This gang of thugs that is known as the Detroit Lions are always a threat to the health and welfare of the football players they enter a game against.

SawThat1nce

December 18th, 2012
4:54 pm

I hope that the Falcons can get this victory without any of their players being injured by the cheap-shot artists that some people call a football team, the Detroit Lions.

GTT

December 18th, 2012
4:58 pm

I hope they play just like they did Sunday … the whole team.

Ramblin ATLER

December 18th, 2012
5:02 pm

I wish we had Suh on our line why your choir boy Atlanta fans always complain about everything.

Name Changed to Avoid Moderation

December 18th, 2012
5:12 pm

I recall (in this exact space) at the onset of the season, evryone, including me, questioning the O-Line. Sam Baker to be exact. He and the rest of the line have done a great job of keeping #2 on his feet and in the game!

Great job guys. I know you don’t hear it enough

LDawg

December 18th, 2012
5:15 pm

It’s writhing in pain. Not sure what wreathing is – a sort of holiday pun?

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 18th, 2012
5:18 pm

Really would like to see Harvey Dahl pissed at Suh. Or Quizzy.

LDawg

December 18th, 2012
5:19 pm

Then Clabo knows what he has to do – block the boy named Suh…

Jimmy Crack

December 18th, 2012
5:19 pm

I hope they give him the old chop suhey, like what El Mongol used to do to Assassin I & II.

SawThat1nce

December 18th, 2012
5:23 pm

Or put the swinging hangman hold on Suh, like Mario Galento used to do.

Najeh Davenpoop

December 18th, 2012
5:28 pm

““That’s most o-lines,” Falcons tackle Tyson Clabo said. “Who has a good o-line? Across the league, everybody’s o-line is the [supposed] reason they can’t win games. So we’re not taking it personally.””

This is dumb. Of course O-lines get credit. The Patriots’ O-line gets a ton of credit for keeping Brady untouched. The Falcons’ line isn’t that good but it is pretty solid.

Kane337

December 18th, 2012
5:28 pm

If Suh hurts our QB I’m gonna fly to Detroit and taze his fat butt.

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

December 18th, 2012
5:28 pm

Johnny Cash said it best: “Ya know, life ain’t easy for a boy named Suh!”

Gordon Soley

December 18th, 2012
5:33 pm

Maybe we could just punch him in the “Solar Plexus”

JSS

December 18th, 2012
5:34 pm

All this pretend “macho crap,” Dollar General having brass ball sale again?

falcon

December 18th, 2012
5:34 pm

I was very proud of the way our OL played against the NY Giants. The whole team played a great game. Good job guys!

Zoomie

December 18th, 2012
5:46 pm

Non-story nothing! I’ve been one of the people giving the line grief for the run game. That O-line was the story in the game against the Giants. They controlled the LOS for the whole game against one of the best front-four in football. Kudos to the Falcons’ O-line and their great play last Sunday! For once, you’re the feel-good story and deserve to be!

Falcon James

December 18th, 2012
5:47 pm

Too bad Hope does not play on offense. He could knock Suh’s light out.

Joey

December 18th, 2012
5:51 pm

Dollar General said you and “CHOKE” bought em all, JSS . . .

Really?

December 18th, 2012
5:51 pm

detroit is a war zone masquerading as a ghetto. Is it any surprise anyone playing there is angry? It’s almost as nasty and poverty stricken as that cesspool called new orleans.

Ryan's dad

December 18th, 2012
5:51 pm

With all this animosity and potential cheap shots, maybe we should keep Dominique Franks out of the game. I’d hate to see us not have our ace punt-returner for the playoffs!

True Falcon Fan

December 18th, 2012
6:02 pm

@5:34 Yo ZERO — what do you think your doing out of that GROTTO??? Get your ASHES back there and don’t come out, do you hear me??????????????????? ;)

Go Falcons —- Lions next

JSS

December 18th, 2012
6:09 pm

And the next time one of you so-called football talkers ask about why the anger? The answer is 6:02… Emotionally stunted at its best!

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

December 18th, 2012
6:22 pm

You LOSERS need to put on your Grown Up Pants and stop your whining. This is football, not soap opera. That’s why this team will never win in the playoffs.

CHOKE….Weak

Falcants….Weak

Fans……Weak

HA HA :)

Jason

December 18th, 2012
6:24 pm

If the O-line play like they did on Sunday in the playoffs, the Falcons will win the Super Bowl.

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

December 18th, 2012
6:25 pm

If the Falcons win the Super Bowl, CHOKE will say, “But the Colts, Dolphins and Broncos have each won two!”

If the Falcons win a second Super Bowl, CHOKE will say, “But the Raiders, Redskins and Patriots have each won three!”

If the Falcons win a third Super Bowl, CHOKE will say, “But the Packers and Giants have each won four!”

If the Falcons win a fourth Super Bowl, CHOKE will say, “But the 49ers and Cowboys have each won five!”

If the Falcons win a fifth Super Bowl, CHOKE will say, “But the Steelers have won six!”

If the Falcons win a sixth Super Bowl, CHOKE will say, “Yeah, but they didn’t really beat anybody. I still love Mike Vick because he makes me feel all tingly down there.”

HA HA :)

Nativebird

December 18th, 2012
6:26 pm

Suh is a punk and thug. The nfl can dress him up in a sweater and teach him to speak with his little boy inside voice all they want…but it doesn’t change a thing. you can take the thug off the streets but you can’t take the streets out of the thug.

Jason

December 18th, 2012
6:27 pm

Our defense is good enough to win the Super Bowl. It’s all going to come down to our O-line play and Ryan getting the pressure of “must win playoffs” out of his head. If we go out there and play like we can, nobody can stop us. We had slip ups vs. the Saints and Panthers but those were division opponents, they played very hard against us and I really don’t think we wanted to win in Carolina. That game was basically nothing to us.

Jason

December 18th, 2012
6:28 pm

This game is not about revenge. You guys can complain all you want about how Suh and the Lions defense acted last year. I don’t care. We need to go in and win the game to gain the #1 seed and HFA. Look at the big picture and not the little things throughout the game. Just win.

Wrecker

December 18th, 2012
6:32 pm

I can’t believe idiot Saints fans are still trolling these blogs. 6-8, no coach, and a loser city.

JSS

December 18th, 2012
6:32 pm

Joey, “Identity theft” is a crime, you can report to the GBI and turn in all of the counterfeit brass ones you were hawking…

JSS

December 18th, 2012
6:34 pm

“Saints fans?” Where? You people and your Bogeymen…

JSS

December 18th, 2012
7:07 pm

And out come the homophobes and transgender joke tellers… But funny that the user-name stealer knows the name of long retired performers, wonder why?

D-MAN

December 18th, 2012
7:11 pm

It’s in the back of there minds,payback is HELL Sugh,what a peice of crap!

Bills fan

December 18th, 2012
7:14 pm

Remember reading in George Plimpton’s book “Paper Lion” his account of playing football with the Detroit Lions in 1966.

It’s common for players to conceal injuries for fear of an opponent exploiting it or losing their starting position. Alex Karras was one of their defensive tackles with a style much like Suh’s. I concealed a rather significant injury and played without a complaint or even the trainer aware of it.

In the interview after the game the Bear’s guard a rookie a high draft choice who played across from Karras bragged at how Karras wasn’t that tough and was overrated. Karras quietly fumed recalls Plimpton, also made aware after the fact. Karras circled the date of the next Bear’s game with the Lions.

The first play of the game Karras dented and the rookies metal face mask with a vicious forearm shiver that set the tone for the game. At the end of the fourth quarter Karras visited the rookie thoroughly thrashed rookie and delivered the final blow with the comment: “Nice game a#@breath!”

Best not to incite any of these modern day goliaths with inflammatory comments.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

December 18th, 2012
7:18 pm

So when do you guys get some Carolina 2-9 payback?…ha ha :)

Jason

December 18th, 2012
7:34 pm

I know this much, Matt Ryan is one of the toughest players in the league. He can take hits, he hasn’t missed a game since 2009. His durability is great. I love having a QB that you can count on game in and game out. As long as we have Matt, we always have a chance.

BigDawg

December 18th, 2012
7:59 pm

Does anyone miss Vick?! haha!

Eric C.

December 18th, 2012
8:03 pm

Jason, agreed…that game at Detroit last year proved his toughness. Having said that, the OL needs to bottle up Sue…he is F#$@% @#$# %@%# and he will stop at little to end Ryan’s season or career.

Groundhogday

December 18th, 2012
8:07 pm

Really? @ 5:51

detroit is a war zone masquerading as a ghetto. Is it any surprise anyone playing there is angry? It’s almost as nasty and poverty stricken as that cesspool called new orleans.
__________________________________________________________________________

New Orleans is Detroit with better restaurants.

UPGRAYEDD

December 18th, 2012
8:07 pm

I just hope our DBs can keep up with Megatron. Can’t afford a letdown after that thrashing on Sunday.

Michael M.

December 18th, 2012
8:08 pm

Enter your comments here

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

December 18th, 2012
8:08 pm

BigDawg

December 18th, 2012
7:59 pm
Does anyone miss Vick?! haha!

________________________________________

Well obviously 2004 does :)

Michael M.

December 18th, 2012
8:12 pm

Too much crap talk about going to and winning the Superbowl……………………….secure home field and win the playoff game first and then the NFC championship game next and then play in and win the Superbowl………..I think that is the road map to being the true champs of the world.

To the haters out there, if they do the above steps and take it this year, you guys need to go crawl back up under your rocks.

Michael M.

December 18th, 2012
8:13 pm

The best comments always get the filter so why waste the time……………………………

Dewnsav

December 18th, 2012
8:43 pm

Gordon Soley…now that’s a blast from the past !!

Cheap Whine

December 18th, 2012
8:47 pm

Nothing like a good win and a quality game for the O-line to get this team fired up. The Giants are no slouch. I expect another good team effort with adjustments for the thugees. If Fat-boy tries anything cheap, then sic Chris Hope on em.

redcoat

December 18th, 2012
8:58 pm

Micheal Vick was a great talent ……….but turned into such a waste and disappointment.

Matt Ryan is a great talent………and becoming greater each year.