All-Falcons Heat Check: Try putting some Matty Ice on that

The Burner aloft. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Turner the Burner aloft. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Our weekly Heat Check is devoted to the winner of a game so wild you’d have sworn the winning team couldn’t get out of its own way — right up until that moment when it, er, won the game.

Matt Ryan: I’m thinking those who likened him to Peyton Manning had it wrong. Ryan is more Ben Roethlisberger — a quarterback who doesn’t make every play but makes the big ones — than the essence of precision. We saw again Sunday night that Ryan can look pedestrian for whole quarters at a time. Thing is, not many of those substandard quarters are fourth quarters. Heat Index: Who needs a hot QB when you’ve got Matty Ice?

Michael Vick: Technically he no longer plays for the Falcons, but he gets grandfathered into our ratings because … well, because I say so. His three turnovers put the Eagles in position to lose, and then he put the Eagles in position to win. And then he left with a concussion and the Eagles lost anyway. And not many folks in the Dome seemed to be cheering him, which had to sting. Heat Index: Pointing toward the scoreboard to answer a shower of boos is rarely cool — less so when that scoreboard winds up showing that your side lost and you weren’t around to see it. (But at least he pointed with his index finger, if you students of Falcons history get my drift.)

Michael Turner: Sometimes you wonder why the Falcons keep handing the ball to this guy. Then he bursts through the line and you remember. He’s kind of an oddity himself — a power back whose biggest plays come on long runs. Heat Index: He’s the Burner, remember?

Tony Gonzalez: I admit it. There was a time last season when I thought he’d lost a step. Can’t say the notion occurred last night. Heat Index: Caught more passes that the Falcons’ starting wide receivers combined — I’d call that a hot night.

Julio Jones: He caught only two passes, but the third-down catch when the Falcons trailed by 10 points was the night’s biggest play. Had to jump, got hit by two Eagles, still hauled it in. Heat Index: More soothing balm for those who thought Thomas Dimitroff overreached on Draft Night.

Sam Baker: Speaking of first-round picks by TD the GM … here’s one that doesn’t look so hot. Baker hasn’t yielded all nine sacks posted by the Falcons’ first two opponents, but it does kind of seem that way. Heat Index: Bakers are supposed to be skilled at regulating heat, are they not?

The defense: It made some plays, yes. Just not very many. The Falcons have surrendered 61 points in two games. That’s not new-and-improved. That’s not-even-as-good-as-before. And the Eagles’ last good surge failed not because of anything the Falcons did but because Jeremy Maclin dropped the ball. Heat Index: Coordinator Brian VanGorder’s temperature has been known to rise. I’m guessing it’s at, ahem, fever pitch.

Dunta Robinson: I’m sorry, but that was a penalty. He seems to get those against Philly. Heat Index: The NFL might bring some heat Robinson’s way, in the form of another suspension.

The punter: His name is Matt Bosher. He punted out of bounds on his own 20. That takes some doing, but I’m not sure it’s something that should ever be done. Heat Index: Let’s just say he’s not the next Matty Ice.

Mike Smith: Give Smitty much credit for the intransigence displayed by his men. (More than anything, intransigence won the game.) But if the Eagles’ final heave had bounced the wrong way, we’d have wondered how the Falcons took the ball with 1:41 remaining and Philadelphia down to its final timeout  … and still wound up punting to DeSean Jackson and having to defend a pass from beyond midfield. Heat Index: It’s not often the deployment of the fall-on-the-ball Victory Formation can go wrong, but this bit of time mismanagement came perilously close. A bit more coaching cool is advised.

By Mark Bradley

180 comments Add your comment

dtanner

September 19th, 2011
9:56 am

Mark Bradley

September 19th, 2011
10:03 am

Kudos to dtanner, former star of “Full House.”

dtanner

September 19th, 2011
10:03 am

longtime reader,first time first,

DCBravosFan

September 19th, 2011
10:04 am

The scoreboard pointing was tres obnoxious. Mike certainly has not lost his cockiness. Not a good moment for him.

DCBravosFan

September 19th, 2011
10:05 am

Enter your comments here

Mark Bradley

September 19th, 2011
10:05 am

Then I kudo you for your first “first.” Wear it in good health.

DCBravosFan

September 19th, 2011
10:05 am

I thought the scoreboard pointing was a bit much. Mike has certainly not lost his cocky edge. Not a great moment for him.

JacketFanMarcus

September 19th, 2011
10:06 am

Falcons still missing something. Not sure what it is. Coming back to beat Philly with some QB I’ve never heard of – doesn’t impress me!

And the Falcons still might have lost if the Philly receiver doesn’t drop a WIDE open ball in his hands on 4th down.

This may be a long season….but at least Georgia Tech looks good this year…

Marcus

September 19th, 2011
10:06 am

2nd or lower ..
MB, what could Smitty do? … clock stoped on change of possession (4th down drop by Macklin). PHI called their last timeout after the 1st down play to conserve time knowing that 3 more plays wouldn’t run out the game clock, even if play clock went all the way down. I think they milked the clock for almost all that they could.

Mark Bradley

September 19th, 2011
10:07 am

Could have run the ball into the line, as opposed to having Matt Ryan fall on it.

Michael M.

September 19th, 2011
10:07 am

Congratulations Matt Ryan and all the Birds on First Win of Season!

At least vick didn't point the the scoreboard with the fingers he used last time

September 19th, 2011
10:08 am

Where is Mike Mularkey on the heat index? Mularkey playcalls for 3 qtrs: 152 yards, Matt Ryan no-huddle: 10 plays 160+ yds 2 tds.

kudzu

September 19th, 2011
10:08 am

Serious issues with OLine, punter, DTackles, Dbacks…not sure how we won, thank you Matt and Tony G for hanging…Matt damn near got killed…

Will be easier now to be at the Bucs/Falcs game next week in Tampa…

kudzu

September 19th, 2011
10:10 am

BTW, Vick still does what he does, fumbles…

Marcus

September 19th, 2011
10:11 am

Glad for the W, but I think if Vick doesn’t get hurt, we take the ‘L’. Not hating, loving the win (esp. since I live up here in Philly region), but the Falcons D, despite the turnovers we gained, looked at wit’s end trying to stop the Eagles in the 3Q. The O didn’t look much better until late.

I am still not sure where M. Ryan was throwing on the 1st int … almost looked like a slip, as it was between TG and Harry Douglass and Nnamdi was in the right place. The 2nd one looked like timing/pressure, as Julio barely had turned his head and A. Samuel was, again, in the right place.

Also, last nite’s game was dang-near a blood match …. I can sense that these teams really don’t like each other … or at least the Falcons take exception to being the Eagles pet the last few games in this series (including when Vick was wearing the red-n-black).

Nice win

September 19th, 2011
10:15 am

Nice win but if Vick stays in game, Falcons lose. You could sense the “here we go again” with last night’s crowd up until the Vick injury. Additionally, Ryan is missing explosive play capability which could cost us big when playing the best NFC teams. Hope he continues to improve.

Marcus

September 19th, 2011
10:16 am

ro-row … blog monster … long story short (from eaten post):
Big questions on what M. Ryan saw on the 2 ints .., Falcons D looked perplexed when PHI put the foot on the accelerator in 3Q, just prior to Vick’s injury.
S. Baker might need to go by Costco and get supersized Wheaties … Trent Cole was tearing him up.

Sidenote (related to S. Baker’s performance): Any chance VanGorder implements some of that Wide 9 DL technique for JA55 and Ray Edwards, even if to give a different look to upcoming offenses?

Dr. Warren

September 19th, 2011
10:20 am

MB, not to quibble with you, but wouldn’t any running back’s biggest plays come on long runs?

Henry

September 19th, 2011
10:23 am

What’s with this Matty Ice moniker? It sounds like the name of a comic book action figure.

Eric

September 19th, 2011
10:23 am

I think both coordinators need to go honestly. BVG and Mularkey call some of the worst games I have ever seen. Defensively I don’t think there is ever a pass play where the opposing receiver isn’t wide open and offensively I would LOVE to see just a HINT of the kind of things the Eagles were doing all night. Instead we get boring formations, predictable token deep passes and poor clock management. This team has the talent to be a SB winner but it doesn’t have the coaching….

Herschel Talker

September 19th, 2011
10:24 am

MB:

You still think those guys at Turner Field are going to make the playoffs? When is your next column updating your prediction on those losers?

HT

NativeAtlantian

September 19th, 2011
10:27 am

~~Ugly~~ in soooooooooooo many ways but it’s called a “W”. Nice rundown Mr. Bradley!

Joe Tess Fish Housep

September 19th, 2011
10:28 am

The defence toally suxed last nite. Perrier Jerry still dont have N E sac nor does Ray Edmunds. @ thing they gave up most of there draft 4 Juliet Jones who did nuttin last nite is just plane dumb.

Flacons got lucky last nite. Had Vick not got injrued with a cheep shot, Eagels would of had won last nite.

Casey

September 19th, 2011
10:28 am

Is there any way we can get Harvey Dahl back? I know we can’t… but is there any hope for this offensive line?? They HAVE to come together if we’re going to make a playoff run; let alone a deep playoff run.

JLC

September 19th, 2011
10:29 am

I’m Tony Gonzalez from UC Berkley?

Mr C

September 19th, 2011
10:31 am

Hey Bradley, u haven’t answered my question about Dimitroff’s genius on draft day. The greatest trick journalist like u pull is convincing the world that Dimitroff is a genius. Can u name great players from Dimitroff’s draft? Baker, Decold, Owens, Peria, Weatherspoon, Blalock, Sidbury? Dunta Robinson is a bust as a Falcon.

Falcons o-line is awful. I watched the San Diego and Patriots game and it’s amazing how some teams can stack up on o-line while we continuously suck on o-line.

Casey

September 19th, 2011
10:33 am

Maybe they’ll suspend Robinson for the season (wishful thinking). He’s definitely a bust as a Falcon.

katherine

September 19th, 2011
10:33 am

I was really proud of the falcons last night for not giving up and playing until the last second. Are there things the need to work on? Yes….but what I was most disappointed in was the so called fans on the blog and in the staduim. They arent true fans if they were rooting for vick..you can root for him anytime except when he is playing the falcons. The “fans” on the blog last night were bashing the falcons all the way through the game and then all of a sudden are saying yay they won…fair weather fans.

TechLB

September 19th, 2011
10:34 am

Mark,

Matt’s a great QB but give us the breakdown on the offensive play calling and the lack of creativity by Mularkey. Seriously, are we planning to be this predictable – dare people to stop Michael Turner on 1st and 2nd down then blitz on 3rd – for the entire season? The best drives were Matty calling audibles and that’s a problem.

Also, Julio is a beast with the ball in his hands but he needs to sharpen his footwork and be more aggressive going for the ball…sloppy routes, waiting for the ball are going to minimize him against top corners.

katherine

September 19th, 2011
10:36 am

Nice win

September 19th, 2011
10:15 am
Nice win but if Vick stays in game, Falcons lose. You could sense the “here we go again” with last night’s crowd up until the Vick injury. Additionally, Ryan is missing explosive play capability which could cost us big when playing the best NFC teams. Hope he continues to improve.

You don’t know that at all. The so called fans rooting for vick aren’t real falcons fans either.

katherine

September 19th, 2011
10:36 am

ok why are my comments not showing up

Alphare

September 19th, 2011
10:39 am

I don’t remember a single Falcon defense player is from a big time school. That’s interesting.

Ted M

September 19th, 2011
10:39 am

Michael “No Longer the Burner” Turner.

But still pretty good.

Puma

September 19th, 2011
10:39 am

I agree we were lucky to win, but Vick did not get injured on a cheap shot but was tackled into his own guy.

Anyway, I thought the D did a decent job, the only problem was that the offense couldn’t stay on the field. When are they going to start clicking, doesn’t seem like they are in sync at all.

Dunta Robinson – so I am no football expert, but I can’t tell if this guy just sucks and has no impact, other than costly penalties, or is he so good that he never gets in on the action because they don’t throw his way?

Bob Berry to Cannonball Butler

September 19th, 2011
10:40 am

Dunta is a baller. He can hit.
Jesus, Julio can block. They teach that at Alabama.
P.Jerry is a baller. Grimes is a baller.
Gonzales is a legend.
Both Matts are solid and gutsy. Good.
BUT
We still cannot cover the 2nd, 3rd & 4th receiver.
We cannot kick off or punt (don’t they call it “football”?)
Look at the Iggles Left Tackle. Now look at ours. Boom.
Worst.defense.ever.
Put down the koolaid. The only reason we won was we knocked Scoreboard-Pointer out of the game. We won’t even make the playoffs with this defense, this pass coverage, this punter, and this Left tackle. You know it. I know it. NFL caliber coaches are supposed to fix these things.

Chandler the handler

September 19th, 2011
10:41 am

Have to agree with the comments regarding the OC– poor play calling. He seemed oblivious to T. Cole blowing up Sam Baker. Let Matt Ryan take control of more games. He thrives in the no- huddle and is a very cerebral qb. To quote from last night’s commentary when ryan took over , “right now Matt Ryan is calling a masterful game”. Much better than the first 3 quarters.

Mr. Mustard

September 19th, 2011
10:41 am

Some questions and observations:

1) We won a slug fest. I am impressed.

2) Where are Harry Douglas and Kerry Meiers (sp?) with cross over the middle? Where are the screens? One to Turner worked well in the first quarter. I watched New England’s play calling and they mix it up. We don’t.

3) The Julio Jones catch did exactly what he was drafted to do. That was nice to see.

4) I like our defense. Jerry’s name was called. Edwards seems to be making a difference. We are fast on defense, finally. Two last minute signings in the secondary started and made plays. Good.

5) Tuner the Burner, cannot create plays. Must have huge hole nowadays. Not good.

6) Really liked Jacquizz. Hit the holes, and cradled the ball. Put him on the field more.

Great game, and a meaningful one, I think for more reasons than just the win. We fought and won a game when things weren’t going our way. Maybe a maturation moment? I think so.

Throw some screens and balls to our slots. Geez.

duronimo

September 19th, 2011
10:41 am

Mullarky’s play calling was abysmal. In contrast, when Ryan got to call the plays (in the hurry-up) he quickly dismantled the Philly defense. Anyone else notice?

Greg

September 19th, 2011
10:41 am

No huddle= falcons drive down the field. keep it going.

Ted M

September 19th, 2011
10:42 am

Sam Baker got off to such a good start as a rookie only to flop. Was it the back surgery?

VP

September 19th, 2011
10:44 am

Bradley,

Do we have the only kick off man in the NFL who can’t get touch backs? It seems his kicks only go to the goal line. Huge disadvantage for us when compared to the other kickers who are all booming it into the back of the endzone.

PMC

September 19th, 2011
10:45 am

Two 80 yard drives in the 4th quarter for TD’s. Nice job Falcon offense!

Mr. Obvious

September 19th, 2011
10:45 am

The heat of the Falcons after last night’s game is NOTHING compared to the HEAT going right now in #7’s Herpes-riddled crotch.

Even better, Vick will one day be going for a swim for eternity in the Lake of Fire while wearing a gasoline Speedo.

Our beloved NFL team and our beloved city are now both better off for being cleansed of that demonic creature.

Go, Falcons, Go!!!!

PMC

September 19th, 2011
10:46 am

Go Flacons! GOOOO FLACONS!

duronimo

September 19th, 2011
10:47 am

Mullarky’s play calling was a smorgasboard of futility. However, with Matt calling the plays in the 4th quarter, he picked Philly apart like a surgeon.

Matt from MN

September 19th, 2011
10:47 am

Stop the madness and fire Mularkey, NOW!

Still Skeptical

September 19th, 2011
10:52 am

Baker v.Cole: Haven’t seen that much backpeddeling since Lester Maddox. When Baker wasn’t just plain beat he was used as a human battering ram. O.line is very suspect. Too many sacks, too many hurries, too many rush for no gain plays. Ryan may be tough but he can not take that kind of pounding every week.

Casey

September 19th, 2011
10:57 am

Two weeks in a row with Ryan taking a pounding. It’s not going to let up against Tampa Bay either! I’m more concerned with the O-Line than with the secondary.

GT GRAD

September 19th, 2011
10:57 am

Several big moments; however, three had the most significant impacts. The play when the Philly right gaurd pulled too soon & led to the Edwards fumble recovery. The play Vick got hurtand ended up leaving the game for good. The fact that Matt Ryan was allowed to RUN THE NO HUDDLE OFFENSE…………the third moment changed the game more than any other.

How in the world do you leave Sam Baker in the game after he was consistently egtting destroyed?

Matt Ryan has had almost no time to set & throw for two games now; he struggled during most of the Chicago game; however, he was ON for the entire Philly game…….thanks Matty Ice! Another 4th Quarter comeback.

Treeofwoe

September 19th, 2011
11:01 am

Great great win. We got the Philly mental block off our back. This was my perfect Mike Vick returns game. He gets K.O.’d and we beat Philly….is it wrong that I take great pleasure in that?

Let Matt run the offense!!! I don’t think it’s any coincidence that we started driving when he was calling the shots and calling out of plays from MM. Just audible Matt. Let the coach have a few token plays then call into what we need to do. Win > than making the OC mad over not running his play.

Someone send Baker to Yoga so he can learn to bend at the waist against a bull rush.

Officiating was horrible. How many illegal hands to the face / facemasking against Abe can the refs ignore…I guess all of them? How many hits to the head did Ryan take that weren’t called? It’s okay, we outlasted the refs and the Eagles. Go FALCONS!!!