The Falcons’ domination, adroit Asante and one great play

Pretty good coverage, but a better throw by Matt Ryan and catch by Tony G. (AP photo by Rich Addicks)

Good coverage, but a better throw by Matt Ryan and catch by Tony G. (AP photo by Rich Addicks)

This post is an adjunct to the game column, which can be found by clicking here.

1. Stem to stern, that’s the most impressive Atlanta Falcons regular-season performance I’ve seen — and I’ve been following them since 1984. My standard for prove-it games has long been the 41-10 road thrashing of the Patriots on Nov. 8, 1998, and the 1998 Birds wound up in the Super Bowl. This year’s victory in Philadelphia ahead of Hurricane Sandy was the most comprehensive I’d covered since, but that one paled alongside this, which featured domination literally from the first. The Giants’ David Wilson chose to return the opening kickoff from six yards deep in the end zone, and reserve defensive end Cliff Matthews tackled him on the 13. Two plays later, the Falcons had the ball. Four plays after that, they had the lead.

2. That’s why the Falcons wanted Asante Samuel. Not only did the cornerback jump the route on Eli Manning’s first pass and then gather in the deflected ball, he also talked Mike Smith into challenging a third-quarter catch by tight end Marcellus Bennett that turned out, after further review, not to have been a catch at all. Afterward the irrepressible Samuel was asked if this game wasn’t an indication that the Falcons are the NFL’s best team, and he said: “I’m not really worried about that. Keep the haters hating. We like playing with a chip on our shoulder.”

3. The first-quarter touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Tony Gonzalez was beautiful on both ends. Ryan stood in and stepped up against heavy pressure from the fearsome Osi Umenyiora — “That’s the best front four in the National Football League,” Smith would say afterward — and threw a laser only Gonzalez could have caught. “He actually had good coverage,” Gonzalez said, speaking of safety Will Hill, but Gonzalez runs the post as well as any tight end ever, and he jumps like no tight end ever. He rose and snatched the ball, and the Falcons led 14-0.

Further reading: A Super sign? The Falcons have flummoxed three elite QB’s.

By Mark Bradley

57 comments Add your comment

[...] Further reading: The Falcons’ domination, adroit Asante and one great play. [...]

Falcons Fever

December 17th, 2012
7:47 am

Maybe the respect will begin to show, I know only what happens in Jan matters, but I do hear Aretha warming up her voice.

Falcons Fever

December 17th, 2012
7:48 am

Oh yeah, first…..

Falcons Fever

December 17th, 2012
7:49 am

….just like the Falcons.

Big Bubba

December 17th, 2012
7:49 am

Goo Falcons!!! Ohh, first!!!!!

Big Bubba

December 17th, 2012
7:50 am

Crap!!! How about a shout out anyway Mark?

Bam

December 17th, 2012
8:02 am

We picked off Eli’s brother 3 times, Drew Breeze 5 times and Eli twice. What else do they want. Oh and we knocked RG3 out the game. Enough Said!

Mark Bradley

December 17th, 2012
8:02 am

Mark Bradley

December 17th, 2012
8:02 am

Rob

December 17th, 2012
8:04 am

I was at the game yesterday and it was almost like a playoff atmosphere. I was so glad that the blue jerseys in the crowd never had much to cheer about in our house!! Go Birds!!

Bam

December 17th, 2012
8:06 am

We need to keep the momentum going into the playoffs.

AtlanGa Faldawgs

December 17th, 2012
8:42 am

still doesn’t erase 24-2….show me in late January

NCBravesFan

December 17th, 2012
8:56 am

After that performance, all I can say is – if the Mayans are right about Friday, I am going to be TICKED!

NY Giants Fan

December 17th, 2012
8:59 am

We would have won had it not been for the refs.

Gotta love the media attention

December 17th, 2012
8:59 am

And this game is still far down the list of news items on espn and nfl’s websites. I’m sure they’ll start talking 100% Final Four news once we win the Superbowl. Sad, really.

Eric Johnson

December 17th, 2012
9:07 am

The Dome was rocking yesterday like this was our playoff game, great atmosphere!!! After all the smack talk I have taken from my NY friends it was pure bliss to sing “Nah Nah Nah Hey Hey Goodbye to the Giants fans leaving their seats early!! Go Falcons!!!

some sense

December 17th, 2012
9:09 am

“Respect” isn’t an issue; it’s become a cliche. Every winning team plays “with a chip on its shoulder”. Yesterday’s game did “validate” a really good team that will go as far as its interior linemen, not the Julio’s and Tony’s and Matty’s and Roddy’s, can take it.

dean

December 17th, 2012
9:09 am

Lol @ NCBravesFan comment.

As many predicted, the national folks are poo pooing on the beatdown. Not that I care very much. A little bit, yes. Mucho, nada.

Weyman C. Wannamaker Jr. (A Great American)

December 17th, 2012
9:11 am

This was a great game… and a great performance. Nice to see them not resting on their laurels since they won their division.

But until they can advance past the first round of the playoffs…. the jury is still out.

senior falcon

December 17th, 2012
9:16 am

Mark I haved been following the Falcons 20 years longer than you and that is the most impressive regular season game I have ever seen them play. But, there must be more to come to achieve what they(and we)deserve. Go Falcons!

bigeasy830

December 17th, 2012
9:24 am

That game was like the Holyfield/Tyson fight. The Falcons bust them in the mouth, ran the ball right at them on that first drive then the bullies, NY Giants, were dazed and basically out on their feet, great game by the birds.

GATA

December 17th, 2012
9:25 am

The Falcons were feeling the MOJO from the Mighty Jefferson Dragons who won AA State on Saturday!! Keep it rolling Falcons!

Old Dawg

December 17th, 2012
9:34 am

I really like cheering for the Falcons. I just hate the hell outta their uniforms!

Hankie Aron

December 17th, 2012
9:43 am

Mark- To be honest I thought I was dreaming. No one and I mean no one could have predicted the beatdown yesterday. Special performance. The best game in total the falcons ever played.

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

December 17th, 2012
9:46 am

According to the football “experts” on TV: the Falcons played well — yes, BUT — the big story is how poorly the Giants played.

uncle rico

December 17th, 2012
9:57 am

From Bob Berry to Steve Barkowski to Mick Vick to Matt Ryan. I have been there every Sunday. Yesterday’s performance was what I’ve always wanted to see! So much so that I had to mention it in this morning’s staff meeting! The best is yet to come……

uncle rico

December 17th, 2012
9:57 am

From Bob Berry to Steve Barkowski to Mick Vick to Matt Ryan. I have been there every Sunday. Yesterday’s performance was what I’ve always wanted to see! So much so that I had to mention it in this morning’s staff meeting! The best is yet to come……

RETIRED

December 17th, 2012
9:57 am

Halftime time quote “It’s not the Falcons playing good but the Giants playing bad”
Evening ESPN “Worst quarterback performances Eli Manning”
Morning Shows “If Seattle plays Atlanta I like Seattle”
Keep it up you fools

Keep winning Birds
Go Falcons
Can you hear us now!

aon

December 17th, 2012
10:05 am

HaaaaaHaaaa! NCBravesFan, that is classic!! Love it.

Weyman C. Wannamaker Jr. (A Great American)

December 17th, 2012
10:07 am

Okay… so maybe the jury isn’t out… but I’m surely withholding my judgement till the Falcons can advance past the first round.

eric

December 17th, 2012
10:11 am

This was a fantastic victory and sent a statement to the league for sure. That said, I won’t really ever be able to trust them until they get that first playoff victory…

Weyman C. Wannamaker Jr. (A Great American)

December 17th, 2012
10:15 am

After all… this is the same team that lost to the Carolina Panthers last week.

MLH

December 17th, 2012
10:24 am

Well, I’m pretty sure they will get past the first round of the playoffs this year, considering they most likely will have bye!

wde

December 17th, 2012
10:25 am

Well after listening to all the talk of who was playing “big boy” football last week we now know it ain’t the Giants..its our own Falcons with the big boy pants on…great win !

Kelly

December 17th, 2012
10:30 am

The respect from the media DOES NOT MATTER! The only thing matters is that they win. Just win baby! Great game.

Weyman C. Wannamaker Jr. (A Great American)

December 17th, 2012
10:44 am

True, MLH. Let me revise my comments to say “Until they win a playoff game…”

Dejay

December 17th, 2012
10:44 am

Hey, if hate is what drives this team to play like this, we have to keep the hate coming folks. So…

The Giants had injuries to their secondary and Ahmad Bradshaw was out. If he had played, the Giants would’ve won easily.

The Falcons still have to prove it in the playoffs. Yesterday’s lucky win was not impressive at all.

Georgia State could’ve beaten some of the guys the Falcons played on their schedule.

Mike Smith reminds me of Lenny Wilkens when he was here. Nice regular season numbers, can’t do anything when it matters.

I’d rather have the Saints’ roster than the Falcons’ right now. They have much more upside.

See how that works. Add to the hate so they can keep the momentum going…

Mark Bradley

December 17th, 2012
10:46 am

Oh, yes. I’m sure Ahmad Bradshaw would have put up 35 points by himself.

wde

December 17th, 2012
10:48 am

Dejay its amazing that you were able to type that drivel, please tell me your not driving today..wait I get it its not a blog entry per se its a hate generator to fuel the Falcons to better performance…well played!

Dejay

December 17th, 2012
10:51 am

WDE…reverse psychology, my friend. Reverse psychology…

falconfever

December 17th, 2012
10:56 am

Go Falcons!!! Awesome game!! Keep it coming!!

Weyman C. Wannamaker Jr. (A Great American)

December 17th, 2012
11:04 am

Somehting tells me that MB’s going to have the Falcons rated somewhere between “thermonuclear explosion” and “gigantic solar flare” on the forthcoming “Heat Check.” :-)

ShaneOmac

December 17th, 2012
11:09 am

What’s funny as that only last week MANY of you so called fans on these message boards were saying how awful we were and breaking your ankles trying to jump off the bandwagon and now you love this team so much and knew you had it in em!?!? this is why nationally we get no respect it starts with the fair weathered fandom

Gamer

December 17th, 2012
11:09 am

Falcons D keep outmanning the Mannings Qbs…….Falcons ‘D’ manning up to future hall of famers Manning quarterbacks…..A Headlining Game…….Falcons played a very physical game against one of the most physical NFL team……….Even HD showed courage in his routes…….

Ryan did a great job in his reads finding the open receivers…….Running game was solid enough for play-action plays……

One more win for TOP SEED throughout NFC’s postseason………No place better to play than inside the Georgia Dome……HOME SWEET DOME…

FALCONS ON THREE, DOMINATE….

LuellaStevens

December 17th, 2012
11:14 am

The news media nationally has been EXTREMELY TIGHT-LIPPED about the Falcons victory. When headlining their football news this morning, they included the Dallas-Steelers game, the 49-Patriots game, the washington game, the ravens game and the Falcons-Giants game I noticed was EXCLUDED as much as possible. The doubters are still out there and the only way to quiet them and convince them is for the falcons to win the superbowl. Then and only then will the Falcons get the credit they deserve and move up higher in power ranking above 7.

Roy

December 17th, 2012
11:15 am

I was most proud of the O-line play yesterday. They dominated up front. If they play that way the rest of the season, the Falcons will win the Super Bowl. O-line was mauling in the run game, and giving Ryan plenty of time in the pocket.

Roy

December 17th, 2012
11:16 am

Why is it that everytime the Falcons beat an opponent, it’s always that the other team “didn’t play well” or “they have issues”…on ESPN right now they are talking about the Giants’ “issues”. Wow! The same Giants that pasted the Packers, Saints, and 49ers.

Danny Ford

December 17th, 2012
11:28 am

Mr. Blank must have given his “some of us are going to be gone & it ain’t me” speech to the choir last week!

GB's Hamburgers

December 17th, 2012
11:40 am

Mark, I have to agree. I’ve been following them from day one also and this was one of the best blowout type wins I’ve seen from them. Samuel’s interception may be the smartest and most athletic I’ve ever seen. The pinpoint Ryan pass to Tony reminded me of how Chandler got it done under pressure.

Ted M

December 17th, 2012
12:05 pm

The Falcons likely knocked the Giants out of the playoffs…Ha

It was good to see the Falcons run the ball better. Especially MT up the middle 4 times for the first TD. I, however, still think MT has lost more than just a step and want to see more Rodgers.