Live from Falcons-Bucs: A mighty tough game to manage

Were I coaching, this Falcon would do a lot of watching. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Were I coaching, this Falcon stalwart would do a lot of watching in Game 16. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Mike Smith, who coaches the Falcons, says he’s playing to win Game 16, even though Game 16 means absolutely nothing. The Falcons know when (two weeks hence) and where (here) they’ll be playing next, and they know they don’t have to leave town to qualify for the Super Bowl.

As much as you can say that winning sets a tone, I’d suggest that tone has been sounded in Games 1-15. And there’s no compelling history on whether winning a Game 16 that doesn’t matter makes one smidgen of difference come the playoffs.

In 2007 the Patriots won their final regular-season game to get to 16-0 … but a month later they lost the Super Bowl to the team they’d beaten in Game 16. Last year the Packers won Game 16 behind their backup quarterback Matt Flynn to get to 15-1 … and lost their first postseason game.

If the Falcons beat the Buccaneers 45-24 today — that was the score in Game 16 last season, whereupon the Falcons went to the Meadowlands for the playoffs and lost 24-2 — it will make no different when next the Birds play. That game will matter. This one doesn’t. Me, I’d probably play the starters a half and let the JV’s finish, but that’s just me. And Mike Smith hasn’t dropped a hint as to his plans.

Whatever happens, I’ll be here to observe and report, and I’d appreciate your company. And let me wish one and all a belated Merry Christmas and a heartfelt Happy New Year.

By Mark Bradley

1,049 comments Add your comment

F. Sinkwich

December 30th, 2012
12:10 pm

Go Birds!

And Redskins!

Roy

December 30th, 2012
12:10 pm

I’m glad you are covering the game today Mark. That means a certain pain in the butt won’t be around because he’s banned from this blog. Not Jeff’s. We will win today. Starters or not. Bucs are not a good football team.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:19 pm

William Moore is inactive. But you knew that.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:24 pm

Odd season these Bucs have had. They were rolling when the Falcons played there three days after Thanksgiving. Lost by a point that day, haven’t won since.

Andy

December 30th, 2012
12:33 pm

I wonder if Raheem Morris is sitting back and chuckling a little. These Buc plays quit on their new coach just like they did on him.

CamiloAtlanta

December 30th, 2012
12:33 pm

Just win baby, and don’t stop.

lanier

December 30th, 2012
12:34 pm

whats the crowd look like. does it seem like there will be a big one to make lots of noise

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:34 pm

When the Falcons played down there, I thought that was a significant win. Tampa Bay looked like a pretty good team that day. But if the Bucs lose today, they’ll finish 6-10.

Roy

December 30th, 2012
12:36 pm

The Bucs always falter late in the season. I think they are a tired football team. Last year they lost 10 straight games, and this season they are going to lose 6 straight. That says something. And it’s not good.

Roy

December 30th, 2012
12:38 pm

I can imagine that crowd that first playoff game though. My goodness it’s going to be rocking. I hope it’s a Saturday night game. It’s going to be electric. That’s why I think we’ll win. Players will feed off the crowd.

1990_Champs_GT

December 30th, 2012
12:42 pm

Hey, off topic, but the LSU ads on the home page. I know ad revenue is where you find it, but c’mon man!

Big Crimson 75

December 30th, 2012
12:43 pm

What happened to the Bucs?

It’d be nice to see a Viking Win today.

Go Falcons

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:43 pm

The next ad I sell will be my first.

1990_Champs_GT

December 30th, 2012
12:46 pm

The Bucs will be better next year I think on defense. They’ve got some pride and I think they are going to be up to it today. It’s their playoff game, their Super Bowl.

No real need to challenge them. Get our guys some reps and then get them some ball caps.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:47 pm

Meaning: That is so not my department.

Come to think of it, I’m not sure I have a department.

Falconsfan0125

December 30th, 2012
12:48 pm

The LSU ad on the AJC homepage made me sick.

kingdaddy

December 30th, 2012
12:48 pm

Mark
Hope you got a little break at Christmas and hope 2013 sees you and yours in a kind way. We’ve played all year to be in this position and now we debate whether to play to win the last game or rest starters. My 5¢ says if a player has a nagging injury, then sit him and let the kids play. If the starters are healthy, play them. Its been a long season and the guys are banged up but that’s the nature of their profession. Honestly you want to win them all, but we have a chance to rest a few important players (especially in the secondary) and we must realize that we need these players more for the playoffs than we do this almost meaningless game. Just don’t let Tampa Bay spank us or embarrass us…
Great job in 2012 Mark, looking forward to 13…

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:49 pm

Although I’d lying if I didn’t say I enjoy the musical stylings of the LSU band. And also Leslie Miles’ way with the English language.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:50 pm

Thanks, kingdaddy.

My New Year’s resolution: Not to save so much vacation time until the last minute. I took two weeks in December and still won’t use all my days for the calendar year.

JSS

December 30th, 2012
12:50 pm

Raheem Morris is worrying about trying to get ready for the Dallas passing game…

@ Mark Bradley…
Happy New Year…

Good luck with today’s Coronation Parade, you’re going to need it!

Falconsfan0125

December 30th, 2012
12:51 pm

Where is the line between getting out injury free but still keeping momentum?

Big Crimson 75

December 30th, 2012
12:51 pm

Don’t say I didn’t tell ya, LSU is leaving the SEC for the Big 12 within 3 years.

1990_Champs_GT

December 30th, 2012
12:52 pm

@ Bradley,

Oh, I understand. Just looks odd to see full pagers touting the purple and gold in Dawg Country (and to a lesser extend Yellow Jacket Nation).

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:52 pm

Just took a gander at the AJC home page. That’s quite the LSU ad, I must concede.

tony

December 30th, 2012
12:53 pm

I hope Mike Smith play his starters for this game. A major injury to a key player could weaken your team.

Falconsfan0125

December 30th, 2012
12:53 pm

@ Big Crimson

Why would LSU do that??

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:53 pm

I seem to remember seeing Auburn billboards around town last summer.

kingdaddy

December 30th, 2012
12:53 pm

What’s up Big Crim???

tony

December 30th, 2012
12:53 pm

I hope he doesn’t………

KC in Athens

December 30th, 2012
12:54 pm

The LSU ad doesn’t bother me that much because it’s kind of like Ga. Tech putting out ads for season tickets in August. Desperate is as desperate does I guess.

JSS

December 30th, 2012
12:54 pm

It is called “paid advertising” for a reason!

Big Crimson 75

December 30th, 2012
12:54 pm

DAWG fan

December 30th, 2012
12:54 pm

Growing up in the ’60’s and ’70’s, I was always a Dallas Cowboys fan. In 1981, I moved to Dallas, TX, and was still there, when Jerry Jones dishonored Tom Landry so my allegiance to the Cowboys ended (I wouldn’t care if the contractible roof fell in on Jones….nor would I blink if he’d been, accidently, standing in the old Texas Stadium, when they imploded the place).
When Dallas started getting their regular butt kickin’s, I relished seeing them play the Falcons because, being a hometown Atlantan, I wanted the Birds to conquer.

THIS IS OUR TIME, BIRDS….DON’T LET IT GO!!

Deep Thoughts

December 30th, 2012
12:55 pm

Do you think the Falcons will lose either their OC, DC, or both to HC positions? Who is more likely?

Falconsfan0125

December 30th, 2012
12:55 pm

@ Mark Bradley

Advertising is getting out of hand. There is no such thing as loyalty anymore. Its all about the Money.

1990_Champs_GT

December 30th, 2012
12:56 pm

Miles is entertaining. The LSU fans I know hate him. I can talk to them out here in the Arkansas Delta because they aren’t trying to get me to buy a Razorback hat.

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:57 pm

Hasn’t advertising always been about money?

Big Crimson 75

December 30th, 2012
12:57 pm

King — getting over that Pennsylvania flu!!

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
12:57 pm

I don’t think the Falcons will lose either coordinator, but I’m occasionally wrong.

Steve

December 30th, 2012
12:58 pm

Falconsfan0125 I am sure Mark could care less as long as he still gets a weekly paycheck.

phil

December 30th, 2012
12:59 pm

If we lose today, we don’t deserve to play on…

Probably Tony Gonzalez’s last real chance to win a game today in his regular season finale. Such a shame he will never win a playoff game. Sickening.

Big Crimson 75

December 30th, 2012
12:59 pm

According to Meat-Head Glazer, Mularky is done after 1 year.
Both our Coordinators are getting HC jobs.

JSS

December 30th, 2012
1:00 pm

“Hasn’t advertising always been about money?”
No, it was generally about propaganda, but around these parts, it’s money…

phil

December 30th, 2012
1:01 pm

To heck with our coordinators then….

They will shortly regret those moves as the losses elsewhere pile up ahead of the inevitable firing!

phil

December 30th, 2012
1:02 pm

Hope most had a good Christmas and happy new year to you all!

Big Crimson 75

December 30th, 2012
1:02 pm

Phil — relax. Glazer reported it.

JTH

December 30th, 2012
1:03 pm

How the cheerleaders look?

phil

December 30th, 2012
1:03 pm

You can tell already we’re not ready to play….

Sigh.

Big Crimson 75

December 30th, 2012
1:03 pm

Bother >>> Keonen

Mark Bradley

December 30th, 2012
1:04 pm

I think Jacksonville looks ready to dump everybody and make Tim Tebow player-coach.