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Archive for October, 2010

Moneyball – Week 7 Review

October 27th, 2010 Comments off

Offensively, the Falcons were more aggressive, challenging the beat up Bengals secondary down the field, and it paid off. Roddy had a great game and was major reason why Matt Ryan also earned his best showing passing in Moneyball since it started last year. Gonzalez and Jenkins didn’t do much until the end of the game. Turner also had a very good game. Up front, Dahl and Blalock had two good performance and the Falcons interior line pretty much dominated the Bengals interior defensive line for most of the game. Pass protection was pretty good.

I also realized that I had never designated a Moneyball value for a two-point conversion. Well, I figured it would be worth $1.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTAL
Michael Turner$0$17$2$0$0$0$19.00
Matt Ryan$17$0$0$0$0$0$17.00
Roddy White$0$0$17$0$0-$2$15.00
Harvey Dahl$0$0$0$6$0-$1$5.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$5$0$0$5.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0$3$0$0$3.00
Brian Finneran$0$0$2$0$1$0$3.00
Gartrell Johnson$0$2$0$0$0$0$2.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$2$0$2.00
Michael Jenkins$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Michael Palmer$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Jason Snelling$0-$1$0$0$0$0-$1.00

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Roddy shines versus Bengals

October 24th, 2010 Comments off
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Roddy White scores

A strong start didn’t vanquish the Cincinnati Bengals fully, but despite a 3rd quarter comeback, the Falcons managed to pull out the win 39-32 to move their record to 5-2, currently atop the National Football Conference.

Matt Ryan passed for a season high of 299 yards while completing 24 of 33 passes for 3 touchdowns and an interception. On the ground, Michael Turner was solid with 121 yards on 23 carries and two scores. Ryan’s big day was in large part thanks to the dominant performance of Roddy White who led the team with 11 catches for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jason Snelling added 4 catches for 15 yards. Michael Jenkins caught 3 passes for 25 yards and Tony Gonzalez add a pair of receptions for 27 yards. Brian Finneran also caught 2 passes for 8 yards, including a 3-yard scoring strike from Ryan. The team’s 452 total yards is a season high for the Falcons and their most productive day since a 477-yard effort against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5 of 2009. The team was able to break some of their red zone blues by converting on all 4 tries there.

The Falcons got off to a strong start, taking a 24-3 lead into halftime. But the Bengals bounced back in the second half, scoring on their first two offensive series to cut the lead to 24-13. A Ryan interception to Leon Hall, set up a big 64-yard scoring catch and run to Jordan Shipley 3 plays later to cut the Falcons lead to 5 points. The very next play by the Falcons, Roddy White was stripped by Adam Jones who scrambled 59 yards for another score to give the Bengals the lead 25-24. But on the ensuing drive, a 22-yard strike to Tony Gonzalez on a third down set up the Falcons to hit Roddy White on an 11-yard score on the next play to take the lead back. Then White made a brilliant catch on the two-point conversion to give the Falcons a 7-point margin. A Bengals fumble gave the Falcons the ball back on the next drive, and Michael Turner capped off a 10-play, 52-yard drive with a 3-yard run for the Falcons to push the game out of reach 39-25. The Bengals would march down the field and score again with less than two minutes remaining to cut the lead to seven. Brian Finneran would come up with the clutch recovery on the Bengals onside kick attempt and the Falcons would punt after bleeding time down to 35 seconds with three run plays. Four plays later, John Abraham sacked Carson Palmer as time expired.

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Robinson questionable for Bengals game

October 22nd, 2010 Comments off

The Falcons Week 7 injury report released today indicated that cornerback Dunta Robinson is questionable for this weekend’s game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. Robinson suffered a concussion on a hit he delivered to Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the second quarter last week. He missed the remainder of the game and sat out all three days of practice.

As previously noted, tight end Justin Peelle (sports hernia) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (knee) are out this week. Running back Antone Smith who suffered a shoulder injury last week is also listed as questionable after missing the entire week of practice. Linebacker Curtis Lofton who was limited in practice on Wednesday, fully participated on Thursday and was removed from the report for Friday, indicating he will play this weekend.

For the Bengals, they will be without running back Brian Leonard, defensive end Antwan Odom, and safety Roy Williams. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph (ankle), defensive tackle Pat Sims (knee), and defensive end Jonathan Fanene (hamstring) were labeled questionable. Fanene fully participated in all three days of practice this week. Joseph missed Wednesday and Thursday practice, but was limited on Friday. Sims missed Wednesday practice, was limited on Thursday and fully participated on Friday.

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Peelle out 4-6 weeks with sports hernia

October 20th, 2010 Comments off

Jay Adams of Atlanta Falcons.com reports that Falcons tight end Justin Peelle will miss the next four to six weeks due to undergoing sports hernia surgery on Tuesday. Backup Michael Palmer will move up in the depth chart to take over for Peelle, who’s duties are mostly as a blocker, but he’s added value as a receiver. For the year, Peelle has 3 catches for 26 yards. Palmer has made catches in each of the past two games likely due to increased playing time from Peelle not being 100%.

Also on today’s injury report, running back Antone Smith was held out with a shoulder injury, suffered vs. the Eagles on special teams coverage.  Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon missed practice and has already been ruled out for this week’s matchup vs. the Cincinnati Bengals as he continues to recover from a knee injury he suffered in Week 5 vs. the Cleveland Browns. The Falcons have a bye next week, which should allow Weatherspoon an extra week to rest and recover. Stephen Nicholas is expected to continue starting in place of Weatherspoon.

Cornerback Dunta Robinson also sat out practice due to the concussion he suffered vs. the Eagles. He also received $50,000 fine from the league for his hit on Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson that caused a concussion in both players. Robinson is appealing his fine. Due to league rules on concussions, his status vs. the Bengals won’t be known until he is cleared by an independent doctor. If he misses the Bengals game, Chris Owens is expected to be the starter.

Moneyball – Week 6 Review

October 20th, 2010 Comments off

This game was lost because of the huge deficit that the Eagles got early in this game. The defense looked completely lost early in the game, and didn’t get their act together until later in the game. By then, it was too late and the hole that the team had dug itself was too big to overcome.

It was not the strongest performance for Matt Ryan, particularly early on. He was inaccurate on a lot of throws. He probably had at least three or four passes that could have been picked off, although his lone interception wasn’t his fault (dropped by Gonzalez). He missed some reads on some blitzes, and looked like he was rattled early by the Eagles blitz, and checked the ball down to runners when he had receivers open downfield. Not sure why he was so rattled, as I only counted him getting hit four times the entire game (last week he was hit that many times in the first quarter). Michael Turner had some nice runs, and the running game was a little bit more successful after the first quarter, but it was too little too late. Roddy White had a nice game, and Michael Jenkins probably had his one of his best games in his career in his first week back from a shoulder injury. It certainly was the best game he’s had since at least the ’08 season. Hopefully it’s a sign of more things to come rather than a one-week aberration. Gonzalez was held in check for the most part despite catching two touchdown passes. The blocking struggled early on, particularly on the left side of the line. Justin Blalock really struggled in pass protection, and Sam Baker didn’t do much better. Both players picked up their games as it wore on, but for the most part the line was dominated in this game.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTAL
Michael Jenkins$0$1$6$1$0$0$8.00
Michael Turner$0$7$0$0$0$0$7.00
Roddy White$0$0$7-$1$0$0$6.00
Matt Ryan$7$0$0$0$0-$2$5.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$2.5$0$0$2.50
Jason Snelling$0$1$0$0$0.5$0$1.50
Harry Douglas$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$1$0$1.00
Harvey Dahl$0$0$0$0.5$0$0$0.50
Todd McClure$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Brian Finneran$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0-$2$0$0-$2.00

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Eagles smack Falcons

October 17th, 2010 Comments off
Yahoo! Sports (Getty Images)

Trent Cole poses after a sack

The Falcons got down early to the Philadelphia Eagles on the road and ultimately lose the game 31-17. Struggles on both sides of the ball got the Falcons done to an early 21-0 deficit, and they were unable to overcome it.

Matt Ryan finished the day 23 of 42 for 250 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception in what was a pretty mundane performance. The Falcons ground attack was ineffective early on and largely abandoned in the second half. Michael Turner finished with 15 carries for 45 yards. Jason Snelling added 3 carries for 17 yards. Roddy White led receivers with 6 catches for 83 yards. The team welcomed back Michael Jenkins, who had missed the previous five games with a shoulder injury. He came up with 5 catches for 99 yards, a career high for him. Harry Douglas added 4 catches for 32 yards, and Tony Gonzalez had 3 catches for 19 yards, including both of Ryan’s passing touchdowns.

The Falcons were stagnant on third downs, converting 4 of 14 attempts. They failed to convert their first five third down attempts. The offensive line got pushed around, making little way on the ground and giving up 3 sacks to the Eagles defense. The offense started to get things going midway through the second quarter, driving down the field on an 11-play, 52-yard drive. But on a 3rd & 6 from the Eagles 22-yard line, Ryan’s throw to Tony Gonzalez was dropped and tipped into the hands of Asante Samuel at the 8-yard line. The Falcons would not score until their next offensive series, set up by a William Moore interception that would set them up at the Eagles 31 yard to start, closing out the first half. The offense continued its struggles in the redzone on their following series in the second half, driving 13 plays for 62 yards. But they were unable to score on five plays inside the redzone, ultimately settling for a 36-yard field goal from Matt Bryant. The Falcons wouldn’t score again until 5:45 remaining in the fourth quarter to take the game to 28-17. A failed onside attempt following thwarted any slim hope of a comeback at that point.

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Moneyball – 1st Quarter Stats

October 13th, 2010 Comments off

I mean to post this on Saturday before the Browns game, but then realized that I had lost the stats from Week 1 game vs. the Steelers. So I had to go back and look at some of the plays from that game to fill in some of the blanks I had. So here are the accumulated stats from the first four games of the season.

You can click to view the rules of Moneyball in the forums to get a glossary of the stats.

PASSING
1stD
3rd
20+
40+
TD
PT
INT
Skd
TOTAL
Matt Ryan17179062130$31.00
RUSHING
5+ yd
10+
1st
3rd
YAC
TD
MH
TOTAL
Jason Snelling12555320$39.00
Michael Turner14751210$38.00
Matt Ryan3104000$9.00
Ovie Mughelli1011000$3.00
Jerious Norwood1001000$2.00
RECEIVING
1st
3rd
YAC
20+
40+
TD
Drop
TOTAL
Roddy White8504020$21.00
Tony Gonzalez4712010$16.00
Harry Douglas3112012$7.00
Brian Finneran0111010$5.00
Jason Snelling0030010$5.00
Ovie Mughelli1120000$4.00
Justin Peelle0100000$1.00
Michael Turner0020001$1.00
Eric Weems1000000$1.00
Jerious Norwood0010002-$1.00

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Moneyball – Week 5 Review

October 13th, 2010 Comments off

The Falcons got off to a slow start offensively, and the defense had a solid performance, although they did get quite a bit of help from mental mistakes by the Browns. There were three 3rd down opportunities where penalties backed up the Browns offense. Also a botched handoff to Hillis probably prevented the Browns from scoring on a 3rd & Goal at the Falcons 2-yard line. That could have made it 14-6 Cleveland, and potentially made it a much different game. Instead, they had to settle for a field goal, and the Falcons came back (likely energized) and score on the subsequent drive to take the lead 13-10.

Matt Ryan got off to a slow start, although a lot of credit has to go to the Browns defense. I credited them with at least five passes defended, many of which came on the first few series. Coverage was tight, especially in the redzone as Ryan had three throwaways on in those situations, two of which came on third downs to force a field goal. Ryan was much better in the second half and completely all of his final 8 attempts. He earned $6 of his $8 total on those 8 attempts.

This game really was the Michael Turner and Roddy White show. Turner had a solid day on the ground, although most of his 140 rushing yards came on two plays of 55 and 22 yards. Besides those two plays he averaged a respectable 3.7 yards per carry, which isn’t great but definitely contributed to wearing down the Browns defense. Roddy had a very good game, making an excellent catch on the 45-yard score that was slightly underthrown by Ryan. Snelling didn’t do much this game, probably due to Turner’s strong performance. The rest of the receivers didn’t do much, although it is interesting that both backup tight ends earned more than Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez did have a nice third down conversion, but that was negated by an early dropped pass.

Up front, those guys had a nice day although Sam Baker continued to struggle. He didn’t have a bad game, despite giving up a sack and a pressure, but it certainly wasn’t a good performance to get him out of the doghouse of Falcon fans at large. Blalock made some nice blocks in the ground game, but also missed two blocks as well. It’s too often becoming a trend that he is missing blocks every game. Both guys on the left side need to step their games up. The rest of the line played well, and McClure should get credit since Shaun Rogers was virtually a non-factor in this game. Rogers is a big, physical interior player that usually gives McClure fits.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTAL
Michael Turner$0$14$0$0$0$0$14.00
Roddy White$0$0$9$0$0$0$9.00
Matt Ryan$8$2$0$0$0-$2$8.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Harvey Dahl$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Justin Peelle$0$0$1$1$0$0$2.00
Jason Snelling$0$1$0$0$0.5$0$1.50
Harry Douglas$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Michael Palmer$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Antone Smith$0$0$0$0$0.5$0$0.50
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Will Svitek$0$0$0$0$0-$1-$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0-$1$0$0-$1.00

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Turner helps Falcons power through Browns

October 10th, 2010 Comments off
AP/T.Dejak

Michael Turner (AP)

The Falcons took their record to 4-1 with a 20-10 victory on the road vs. the Cleveland Browns. Down early in the game, the Falcons fought back from a 6-7 halftime deficit to make some big plays in the second half to win the game.

Matt Ryan got off to a slow start, completing 8 of his first 20 pass attempts for 92 yards. But he completed his final 8 attempts for 95 yards, including a 45-yard scoring strike to Roddy White. He finished the day 16 of 28 for 187 yards and a score. Michael Turner had a strong day on the ground, rushing for 140 yards on 19 carries, including a 55-yarder in the first half. Jason Snelling added 18 yards on 6 carries. Roddy White had another standout performance, leading the team with 101 yards receiving on 5 catches, and a score. Tony Gonzalez also added 5 receptions for 41 yards. Harry Douglas had 2 receptions for 17 yards. The Falcons passing game struggled early in the game, and the Falcons were stalled in the redzone on three attempts. They settled for field goals instead of touchdowns on all three tries, missing the third attempt. They were able to move the ball in the second quarter, but again couldn’t finish drives for touchdowns, and were more successful in the second half due to the big plays.

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Moneyball – Week 4 Review

October 7th, 2010 Comments off

This was a game where the Falcons got outplayed, but because the 49ers were unable to finish, they wound up losing and the Falcons escaped with a close win. As I suspected, this was a trap game, but despite a disappointing performance, a win is a win.

Not a great offensive performance for the Falcons. The running game was so-so, and they had to settle for field goals on 2 of their 4 redzone trips, and turned the ball over in another.

Ryan didn’t grade well in this game. He started out well, but started to fade in the second half until the final drive. He played better than his earnings indicate, but a lot of poor throws in the third and fourth quarter really brought down his earnings. He didn’t make his first poor throw until a minute left in the first half. But he managed to have 7 over the course of the second half. The two interceptions and the sack he took in the third quarter also didn’t help.

On the ground, Turner and Snelling had nice games. Turner busted the big 27-yarder, and Snelling was good at converting first downs, with 4 on the day. Nice to see Ovie Mughelli get rewarded with some carries after a very good blocking performance vs. New Orleans. He was not nearly as impactful blocking vs. the 49ers.

Speaking of the blocking, while Harvey Dahl did not have a good day earning because of 3 missed blocks, I do think all three cases were instances where he was asked to pull. I think he still outplayed Justin Blalock who’s only real notable contribution was on Turner’s 27-yard run. Sam Baker turned in another mediocre day. I’ve seen it several times over the past two years, but he and Blalock don’t seem to be on the same page like Dahl and Clabo are. It seems like a regular thing when they are beat by stunts when one of them fails to switch to the free defender. Ryan was hit a lot early on, with my count of 5 hits on him in the first quarter alone. They protected him better as the game wore on as he was hit only 5 times the rest of the game, but the punishment he took early on could have contributed to his declining performance as the game wore on. I should also note that one of Dahl’s missed blocks came as the Falcons were setting up the game-winning field goal, and the same goes for Blalock, which don’t seem as grievous as they would at other times.

Roddy White came up big. All of his catches seem to be critical ones, even if they didn’t earn big money. Gonzo also made some key catches. Douglas didn’t have a great performance, but made at least three nice plays: the touchdown catch, the 34-yard gain, and the big 17-yard gain on 3rd down on the game-winning drive.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTAL
Michael Turner$0$8$1-$1$0$0$8.00
Jason Snelling$0$7$0$1$0$0$8.00
Matt Ryan$4$2$0$0$0-$1$5.00
Roddy White$0$0$5$0$0$0$5.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$4$0$0$0$4.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Brian Finneran$0$0$2$1$0$0$3.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0$3$0$0$3.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$1.5$0$0$1.50
Ovie Mughelli$0$1$0$1$0-$1$1.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$1$0-$1$0.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Harvey Dahl$0$0$0-$1.5$0$0-$1.50

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