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Archive for November, 2010

Bryant’s leg lifts Falcons over Packers

November 28th, 2010 Comments off
AP from Yahoo!

Bryant kicks the game winner

The Falcons won another tight one with a last minute game-winning field goal by Matt Bryant to squeak past the Green Bay Packers 20-17. The Falcons record moves to 9-2 atop the NFC and remain unbeaten at home in their last fifteen outings under Matt Ryan.

Matt Ryan led the team, completing 24 of 28 passes for 198 yards and 1 touchdown. Ryan was nearly perfect in the second half, completing 14 straight passes until his last throw was incomplete. Michael Turner led the team on the ground with 110 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown. Tony Gonzalez led receivers with 6 grabs for 51 yards and a touchdown. Roddy White had 5 catches for 49 yards. Jason Snelling (4 catches and 32 yards) and Michael Jenkins (3 catches for 24 yards) also contributed.

The Falcons started off strong on the opening possession of the game, but a 15-yard penalty on Harvey Dahl killed their momentum. And they were forced to settle for a field goal from Bryant. The Packers were able to tie up the game with a late first quarter drive, but a goalline stand by the Falcons at their own 4-yard line forced them to settle for three. The Packers were on the verge of going up on their next drive, but Aaron Rodgers fumbled the ball into the endzone leading to a touchback. The Falcons capitalized with a 14-play drive that lasted over 7 minutes, ending with Ryan’s touchdown pass to Gonzalez with 12 seconds to go in the half. In the second half, the Packers were able to make some big plays in the air and drove down to tie the game 10-10. Another long drive by the Falcons closed out the third quarter and ended with Turner’s 1-yard touchdown run at the start of the fourth. The Packers were able to bounce back two series later with Rodgers hitting Jordy Nelson in the back of the endzone on a 10-yard score to match the Falcons. It left with just a minute left in the game. The Falcons final drive was kicked off by a 40-yard return by Eric Weems, with a 15-yard face mask penalty tacked on for good measure. Four Ryan completions later the Falcons were in field goal range. Bryant hit a 47-yarder with 13 seconds left to go. A big pass play failed for the Packers, and the Falcons earned their ninth victory.

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Moneyball – Week 11 Review

November 24th, 2010 Comments off

Offensively, this wasn’t a stellar performance from the Falcons like we’ve seen in recent weeks. But it was solid, and would qualify as doing enough to get the job done. Ryan played well. The running game really didn’t start to get going until the second half, when they had worn down the Rams defense. Roddy White had another solid day, and the Falcons were able to get key contributions from Jenkins, Gonzo, Peelle, Finneran, and there was even an Eric Weems sighting on offense. Odd to see Douglas not being in the mix, and you have to wonder just how much a factor he is going to be down the stretch.

Blocking was pretty good. They didn’t get a ton of push in the ground game, but enough throughout most of the game to make the running game somewhat effective. Pass protection was solid, with Ryan only seeing a little bit of pressure.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTAL
Michael Turner$0$15$0$0$0$0$15.00
Matt Ryan$12$1$0$0$0$0$13.00
Roddy White$0$0$8$0$0-$3$5.00
Harvey Dahl$0$0$0$4$0$0$4.00
Eric Weems$0$0$2$0$1.5$0$3.50
Michael Jenkins$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Justin Peelle$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Tyson Clabo$0$0$0$3$0$0$3.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$3$0$0-$1$2.00
Brian Finneran$0$0$2$0$0$0$2.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Justin Blalock$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
Jason Snelling$0$0$2$0$0-$1$1.00
Todd McClure$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Ovie Mughelli$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00
Will Svitek$0$0$0$1$0$0$1.00

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Falcons take down Rams

November 21st, 2010 Comments off
From Yahoo!

Corey Peters pressures Bradford

Despite a somewhat sluggish start, the Falcons prevailed in a road win over the St. Louis Rams by a score of 34-17. The team’s record moves to 8-2, currently atop the NFC.

Matt Ryan led the team with 26 completions on 39 attempts for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns. Michael Turner added 131 rushing yards on 28 carries, including a 39-yard scoring run to seal the game. Roddy White had another strong performance, finishing with 9 receptions for 83 yards. Michael Jenkins added 5 catches and 58 yards with Tony Gonzalez having 4 catches and 46 yards as well. Brian Finneran’s lone reception was a 12-yard scoring strike from Matt Ryan. Justin Peelle caught Ryan’s other touchdown pass, and finished the game with 2 catches for 14 yards.

The Rams were able to get on the board first with a 25-yard touchdown throw to tight end Michael Hoomanuwanui. The Falcons answered back with a 42-yard field goal from Matt Bryant. The Rams would go up again on the ensuing drive with a field goal of their own. But a 55-yard kick return from Eric Weems set up the Falcons to make another score, where Ryan hit Finneran to answer. The Falcons were able to take their first lead on their ensuing possession, and stretch it with another field goal from Bryant to go into halftime up 16-10. Both field goals came as a result of the Falcons offense stalling inside the Rams 10-yard line. The Rams would answer back at the start of the third quarter after a Falcons three-and-out to take a 17-16 lead. The Falcons would answer two possessions later with Peelle’s touchdown catch with 2 minutes left in the third quarter. The Falcons would start the fourth quarter with a long, methodical 14-play drive that lasted seven minutes and wind up with another field goal after pushing the ball inside the Rams 10-yard line once more. The Rams tried to answer back with a drive of their own to cut the 9-point lead. But William Moore intercepted an errant Sam Bradford shovel pass at the 1-yard line with 3:31 left in the game. With 2 minutes left in the game and the Falcons running out the clock, Turner broke loss on a 39-yard scamper to end any chance for a comeback from the Rams. Ryan would hit White on a two-point conversion afterward.

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Abe and Spoon questionable vs. Rams

November 19th, 2010 Comments off
Icon Sports Media, Inc.

Team hopes to have both Lofton and Weatherspoon in lineup

The Falcons released their full injury report this afternoon, which listed defensive end John Abraham and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon as questionable for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams. Included on the report were also linebacker Curtis Lofton and tight end Justin Peelle, both listed as probable.

Abraham was the only one of the group that was limited in Friday’s practice with a groin injury. He was also limited on Thursday and did not participate on Wednesday. Weatherspoon who has missed the past four games with a knee injury, fully participated in Friday’s practice giving optimism that he will play this weekend. Peelle has missed three games due to a sports hernia, but fully participated in both Thursday and Friday practices. Lofton was limited on Wednesday with a knee injury, but fully participated in the past two days of practice.

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Week 11 Stock Report

November 17th, 2010 Comments off

Brent Grimes

Is Brent Grimes slipping?

I did this in the preseason when it came to discussing which players had their stock up and down as far as making the roster, but I think it’s time to break it out for the regular season as well. Just trying to look at which players stock is up and down as far as playing well, poorly, etc. And since this feature was non-existent through the first 9 games of the season, for this first time, I’ll try to incorporate performances in recent weeks.
 

Stock Up

Roddy White – This is a no brainer. Roddy is on a ridiculous pace so far this year with his production. His 70 catches in 9 games makes him on pace for 124 receptions this year. For the record, the single season record for receptions is 143 which Marvin Harrison accomplished in 2002. But the second most ever is 123, accomplished by Herman Moore in 1995 and Wes Welker in 2009.

Michael Palmer – In the absence of Justin Peelle, the undrafted rookie has performed well as a role player, contributing as a receiver and blocker. His play hasn’t been stellar but he’s made some key blocks in recent games and been a very reliable outlet for Ryan underneath. He looks like a keeper long-term. If his play continues to improve, the Falcons may have little reason to bring Peelle back next year.

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Moneyball – Week 10 Review

November 17th, 2010 Comments off

This was a very good performance from the Falcons across the board. They controlled most of this game in all three phases. Offensively they were strong. Defensively they were good. Special teams stepped up and made some plays (and even better prevented them), and the interesting thing was how disciplined the Falcons were all night. Their first penalty didn’t come until 57 minutes into the game. And despite a late rally by the Ravens, this is probably the most complete game we’ve seen from the Falcons all year long. And because it came against the Ravens, a team many experts think is the best team in football, it might be the most impressive win under Mike Smith’s entire tenure.

A very strong performance from Matt Ryan. He showed a lot of savvy, great accuracy and decision making throughout the game. He had a few plays that were qualified as poor throws because of my very liberal definition, but they were really miscommunications between him and in the receiver, and he also had five passes dropped, including the first three from Roddy White all year. White had a strong game, getting away with a bit of a push off on the game-winning touchdown, but I’m not complaining. I’ll call it a “veteran move.” The running game was hardly a factor, although part of that was the play-calling as the Falcons pretty much knew that they would struggle to move the ball on the ground, and put the game in Ryan’s hands. Which definitely proved to be the right call. Terrell Suggs gave both our tackles some trouble throughout the game. Todd McClure did an admirable job taking on Haloti Ngata in the middle. I wouldn’t say he did well against Ngata, but given that McClure historically struggles against players like him and he didn’t have a huge game, then it grades out as admirable. If McClure chooses to retire after this season, then his season thus far has been one of his best in Falcon memory, and he’ll choose to go out on top.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTAL
Matt Ryan$15$1$0$0$0$0$16.00
Roddy White$0$0$9-$1$0$0$8.00
Jason Snelling$0$3$4$0$0$0#7.00
Michael Jenkins$0$0$4$0$0$0$4.00
Brian Finneran$0$0$2$0$0$0$2.00
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$2$0-$1$0$0$1.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Michael Turner$0$1$0$0$0$0$1.00
Harry Douglas$0$0$1$0$0$0$1.00
Gartrell Johnson$0$0$0$0$1$0$1.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$0$0$0$0.00
Eric Weems$0$0$0$0$1-$1$0.00

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Ryan and White shine in comeback win over Ravens

November 12th, 2010 1 comment
Getty Images

Ryan and White celebrate the game-winner

As what has become seemingly the norm for the Falcons this season, the team won a thrilling victory at home against the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 26-21. This moves the Falcons record to 7-2 and at the forefront of the NFC hunt for home field advantage come January.

Matt Ryan led the way, completing 32 of 50 passes for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns. His attempts and completions mark career highs, and his touchdown total matches his career high. HIs 316-yard mark is the second-most of his career and certainly a season high. Michael Turner was bottled up by the stout Ravens defense, being held to 17 carries for 39 yards. Roddy White had a strong performance, despite being listed as questionable going into tonight’s game with a knee injury. He finished with 12 receptions for 138 yards and 2 scores, including a 33-yard game-winner with 45 seconds left on the clock. Jason Snelling added 6 catches for 56 yards and a score himself. Michael Jenkins contributed with 5 grabs for 48 yards, Tony Gonzalez added 4 catches for 38 yards.

The Falcons were the first on the board, but did not do so until their third offensive series. It was a 14-play drive for 91 yards that ended in a 28-yard scamper by Snelling on a Ryan pass. The defense held firm, and when the ensuing Falcons possession ended with a punt, the special teams were able to create a turnover by stripping Ravens punt returner Lardarius Webb for a fumble.  The Falcons then went 43 yards to close out the first half, ending in a field goal by Matt Bryant. Their opening possession of the second half was caused by a Brent Grimes interception, leading to another field goal. The Ravens would strike back with a Anquan Boldin touchdown catch to get their first points and cut the game to a one-score lead midway through the third quarter. The Falcons would get their first score from White on a 4-yard pas from Ryan with 11:39 left in the fourth quarter. The Ravens marched down the field to cut it back to a 6-point deficit on a 11-play 75-yard drive ending in a Derrick Mason touchdown catch for 6 yards. The Ravens would then take the lead on their next possession with 1:10 left in the game on a 9-yard pass to Todd Heap. On the ensuing drive, Matt Ryan hit Michael Jenkins for 24 yards on a 3rd & 10 to get the ball to midfield. The following play had Ryan hit White for 15 yards to get the ball to the Ravens 41.  On the ensuing third down, Ryan tried to link up with Tony Gonzalez, but the pass was incomplete. But a pass interference call on Tavares Gooden led to a first down. The next play the Falcons hit White for the game-winning score. The Ravens got the ball back with 20 seconds left in the game and were unable to score.

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Moneyball – 1st Half Stats

November 9th, 2010 Comments off

Here are the accumulated stats for Moneyball through the first 8 games of the season. The numbers in parentheses () indicate the stats that each player earned in the past four games.

You can click here to see the stats from the first quarter of the season. And you can also click here to see the glossary and Moneyball rules.

PASSING
1st
3rd
20+
40+
TD
PT
INT
Skd
TOTAL
Matt Ryan33 (16)37 (20)15 (6)5 (5)14 (8)38 (17)5 (2)1 (1)$78.00 ($47)

2-point conversions: Ryan (1)

RUSHING
5+ yd
10+
1st
3rd
YAC
TD
MH
TOTAL
Michael Turner32 (18)15 (8)13 (8)4 (3)7 (5)4 (3)0$94.00 ($56)
Jason Snelling14 (2)6 (1)5 (0)5 (0)3 (0)2 (0)1 (1)$42.00 ($3)
Matt Ryan5 (2)1 (0)05 (1)000$12.00 ($3)
Ovie Mughelli1 (0)01 (0)1 (0)000$3.00 ($0)
Gartrell Johnson01 (1)00000$2.00 ($2)
Jerious Norwood1 (0)001 (0)000$2.00 ($0)
Michael Jenkins00001 (1)00$1.00 ($1)
RECEIVING
1st
3rd
YAC
20+
40+
TD
Drop
TOTAL
Roddy White15 (7)13 (8)5 (5)7 (3)3 (3)5 (3)0$56.00 ($35)
Tony Gonzalez6 (2)11 (4)1 (0)3 (1)03 (2)4 (4)$23.00 ($7)
Michael Jenkins1 (1)2 (2)1 (1)2 (2)2 (2)00$10.00 ($10)
Brian Finneran03 (2)1 (0)1 (0)02 (1)0$9.00 ($4)
Harry Douglas4 (1)3 (2)1 (0)2 (0)01 (0)3 (1)$9.00 ($2)
Jason Snelling2 (2)1 (1)3 (0)001 (0)0$8.00 ($3)
Michael Palmer2 (2)00001 (1)0$4.00 ($4)
Ovie Mughelli1 (0)1 (0)2 (0)0000$4.00 ($0)
MIchael Turner1 (1)03 (1)0001 (0)$3.00 ($2)
Justin Peelle02 (1)00000$2.00 ($1)
Eric Weems1 (0)000000$1.00 ($0)
Jerious Norwood001 (0)0002 (0)-$1.00 ($0)

2-point conversions: White (1)

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Moneyball – Week 9 Review

November 9th, 2010 Comments off

Ryan had another solid day, doing an excellent job managing the game. He was accurate, made good decisions, and was on the money most of the day. The team did particularly well on third downs. Ryan was able to spread the ball around to multiple receivers, although it was disappointing that Harry Douglas did not get a reception. The running game didn’t get off to a great start, but picked up as the game wore on. Turner was solid. Snelling has continued to be an afterthought in the offense, partly due to the strong play of Turner as of late. Well, at least that means in the second half of the year he should be very fresh. But he still managed to contribute in the passing game. The blocking was solid. Most of the pressures came at the end of the first half when the Bucs dialed up their blitzes and there were a few breakdowns in the Falcons protections. Blalock had one of his better games.

PLAYER
PASS
RUSH
REC
BLOCK
SPEC
PEN
TOTAL
Michael Turner$0$18$0$0$0$0$18.00
Matt Ryan$15$1$0$0$0$0$16.00
Jason Snelling$0$2$3$1$0$0$6.00
Michael Jenkins$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Michael Palmer$0$0$3$0$0$0$3.00
Brian Finneran$0$0$2$1$0$0$3.00
Roddy White$0$0$3$0$0-$1$2.00
Tony Gonzalez$0$0$3-$1$0$0$2.00
Sam Baker$0$0$0$2$0$0$2.00
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-$1$1.00

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Falcons show up Bucs

November 7th, 2010 Comments off
AP/M.Stewart

Roddy White stiff arms Ronde Barber (AP)

The Falcons may not quite have a firm hold of the title of best team in the NFC, but they are currently reigning supreme in the NFC South, after a 27-21 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moves the team’s record to 6-2.

Matt Ryan led the team, completing 24 of 36 passes for 235 yards with a touchdown. Michael Turner added 107 yards on the ground on 24 carries with two touchdowns of his own. Tony Gonzalez led receivers with 8 catches for 72 yards. Jason Snelling added 5 grabs for 24 yards. Roddy White was limited to 4 catches on 49 yards, partially because he missed much of the second quarter due to a knee injury. Michael Palmer caught the lone Ryan touchdown strike, the first of his career. He finished the day with 2 catches for 11 yards.

The Falcons offense got off to a strong start, moving the ball on their first three drives and ending up with two touchdowns and a field goal to hold a 17-14 halftime lead. The came out in the third quarter and scored on both of their offensive possessions, which with defensive help was enough to hold off the Bucs. They had two offensive possessions that had favorable field position in the fourth quarter to try and put the Bucs away, but were unsuccessful. The first came on a botched onside kick recovery by the Bucs where the Falcons got the ball at their opponent’s 39 yard-line. But three plays later they punted in back to Tampa Bay. The Bucs turned it over on their ensuing drive, with the Falcons getting the ball on Tampa’s 49-yard line, but again the Falcons were forced to punt. A long drive ensued for the Bucs, starting at their own 9 yard line. But a defensive stand on 4th and goal from the Falcons 2-yard line turned the ball over to the Falcons with 2:37 left in the game. And the Falcons were able to run out the clock to seal the win.

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