Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Falcons Avenge Week 14 Shutout Loss to Panthers

Was Arthur Blank excited? I'd say YES!!

The Carolina Panthers are no longer undefeated! The Atlanta Falcons SNAPPED the Panthers' 18-game, regular season winning streak with a 20-13 victory on Sunday, rounding out the holiday weekend on a high note.

Here's how it all went down:

1st Quarter:
Cam Newton's touchdown in the First Quarter

Carolina began this contest on offense. On the first play from scrimmage, RB Fozzy Whittaker broke off a 16-yard run. Four plays later, QB Cam Newton connected with TE Greg Olsen for 15 yards, setting up a Panthers' first down inside the Falcons territory.

Carolina continued to move the ball with ease; and Newton capped the 11-play drive with an eight-yard touchdown run. Needless to mention, a "dab" from the fifth-year quarterback ensued the scoring scamper.

Although it was early, it seemed as if the Falcons defense was due for another long day.

Matt Ryan first down scramble late in the First Quarter

On the Falcons first offensive possession, QB Matt Ryan's unit displayed the "grit" that head coach Dan Quinn preaches to them.

After a rocky start that saw the Falcons face a 3rd and 15 deep inside their own territory, a Panthers penalty gave Atlanta a fresh set of downs. The Dirty Birds took advantage of the penalty and drove the ball down to the four yard line before the first quarter expired.

2nd Quarter:
Devonta Freeman's game tying touchdown

On the first play of the quarter,  Falcons Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman found the end-zone on the first play of the second quarter. The four-yard run was his 11th rushing touchdown of the season, giving him the most rushing scores in the NFL.

Both Atlanta and Carolina traded scoreless drives to end a low-scoring first half.

HALFTIME: Falcons 7, Panthers 7

3rd Quarter: 

Shayne Graham's missed field goal in the 3rd quarter

 Atlanta began the second half with the ball and a chance to take the lead.

Matt Ryan and co. conducted a decent drive that included a big 25-yard catch and run by WR Julio Jones. However, the drive stalled inside the Carolina 30 yard line.

Kicker Shayne Graham came on to the field to attempt a 43-yard field goal. Graham's kick didn't even stand a chance at going through the uprights as it appeared to be blocked; however replay revealed that the kick wasn't touched by an opposing player. Simply, the kick was atrocious.

The Panthers took advantage of the missed field goal, drove down the field, and added three points of their own to earn a 10-7 advantage over Atlanta with 5:26 left in the 3rd quarter.

Julio Jones touchdown to give Atlanta a 14-10 lead

Following the Carolina field goal, the Falcons got the ball back and were in need of a score and some momentum.

On the fifth play of this vital drive, the offense faced a 3rd and 13 from their own 30 yard line. Matt Ryan took the shotgun snap, dropped back (and then steppe up) in the pocket, and rolled to his left. The eight-year veteran quickly set his feet and launched a 52-yard bomb towards Julio Jones. The former Alabama stand-out elevated over Carolina's two-time All-pro LB Luke Kuechly and snatched the football out of the air. Jones turned around and sprinted towards the end-zone completing a game-changing 70-yard touchdown play.

Atlanta headed into the final 15:00 minutes with a 14-10 lead.

4th Quarter

After forcing another Panther's punt, the Falcons offense had a chance to extend their fourth quarter lead. However, Matt Ryan failed to catch a shotgun snap on 3rd and 10 leading to a fumble that Carolina recovered. Four plays later, the Panthers kicked a field goal bringing them within one point.

Matt Ryan and co. bounced back from the turnover with a 10-play, 5:36 drive which Shayne Graham capped off with a field goal.

Atlanta's first stop against Carolina after the Two Minute Warning

The Falcons held a 17-13 lead with 2:23 remaining in the contest. Carolina turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing possession but received one final chance with 1:30 left
Shayne Graham's career long field goal gives Atlanta a 20-13 lead

Although, Shayne Graham converted a career high 54 yard field goal in between those possessions giving the Falcons a seven-point advantage.
Vic Beasley game clinching play

On the second play of Carolina's last-chance drive, Falcons rookie pass rusher Vic Beasley reached out with his left hand and stripped the football away from Cam Newton. DE Adrian Clayborn recovered the fumble putting the exclamation point on a fantastic game.

FINAL: Falcons 20, Panthers 13


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrates his touchdown with Atlanta Falcons corner-back Robert Alford (23) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Matt Ryan completed 23 of his 30 pass attempts for 306 yards. This is his first 300+ passing yard performance since week nine.

The Falcons Pro Bowlers had big day as well. Devonta Freeman had 90 all-purpose yards and a touchdown; while Juilo Jones racked up 178 receiving yards and a touchdown. Jones now has a Falcons franchise record of 1,722 receiving yards this season which shatters his previous record of 1,593.

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrates his touchdown with Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford (23) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Long-time Falcons wide out Roddy White had his second-best game of the 2015 season garnering 67 yards on five catches.

Despite the victory, the Falcons are eliminated from playoff contention because the Minnesota Vikings beat the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. Atlanta still has a chance to walk away with a winning record as they host the New Orleans Saints next Sunday.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It Feels Good to Win Again

Relief isn't the word that comes to mind when talking about the Falcons' win last Sunday. Yeah, it was against the closely-related Jacksonville Jaguars but the Falcons have little room to be picky for a win. It kinda feels like Atlanta is back on top of the sporting world but there isn't much to solidify that belief.

The Falcons six game losing skid was strictly due to team meltdowns as a whole. But the win last week should give a boost in confidence for both players and coaches.

During the game, Julio Jones set the franchise record for receptions in a season, breaking the record that was previously held by his teammate and team legend Roddy White.

One of the best things about the game was that the Falcons finally found a nice rhythm on offense that was none-existing in their 6-game losing streak.

It wasn't all the way pretty, but sloppy and undisciplined play by the Jaguars was major in their loss to the Falcons; and Blake Bortles knows that best when he was intercepted by Kemal Ishmael before the end of the first half. Not to mention that Ishmael was stepping in for a injured William Moore.

Devonta Freeman emerged again with a total 101 all-purpose yards (56 rushing and 45 receiving) on 32 touches throughout the game.

With a more improved offensive line, the one-two punch of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman will be fun to watch in later years.

Matt Ryan finished the game pretty well completing 22 of 35 passes for 246 yards with a touchdown and one interception.
It wasn't a dominant stand for Ryan but a good one to build off on.

As far as the defense goes, the Falcons gave up 357 yards with only one takeaway. To some light, the Falcons did record two sacks during the game.

It was confidence building win, but it still feels good to see the Falcons with a W by their name.

Friday, November 27, 2015

2015 Week 11 Falcons vs Colts Recap

I truly believe that the Atlanta Falcons try to give their fans heart attacks. I honestly believe that they trap us into a loving, exciting state in our lives then ambush us with their second half play.

Now, I'm a Falcons' fans for life. There is no changing that. I was here when Vick was bursting on the scene as the next big QB and I was here when Joey Harrington was the starting QB (don't want to say that again), so I know the ups and downs of this franchise. I live for the days I can say that the Falcons won and I am strong enough to neglect the haters and bandwagons when they are against us. That's what being a fan is all about right? Still, I'm trying to put the pieces together on yesterday's loss against the Colts so please bear with me.


Before anyone says anything about getting another quarterback, please look around the league and tell me what you see? Yes, Matt Ryan made some decisions that ultimately cost Atlanta the game but he is still our quarterback regardless. He started the game off hot and looked revived from the past couple of weeks, but then the second half rolled around and things began to change.

I don't blame his first interception on him, but going 25/46, throwing for 280 yards, 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions brings a bias attitude towards him. Some will say that he still had a bad day and should be released, some will look past it and blame it on the defense. Either way you would like to look at it, Ryan has to find a consistent basis with his team and go back to becoming the dominant player he was two years ago.

Julio is still amazing fans with another dominant performance with 9 catches for 180 yards. There is not a better receiver in the league, in my opinion.

Devonta Freeman suffered a concussion early in the game and the team should be concerned about that as he has no real serviceable timed return. With Freeman out, the team looked to Tevin Coleman to help relief Ryan of some pressure but that didn't go too well. The rookie fumbled three times and ran for a total of 47 yards on 17 attempts. I don't think that Coleman was expecting that kind of workload but he still needs to produce when his number is called. This is a "next man up" league and he just wasn't ready. Still, I have faith in the rookie back.
I guess the only good that could come out of this is the two touchdowns that fullback Patrick DiMarco scored. In the off-season, I was sure that it was going to be a battle between him and Colin Mooney during the pre-season but DiMarco won that out and is showing everybody why he is the best fullback in the game.


I could sit here and tell you that it was the defense's fault why Atlanta didn't  win the game. I could blame defensive coordinator Richard Smith and head coach Dan Quinn but that's down right disrespectful. Despite the scoreboard, the defense played great and had a few hiccups with rookie defensive backs Jalen Collins and Akeem King. Yes, there are still issues that the team needs to fix but for the most part I felt that the defense played pretty decently.

They couldn't sustain a decent amount of pressure on Matt Hasselback which led to some issues but what do you expect. Desmond Trufant and Kroy Beirmann both had sacks, Paul Worrilow had a good game with eight tackles and two turnovers, and the interior defensive line had a great game holding the Colts to just 74 yards rushing.


Eric Weems should have never came out of the end zone with only 53 seconds on the clock. That was a bad move by a veteran. Kicker Matt Bryant missed a field goal that hit the post but punter Matt Bosher continues reign hard for the pro bowl averaging 50.6 yards per punt.


All in all, this was a bad loss to the Falcons. They had the Colts down until the second half but couldn't hold the lead.

Am I giving up on my team...No, but they will have to move and on and try to win the next week. Any given Sunday is the motto. The Colts proved that to us.

By: Raekwon Gilbert

Saturday, October 31, 2015

By the Numbers: Buccaneers vs Falcons

Here are some important stats surrounding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons rivalry.

  • 22-21: The Atlanta Falcons lead the all-time series over the Buccaneers with a 22-21 record.
  • 219.5: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers allow just 219.5 passing yards per game this season. This is good enough for fifth best in the NFL. 
  • 78.6: The Falcons are the second best run defense allowing only 78.6 rushing yards per game. 
  • 3rd: Buccaneers running back Doug Martin is 3rd in the NFL in rushing yards with 541.
  • 1st: Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is 1st in the NFL in rushing yards with 621.
  • 3: Since their first meeting in 1977, the Falcons and Buccaneers have gone to overtime in 3 contests. The Falcons won two of those games with the most recent being a 13-10 win in 2008.
  • 31-23: Since 2012, the average score of Falcons-Buccaneers games have been 31-23 in favor of the Falcons. 
  • 221.5: Quarterback Matt Ryan averages 221.5 passing yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also has 19 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.
  • 19: Sunday will be the 19th time wide receiver Roddy White has played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The veteran receiver has recorded 988 yards and 4 touchdowns against them. 
  • 112.3: Wide receiver Julio Jones averages 112.3 receiving yards against Tampa Bay. This includes the 161-yard and 119-yard performances he had against the Buccaneers last season.
  • 2009: In 2009, current Falcons defensive backs coach Rahim Morris became the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Morris spent only three seasons as the head man in Tampa Bay leading the team to just 17 wins.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Week 5: Falcons vs Redskins Recap

The NFL season is quickly passing by and the Atlanta Falcons are racking up wins in every way possible. Facing their final NFC East opponent of 2015, the team needed every inch of grit and toughness that Head Coach Dan Quinn has instilled in them to pull off the OT win. Let’s take a look at how it all unfolded:

1st Quarter:

The game began with the Falcons defense challenging the Redskins top ranked rushing attack. Dan Quinn’s defense held the Redskins and forced a punt placing the ball in Matt Ryan’s hands.

Oh boy did we, Falcons fans, expect an ongoing of last week’s showering of points. Not so.

Matt Ryan began one of the slower days of his career throwing an interception on the first drive trying to force the ball to Julio Jones.

The Atlanta defense showed up to play where the offense did not however, limiting the Redskins to another 3 and out and forcing them to punt.

The offense still could not get any traction themselves and were forced to punt as well. The Redskins received the ball and began moving the ball up the field on into the second quarter.

Falcons 0, Redskins 0

2nd Quarter

The Redskins opened up the quarter on the ATL 15 yard-line looking to put points on the board. Kirk Cousins capitalized on the opportunity with a touchdown pass to tight end Derek Carrier capping off a 12-play 67-yard drive; and suddenly the Falcons were trailing at home to the Washington Redskins.

Optimism says that, surely, Matt Ryan would snap out of the daze that he was in and begin to spread the ball to Julio/Roddy/Hankerson/Freeman to boldly march up the field to tie the game. Not so much. He did, however, orchestrate a 12-play 56-yard drive that ended on two incompletions setting up Matt Bryant for an automatic field goal ($).

On the ensuing Redskins drive, Robert Alford came away with a bobbling interception and Falcons fans could surely feel the onslaught coming with the way the defense was playing.

Following the turnover, the offense moved the ball all the way to the Washington 16 yard-line and were knocking on the door of 7 points before Matt Ryan was pummeled by Chris Baker, fumbling the ball back to the Redskins.

Having to come back on the field, the defense stepped up yet again by forcing a 3 and out and giving the offense a chance to put up points with 1:30 left on the clock before the half.

The Falcons marched the ball right back to the Washington 20 yard-line before the drive stalled with 5 seconds left on the clock. Out comes Mr. Automatic, Matt Money Bryant. The kick went up void, sending my “$” tweet to my drafts, and sending the Falcons into the locker room down 7-3.

Falcons 3, Redskins 7

3rd Quarter

The Falcons opened up the third quarter down by four points and in need of a serious offensive turnaround. To this point, the game had been a defensive battle and the offense would need to show up in some capacity to help the Falcons win the game. They began warming up on this drive. They went for it on 4th and 5 AND CONVERTED.

The drive would stall at the Washington 30 yard-line and I immediately went to my drafts to send my “$” tweet on cue. Mr. Automatic missed again, and my tweet remained in my drafts.

The Redskins would miss field goal of their own and give the ball back to ATL. This time, the drive would end on a Matt Bryant field goal ($) bringing the score to 7-6.

The defense, as it had done all day, showed up and forced another 3 and out. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Falcons were running out of time to take the lead.

Falcons 6, Redskins 7

4th Quarter

The fourth quarter proved to be one of the more stressful ones of the season.

The Falcons opened up with the ball at their own 32 yard-line and marched it all the way down to the Washington 14 yard-line. This drive consisted of many Devonta Freeman scats, a Matt Ryan 10-yard run, and even a Roddy White appearance! On 1st and 10 from the 14 yard-line, Devonta Freeman gashed the Redskin defense for 11 yards but fumbled the ball. The ball bounced miraculously into the end zone and Julio Jones fell on it in the end zone for a touchdown. With that, the Falcons took their first lead of the game with 9 minutes left. The Falcons attempted a 2 point conversion to stretch the lead to 14-7, but failed to convert.

Washington received the ball and began moving up field. Then one of the more questionable calls of the game happened when Robert Alford lightly grabbed the shoulder of wide receiver Rashad Ross on a deep throw down the middle of the field. The refs flagged Alford for pass interference flag which moved Washington to the ATL 2 yard-line.

Robert Alford was obviously frustrated after the play and cameras caught secondary coach Marquand Manuel having a moment with Alford, trying to keep his head in the game. It would pay off eventually.

Matt Jones would then punch in the 2-yard touchdown and the Falcons were now down 13-12 after a failed Washington 2 point conversion attempt.

With 8 minutes left on the clock, the Falcons took over at their own 20 yard-line looking to retake the lead. Matt Ryan continued his off day by throwing a pick just four plays into the drive and raising stress levels across Falcons nation.

The defense showed up again by holding the Redskins to another field goal which gave Matt Ryan the chance to march up field and take the lead with little time left on the clock. Matty Ice did just that.

With 2:38 left on the clock, Matt Ryan led the offense up field. They never faced a 3rd down until they got to the Washington 13 yard-line. On that 3rd down play, Devonta Freeman lined up out wide, ran a slant route towards the endzone, caught the ball, made two steps, reached the football across the plane, fell, and dropped the ball. This looked to be a for-sure touchdown, but it was called an incomplete pass because Freeman did not control the ball for the entirety of the catch.

The Falcons were now facing 4th and 2 with the game on the line. Roddy White caught a bullet pass over the middle, in traffic, to keep hope alive. Devonta Freeman took the next touch into the end zone, refusing to be denied, and giving the Falcons a 19-16 lead with only 24 seconds remaining.

I, like many other fans, felt the game was over. But, somehow, Kirk Cousins marched his team into field goal position and Washington converted a 52-yard field goal to tie the game at 19 sending it into overtime.

Falcons 19, Redskins 19


The Redskins won the toss and chose to receive the ball first. They began marching the ball up the field in, what seemed like, easy fashion. My stomach was in knots as Kirk Cousins completed passes and earned first downs on what seemed like every play.

Then, on a throw to the left side of the field, wide receiver Ryan Grant slipped and fell and Robert Alford was right there waiting to clean up. He intercepted Cousins’ pass and tip toed the sideline to stay in bounds before returning the ball 59 yards to seal the win.

Falcons win!

Falcons 25, Redskins 19

Game MVP: Robert Alford - #23 left the game with 2 interceptions including one that sealed the victory for the team. Honorable Mention: Devonta Freeman, 27 att 153 yards, 1 TD.

Next week: The team travels to New Orleans to face the rival Saints on a short week this Thursday night. Can anyone else smell 6-0? #RiseUp

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Falcons Continue Their Second Half Dominance To Improve to 3-0

Atlanta Falcons' Devonta Freeman (24) is greeted at the sideline by coach Dan Quinn, right, during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth )

Dan Quinn's Falcons and Dirty Bird Nation alike are dreaming of a successful 2015 campaign just three games into the season, as the Atlanta Falcons rallied from a 28-17 halftime deficit to beat the Dallas Cowboys 39-28 and improve to 3-0. Yesterday was truly a tale of two halves, as we saw Atlanta's defense struggled to stop the Dallas Cowboys rushing attack featuring Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden behind one of the best offensive lines in the National Football League. The duo posted over 131 rushing yards and a combined four touchdowns on the ground in the first half.
Matt Ryan first down scramble
In the second half, the Falcons completely changed the momentum of the football game as they posted a shutout defensively, with second-year phenom Devonta Freeman and stud Julio Jones destroying the Dallas Cowboys defense and leading Atlanta to another comeback victory. We have seen some highs and shocking lows thus far; however, the Falcons are standing atop the division heading into October with an undefeated September for the first time since 2012. Now, we'll recap the Thriller at AT&T Stadium and provide more analysis on the victory.


Joseph Randle first touchdown of the game 

Atlanta won the toss; however, they deferred to the second half. The Dallas Cowboys, who entered the game with many questions about how the team would perform without star quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Dez Bryant, stunned their sell-out home crowd with a two-play, 80 yard drive which took only 1:08 off the clock, as Joseph Randle ran for an electric 37 yard touchdown run to give the Cowboys an early 7-0 lead with 13:59 remaining in the quarter. Atlanta's first possession wouldn't be as pretty, as the Falcons would go three and out as Sean Lee sacked Matt Ryan forced the team to punt. Dallas would respond yet again with an eight-play, 77 yard drive that accumulated 4:37, ending with another rushing touchdown by Joseph Randle as the Cowboys jumped out to a 14-0 lead with 7:57 to go in the quarter. 
Devonta Freeman's first touchdown of the game

All of the momentum was in the Dallas Cowboys favor forcing the Falcons to step up to the challenge of rallying from a double digit deficit for the second straight week. Atlanta's offense would respond with a eleven-play, 80 yard drive which took 4:07 as Devonta Freeman rushed for a 3 yard touchdown and the Falcons trimmed the lead to 14-7 with 3:09 remaining in the quarter. Atlanta's defense would make their first impact of the game, holding the Cowboys offense to five plays for only 22 yards and ended the quarter punting back to the Falcons.


Darren McFadden touchdown to extend a 21-7 lead

Atlanta's offense didn't capitalize on their next opportunity to trim the lead, as the offense would go three and out, forcing another Matt Bosher punt back to Dallas who would begin their drive at their own 44 yard line with 12:44 left in the quarter. Dallas would make the Falcons pay on their next possession as the Cowboys capitalized on a eight-play, 56 yards drive taking up 5:09 as Darren McFadden scored a two yard rushing touchdown giving Dallas a 21-7 lead with 8:15 remaining in the half and would force the Falcons to punt yet again on another three and out from Atlanta's offense. 

Devonta Freeman touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-14

With all of the momentum in their favor, the Cowboys were about to put the victory away... right? WRONG. On the first play of their possession, under intense pressure from the Falcons front seven, Brandon Weeden threw an interception to William Moore and he would return it back to the Cowboys 23 yard line with 6:03 remaining in the half. The Falcons captialized on their turnover as Atlanta's offense would score on a seven play, 23 yard drive as Devonta Freeman scored his second touchdown of the day on a two yard run to trim the Cowboys' lead down to 21-14 with 2:28 left in the quarter.

Joseph Randle third touchdown
Dallas would answer yet again by driving on a six-play, 80 yard drive taking up only 1:38 off the clock as Joseph Randle scored for a third time on a one yard touchdown with only :40 remaining before halftime. With all three timeouts, the Falcons would put together a six-play, 66 yard drive in under :40 seconds as Matt Bryant booted a 32 yard field goal attempt as the Falcons trimmed the Cowboys lead to 28-17 at the half. None of us knew at the time, but this would begin the Falcons dominance in the second half of the contest.


Matt Ryan to Juliooooooooo Jones

Atlanta's opening possession of the second half wasn't pretty, as a holding penalty by Jake Matthews forced the drive to stall after six plays, forcing the Falcons to punt back to the Cowboys with 12:46 remaining in the quarter as Dallas took over in Falcons territory at the 47 yard line. However, the Cowboys would earn two penalties that ended their possession on a three and out and Atlanta would take over on their own 13 yard line. The Falcons offense started their second half dominance, capitalizing on a six-play, 87 yard drive which took 3:15 as Matt Ryan completed a pass to Julio Jones, who used his athleticism to turn the play into a 45 yard touchdown pass. That sliced the Cowboys' lead to 28-23, but the Falcons weren't done yet. 

Matt Ryan completed a two-point conversion to Levine Toilolo, who was filling in for Jacob Tamme. That trimmed the deficit down to 28-25 with 8:01 remaining in the quarter. With the need for a score desperate, the Dallas Cowboys next possession was anything but impressive, as the offense stalled out after a questionable roughing the passer penalty, punting the football back to the Falcons offense. Atlanta's offense capitalized yet again with an eleven-play, 89-yard drive which would continue into the final period.

Devonta Freeman go ahead touchdown

Atlanta's drive ended with a seven-yard touchdown run by Devonta Freeman, his third touchdown rush of the day. That gave the Falcons their first lead of the afternoon at 32-28 with 12:10 remaining in the final period. The Dallas offense took the field attempting to score again; however, the Falcons defense would continue their shutout in the second half as Dallas went three and out, ending the drive with a critical sack by rookie Vic Beasley. The Falcons took over at their own 38-yard line with 9:26 left in the contest looking to close the contest out with a road victory.
Matt Ryan to Julioooo Jones for a second time
The Falcons offense would close the game out on an eleven-play, 62-yard drive that took 6:12 off the clock, as Devonta Freeman posted a few solid and clock-eating runs. The drive ended with a Matt Ryan touchdown pass to Julio Jones, giving the Falcons a 39-28 lead with 3:52 remaining in the contest. The Cowboys offense got the ball back one more time, but they couldn't get to Atlanta territory, going four and out as the Falcons took a knee to clinch the victory. Atlanta won their first contest in Dallas since a 27-7 victory in the 2003 season and added on another road victory to their 2015 regular season.

GAME MVP's: Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones

Devonta Freeman with a VIOLENT run

 Where do we begin? Oh yeah..Devonta Freeman!!! Entering this game, Tevin Coleman was injured and the rushing attack was decent but we weren't sure how they would fare against a Dallas Cowboys defense that contained DeMarco Murray and the Eagles rushing attack just a week ago. Freeman, Atlanta's fourth round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft had a breakout game for the ages. Freeman posted 30 carries, 141 rushing yards, and 3 touchdown rushes against the Dallas Cowboys, a team that entered the game as the league's No. 1 rushing defense. 

Devonta Freeman crucial run before the half

This was the first time we've saw an individual effort that dominant on the ground in a few seasons, probably since the dominant days of the early Michael Turner era. One of the biggest questions this season was how the running game would fare this season under Kyle Shanahan's new scheme. Yesterday, we saw the potential of this unit and how they could turn out for the future. Freeman had a rough pre-season battling through injuries and yesterday was a statement that he'll be a force to be reckoned with in Atlanta's rushing attack. Once Tevin Coleman recovers, look out for the backfield tandem!

Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons leaps over the goal line to score a touchdown as Tyler Patmon #26 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on the in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Arlington, Texas…
(Getty Images)

JULIOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Yes, the star wide receiver Julio Jones continued his impressive start to the 2015 NFL season. Against Dallas, Jones posted (12) receptions for 164 receiving yards and two touchdowns making it his third straight 100-yard game to start the season, In total, Jones has (34) receptions for 440 yards and four touchdowns, and also has the highest receiving yards per game (90.3) in NFL history, which is amazing! 

The Matt Ryan to Julio Jones connection is turning into one of the best quarterback to wide receiver tandems around the NFL. In his 5th season, Julio Jones is well on the pace towards becoming one of the best, if not the best receiver in the National Football League. After battling injuries on and off early in his career, it's special to watch this phenom in action and it's even sweeter to watch considering he's a member of the Atlanta Falcons.

NEXT OPPONENT: Houston Texans (1-2)

Alfred Blue scores a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

As the Falcons return home for the next two weeks, we will welcome J.J Watt and the Houston Texans defense to the Georgia Dome. Sunday's contest will be the first biggest test for Atlanta's offensive line but I am fully confident in this unit's ability to step up and deliver another victory on Sunday afternoon. 

GAME INFO: October 4, 2015
                      1:00 PM (CBS)
                      Georgia Dome, Atlanta G.A.


What a special afternoon of Falcons football we were able to witness on Sunday. After a discouraging first half, Atlanta made halftime adjustments and put together one of the best second half efforts I've seen from this ball-club in a long time. What a difference in the culture and coaching staff!! Although I would love to see the Falcons put together a better start to games and a full sixty minute effort, the 3-0 record is undeniable indeed. Let's take it one game at a time, Falcons Nation. Until next week, FALCONS RISE UP!!!!!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Curse of Joe Buck

Joe Buck And Troy Aikman after the Falcons NFC Championship Loss in 2012

The 2-0 Atlanta Falcons will head down to Arlington, Texas to face off against the 2-0 Dallas Cowboys this week, with  Joe Buck and Troy Aikman commenting. Buck revealed this during the Cowboys-Eagles game last week, and he has a history with this team.

As a Falcons fan, hearing that announcement made my heart sink, because I feel as if some of the worst losses of the Matt Ryan era have come under the play-by-play stylings of Joe Buck. 

With piqued curiosity, I conducted a search of every Atlanta Falcons game since 2008 and noted each one that Joe Buck commentated. Here are my findings:

Since 2008, the Atlanta Falcons are 0-5 when Joe Buck is on commentary.

--- Three of these losses have occurred in the playoffs 

                           2010 Divisional Round vs Green Bay Packers 

                              2011 NFC Wild Card @ New York Giants 

                               2012 NFC Championship vs San Francisco 49ers

§  FYI: Thom Brennaman called the Falcons-Seahawks playoff game

The two regular season losses occurred in 2009

                                        Week 3 @ New England Patriots 

                                           Week 14 VS New Orleans Saints

 The average score when Joe Buck calls a Falcons game:

                                                    Atlanta- 16 Opponent- 30

So it turns out that since 2008 the Falcons haven’t just taken some ugly L’s with Joe Buck performing play-by-play…they’ve never earned a W.

Now I understand this argument falls under the fallacy of mistaking correlation and causation. To put it simply, just because X is related to Y does NOT mean that X caused Y. But it’s a bit disheartening to hear that for the past eight years your favorite team hasn’t won when a certain guy is commenting, whether it's actually related or not.

Some good news though: Head coach Dan Quinn has broken some of the most discouraging patterns in recent Atlanta Falcons history. Before the Monday Night Football victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in week one, the Falcons had only earned one victory in seven MNF games since 2009. In week two, Atlanta won its first game on the road against the Giants since 2004. Since that year, the dirty birds were 0-3 at the Giants before last week’s 24-20 victory. 

Now Dan Quinn’s Falcons look to defeat a depleted Cowboys team that is missing some key players (QB Tony Romo, WR Dez Bryant, and DE Randy Gregory). A win on Sunday will mean a 3-0 start for Atlanta as well as the first victory of the Matt Ryan era with Joe Buck on commentary. 

Will it happen? 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Falcons Week 2 Recap vs Giants

Undefeated and jumping for joy. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Wow! That is truly the only word that comes to mind when thinking of the 2015 Atlanta Falcons. Your energy level is raised when watching William Moore light up the receivers across the middle, Julio giving defensive backs nightmares, and Matt Ryan carving up defenses with ease. It all gets you to RISE UP.

You got that last part? It was a Falcons pun.

Anyways, let's move to major highs and lows of last Sunday's game against the New York Giants:
Odell Beckham second quarter touchdown

If there was one urging question of the game, it was surely why CB Robert Alford handled Odell Beckham Jr and not his elite counterpart Desmond Trufant? Honestly, I was OK with the decision to keep Alford on Beckham's side. Of course he struggled constantly and was picked on by QB Eli Manning but it was all for reasonable cause. As a first-year head coach, Dan Quinn is trying to build trust amongst his players. One way to do this is trusting players in hard times.

Now to many fans, you'd love to put Trufant on Odell all day—man on man—but you can't do that when you have players trying to buy into your system and trust you as an individual. The choice to keep Alford on Odell was not more of a game plan decision but more of the Falcons playing their system and not changing their play for one person. Plus, veteran safety William Moore came and straightened out the problems with his fellow defensive backs after Alford gave up a long touchdown to Odell Beckham Jr. before the half. Leadership like that is critical when building a team.

After the game, one of my favorite things to do is listen to 92.9 The Game and laugh at how fans go on ridiculous rants about the game. Still, I respect their opinions. However, it was pretty funny until one fan hit me with a great question: Where was Roddy White? The 11-year veteran had no catches and made little to no impact in the victory. So what is the reason for his absence? Was he schemed out of the game by Kyle Shanahan or did he have a lingering injury that others did not know about? Either way, it was strange not to see #84  get involved in the win but to be honest, I don't think Roddy really cares if he played or not. Players like Roddy White love to win regardless of the circumstances.

Tevin Coleman #26 of the Atlanta Falcons runs the ball past Mark Herzlich #94 and Uani' Unga #47 of the New York Giants for a first quarter touchdown at MetLife Stadium on September 20, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Getty Images)

Injuries did hit the team pretty tough when promising rookie running back Tevin Coleman fractured his ribs. He will be out for a few weeks to recover. This really hurts the running game since Coleman was the team's leading rusher and looked only to get better in his second career game. Second-year back Devonta Freeman looks to get more touches until the return of Coleman. Undrafted free agent Terron Ward did get some snaps against the Giants and he may be involved a little going forward. When Coleman went down, Freeman made some critical runs that won't show up in the stat book. The offensive line did well enough to open up a few holes for the back to burst through. The play of both Ward and Freeman is going to be critical to the team's next game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Kroy Biermann's game changing play

There was a time in the game where it seemed like the Falcons were going to lose as the Giants were inside the red zone with a 10-point, 3rd quarter lead. Then OLB Kroy Biermann got a sack-strip fumble on QB Eli Manning. Though many have had doubts and harsh opinions of Kroy, we were all glad he made a much-needed play boosting our team back up to speed. The offense capitalized on the new-found momentum to drive all the way down the field and close the deficit early in the 4th quarter.

Leonard Hankerson 4th quarter touchdown

Now of course Kroy Biermann isn't an All-Pro linebacker, but he does serve a great purpose when you let him do what he does best which is not covering slot receivers but being a rotational player who can play multiple positions. Along with Biermann, both backup linebackers Allen Bradford and Nathan Stupar showed flashes of why they should stick with the team by coming in when others were down like Paul Worrilow. Stupar showed his value as a strong side linebacker, something that could benefit Atlanta's defense down the line.

Julio Jones sets up the game winning drive

In the end, the Falcons pulled off a comeback and won the game 24-20.

Devonta Freeman touchdown

It was a game to remember and one Atlanta can learn from. No matter what haters may say, 2-0 is a pretty good start for a team that virtually started fresh across the board. Now we have to prepare ourselves for another difficult challenge against the Dallas Cowboys but still they have flaws just as any other great teams.

Quick Notes to know:

- CB Desmond Trufant ranks #1 among NFL CBs in cover snaps per reception. He allows just 1 catch per 48 snaps.

- No NFL CB that's played at least 75% of his team's snaps has been thrown toward less than Desmond Trufant (4 times in 2 games)

- Atlanta's highest graded defensive player (5.6) & pass rusher (4.3) yesterday was rookie LEO Vic Beasley.

- Jackson (2.7), Schofield (2.2), Stupar (2.2), Soliai (2.1) & Babineaux (1.5) all had favorable run defense grades.

- Ricardo Allen is ranked NFL's 10th best cover safety. Allows only 1 reception per 30 snaps.

-Through 2 games, Adrian Clayborn ranks 11th & Jonathan Babineaux 21st in pass-rush productivity among NFL DTs.

- Ra'Shede Hageman (1.2) was the only other defensive player yesterday to get an above average pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus.

- Raekwon Gilbert (@RXGilbert97)