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