Posted in Gameday Goods

Close Win on a Monday Night

121817

Falcons 24 at Buccaneers 21

What a crazy game.  The Falcons have now won 4 games on LITERALLY the last play another 1 on the next to the last play, and beat New Orleans in the last minute and a half.  They like to give you your money’s worth…..as a long time Falcon fan, you know not to leave early, no matter who is up.  Crazy things can happen.  So, what did happen this Monday night that lead to another close win?

Well, offensively, there were several passes dropped by our normally sure handed receivers. Matt Ryan had a few ill-timed passes, but none that fell into Tampa Bay hands at least.  Ryan noted his pass to Justin Hardy near the end zone was his miss, he was a little early on his timing and didn’t throw it high enough.  Again, another week that not all of the incompletions were on Ryan however.  Julio Jones seems to have trouble catching in space now, I guess he isn’t use to not having people hanging on him….and there were a few that may could have had a penalty called, but were not.  Through the season so far, there have been 25 or so dropped, catchable passes.  Ryan did look more comfortable when the Falcons went no huddle a good part of the game, and of course, our best new catch phrase since Takk was drafted, “Get F*ing Set.”  Not as shocking that Ryan was yelling at his guys to get set so 2 weren’t in motion at the same time, but the fact it was so loud and clear on the broadcast.  Hello live tv.

Overall, the offensive line did a good job and were credited by both Ryan and Devonta Freeman.  While the line was making some good running lanes for Freeman, he also noted they had him on his two fumbles as well.  The touchdown fumble was recovered by a very alert Levine Toilolo, while the other was recovered by….Ben Garland!  There were only 3 offensive penalties this week, a false start on Wes Schweitzer, and 2 on Garland, but one of those was a phantom call.  Mohamed Sanu was under center once Monday night, lost his shoe, but still ran for the first down.  Sanu only had 2 catches for 23 yards, but was doing allot of good blocking work and helped with the Freeman touchdown.  Jones had 3 receptions for 54 yards, one big 29-yarder.  The other star of the day was birthday boy Justin Hardy, who turned 26 on Monday, then had a 27-yard reception and a touchdown.  Taylor Gabriel had 2 catches and a single run on the night.  The team overall rushed for a season high 201 yards, 19 times of which, were outside the tackles.  Freeman and Terron Ward were having some good outside lanes opened.  Ward had 8 carries for 40 yards, one of which went for 13 yards.  Clearly this 3 back system is a great idea…especially if someone is going to be out a couple of games.

Devonta Freeman, who won the Iron Falcon this week, is fully back and a true enjoyment to watch.  His 5’8” frame and run angry attitude propels him to the next level.  This week alone, he ran for 126 yards on 22 carries, a long 32-yard run for a touchdown.  You can see his eyes light up when he sees space, he runs so low and angry, that he will run over you or past you, and don’t let his set that pivot foot.  He is happy to initiate the contact with the defenders and even knocked fellow running back Terron Ward’s brother, TJ Ward, out.  You could hear the impact through the tv.  Freeman also caught 5 passes for 68 yards, one of which he turned into a 29-yard gain.  Freeman was responsible for converting 6 of the 9 successful 3rd down conversions.  With Freeman’s rushing touchdown, he tied the great William Andrews and newest Ring of Honor member Warrick Dunn with 30 rushing touchdowns, all 5th in team history.  While I love Tevin Coleman, Freeman is definitely setting the way to be the single starting running back.  Will see what happens with Coleman is back.

Special teams was better again this week.  Matt Bryant, 41 years young, easily makes a 57-yard field goal.  Matt Bosher has 4 successful and well placed punts and touchbacks.  And Andre Roberts was an aggressive and smart returner.  He averaged 27 yards on kickoff returns and 8 yards on punts, but did not let anything drop on the 2-yard line, or miss a kick.  I like his return style, as long as he gets to the 20, there isn’t that much difference in field position and when a returner is running, it seems to light up the team and the crowd, watching to see if he is about to break it.  Coverage was good most of the day, although, darn him, Jacquizz Rodgers has a kickoff return of 45 yards, but the rest of the time, the Falcons coverage was good.

This leads to the discussion of the defense, as many of those guys play on kick coverage as well, there were too many missed tackles.  Not all day, but several times, big gains were made after a Buc was touched by numerous players.  As expected, Deion Jones led tackles with 7, the often maligned by refs Robert Alford still had 6, as well as the up and coming De’Vondre Campbell with 6.  Campbell had the stop that really helped clinch the game.  With seconds to go in the game and the Bucs driving, Campbell makes the big stop, not allowing the receiver to go out of bounds to stop the clock, and maybe took an extra second to get back up. By the time the Bucs got back to the line, the ref slipped and got back up to place the ball, they had to spike the ball and kick the ill-fated far right field goal as time expired.  And when Campbell hits you, you know it. I know I saw him flip at least one player completely over.  Desmond Trufant had 5 tackles, Kemal Ishmael had another big tackle and leaping near pass breakup.  Keanu Neal, while only 3 tackles, had is 3rd forced fumble of the season, totaling 8 (so far) in his first two seasons, which is an NFL record for DB’s in their first 2 seasons.  Speaking of Kiki, he made adjustments early in the game.  To his shoes.  He changed his cleats after having a slip early in the game.  That is smart play, instead of gutting it out, realizing you need better leverage out there.

TakkAnd then there is that rookie…..Takk McKinley.  A single tackle, but always swarming, but a sack, his 6th on the season) and forced fumble.  While the Falcons did not come up with this fumble, it is always good to see turnovers for our defense.  Sadly, this season so far, including 1 Monday night, have had 6 interceptions turned back to the offense by defensive penalties.  This week, Ricard Allen (another birthday boy) channeled my pre-game periscope vibe and made a big interception, but Rocky was called for defensive holding – which was ticky tack – and the ball was returned to the Bucs.  The stats can say what it wants, I have picture proof that Clemson met up for a team sack, with Adrian Clayborn inches away.  Vic Beasley, Jr. back in his normal pass rushing spot, combined with Grady Jarrett for a sack on Jameis Winston.  Now, on the Grady front….he played 33 pass rush snaps, had 5 total pressures, with a 12.1 pass rush productivity.  And his jersey torn, with only 1 hold call….again.  Which was funny in itself, because that was called on (again) former Falcon Joe Hawley…and we all know Joe will play!

Besides winning, and the Matt Ryan mic’d up enjoyment, the other highlight of the game, being able to hear on the TV coverage “ATL ATL ATL.”  At first, I was trying to figure out what they were chanting since it was not at home, then realized, that is our people down there representing well.

Injury:  No New Injuries.  Andy Levitre will get some work this week, but no update on Tevin Coleman and his concussion as of Tuesday morning.

#RiseUp

 FalconAlley Owt

 

Photos Courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons

Posted in Gameday Goods

It Doesn’t Have to Be Pretty to Be a W

12.18.17

Atlanta 24 Tampa Bay 21

Captains for tonight’s game are Devonta Freeman, Matt Bryant, and Ricardo Allen.

The Buccaneers won the toss and deferred.

Andre Roberts gives the Falcons good field position with a 31-yard return to the 36-yard line.  The first play is a run into the line by Devonta Freeman.  Then a toss back to Freeman, who goes to the left and gains 4 yards.  With a third and five, Matt Ryan drops back and throws to Julio Jones who is tightly covered by, you know it, Brent GrimesMatt Bosher punts a high 42-yard punt to the 17 for a fair catch.

The Buccaneers start off with a run as well, gaining a quick 5 yards. Robert Alford in great coverage on Mike Evans causes a missed catch and a 3rd and 5.  Another Jameis Winston pass is caught, but stopped short by Deion Jones with Keanu Neal closing.  And instantly, the Falcons have the ball right back near the same spot they just were.

A quick pass to Austin Hooper for a 4-yard gain, then a running angry Free quickly gets the first down and are up near the 50.  Then a wide open Justin Hardy gets a 27-yard birthday catch.  After a fake to Freeman, Ryan throws to Freeman who makes allot of moves for a 7-yard gain, but is called back by a Ben Garland block in the back.  Freeman is replaced by Terron Ward.  Stacked with receivers, the Bucs decide to take a time out.  Back at the 34, Ryan drops back and finds Jones for 8 yards.  Next, Ryan finds Ward for another 6 yards.  Freeman is back in and makes a big 13-yard reception and is suddenly down at the 7-yard line.  A play fake and an off pass to Derrick Coleman.  Freeman tries, unsuccessfully to run up the middle as he is quickly met with 3 Buc defenders.  It’s 3rd and goal, Ryan is in the shotgun and easily throws a birthday touchdown pass to Hardy.

As I said pre-game on Periscope, birthday boys have had good games all season.  Now, let’s see Rico get a nice pick 6 for his celebration.

Bosher kicks for a touchback, so the Bucs start at the 25.  Winston quickly hands off to avoid the swarming Grady Jarrett and the rusher is stopped by De’Vondre Campbell, who makes the next tackle as well.  Winston lobs a big pass up the field to Cameron Brate who is quickly met with a flying Alford, who apparently hits too hard and is called for a penalty. He went in for the shoulder, but the receiver was leaning to catch the questionable pass. Charles Sims makes a catch, just short of the first just across midfield.  Peyton Barber looks stopped, but keeps his feet moving and rolling off defenders for a big gain and first down.  Derrick Shelby ensures the next run is not as successful, hitting Barber behind the line.  Takk McKinley jumps, but Winston doesn’t snap the ball in time to get the call, resets and throws to DeSean Jackson for a 1 yard short of the first down again.  Again, on 3rd and 1, there is a big play.  The Falcons blow their coverage and OJ Howard makes the receiving touchdown.  With just under 2 minutes to go in the first quarter, it is all tied up at 7.

On the next kickoff, Roberts brings it out of the end zone and up to the 25 the hard way.  A Ryan toss back to Ward who gains 9 yards, who, on the next run gains the first down.  Back in, Freeman goes 15 yards virtually untouched.  A pass to Freeman who goes for another 29 yards after a light stiff arm to a defender, then turns up the speed.

As the second quarter begins, Ryan overthrows Mohamed Sanu in the end zone, covered by, shakes head, Robert McLain.  Still just outside the 20, the handoff to Taylor Gabriel goes for 3 yards.  Again, this does not work, but we stick with a play if nothing else.  Third and 7 as Ryan drops back and tosses a short pass to Jones, who then goes untouched for a number of yards and is hugging the sideline as he is pushed out at the 2.  Dontari Poe is in at fullback and Freeman follows him in to inches from the goal line.  Still in at fullback, Freeman flies into the end zone, drops the ball, then Levine Toilolo comes off his block and recovers the ball.  It doesn’t really have to be this dramatic.

Next kickoff, another familiar name, Jaquizz Rodgers with the return, but is called back on a block in the back penalty.  Starting with their backs against the end zone, Winston finds Mike Evans for a quick first down.  After a short run, Evans makes a big catch downfield, but is called back for an offensive pass interference for jamming up Desmond Trufant.  At 2nd and 17 from their own 12, Winston drops back, finds Sims who is knocked out of bounds after numerous missed tackles.  As he is just stepping out of bounds, Rico hits him and is called for the penalty.  Then DC Raheem Morris notices that Jones likely had Sims down at the 11 and challenges the call.  The call is reversed, but the penalty (that would not have happened if they called the game correctly to start) is still enforced and the Bucs are at their own 26.  Jackson runs around the back and left side for 7 yards where Jones forces him out.  Kemal Ishmael makes a huge leap, but the pass is still too high for him and another pass is completed.  Third and 4 seeing midfield, (shoot me) Joe Hawley is in at center and assists with the 36-yard reception by Cross.  However, before the Bucs can snap the ball, Dan Quinn challenges the catch on the sideline as one foot was in bounds but the body fell out of bounds.  This challenge, the Falcons lose.

The Bucs continue their drive with Winston in trouble, but gets a big pass off for a 14-yard gain.  Brooks Reed was nearly touching Winston as he released the ball.  Inside the 20, the Bucs rush up the middle quickly to the 9-yard line where he is tackled by Rico.  Then, Barber rushes to the 5, where Neal knocks the ball out with the back of his elbow.

The Falcons offense comes out, immediately gets a defensive penalty to move up the field to the 39 for a first down.  Then Free gets loose and runs 22 easy yards behind the blocking Garland and runs over defenders.  Freeman runs again for 3 yards, then takes a break on the sideline.  Ward is stopped way behind the line.  Ju and Sanu are lined up next to each other on the right side as Ryan lays the ball up to Jones tight double covered in the end zone by the time Ryan released the ball.  Matt Bryant successfully kicks the 57-yard field goal like a boss.

The Bucs have just over 3 minutes to go in the half and start at their own 25.  Winston airs it up and Rico gets his birthday interception, but the refs called Rocky for holding and give the ball back and the automatic first down.  While Vic Beasley is being blocked and tackled in the back and Jarrett is being held around the throat, Winston is able to run up the field for a few yards.  On 3rd down, Winston throws too low for the sliding Cross to catch.  They kick to Roberts who is hit late out of bounds by Cross, but the refs pick the flag back up.

Ryan has the team moving with passes to Sanu and Gabriel, then a wide open Freeman on the run cannot make the reception.  Ryan under major pressure and running around, gets the pass off to Sanu on the sideline for 21 yards.  With under a minute to go, Ryan tosses up to Freeman, who quickly gets out of bounds after an 8-yard gain.  A slightly high pass to Sanu falls incomplete.  On 3rd and 2, Ryan has a sprint out to his left and throws it down the sideline to Jones who is tightly covered by Chris Conti.  Bosher kicks out of bounds at the 17-yard line.

With 25 seconds to go, the Bucs throw for a quick first down.  Next, Winston is scrambling and meets the young buck TAKK who sacks him, causes a fumble, but the Falcons are unable to recover it.  The half ends and everyone heads to their locker rooms with the Falcons leading 17 to 7.

sack
Grady Jarrett and Vic Beasley combine for the Sack

Bosher kicks off to Quizz, who easily returns it up to the 45 and is finally stopped by rookie Damontae Kazee.  Winston lays it up for Evans who SHOVED Rocky down to make the reception.  Evans goes off the field whining on the most unquestionable PI ever.  Backed up, Barber gets the call for 8 rushing yards.  The Bucs are called for offsides and backed up again.  A short pass to Adam Humphries is immediately stopped by Brian Poole.  On 3rd and 9, the Bucs are in the shotgun and Winston steps up where he is met by CLEMSON.  Beasley on one side, Jarrett being held but on the other side, with a push by Takk.  The Bucs are forced to punt which goes into the end zone and they have a flag for holding on the offense.

A quick 3-yard gain, a penalty on Wes Schweitzer and it is 2nd and 13 at the 27 leads to a pressured Ryan errant pass that falls incomplete.  Out of the shotgun, Ryan scrambles, continues to look for a receiver, finally kicks it and goes for the first down.  Unfortunately, Garland is called for a (Gruden called) not existent hold.  Gabriel leaps for a high pass, but cannot escape the defender and only gains a few yards.  Bosher is on to punt and the Bucs start at their own 47.

Barber rushes up the line and is immediately across midfield into Falcons territory.  Winston passes to Barber for the first down at the 42-yard line, as Jarrett hits Winston.  After being hit in the back, Neal whiffs by Winston and he lobs the ball down for an Evans touchdown.  Just like that, it is a 3-point game.

Roberts runs out the kick again, just short of the 25-yard line.  Ryan is under center, rolls out and dives head first for a little short of the first down, while Toilolo is wide open at the 50 on the far side of the field.  On 2nd and 1, Ryan airs it out for Jones, who missed the perfect catch under tight coverage by Conti.  With Ryan wide right, the ball is snapped to Sanu, who gets the first down on a run to the left.  Great pressure, Ryan escapes and runs for a first down, with the defenders chasing Ryan down as they collided.  Ryan tosses back to Freeman who runs up and over Conti – laying the hit on the defender for a 9-yard gain.  Ryan audibles, then gives to Freeman who runs on the right side for no gain.  3rd and 1, the Falcons have Ryan in the shotgun, hands to Freeman who gains 2 yards.  Ryan running, throws off target off the hands of a wide open Sanu.  Ward gets the rock and runs behind Coleman’s great block and gains 9 yards.  Freeman is back in and goes around the left corner for the first down.

At the 26-yard line, Freeman pushes through the middle for a 3-yard gain.  From the shotgun, Ryan glances at the field and again runs, for the first down.  Ryan fakes the run, then throws the ball over Hardy in the end zone.  2nd and 10 from the 16 and overthrows Jones in the left corner of the end zone.  A low pass that Hardy cannot bring in falls incomplete and the red zone woes continue.  Bryant’s 33-yard field goal is blocked by a lineman.

The Bucs start at their own 23 and Winston scrambles 13 yards for a first down.   A quick run is stopped by a fleet of Falcons causing a 2nd and 5 to begin the 4th quarter.

On play action, Winston connects with Brate for another big first down.  Humphries makes a 1-yard catch and is immediately met by Poole.  Winston drops back for an on target throw, but is met hard by Ish and drops the ball back out.  Under pressure, Winston runs, but appears to fall down in the middle of the field.  Holding is called on the offense, but declined forcing a fourth down punt.  The balls drops into Roberts’ arms at the 11.

Freeman runs as hard as ever, loses the football from a Conti hit, but is recovered and still counts the 7-yard gain.  Right back to Freeman, but he is stopped behind the line after easily slipping by Jake Matthews.  Now a pass to Freeman for a first down and a few more.  A play fake to Ward and 7-yard pass to Hooper.  Ward goes through the left side for another first down.  An incomplete pass is followed by a cutback run for the elusive Ward for another first down.  Freeman runs for 3 yards.  Another quick run and it is 3rd and 2 at the 32-yard line.  Then…..FREE……MAN.  Who hands the ball to a lineman, hugs Ryan and Sanu, and calmly walks off the field.  Off a Sanu block, Freeman gets free, jukes a couple of defenders and hits the speed and goes in for the 32-yard touchdown.

free
Eat Free Eat

With 8 minutes to go in the game, Bosher kicks into the end zone and the Bucs offense comes back to the field.  Winston, from the shotgun, throws behind Chris Godwin, who is covered by Tru, but makes the catch.  Already at the 43, Winston passes again to Godwin, but Rocky knocks the ball loose.  Winston has an easy 14-yard pass to wide open Humphries.  Again, to a wide open Evans for another 9 yards.  Winston is being taken down by Poe as he throws an incomplete pass. On 3rd and 1, Barber comes in and runs up the middle for 7 yards.  Back in the shotgun, Winston throws to Humphries at the line of scrimmage where he is met quickly by Rocky.  Falcons show blitz and cause a false start, backing the Bucs up to 2nd and 11.  An easy target to Brate, stopped by Neal for a first down at the 17.  Winston airs one out for the end zone, but over throws his receiver.  Winston, throws on the run to Humphries in the back of the end zone who has escaped Trufant who has fallen down.

With 4 minutes left to go in the game, it is a 3-point game again.

Roberts sets the Falcons up at the 28.  Freeman has a single yard run.  Another short run by Freeman.  3rd and 5, Ryan throws to Freeman right at the first down marker.  The Bucs burn their second time out, Ward has a short run, then the Bucs use their final time out of the game.  A toss sweep to Ward in the backfield gains no yards.  At the 2-minute warning, the Falcons face a 3rd and 9.  Ryan is sacked after running over Schweitzer.

The Falcons let the clock run down to 1:14, take a time out, then Bosher punts the ball to the 9-yard line, then returns to the 29-yard line.  With a minute to go, Winston (just before getting slammed by Jarrett) completes a 13-yard pass to Brate.  Another first down stopped by Rocky at the 47.  Winston spikes the ball, then tosses another pass that is caught and the receiver is stopped and flipped by Campbell.  Now, 5 seconds to go, Tampa attempts a 54-yard field goal that is wide right as time expires.

One more win and we are definitely in.

Iron Falcon:  Clearly goes to Devonta Freeman with 22 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown, and 68 receiving yards, almost 200 all purpose yards.  Basically serving as a single running back this week (no shade to Ward) Freeman took the offense on his back and performed like the Pro Bowl running back we all know and love.

#RiseUp

FalconAlley OWT

 

Pictures courtesy of Atlanta Falcons

 

 

 

Posted in Gameday Goods

When You Use All Your O in Week 12

December 3, 2017

Minnesota 14 at Atlanta 9

By:  Allison Smith

Apparently we used up all of our good offense and points in last week’s win against Tampa Bay.  At least that was a fun game.  Now, with today’s loss to Minnesota, the Falcons are in quite the pickle.  They must win out, and likely hope for some help to make the playoffs.

With Desmond Trufant and Brian Poole (late scratch) both out at Cornerback, Blidi Wreh-Wilson stepped in.  Ricardo Allen moved to the nickel spot and Damontae Kazee took Allen’s spot at Free Safety.

The Minnesota Vikings take the opening possession of the game.  With a quick first down pass to Stefan Diggs and Deion Jones on the stop.  Then Brooks Reed and Grady Jarrett combine to stop a 1-yard run by Latavius MurrayJerick McKinnon has a 6-yard run, then Case Keenum throws a pass to Diggs that is perfectly defended and knocked out by Robert Alford forcing an early punt.  Andre Roberts fair catches at the 22 and the offense begins there.

Matt Ryan begins the Falcons offense with a pass to Julio Jones, unfortunately an overthrow of Jones.  Then a hand off to Devonta Freeman goes into the line for no gain, as Jones lines up for the crack back block.  The 3rd down pass to Mohamed Sanu falls incomplete, but the defender was all over Sanu and called for the PI.  In the shot gun, Ryan immediately hands off to Tevin Coleman who is immediately stopped for a loss of 2.  A pass to Austin Hooper gains 6 yards, then a quick snap leads to a 16-yard pass and first down to Levine Toilolo.  With Taylor Gabriel in motion, Ryan fakes to Freeman, the passes up to the line of scrimmage where Gabriel makes the catch, but it is nullified by a Jake Matthews’ block in the back.  Freeman knocks off 5 of the 20 needed yards.  Near midfield, Hooper makes a catch on a low ball, stumbling, but holds his balance and holds on to the ball and behind a Jones block, gains 7 yards. Freeman has a big run behind great blocking by Sanu and Gabriel, but, it is nullified by a very uncharacteristic holding penalty on Alex Mack.  Back to 3rd and 12 a pass to Coleman nearly gets the first down, but is stopped 2 yards short.  Ben Garland comes in, along with an extra tight end.  The Falcons 4th and 2 plan causes a Minnesota time out (note this as it will come in to play later in the half.)  Out of the time out, Ryan has a 15-yard pass to Coleman, easily converting the first down.  Again, Freeman, again holding penalty, this time on Garland who is it for Andy Levitre who just went out with a tricep injury.  Garland’s “hold” was more of a perfect take down, but that is not how the referees marked it.  Now, a 1st and 17 at the 31, Ryan fakes the run and overthrows Coleman in the end zone.  The pocket collapses for a throw away ball.  Suddenly it is 3rd and 17 and Ryan hands off to Freeman who gains 11 easy yards.  Matt Bryant comes in for the 38-yard field goal.  With just over 5 minutes to go in the first quarter, the Falcons lead by 3.

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Keenum brings the Vikings out for their second drive of the game at the 25.  They begin with a rush for 4 yards.  The coverage downfield was tremendous, giving Vic Beasley time to apply great pressure and Keenum to have an out of bounds throw.  Jones is called for a hold, moving the ball downfield and giving a free first down.  A couple of successful quick passes have the Vikings across midfield.  Reed is constantly in the backfield while Beasley is in and out of pass coverage.  A long pass to Rudolph is defended perfectly by Wreh-Wilson.  On 2nd and 10 with a 4-man rush, Keenum connects with Diggs for a great over the shoulder catch, but both feet are out of bounds.  Now, on a big 3rd and 10 at the 39, GRADY JARRETT gets in there for the SACK, on a quarterback that does not get sacked.  A loss of 9 forces the punt.

Roberts lets the ball bounce over his head and it bounces out of bounds at the 2.  Coleman runs up the middle but again, called back for a Justin Hardy block in the back, which is declined forcing a 2nd and 8 at the 4.  Another Coleman run on the far right side gains another couple of yards.  At the 8, it is 3rd and 4, Coleman is lined up as a wide receiver, and Ryan throws a quick slant to Sanu, a little high and Sanu only gets his finger tips on it, but luckily it fell to the ground.  Matt Bosher, under great pressure, gets the kick off to the 47 of the Vikings.

As the 2nd quarter begins, the Vikings start their short field drive with some quick passes and spinning runs.  Murray makes a big break through the line for a 30-yard gain until Keanu Neal makes the stop at the 2-yard line.  Jones makes a stop at the 1 forcing a 2nd down.  Then a floating pass to the end zone to McKinnon, who celebrates disrespectfully doing the Dirty Bird.  With 10 minutes to go in the half, the Vikings lead 7 to 3.

Roberts takes the kickoff out of the back of the end zone up to the 17, leading him to a sideline chat with Keith Armstrong.  Then, Ryan starts this possession the same as the first, a low, shoe lace pass to Jones, who catches it for the first down.  A fake handoff turns into a low pass to Marvin Hall and the Falcons are up to mid-field.  With 3 tight ends in the game, a handoff to Freeman who is tripped up, keeps his feet and gains another first down.  Ryan throws to Sanu and the Falcons are inside the 25.  When every play is to a different player, you cannot defend that offense.  Sanu and Ju are both on the left side, Ryan fakes, then scrambles up to the line of scrimmage, and instead of continuing his run, throws to Freeman at the first down marker, but it is too high for Freeman.  Jones had been knocked down by Xavier Rhodes.  2nd down and Hooper moves causing a 2nd and 15.  With a quick rush, Ryan throws to the line of scrimmage for a quick stop.  Now another long 3rd down, a pass to Hooper that is 5 yards short and forces another Bryant field goal.

Another Bosher touchback gives the Vikings the ball at the 25.  They pick on Wreh-Wilson again for a long pass, but Adam Thielen is out of bounds.  McKinnon runs along the sideline for 2 yards, until stopped by Alford.  Then Takk McKinley has an encroachment penalty.  To make up for that TAKK makes the SACK on the next play.  His 3rd sack in 3 games.  The Vikings punt to Roberts who returns from the 29 up to the 32.

A quick Coleman run gets 6 yards, a jet sweep that FINALLY works to Gabriel, gets the first down.  A quick pitch on the right side to Coleman for a 6-yard game.  Freeman replaces Coleman, as the 2-minute warning break is called.  Ryan next two passes are incomplete and Bosher punts to the 9.

Deion Jones quickly stops the 1st down draw.  A wide open pass over the middle for a first down and the Vikings use their first time out.  From the 23, Keenum is running from Beasley and gets a quick 5-yard pass off.  After another first down completion, the defense is swarming causing a very quick out of bounds throw.  Hit as he throws by Derrick Shelby, Keenum connects with Michael Floyd for a first down.  The Vikings have no time outs (remember they wasted one early), are at midfield with 20 seconds to go.   Keenum to Thielen at the 30 in the middle of the field, but is stopped as time runs out of the first half.

img_5603.pngThe Atlanta Falcons receive the ball in the 2nd half on the 25.  A fake to Freeman leads to a 9-yard pass to Toilolo.  Freeman easily gets the yard and turns on his jets and spin moves to gain 13 yards.  Garland gets held by a defender for a free 5 yards.  Sanu has a huge leaping reception, cutting back to Ryan for another first down.  A pitch back to Freeman gains 4 yards along the left side.  A pitch then to Coleman gains limited yards.  With 3rd and 3, Ryan stands in the pressure and throws over the middle, the ball on the ground with Sanu trying to get under it in time.  The Vikings challenged the catch, it was overturned and Bryant came on for another successful field goal.  The Falcons lead 9-7.

The Vikings have a big runback to the 30.  After a run, the Vikings are called for holding Neal who still made the tackle.  With a 1st and 20, they try to run the ball and Ricardo Allen comes in from the right side backfield and helps Beasley stuff the run for a 2-yard loss.  Adrian Clayborn again applying pressure, Beasley chasing Keenum causing him to pass beyond the line of scrimmage.  Now, the Benz Nest is getting LOUD.  3rd and 25, crowd noise, and the Vikings dump off a short pass with Debo and Rico combining for the stop and forcing a 4th and 13 punt.  A Viking tries to start a fight with Neal (really?) and Rico coming in to break everyone up as the D unites to defend each other.

Roberts fair catches at the 29 and begins again there.  First play, Sanu with a big 14-yard catch moving the Falcons to the 43.   Followed with a big pass to Jones, who was LITERALLY covered on the play, for a no call.  Freeman runs for a few yards, Hardy is called for another block in the back, and again, the Vikings decline forcing a 3rd and 8.  Being blitzed, Ryan heaves the ball down to Gabriel who cannot catch up with the ball with the defender slowing him up.

Kemal Ishmael holds on the punt and Bosher is forced to punt a second time, a booming, high kick and the Vikings start at their own 11.  Good call on the Vikings to make the Falcons re-kick.

Thielen makes his second catch of the day, 6-yards before meeting up with Rico.  Then Murray runs 12 yards for a first down, the Vikings up to the 29.  Murray is then stuffed by Takk.  Keenum has some time, avoids an ankle tackle by Courtney Upshaw and finds Diggs near midfield.  Several missed tackles by Falcons leaving their feet, McKinnon gains 7 yards.  THEN Murray is met by that unmovable force, Keanu Neal!  The crowd is loud again for 3rd down, but the Vikings still gain another first down.  After a 2-yard run, they try a jet sweep that is stopped by De’Vondre Campbell forcing a 3rd and 2.  The Falcons seem to have some personnel confusion and call a time out.  Rico makes the stop right at the first down marker.  The Vikings have the ball at the Falcons 24.  Murray makes a couple of good runs, before breaking out to get inside the 10.  Then he runs into Ahtyba Rubin as the 3rd quarter ends.

As the 4th quarter begins, Keenum throws an easy pass to Kyle Rudolph in the back of the end zone.  The Vikings now lead 14 to 9 over the Falcons.

Roberts takes the kick at the 2 and forces his way to the 23.  The pitch to Coleman is bobbled several times off his right shoulder pad, but Coleman captures the ball and still gains 3 yards.  Under pressure, Ryan throws in complete as he is hit.  Facing another long 3rd down and very unsuccessful today, Ryan is nearly sacked, but escapes and runs to the line of scrimmage.  Bosher punts a 56-yarder which is returned for a few yards and the Vikings begin a their own 27.

Keenum comes out throwing to Rudolph for 8 yards.  McKinnon fighting for a first down.  McKinnon runs for a couple, but is called back for illegal chop block on Jarrett’s legs.  Meanwhile, Debo is being helped up and walks off the field on his own.  The next 3 plays are all stops by Rico who has taken this defense and possession onto his shoulders.

Roberts returns the punt to the 29-yard line.  Freeman starts the drive with a 3-yard gain, then a 7-yard gain, running and leaning forward to get the first down.  The Falcons fake the run, the in trouble, Ryan tosses to Freeman who spins off tackles and gains another 7 yards.  Freeman takes a pitch back, goes to the left side, gains the first down and more behind the blocking of FB Derrick Coleman and Sanu.   The pass to T Coleman is dropped, then toss to Jones at the line of scrimmage, who forces his way for the first down, head first into defender.  Rhodes makes a stop on Coleman.  Ryan is a little high to Jones over the middle.  Another 3rd and long to Gabriel who is 4 short of the first down.  And, Bryant on for a field goal attempt that pulls just left of the goal post.

With just over 4 minutes to go in the game, the Vikings come out moving the ball easily to midfield.  The Falcons take their 2nd time out and allow a 3-yard gain, then take their final time out.  3rd and 4 and an easy 22-yard gain by Thielen.  Murray breaks through the line for a 9-yard gain, then the first down.

After the 2-minute warning, the Vikings take a knee to run out the clock for the win.  And all of the Falcon fans and Dan Quinn look as grumpy as I feel.

Injury Update:  No significant injuries occurred in the game.

Iron Falcon Award:  Ricardo Allen for single handedly stopping the Vikings in one series, from a different position, and continuing to be a team leader on defense.  Rico ended with 8 total tackles from his new nickel position.

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All Photos Courtesy of Atlanta Falcons

Posted in Gameday Goods

Ju Being Ju, With a Side of Sanu

November 26, 2017

Tampa Bay 20 at Atlanta 34

Finally we see the Falcons we know and love.  They came out aggressive, spreading the ball around, and getting Julio Jones involved.  Also, breaking records.  You know, being Falcons.

The game started off well enough.  Ricardo Allen, who had no tackles the week before, leads the defense with the first tackle of the day, and continued to lead the team throughout the day. Ryan Fitzpatrick started with a pass to DeSean Jackson, for a first down, with the stop by Rico.  Then they tried to run against Grady Jarrett.  Gaining 6 and 4 yards, but running into Grady twice is likely not really winning.  Then Fitzgerald ran for a first down and was clobbered by the defense.  Near the Atlanta 41, the Bucs run up the middle again, into Grady again.  Then the first of many familiar names, Jacquizz Rodgers has a quick 4-yard run.  Another quick pass covered by Brian Poole.  Then a 3rd down pass in the end zone to Mike Evans that Desmond Trufant knocks out.  The Buccaneers kick the field goal with Robert Alford rushing around the corner for the block.  With just under 10 minutes to go in the first quarter, Tampa Bay leads 3/0.  And that was the last time they would lead for the day.

Andre Roberts caught the kickoff at the goal line and ran out to the 26.  Tevin Coleman gets the start again with Devonta Freeman out and started with a nice 5-yard run.  Then, shockingly, an early pass to Taylor Gabriel for 4 yards, who meets former Falcon, Brent Grimes.  With 1 yard to go, Matt Ryan keeps the ball and pushes through for the first down.  A successful 8-yard pass to Austin Hooper, then a signal from Andy Levitre for Coleman to get behind him, for the push for the first down.  After a low pass to Julio Jones, Coleman gains a quick 3 yards, then a pass down the left side to Julio along the sideline for another first down.  A short pass drops just behind a crossing the field Julio, but Coleman makes up for that breaking tackles for a 10 yard gain, which is brought back by a Gabriel hold.  A quick screen to Gabriel gains nothing (not sure when we will learn that is not a good play) but right back to Gabriel, Ryan buys time, stands in the middle of defenders and hits Gabriel for 13 yards, 2 short of the first down because of the holding call.  Not to worry, Money Matt Bryant enters the field and easily kicks a 49-yard field goal with a few minutes to go in the quarter.

Quizz (Jacquizz Rodgers as us long time Falcons call him) returns the kickoff 26 yards and is stopped by the returning Duke Riley.  Fitzgerald overthrows Evans, the defense collectively stuffs a Doug Martin run, then the FANS are so loud on 3rd down, we cause a false start and get even louder.  It’s 3rd and 14 and with Dontari Poe in Fitzgerald’s face, he overthrows the receiver and a quick 3 and out forces a punt to the Falcons 23.

This quick drive starts off well with a Coleman 20-yard run, really turning up the speed.  Then a pass is tipped to fall incomplete, overthrow of Hooper who doesn’t make the catch and suddenly Bosher is back on the field.  Bosher has nice placement near the goal line, however CJ Goodwin cannot get to the ball in time to down it at the one.

The Buccaneers start on the 20 – my 20, so it is about to get loud.  Adrian Clayborn and De’Vondre Campbell are swarming Fitzgerald and tip his pass.  On their 3rd down attempt, another errant pass that Brian Poole had his hands on, but hits the ground.  Another forced 3 and out and a punt from the 10.

Roberts has an 18-yard return to give the Falcons the ball on the 40.  A short Ryan past to Sanu gains 4 yards.  Terron Ward goes off the right side and gains 5 yards, stopped by Grimes.  THEN the play that will it will go down in the annals of football history.  Sanu takes the direct snap, fakes the handoff, the ball pops up in the air, Sanu catches it and throws 51 yards to Julio Jones for the touchdown.  Julio’s second touchdown of the season.  Another successful 12 Gauge call (still think it should be called BeanCat).  Julio catches the perfect pass between two defenders, rolls, pops up, then as the O comes to celebrate, he leads Red Light, Green Light…in the best celebration ever, even if no one told Ryan.

The defense, along with the entire Benz Nest, are fired up and force another 3 and out.  A quick pass and quick stop by Rico, Tru, and Grady make the next quick stop.  Suddenly it is 3 and 14 and Vic Beasley’s elbow tips the pass and another punt is forced.  Brian Poole is shaken up on the series and is being evaluated on the sideline.

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Jet Jones – LITERALLY Flying Over for the Touchdown.  Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Falcons

Roberts gets a few yards on the return.  Then Julio has a 20-yard reception.  Then a 15-yard reverse to Julio.  Coleman has a 6-yard, then 1-yard one off the left side.  On 3rd and 3, Ryan finds Sanu across the middle for yet another first down.  Then Ryan decides he wants to pass for a Julio touchdown.  Julio LITERALLY flies over the end zone cone for the touchdown.  Only Ju.  Jones sells the post, the defender commits to the inside, Ju turns out, Ryan has already released the ball and Julio catches it as he starts to fall out of bounds, but stretches the ball over the end zone cone first.  Excellent offensive line blocking to give Ryan time.

The next Tampa Bay drive starts at the 17 after a Quizz return.  Then we see a heavy dose of Quizz with limited success. The Bucs are able to move the ball most successfully because of a CJ Goodwin PI as he was closing guarding DeSean Jackson.  Brian Poole has been ruled out for the rest of the game at this point and Trufant is playing inside at nickel.  On a 3rd and 3 with 2 minutes remaining in the half, Trufant makes a tackle along with Keanu Neal, who hits Trufant more than the downed receiver and Tru stumbles off the field.  A few plays later Fitzgerald drops back and sees Clayborn easily throw the lineman aside (similar to a ragdoll being tossed) and closing and make an errant throw.  His next pass is also incomplete as Clemson (Grady and Vic) are coming for him.  Then he is hit as he releases his next pass to the end zone, which Rico knocks away and it fall incomplete and the Bucs settle for another field goal

Roberts brings the kick off out to the 23.  The offense starts with a dose of Coleman for a nice 7 yards.  Then, again, Julio for 22 yards, then it’s Ju, Sanu, Ju, until a ball is incomplete to Julio in the end zone, so with 10 seconds left, another successful field goal. So, at half time, the Falcons lead 20 to 6 and everyone is feeling good.

Meanwhile, at half time, Arrow star, Stephen Amell comments that Mohamed Sanu is a better quarterback than any Cleveland quarterback in the last 10 years.  I love that Stephen Amell is even aware of our game.

The Falcons offense comes out on fire.  Opening up with a 23-yard pass to Julio.  A 5-yard run by Coleman.  Then a loss by Coleman, but immediately followed up by another 25 yards to Sanu, who knocks the defender back off of him.  Then Hooper gets a 20-yard reception.  Then Coleman has two back to back runs, the first a break out for 9 yards behind a big Andy Levitre block, then a 3-yard, hard fought touchdown run behind a Wes Schweitzer block.  Coleman comes up celebrating with carrying a baby in honor of his twins born on Saturday.

In 9 plays for 78 yards, the Falcons take a 27-6 lead.  Meanwhile we find out that Poole is out for the game and Trufant is headed back to the locker room to be further evaluated after the Neal hit.  Doug Martin for the Buccaneers is also ruled out for the rest of the game.

Fitzgerald finds a wide open Evans for 20 yards and is immediately stopped by Rocky.  At their own 45, the Bucs try a run and are met by Derrick Shelby, Poe, and Grady for no yards.  Fitzgerald throws a bad pass, and Rocky is called for holding, only a 5-yard penalty.  Fitzgerald throws a bullet down thru the middle of the field moving the Bucs to the 33-yard line.  A few plays later, Rico sees something, calls for different personnel that cannot get on and off the field in time causing a time out.  Due to injuries, Rico is playing corner and rookie Damontae Kazee at inside free safety.  This is the flexibility that Coach Quinn is always talking about.  However, it starts a little rocky and the Bucs are able to rush for a touchdown to reduce the Falcons lead to 27/13 late in the 3rd quarter.

Roberts has another good return, up to the 35, where an ankle tackle saves him from a likely touchdown return.  After Terron Ward loses a yard on the right side, Ryan has a behind the line pass to Julio, for a first down.  Then a pass down the right side to Julio, for a first down.  Coleman has back to back successful runs, up the middle, then spinning up the middle on the left side.  After a 6-yard pass to Sanu, the Falcons are forced to punt.

Quizz has a return up to the 44 with Neal chasing him down.  Then, likely feeling bad about knocking Tru out of the game, Neal nearly gets an interception.  Fitzgerald runs up the middle for 21 yards and slides, likely saving his life as the defense was swarming to him.

As the 4th quarter begins, the Bucs continue another touchdown drive.  Moving within 7 points of the Falcons.

Roberts gives the offense the ball at the 22.  Ryan starts out with a look at Gabriel, then as Julio crosses the field, catches the pass on the run for a 44 yard reception and electrifying the crowd again.  A failed pass to Hooper, then a 2-yard Coleman run, then back to Julio for another first down at the 23.  Then Ward bullets up the middle for 9 yards, heading for an easy touchdown, as a defender from behind rips the ball loose.  And of course, Grimes is there to recover the fumble and return it to the 42 where he is chased down by Ryan Schraeder.

Then in true Brotherhood form, the defense stands up to help out the offense.  Fitzgerald takes the Bucs quickly down the field, with quick passes to avoid Takk McKinley coming at him.  A quick run up the middle, then on the next pass, TAKK meets Fitz for the sack and lays him out.  Then does 10 push-ups.  Near the 20, Fitzgerald throws incomplete to the end zone, then on 3rd and 2, the crowd (me included) causes a time out.  Next play, if you are an Atlantan, you will get this, Rico MARTA busses the receiver.   Poe lays Fitzgerald out as he throws to the end zone where Keanu defends the pass perfectly, forcing a 4th down.  Rico knocks the ball out of the receiver’s hands before it is declared a catch.

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Defense Swarming – Photo by Allison Smith

The Falcons take over and go back to their routine.  Julio, Sanu, Sanu, Coleman run.  Once again, while being knocked around Julio makes another Julio type catch, shakes the tackles and gets another 23 yards.  Tampa Bay begins taking their time outs as Coleman grinds out yards, carrying numerous defenders with him for 8 yards.  Ward gets the ball again, gets 1 yard, the pushes and earns 13 more yards on his own and jumps up excited.  Just after the 2-minute warning, Coleman runs in a 14-yard touchdown and cradles the second baby to ensure both of his twins got touchdowns in their honor today.

In prevent defense, the Falcons allow the Buccaneers to easily move down the field, nearing the 35 and a 4th and 10, Rocky stops the receiver just short of the first down marker and the clock runs out.

What a great team win.  Offense lit it up.  Defense was pretty consistent, even with the injuries.  Special teams has been straightened out.  With the New Orleans Saints losing, the NFC South is getting a little closer, and if the Falcons do their job, we may very well take it….again…..

Injury Report:  Devonta Freeman continues concussion protocol and will be evaluated as the week progresses.  Desmond Trufant will be out against Minnesota in concussion protocol.  Brian Poole’s back injury is ok and is expected to play.  Note that Jalen Collins came off of suspension last week and was released from the Falcons, so they are not looking to bring him in to step in for Tru like last season.

Iron Falcon:  Obviously goes to Julio Jones who had 253 yards on 12 receptions and 2 touchdowns.  Then, also, Mohamed Sanu, not only for perfecting the 12 Gauge, but receiving 8 passes for 64 yards and converting several 3rd downs.

**Check out our Facebook page for pix and videos from the game.  Link is on the bottom of the homepage!

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Posted in Gameday Goods

Even 12 Men Can’t Beat the Falcons

Atlanta 34 at Seattle 31

When you take the opening kickoff back 50 yards, you know this game is going to be lit.  Well, as lit as an Atlanta Falcons game will get when it goes to the wire….again.    But a good start no doubt.  Andre Roberts gave the offense excellent starting field position and they used it.  The first pass is a drop by Julio Jones.  Then Tevin Coleman has a good 5-yard run.  Justin Hardy ensured a 9-yard catch on a low pass by Matt Ryan but going to the ground and getting under the ball for a great catch, then follows that up with a 7-yard sideline catch.  Then, early in the game, trickery begins.  Mohamed Sanu and the 12 Gauge up the middle for 3 yards.  Ryan goes right back to Sanu for the touchdown, which results in an incomplete pass with a Pass Interference call, so moves the ball to the 1-foot line.  Then behind Dontari Poe and Ben Garland, Coleman easily goes in for the 1-yard touchdown.  With 3 minutes off the clock, the Falcons are already on the board.

The ensuing kickoff tells you how the kicking game is going to go all day.  Matt Bosher, nursing an ankle injury, kicks off and the Seattle Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett takes the kick back 57 yards.  Bosher did lay a hit out on Lockett to slow him down before Desmond Trufant knocked him out of bounds. Vic Beasley and company are in the backfield as Russell Wilson quickly gets a pass off to Lockett for a 9-yard game before Deion Jones (who else) makes the first tackle for the Falcons defense.  On a reverse pivot, Wilson releases the ball, a little behind Lockett and it hits Trufant in the chest, surprises him a little, but he gathers the ball in for the interception and returns it 44 yards, behind the excellent blocking of Beasley.  Credit to Wilson for the tackle.

Ryan and company come back to the field and he lobs up a high pass for Jones, who, naturally, in double coverage, leaps up and comes down with both feet in on the sideline for a 16-yard gain.  Coleman has a short run, insert the same plan as the first possession with a successful pass to Hardy, for a first down.  At the 5-yard line, a low, errant pass is tipped and at least 5 Seahawk defenders tipped the ball before it finally fell to the ground.  After a time out to recoop their thoughts, Coleman gets a couple of yards rushing, then Bean Talk.  Sanu makes the one handed over a defender catch in the corner of the end zone look easy.  Now, midway through the first quarter, the Falcons are up 14/0.

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Mohamed Sanu Making a Big One Handed Catch – Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Falcons

Back to the kicking game.  Bosher hits the end zone, but Lockett brings it out to the 35-yard line.  Once again, Bosher is in on the tackle with the assist going to Robert Alford.  Some quick passes by Wilson, runs by Mike Davis, and a tripping penalty on the Falcons helps move the Seahawks down the field.  Keanu Neal is taken off the field after one of those Keanu hits and is evaluated for a concussion.  J.D. McKissic runs for 6 yards and is stopped by Damontae Kazee.  Three Falcons are covering Doug Baldwin in the end zone causing a 3rd and 4.  Wilson gets chased back out of the pocket, Grady Jarrett is held and gets the penalty call.  Then the tripping penalty moves the Seahawks back down the field and on a 2nd and 3, Wilson finds Jimmy Graham in the end zone where he leaps and catches over De’Vondre Campbell for their first touchdown of the game.

The next Falcon drive was lack lustered, 7 plays, incomplete passes, penalties on both sides, and another Bosher punt to start the 2nd quarter.  The Seahawks started on their own 23.  Then because of Poe, they were at the 20.  THEN because of a combined defensive line unit, they did not have the ball.  On 2nd and 13, Takk McKinley busted through the line, and falling was able to pull Wilson down from behind.  Meanwhile, Courtney Upshaw slides over Wilson knocking the ball out, and who was right there for the scoop and score?  Adrian Clayborn.  He may not have gotten the sack, but he did get the touchdown.  Now, with 14:04 left to go in the 2nd quarter, it is 21/7 Falcons!

Once again, on the ensuing kickoff, Lockett has a big return and is stopped at the 39 by Kazee.  The pressure continued through this drive.  Wilson completed passes to Baldwin and Davis, with Trufant and Poole in coveraged, and Poe and Clayborn forcing even quicker throws.  Driving deep inside the Falcons’ territory, the Tigers combine with Beasley chasing Wilson and Jarrett reaching him as he lobs a ball out of bounds.  Neal has returned to the field and stopped Davis at the line of scrimmage.  At 2nd and goal McKissick and Graham are both in with no backs.  Brooks Reed is chasing the scrambling Wilson, while Clayborn reaches him and again, Jarrett hits/taps him as he releases the pass.  Then one of the most memorable defensive plays of the day.  It is 3rd and goal from the 2, big Jimmy Graham gets the pass and thinks he has an easy run in to the end zone.  Instead, he meets an unmovable force in Keanu Neal. Neal crosses the end zone, circles around Alford and a receiver and hits Graham so hard at the goal line, Graham is knocked back out to the 1.  There is an offensive holding call that moves the ball back to the 12.  Wilson is now running for his life.  Clayborn and Beasley both nearly sack him and as he lets the errant pass go, Jarrett is shoving him in the chest.  The Seahawks settle for a field goal.

Just when you think the momentum is fully on the Falcons side, the turn over, the big stop and forced field goal.  Now, the special teams strikes again.  The Seahawks have a short kick, which bounces right past Roberts, who then touches it, Seattle recovers and have the ball at the 11.  The defense trots immediately back on the field.  The d steps up again, knocking the first pass out of Baldwin’s hands.  Beasley trips Davis to slow him down for Trufant to make the stop.  Neal and Poole combine to stop Graham at the goal line again.  1st and goal at the 1, takes them 4 tries, and the D stands up, until Seattle takes a time out, comes up with a perfect blocking scheme and Wilson walks in for the touchdown.

The next kickoff, the Falcons special teams was a little more prepared.  Ben Garland received the kickoff and returned it 11 yards.  The first play is a beautiful pass to Sanu, who is shoved out of bounds before the ball arrives.  He gets the PI and the ball is moved up 16 yards.  Then the collapse begins.  Eric Saubert has a false start, moving the ball back.  Coleman has a 4-yard run, then on a pitch back is stopped behind the line of scrimmage.  Coleman then has a nice 15-yard pass, gaining most of those yards after the catch behind a good Hooper block.  Sanu catches a big 21-yard pass at the 21 as the 2 minute warning comes.  Unfortunately, the Falcons could not continue the quick movement and settled for a 44-yard Matt Bryant field goal.

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Grady Jarrett Does Not Bite on Fake Punt 

Now, for the craziest drive of the game.  Again, Bosher kicks off to the 2 and Lockett runs it out to the 41 where he is met by Kemal Ishmael.  With 58 seconds on the clock, Wilson has quick passes to Graham for a 4-yard gain, out jukes Beasley for a big first down.  Throws to McKissic in the end zone where Jones has perfect coverage and as McKissic’s hands went up, so did Jones’ and his finger tips knocked the ball out of alignment.  Wilson overthrows Graham, then scrambling, way back in the backfield gets hit by Takk as he releases the ball, but Richardson did not have the first down.  The field goal team comes on, they try the fake, but Jarrett sniffs it out, picks Luke Willson up, spins him around and lays him down for a 4-yard loss.

The teams go in for half time with the Falcons leading 24 to 17.  Life is good.

The second half began with a Bosher kick and a return only to the 28, so that was a half time improvement.  Wilson starts with a high pass to Thompson which Alford knocks out.  Everyone is applying such great pressure to Wilson that he has a fake handoff to Davis, then throws a screen to Davis who gains 21 yards.  On a 24-yard pass to Richardson that is tightly defended by Alford, he is called for the PI.  Next play, Alford has a good pass knocked out.  Then on 2nd and 4….here comes Grady!!!  He slaps the hands of the right guard as he goes past for an 8-yard sack.  After a short pass to McKissic, Seattle settles for another field goal.

Once again, just when you think the momentum is going one way, it flips to the other team.  In 8 plays and under 4 minutes, the Falcons score another touchdown, on a 25-yard pass to a wide open Levine Toilolo.  Ryan showed his scrambling ability by running and sliding for a 14-yard gain, with former Falcon Dwight Freeney in hot pursuit.  Earl Thomas was called for a hit on a defenseless player, so the Falcons got the touchdown and an extra 15 yards on the upcoming kickoff.

Bosher kicks it out of the end zone.  Immediately, Wilson connects with a wide-open Richardson for an 18-yard gain.  Then fakes it to Lacy and runs 17 yards himself, as Campbell slips on the wet field.  McKissic meets Takk again after a 4-yard gain.  Takk almost gets to Wilson, while Beasley gets his hands on Wilson, meanwhile there is also an offensive holding penalty on the play.  The D is really roughing up the offensive line.  Clayborn, on a mission chases the elusive Wilson, who escapes his grip twice.  Wilson outurns Jarrett and Beasley and slides out of bounds at the first down marker.  The 1st and 10 has Wilson scrambling and over throwing Willson.  Then 2nd and 10 has the pocket collapse with Ishmael and Derrick Shelby combining for a 12-yard loss.  After another perfect Alford defended pass, Seattle settles for a 46-yard field goal.

The 3rd quarter ends with the first pass of the day to Taylor Gabriel, Coleman with a 5-yard stutter run, and a 7-yard reception by single covered Jones.  Terron Ward has a first down catch then 9-yard run to open the 4thquarter.  Then the typical 4th quarter meltdown begins.  A side throw for 2 yards to TE Hooper, a false start by Andy Levitre, a short 5-yard pass to Gabriel leads to a 4th and 13 and a punt.  Good news, the punt was fair caught.

The defense causes a quick 3 and out when Baldwin did not catch the 3rd down pass.  Seattle challenged the play and lost a time out.

The Falcons quickly drive back down the field on the backs of Coleman and Ward, both earning their pay with stiff arms, breaking tackles.  With a 3rd and goal, Coleman spins off the stacked up offensive line to the end zone.  It is reviewed by the officials and determined that he was 6 inches short.  Bryant makes yet another field goal.

Under 4 minutes to go in the game, the Falcons are up 34/23.  Yet, the game is not safe with Russell Wilson on the other side.  In a few plays, Wilson runs for a first down, finds Graham across the middle, McKissic shows off his running skills, and with the help of an accidental hit out of bounds penalty, Wilson finds Baldwin wide open in the end zone.  Then Graham has an easy 2-point conversion in the corner of the end zone.

Now there are 3 minutes remaining, and the Falcons have a 3-point lead.  They prepare for the onsides kick with the hands team up, but Seattle kicks it deep to Roberts.  Coleman comes blasting up the left side behind FB Derrick Coleman.  Then T. Coleman is tripped up behind the line.   Immediately following the 2 minute warning, Wes Schwietzer gives up a big sack forcing another Bosher punt.

The punt is short, but bounces and the coverage team is there and Marvin Hall lays Lockett out.  There was also an offensive holding penalty to back Seattle up a little more for their final stand.  Trying to not give up the big play, the defense has a 3-man rush through the rest of the game.  Graham gets 11 yards, Clayborn hits Wilson as he throws an air ball that is nearly hauled in by Poole.   Then, Clayborn runs up causing Beasley to jump and give the Seahawks a free play.  Trufant blocks a pass intended for Graham, then Wilson scrambles for another first down.  With time dwindling, Wilson has an 8-yard toss to Richardson who is tackled by Alford and Neal, who try to wrestle the ball away.  Since the Seahawks are out of time outs, Wilson has to spike the ball at the 34 with 7 seconds remaining on the clock.  Blair Walsh attempts a 52-yard field goal, which falls a few feet short and the game is over.  The Falcons have won and moved into 6th place in the NFC.

Injury News:  Keanu Neal left the game temporarily, was evaluated and returned at least 98% as he was continuing to lay out Keanu type hits.  Late in the game, Brian Poole was shaken and slow to get up, but was fine by Tuesday.  Devonta Freeman remains in concussion protocol.  Matt Bosher’s ankle caused him to miss practice on Wednesday.

Iron Falcon:  Grady Jarrett ended with 2 tackles and a sack on the day, however, Jarrett was hugely effective once again.  He was close or hitting Russell Wilson all day, causing errant or quick throws.  Jarrett is the fastest 305 pounder you will see, is smart and quick to think and spot what is happening in front of him.  And remember his sniffing out the fake field goal before the half.  It was not merely a stop of Seattle getting the first down, but a complete read of the situation and stuffing the runner for a huge loss.  And, huge boost going into half time.

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 FalconAlley Owt