Archive for the ‘Atlanta Falcons’ Category

This guy has been practicing this dance all week. Success?

Then we have this guy, who needs no practice. This is his natural face, or his game face, if you will. I’m scared.

This explains why Pete Carroll went for it on fourth and one from the Falcons’ 11 yard-line, and did it on a run up the middle that was stuffed, right after another run up the middle that was stuffed. And neither of those carries were given to Marshawn Lynch.

Never underestimate the power of black bird voodoo.

Marshawn Lynch is a large man who can run really fast and hurt you when his sizable girth gains momentum. It’s science.

But the whole holding on to the ball deal during the most important game(s) of the year is still an elusive skill. On the Seahawks’ second possession after a Bobby Wagner interception, Lynch put the ball on the ground. It’s his second straight week with a lost fumble, and his seventh fumble overall this season.

It was also Lynch’s second fumble over his 46 career playoff carries.

The solution? Duct tape and a drunk dad, usually.

Also, this is definitely illegal. So well played, referee…

As we recover from the greatest football day ever in the history of football days and get ready for hopefully another such day starting shortly, here’s a quick injury note for the supporters of the Dirty Birds.

John Abraham is officially active, which isn’t exactly shocking stuff after he practiced all week in some capacity. But after the great Christian Ponder incident of Wild Card Weekend, we can never be too sure. Also, Abraham was listed as questionable after suffering an ankle injury during Atlanta’s meaningless regular-season finale two weeks ago, which left some lingering doubt.

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They’re too tall, too physical and they talk too damn much. That’s three ways to define the starting Seattle Seahawks’ defensive backs, who have become, arguably, the league’s best group of pass defenders. Once considered too tall and slow, now they’re simply viewed as being too damn good as they have shut down a countless number of supposed pass-catching threats. This weekend’s task: quiet the three-headed combination of Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez.

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I’m about to reveal a bias, something that’s admittedly not in my best interests as an NFL writer: I’ll be wildly cheering in support of the Falcons this weekend.

I’m not being selfish in doing so, and there’s no deeply-rooted personal motivation here. No, even though I may be drawing the devil’s fiery breath from the depths of Seattle, I’m willing to embrace that scorn to protect all of you. What do you need protection from, you ask? I’m not sure we, as organized, civil people, can withstand another offseason of hackneyed NFL panel-guy discussion about Matt Ryan’s inability to win “the big one”.

That will persist even if Julio Jones and Roddy White are stymied by Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman (quite possible). It’ll persist even if Michael Turner continues showing the speed of a snail that’s pushing another larger snail, that’s in turn inexplicably pushing another even much larger snail, forming a snail chain to nowhere. It’ll persist even if the Falcons’ 21st ranked run defense is gashed by Marshawn Lynch, the third-best rusher this season with 1,590 yards, and he had 132 yards on 20 carriesĀ last week against the Redskins with a touchdown (that’s 6.6 YPC, with the overall yardage a Seahawks’ post-season record).

All of those things are far out of Ryan’s control. All of them, and yet if the Falcons lose — and especially if they lose big — we’ll hear far more about said loss than we will the Seahawks’ win, and the fact that a team led by two rookies on either side of the ball (Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner) would then be one win away from the Super Bowl.

Sure, you could argue that the Falcons would deserve your hate, and you’re right. But after they were the most underwhelming 13-3 team in, well, forever, a loss this weekend wouldn’t be a surprise given the poor defensive matchups presented by the Seahawks. Instead, Seattle would deserve much more of your praise, but the blackness of blind Falcons hate will swallow your soul.

I can’t live in that world. Go Falcons.

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UPDATE (6:02 p.m. ET): Resume normal human breathing, Falcons fans. ProFootballTalk is citing multiple sources who are saying encouraging words regarding the state of Abraham’s ankle. The initial diagnosis is positive, and it’s believed that he avoided a serious injury. It’s still too early to make any bounding leaps at conclusions, but with the bye week to rest it’s looking like Abraham will be healthy for the divisional round of the playoffs.

Each year as the season winds down at least one and sometimes several teams are subjected to the rest vs. rust debate, an eternal discussion with no answer, and therefore it’s perfect ESPN programming. But that’s not the only problem, as there’s an opportunity for low-hanging hindsight narrative.

If a player is injured in a meaningless Week 17 game, we can cry out in horror and say “SEE WE SAID NOT TO PLAY STARTERS! WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN TO US YOU WORTHLESS SCUM?!?”.

If starters are sat down during the final week and then the team in question doesn’t show up in the playoffs and is ousted early, we can say “SEE RESTING STARTERS IS STOOOOPID!”. It’s perfect, really…if you thoroughly enjoy the soothing sounds of your own voice.

Well, now at least one of those mouth breathing groups is happy. After Mike Smith said — or at least strongly hinted — that he’d play his starters throughout a meaningless game today against the Bucs after the Falcons clinched both a bye and home-field advantage in the NFC, defensive end John Abraham needed to be helped off the field by two trainers in the fourth quarter after suffering a leg injury. He was examined and then taken to the locker room in a cart, and this came after cornerback Dunta Robinson left the game earlier with a head injury. Losing either is massive, but losing both would be absolutely crushing. Luckily, the Falcons have a bye week to mend, and now they’ll really need it.

It’s too early to say how serious Abraham’s injury is, but it certainly didn’t look good, as he may have been Wes Welker’ed. Atlanta has only 29 sacks this year (tied for 26th), and Abraham has accounted for 10 of them.