(SL) — Julio Jones racked up 12 catches for 253 yards and two touchdowns as the Falcons blasted the Buccaneers 34-20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Wide Receiver set a records with his standout performance.
Jones became the first player to record three games of more than 250 yards in a career, surpassed Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for the most receiving yards and Anquan Boldin for most receptions for a player through his first 90 NFL games.
Post game, quarterback Matt Ryan said, “If we could just dial up 250 yards from him every week, it would be a pretty good recipe for success. He’s so explosive. He’s an unbelievable talent and an unbelievable competitor.”Ryan himself finished 26-of-35 for 317 yards and a TD, while wide receiver Mohamed Sanu had a 51-yard touchdown pass to which Coach Quinn jokingly said he became confident with Sanu at QB after he completed the pass, especially after he wobbled the snap a little.
Sanu’s perfect pass rate left fans calling for him to play various other position all of which Coach Quinn said being the athlete that he is, he could probably do them all.
Tevin Coleman ran for 97 yards and two scores hours after his significant other had twins. The Falcons, who have won three in-a-row to improve to 7-and-4 on the season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was 27-of-44 for 283 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions for Tampa, which slipped to 4-and-7. Peyton Barber had a pair of rushing touchdowns in the setback. The Falcons will host the Vikings on Sunday while the Buccaneers will hit the road to play the Packers.
(Houston, TX) – Super Bowl LI officially kicked off in Houston Monday with a mass media opening night featuring both the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots, fans and broadcasting networks from all over the world. Each team had an hour to entertain the press. Here are some of the highlights from opening night from both QBs, top receiver Julio Jones and Coach Belichick
Falcons QB Matt Ryan
(on how he feels) “I feel good. We had a good practice, walkthrough today and to get here and see this deal tonight, it’s pretty cool. It’s fun to be apart of with my teammates.”
(on following an 8-8 season in 2015 with a MVP-caliber campaign and Super Bowl appearance the next year) “I think we’ve come a long way. We’ve gotten better, and that was one of the things we focused on this offseason, trying to find ways to improve as a team, as an offense. I think the addition of some of the players that we picked up – guys like Taylor (Gabriel), Alex Mack, Aldrick Robinson, Mohamed Sanu – just have added to our team and made us a better offense.”
(on the Falcons’ top-ranked offense competing with the Patriots’ defense) “New England has a great defense and watching them on film, their ability to keep people out of the end zone has been unbelievable all year. So we’ve certainly got our work cut out for us, but I think everybody’s looking forward to Sunday.”
(on combating New England’s attempts to take Julio Jones out of the game plan) “We’ve got to move him around a little bit and try to make it difficult for them to tee off on where he’s going to be. Even when he gets double teamed he has made plays for us all year. So we’ve got a lot of guys who can do it and I know Julio is going to have a great game for us.”
Falcons WR Julio Jones
(on the best part about making it to the Super Bowl) “The hard work paid off. That’s the best part of being here for us. It’s any other day for us. We just have to continue to keep putting that work in. There’s nothing spectacular for us that we need to go out here and make stuff up.
(on what a win on Sunday will mean to him) “It’ll be great. It’ll be great. Just looking to celebrate after the game but now just staying in it. The process – don’t want to overlook anything. It’s just one day at a time for me.”
(on the bracelet he wears) “Friends of the family for about nine years now. Christina Jones is a good friend of mine. Through my recruiting process and everything, we became friends going to the University of Alabama. Obviously, you know her brother passed away in a basketball game with no meaning behind it. We didn’t know the cause of it so I wear the bracelet every game now. After the Chiefs game, the family came down and they gave me the bracelet so this signifies just him, me going out there and just playing and leaving it all out on the line.”
Patriots QB Tom Brady
(on how long he can play) “I think as long as I’m willing to make the commitment to taking good care of myself. I got a good routine. It has gotten better as the years have gone on. You (Willie McGinest) taught me. 2004, you said this is what you got to do, and I listened. It’s nice to feel better as the season goes. To be an older player and have the mental experience and then to also feel great physically, I think it’s a great benefit for me. Hopefully I can keep going. I don’t see any end in sight.”
(on playing in his seventh Super Bowl) “It hit me today (at) the pep rally. When I saw those fans out there, you realize this is different and this just is special. It’s a special experience. Getting on the plane was great and landing, seeing all the cameras and then getting to the hotel. It has been a long day for us, but I think everyone is excited to be here, get in a little bit of a routine and then focus on playing some football.”
Patriots Coach Dan Belichick
(on best coaching advice he has received) “I have received a lot. I would say probably most of the best advice I have ever received was from my dad. Either what he told me or watching him coach. I would be here all night talking about that. A lot of life lessons. I would say my dad and the things he told me.”
(on advice for Brady) “I think for the entire team we all understand we need to play our best game. We need to do a great job in our execution and in all of the things that are important fundamentally to having good plays no matter what the plays are. Hopefully we can do that as a team. That goes for everybody.”
(on players willing to take less money to play in New England) “We can’t control what the other 31 teams do. We don’t try to control that. We just try to do what we can do. Sometimes that works in the negotiations, sometimes it doesn’t. Each one is different. If a player and a team can agree on a contract, then they sign it. If they can’t they don’t. We don’t really know what anyone else does. We can’t control that anyways. We just do what we can do. Some work out. Some don’t.”
(on his coaching career without Tom Brady) “Tom missed the 2008 season.”
(on the partnership between Brady and himself) “I have been very fortunate to coach Tom. Tom is a tremendous player. He is a tremendous competitor. He prepares extremely hard. He comes to work every day and gives his very best effort. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to coach Tom for these years. I think I have a lot of respect for him. There is a mutual respect there. We each have a job to do. It is very different. All the jobs are important, but we try to find a way to do our jobs and help the team win the best that we can. I think he does a great job of that. That is what I try to do. From that standpoint we have a great relationship. We both want to win. We both want to do what it takes to win. That is our focus pretty much every game. It is not always the same game plan, but trying to get to the same end point.”
Opening night was the kickoff to a long week of several activities for fans to enjoy. There will be one more media event with the coaches and players today. The last one until Super Bowl Sunday. Another highlight of the week will be the NFL Honors Show scheduled for Saturday night and hosted by Keegan-Michael Key. Super Bowl LI Kickoff is Sunday at 6:30 pm.
(SL)– What happened in Sunday’s match-up between the Falcons and the Chargers defies offensive integrity. Atlanta came out guns blazing unified and cohesive. The chemistry was as tight as thread in a needle and before you knew it the Falcons had a 17 pt lead (27-10) and it looked like a game where one could cut out early and beat traffic. It was in the bag.
And then, as quickly as a blowout looked to be in sight the Chargers found momentum and capitalized on missed opportunities and penalties. We’re not going to talk about the back to back false starts. The line was struggling ..leaving room for San Diego to rack up 20 points to Atlanta’s 3 and next thing you know..we’re heading into OT.
In OT, Denzel Perryman who had picked off a pass to Julio Jones earlier in the game, popped up again and caught the Falcons slipping when they decided to go for it 4th and 1 on their own 45. Devanta Freeman took the hand-off but Perryman was right and the result was a loss of one.
Now don’t get it twisted. San Diego is not with the sh***. They’re a tough team to beat but Atlanta can’t squander away a 17 point lead and then lose ground in OT leaving San Diego in field goal range with little to no work to do. A field goal doesn’t take much effort and that’s what Matty Matt and the boys handed to Philip Rivers and his Diego squad.
On another note: Julio Jones is in a league of his own. Watching him catch balls is so effortless it looks like everything is in slow motion. His arms are too long, he’s too quick and he can jump way too high..no match for him really. Julio reeled in a 50 yarder and overall had a good game but the Falcons have got to play four strong qtrs. The Falcons will play the Packers at home on Sunday. Kickoff is at 4:25p.
(SL) – Julio Jones put on a show Sunday at the Georgia dome as the Falcons pounded the Panthers 48-33. The All-Pro Wide Receiver who had just one catch against the Saints returned for a 300 yard game that included 12 catches and a 75-yard TD. Jones’ previous high was 259 yards in a 43-37 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 8th 2014.
Post Game: Julio talked about setting a new Franchise record and not singling out his performance when the entire offensive team deserves credit.
(SL)– The Atlanta Falcons made a move to the top of the NFC Sunday after beating the Carolina Panthers 48-33. At 3-1, the Falcons now have a 2 game lead in the NFC South and feel confident that there won’t be a repeat of last season’s strong start (5-0, 6-1) and struggle finish that left them out of the playoffs.What’s different? They’re focused and stronger offensively which was proven against the Saints when star WR Julio Jones had just one catch and the Falcons proved to have more weapons than one. Fast forward to the Carolina game and Julio not only stepped up but broke his won franchise record with a 300 yard game. Something Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank celebrated on the sideline before finding his All-Pro WR and giving him a hug. Jones caught 12 passes for 300 yards including one 75-yard touchdown; and Ryan threw for a franchise record 503 yards, completing 28-37 passes with four touchdowns. The two put on a clinic for sure in front over 70 thousand fans at the Georgia Dome. Coach Quinn talked about their connection post game and a chemistry that’s undeniable.
Coach Quinn knew it would be an all-day fight against the Carolina Panthers and didn’t feel comfortable in the direction of victory until CB Robert Alford made two interceptions to solidify a win. Up next, the Falcons will take on an undefeated Denver Broncos team in Denver.
(SL) – The fans put it best with a serious push for Julio Jones to see a lot of action during the season opener and final Georgia Dome home game for the Falcons; but former Head Coach turned Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith had other plans. And Atlanta’s favorite WR getting around Tampa’s defense was just one of the problems that plagued play for Atlanta Sunday. Julio finished with 4 catches for 66 yards. He connected with Matt Ryan for a 25-yard TD pass. He left the game briefly in the second half with an ankle injury and was spotted limping on the offenses’s final drive. Matt Ryan was 27-39 for 334 yards and 2-touchdowns. While Jameis Winston was 23-33 for 281 yards and 4 touchdowns.
In his second season premiere, Winston led the Bucs to 21 unanswered points on three touchdown passes (Charles Sims for a 23-yard score, Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a 30-yard touchdown and Mike Evans) for a 45-yard score to take a 31-13 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Falcons fought back scoring 11 unanswered. Matt Ryan tried to put together a drive to tie the game with less than 2 minutes to go and seven points down. After a 19-yard pass to Jacob Tamme, he threw four incomplete passes and in the end Atlanta would be starting their season 0-1. The Falcons will travel to the west coast next to take on the Oakland Raiders.
(Atlanta, GA) – It’s not a fluke ando no your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you the Falcons are really that good. After a slow start that included two picks on Atlanta QB Matt Ryan and a lost fumble, the Falcons were able to turn things around and remain undefeated. As Coach Quinn said post game, “It took us all game to get there, but we did it.”
Sunday’s 25-19 overtime win against the Washington Redskins highlighted what’s different about a new-look Falcons offense under the watch of talented play-caller Kyle Shanahan. The Falcons were not a top tier rushing team last season, but plowed through the ‘Skins for 176 yards on Sunday.
It proved the Falcons are strong on both ends after star wideout Julio Jones was shut out in the first 30 minutes.
Speaking of strengths, Devonta Freeman continues to dominate by any means necessary. After the refs rescinded one of his touchdowns, the running back found his way right back into the end zone ultimately shredding the Redskins for 153 yards on the ground.
“We turned this thing around together,” said Freeman. “We said back in April what we wanted to stand for, so it’s all showing and paying off right now. Everybody is living up to our expectations.”
The NFL reports the revived ground game only helps quarterback Matt Ryan, forcing teams to now account for a cast of backs that produced just one 100-yard rushing performance over the past two seasons. Freeman already has two this autumn and eight touchdowns.
Ryan and Jones, of course, have the ability to go off at any time, but Atlanta last season would have been cooked on a day that saw their franchise quarterback throw two picks and lose a fumble as he did against Washington.
It just goes to show the new attack and pound the ball mentality that a new, tougher Falcons team is displaying this season .
Quinn’s go after it scheme just gives an already aggressive team more desire to get to the ball resulting in interceptions like CB Robert Alford’s leading to a game winning touchdown in OT.
Alford raced to the end zone with an interception as Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant, center, was blocked out of the game-ending play by defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
This after the Redskins had tied it up with just :25 seconds left in the 4th qtr. They don’t quit and seemingly welcome the challenge. The Falcons are 5-0 . The final score was 25-19. Up nest….NOLA!