(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.
(SL) – One could say that the Falcons got going late, putting their first set of points on the board with a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter. But others would say the Bills just came to play. After a scoreless first quarter, both the Falcons and the Bills turned the heat up inside Mercedes Benz Stadium in the second qtr.
After the Falcons put up 3, the Bills would make good use of their next possession on a pass from Tyrod Taylor to Jordan Matthews and take the lead 7-3. Not to be outdone, Devonta Freeman ended the first half with a short TD and it was 7-10.
Second half, there would be an absolute shift in energy and ball control. The Bills opened the scoring in the second half when Tre’davious White scooped up a Matt Ryan fumble and took it in for a touchdown (14-10). This would be the start of several fumbles and bad ball control. And did I mention that two people were noticeably absent. Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu were out. Jones with a hip injury and Sanu’s hamstring would put them both on the sideline.
The Bills made good on an interception in the third after Matt Ryan attempted to go long and Micah Hyde foiled his plan. Heading into the 4th, the Bills worked their way down to 3rd and 1 inches away from the goal line, but instead of just going for it, they try to apparently pull the Falcons offside a suffered from a delay of game; forcing them to settle for a field goal 17-10.
But all hope was not lost for Atlanta. After WR Justin Hardy dropped a beautiful pass from Ryan, he would make up for it with 7 minutes left. Ryan led his team down the field with an impressive drive and Hardy caught a 3-yard TD tying it up 17-17. It was also Hardy’s first TD catch of the season.
Tyrod Taylor, however, continued to blast through, putting the Bills in field goal position and the 56-yard kick was good. 20-17.
But we didn’t dare blink, this was a good one. The Falcons turned right around and off of a monstrous return from Andre Roberts, Atlanta found themselves at the BUF 42 yard line. The celebration would be short lived though, when Matt Ryan threw another interception. The result…. another field goal (55-yards with 3:06 left) by Buffalo and it’s 23-17 with a little less than 3 minutes to go. The Falcons drive but Matt Ryan is unable to connect with anybody and with that fourth and one stop the Bills hand the Falcons their first loss of the season.
Player of the game: Tyrod Taylor 12-20,182 yards and 1 TD
(Houston, TX)– It took almost 20 years but I think I speak for all dirty birds when I say..’It was worth the wait.’ The Falcons have been consistent all season, redefining their defense and adding to an already beast like offense. A lot of people doubted the authenticity of the Falcons’ talent. But if you are a true fan, then you know that this return has been in the making for quite a while.
It’s been a long week which started for the Falcons on Sunday when they landed in Houston and got ready for the biggest game of their lives. During the walk-through on Saturday, Atlanta felt good. The Patriots arrived on Monday and got to work immediately with a schedule that didn’t hold back and mirrored that of the Falcons. The big question..who would show up on Sunday?
Most of the media tried to shy away from the Brady Scandal that led to him being benched for the first few games this season. And with his return to the Super Bowl, most thought it would be his revenge of sorts. Revenge? Not so sure about that considering the Patriots are a Super Bowl team. They’ve been there done that. Atlanta on the other hand, has had to work. And after rolling through Seattle, Green Bay and at the half of Super Bowl LI, the Patriots, it certainly looks like there’s a new sheriff in town, giving new meaning to the term underdog and clearly marking themselves as the one to fear in the National Football League.
The Falcons jumped out early and that questionable defense that part-time fans like to question stepped up and held the Patriots to just 3 first half points. With a 14-0 lead, Rober Alford intercepted Tom Brady and returned the ball 82-yards for a TD. Atlanta led 21-3 going into the half. Rushing 86 yards in 9 attempts and Passing for 115 yards, New England struggled to stop the Falcons on the ground as well.
Second half, Atlanta seemed to slow down a little bit.. Everything that seemed to be going in the wrong direction for the Patriots, started to change. And then they scored. And after a turnover, a field goal, a TD and a two point conversion, next thing you know it’s 20-28….and the game played on.
Fourth quarter less than 3 minutes to play, you hit the kitchen to re-up on your drink, came back and it was 28-28 with 57 seconds left in the game. What in the entire hell happened? That’s why you love the game. Brady connected with Amendola doubled with a penalty on the Falcons and it’s tied. Atlanta gets the ball, Matt Ryan uses that arm and with 18 seconds left, it’s 3rd down and 6, Ryan is forced to let it loose to no avail. 11 seconds left, Falcons punt and we’re headed into OT.
Patriots win the toss and Tom Brady who had been sacked more than 14 times during the game reset and led a charge that would end up with James White driving and getting his hand in the end zone and New England wins Super Bowl LI 34-28.
Post Game With Tom Brady:
“…It was a hell of a football game. There was a lot at stake tonight. You know, we played our tails off all season to get to this point and it’s hard to win a game in the NFL. And to beat this team and to get down 28-3, it was just a lot of mental toughness by our team and we’re all going to remember this for the rest of our lives.”
Brady has dealt with a little bit of everything this year and as for the adversity, “We’ve done pretty good over the last few years, you know? We were in the AFC Championship last year and won the Super Bowl two years ago, so I don’t think anyone’s feeling bad for the Patriots. I don’t think anyone feels bad for the Patriots.”
As for making that dramatic comeback. “We were just trying to get it in. I mean, I don’t think it was – I mean you’re playing with fire if you’re trying to manage the clock when you’re down eight points. So just get it in however you can and James (White) ran it in. What’d he have, three touchdowns tonight? It was unbelievable. What a hell of a game he played. It was awesome.”
Revenge indeed for Tom Brady and a lot of respect for the Atlanta Falcons. Nobody has won more Super Bowls than Tom Brady and he clearly just redefined momentum.
(SL) – With one day left before the big game, the Atlanta Falcons wrapped up their final pre-Super Bowl LI practice Friday. Julio kept it light to avoid further strain on his toe but all in all the hour and a half practice reflected an excited Atlanta Falcons team ready to Rise Up and get the job done! Pro Football Writer Peter King breaks it down for us!
By Peter King
The NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, in their final regular pre-Super Bowl LI practice Friday, got a terrific red-zone performance from quarterback Matt Ryan on a chilly, breezy afternoon practice at Rice University.
In slightly more than 20 minutes of plays from the 20-yard-line and closer against a scout team defense, Ryan was perfect. No pass from Ryan to any of his wide receivers, tight ends or backs ever hit the ground. The NFL will announce its 2016 Most Valuable Player Saturday night in Houston, and you could see exactly why Ryan is a leading candidate for the award after his pristine performance on Rice’s grass practice field.
“That’s Matt,’’ coach Dan Quinn said after the 79-minute practice. “I am so pumped for him, the way he has worked. It is not surprising the offense feels so good about the plan and has practiced so clean. In the past, I think he has overburdened himself at times, going so deep in the gameplan. This year, he’s really found his rhythm. A week like this, you can see he doesn’t force it to one player. What was it—13 different players caught touchdown passes from him this year?’’
That’s what it was, and many of those shuffled in an out of the first unit on Friday. This was a crisp, decisive and impressive performance by the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in 2016.
Also Friday, Falcons center Alex Mack (fibula), wide receiver Julio Jones (sprained toe) and pass-rusher Dwight Freeney (calf) practiced on a limited basis and all three were removed from the game status portion of the injury report.
Backup center Ben Garland continued to get some work in Mack’s place Friday, but it was clear from Quinn’s comments that he expects Mack to play and play well against the defensively diverse Patriots. On Thursday, Quinn had said he was “not panicked, but I’m concerned’’ about Mack’s status for Sunday. But he said Friday he watched the tape from Thursday’s practice and had a different feeling.
“I felt good after watching Alex last night,’’ Quinn said, “because I felt good about what he was able to do on the things we’re going to ask him to do in the game. It’s going to hurt, but a lot of guys are playing through stuff. The important thing is Alex’s mind is clear. He needed to test it and have guys go on him full speed, and he was able to do that Wednesday and Thursday.”
The Falcons were a loose group as they wound up the serious portion of their practice week. With the field situated next to a residential area abutting the Rice campus, there was extra security between the edge of the field (with a fence and high hedges) and the neighborhood, so the Falcons could feel secure running a practice as though they were at their home facility. There was only one brief security heads-up: Security officers grounded a drone that was sent airborne by one of the residents in the neighborhood on Thursday.
The team will drive to NRG Stadium to walk around the field and the locker room Saturday, then return to Rice for a final walk-through practice before Sunday’s game.
(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) – How Sway? Yes, it’s true that on any given Sunday a team can lose but it’s not supposed to be like this. As a matter of fact it’s almost been guaranteed that no other squad in the NFL has ever lost a game like this. It played out like a movie.
The Falcons were down by 11 going into the 4th qtr. Atlanta would power back and take the lead 28-27 with a little over 4 minutes to go and for whatever reason the Falcons decide to go for a 2 pt. conversion.
One would think the reason behind it would be to have 30 on the board in case the Chiefs get in field goal range for an easy 3. But what happened next was nothing short of crazy. Atlanta went for the 2-point conversion, Eric Berry intercepted it and took it back for the lead! I know..unbelievable right. The NFL has a new rule that teams can score defensive points on blocked kicks or missed two-point conversions.Let’s break it down. Matt Ryan took the snap, looked in the end zone and thought he had an open receiver but Berry jumped the crossing route and cleanly picked off the ball and ran it back for 99 yards. Berry, who 2 years ago was starting chemotherapy (hodgkin’s lymphoma), played in his first regular NFL season game in around 80 friends and family members in what would be an emotional comeback in the biggest way.
He’s the only player in NFL history to get a pick 6 and pick 2 in the same game. After his pick six, he gave the ball to his mom. After his pick two, he gave the Kansas City Chiefs the win. 29-28 was the final score. As for the ball though, somehow it ended up with Berry’s father as seen on a FB post of his mom and dad holding the balls.
“Eric is the heart and soul of this team, the embodiment of what we’re about,” quarterback Alex Smith said. “That’s selflessness, hard work, giving it up for the guy next to you. That’s all Eric talks about, and it’s real, it’s sincere … and it’s from the heart.”
Alex Smith completed 21 of 25 passes for 270 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown to Spencer Ware. Travis Kelce was Kansas City’s top receiver, hauling in eight passes for 140 yards.
Ryan was 22 of 34 for 297 yards, but his two huge mistakes doomed the NFC South-leading Falcons. Julio Jones hauled in seven passes for 113 yards, while Devonta Freeman had a couple of 1-yard touchdown runs. Up next, the Falcons will play the Rams and Kansas City will take on the Raiders.
(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)– 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!