Tag Archives: Arthur Blank

Pre-S 09: the Ravens suddenly appear upside the Falcons

Detour:

Falcons defensive end John Abraham was the guest of this week’s Falcons Face t0 Face with Fred Kalil.   Abraham is incredibly witty; and he can speak in analogy.  He was discussing the contrast between the 2007 and the 2008 seasons.  He likened the change from feeling not so wonderful to feeling great to the way in which a woman’s husband can cheer her up after having a bad day at work.

Retour:

Oh.  Yes.  The Baltimore Ravens rang around the GA Dome’s rosy tonight against the Atlanta Falcons in the final pre-season game of 2009.  Televised by NBC and narrated by Randy Waters and Brian Baldinger, the first quarter purred down to about two minutes before anyone put any numbers on the board.  It would be a touchdown setup by Ravens quarterback John Beck and caught by fullback Jason Cook.  Baltimore 7 and Atlanta 0.   John Parker Wilson relieved Matt Ryan of quarterbacking duties in the bottom of the quarter.  The second quarter very nearly ended with a Falcons TD between Parker Wilson and wide receiver Robert Ferguson.  It would’ve been a beauty of a catch, if it remained a catch.   Jason Elam then sent a forty-five yard field goal through the uprights.  Baltimore 7 and Atlanta 3.

After a predominantly lackluster first half, the third quarter foxtrotted to about 9.5 minutes when Falcons tight end Keith Zinger made a nice catch.  Running back Thomas Brown then made a twenty-five yard run.  After a few more solid plays, Jason Elam missed a thirty-five yard field goal.  The camera cut almost immediately to a slight high-angle, medium shot of him unstrapping his helmet and walking towards the sidelines.  He looked as displeased as the rest of us Falcons fans.  DJ Shockley went in as QB in the bottom of the third quarter.

The fourth quarter increased the Ravens’ lead with a thirty-three yard Steve Hauschka field goal.  Ravens wide receiver Eron Riley made a TD catch a few minutes later.  Baltimore 17 and Atlanta 3.  Hauschka’s kicked it again with under two minutes left on the clock.  Baltimore 20 and Atlanta 3.  Final score.

Lookin’ forward to NFL 2009 proper on September 13 when the Falcons serve up some Dolphins.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Randy Waters and Brian Baldinger nearly wore the same outfit–dark navy suit, white button-down long-sleeved shirt (on Waters, Baldinger’s was light blue), and a square-patterned yellow tie (Waters’s tie was more yellow, Baldinger’s was more pastelish).

2.  Sam Crenshaw interviewed Falcons head coach Mike Smith before the game started.  Coach looked like he lost about twelve pounds since the last game.  Thomas Dimitroff and Arthur Blank were seen walking across (from screen right to left).

3.  The Ravens’ uniforms looked very nice.  White bottoms with a blackish/dark purple stripe on the outer thigh; white jerseys.

4.  There was a shot of Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes sitting, sans helmet,  on the bench not long after Baltimore scored in the bottom of the first quarter.  He looked so young and so cute.  He’s only two years younger than I am.

5.  Randy Waters confessed just past the middle of the second quarter that he doesn’t own an iPod.  Neither do I, Randy! High-five.

6.  Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry’s favorite food is macaroni and cheese.  His favorite movie is Life.  Directed by Ted Demme, the film was released theatrically in April of 1999.  I was a high school senior itching to graduate.  Probably studying for or taking AP exams.  I was eighteen years-old; Jerry was fourteen.  I wonder if he saw it in theatres or waited until it was released on DVD.

7.  Falcons safety Erik Coleman is a year younger than I am.  The folks at 11alive had put mics on Coleman and wide receiver Michael Jenkins during a practice this week.  What fine human specimens.  Jenkins is a year younger than I too!

8.  Thomas Dimitroff stopped by the press box to speak with Waters and Baldinger in the top half of the third quarter.  Ben Hartsock, Von Hutchins, and Willie Evans are no longer FalconsTye Hill (of the Rams) is now a Falcon.

9.  Perhaps I should not have praised the Ravens’ uniforms.  Middle of the fourth quarter and the Falcons’ numbers were limited, confined to a field goal.  Baltimore saw a loftier passing game. Pun absolutely intended. I realize that pre-season games function more like call-back auditions for rookies and staging, full wardrobe-and-makeup rehearsals for the veterans.  And, since the scores don’t contribute officially to team and individual stats, why not play for something other than scoreboard numbers?  Why not play for a charitable cause?

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

~!~

Dogs and infants are very much alike.  Wolves cannot be fooled.   So says an NPR broadcast.

Pre-S 09: the Lions squint over the Falcons

Ah… it’s time to relax.  You know what that means.   A glass of wine, your favorite easy chair, and of course this televised pre-season 2009 NFL game playing on your home television.  So go on and indulge yourself.   That’s right.  Kick off your shoes.  Put your feet up.  Just lean back and enjoy the instant replays.  After all, pigskin soothes even the crabbiest of beasts.

The Atlanta Falcons marked their first pre-season 2009 display in the north lands of the Detroit Lions.   Broadcast on NBC, Randy Waters (of 11alive, my local NBC station) and Brian Baldinger provided commentary for the competitive sports affair.  The first quarter chugged off to a sluggish start.  It wasn’t until the Lions got their hands on the ball for the first time, and were ten yards away from the end zone, that there was any likelihood for a score.  Quarterback Daunte Culpepper was integral to the series of plays that moved his team down the field.  He passed to receivers but also ran the ball.  Detroit put the first number on the board with a field goal.

On the Falcons’ second possession in the first quarter, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan connected with wide receiver Brian Finneran, which was followed by a forty-yard touchdown courtesy of running back Michael Turner (and the protection skills of tackle Tyson Claybo and fullback Ovie Mughelli).   Atlanta 7 and Detroit 3.

Chris Redman took over quarterbacking duties in the second quarter for the Falcons.  Kicker Jason Elam nailed a forty-six yard field goal halfway through the quarter.  Atlanta 10 and Detroit 3.  Matthew Stafford made his appearance as QB for the Lions in the second half of the second quarter.

The third quarter bounced out with Falcons linebacker Tony Gilbert intercepting Matthew Stafford’s forty-two yard pass for a TD.   The extra point did not happen.  Atlanta 16 and Detroit 3.  Stafford redeemed himself a few minutes later with a TD throw to wide receiver Derrick Williams.  Atlanta 16 and Detroit 10.   DJ Shockley took over as quarterback in the middle of the quarter.   Falcons running back Jason Snelling pushed his way through the Lions defenders to break the plane and toss up another TD.   Atlanta 23 and Detroit 10.

Falcons linebacker Jamie Winborn intercepted Stafford in the second half of the third quarter…oh, but it wouldn’t count due to penalties on both teams.  A few plays later, Drew Stanton went in as quarterback and Lions running back Aaron Brown galloped thirty-some-odd yards into the end zone with few Falcons on his trail.  Atlanta 23 and Detroit 17.

John Parker Wilson quarterbacked for the Falcons in the middle of the fourth quarter.  In the bottom of the quarter, Jason Elam made a forty-one yard field goal, giving the Falcons a lead of 26 to Detroit’s 17.  A minute later,  Aaron Brown ran the ball fortyish yards into end zone for a TD.  He did a cartwheel and a backflip and was flagged for unsportsman-like conduct.  Atlanta 26 and Detroit 24.  Lions kicker Jason Hanson made a forty-seven yard field goal to give his team a one point win over the Falcons.  Detroit 27 and Atlanta 26.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Matt Stafford looks pretty good in a Lions uniform.  Oh la la, that blue suits him tres bien.

2.  Oh wow.  Did the Falcons’ spandex pants get even more shimmery?  Mon dieu, I’d love to caress a Falcon kneecap.

3.  Randy Waters noted in the first quarter that Calvin Johnson, a wide receiver for the Lions, would not be in today’s game because of a slight mishap in training camp.  There weren’t any more details but I surmise it’s the kind of injury that would compel Johnson to heal and rest through the pre-season.  Wait, I typed too soon.  Brian Baldinger remarked a few minutes later that Calvin Johnson sprained his thumb in practice.

4.  Tight-end Tony Gonzalez is so handsome.  There was some interview footage (horizontal split-screen/boxed window) after a commericial break.  可是 他的眼睛 好像有畫眼線.  也許是影子.  He was wearing a cap.  He looks awesome in Falcons colors.

5.  Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson likes to “run and hit” as he told Fred Kalil in sidelines interview.

6.  Fred Kalil interviewed Matt Ryan before the third quarter.   The QB definitely has a more confident and calmer air about him.  Less eager-scrappy-puppy and more alert-comfortable-soul.

7.  Falcons owner, Arthur Blank, sat in the press box with Randy Waters and Brian Baldinger in the third quarter.  When the camera cut to the three of them (in a medium, low-angle shot), Baldinger was nodding earnestly like a disciple soaking up words of wisdom from a guru.  Among the questions that Waters asked Blank were whether or not there was a moment in last season where Blank knew the Falcons were doing things right.  Blank mentioned a game against Green Bay and how confidently the Falcons had played – Roddy White had a great day.  Waters also asked about Blank visiting Michael Vick.  And then Stafford threw a TD.  When Blank answered the question, he had summarized the meeting as one of how Vick’s life had changed since his personal and professional lowpoint.   Blank and Waters then gave a shoutout to Harry Douglas.  Blank also wished Vick well.

8.  Stafford’s “second” intercepted pass was a surreal one.  To me, a beautiful or awesome interception is the sort where a defensive player plucks the ball from mid-air.  In-the-blink-of-an-eye sort.  A surreal interception occurs when a quarterback misses his intended target so substantially that he might as well have just thrown the ball straight to whomever intercepted the pass.

9.  The game-winning Lions field goal was filmed in a long shot and very, very far behind the Lions on the field.  I couldn’t tell if Jason Hanson had succeeded for failed based on where the ball went.  I saw Lions fans behind the end zone stand up with their arms extended to the stars, and I knew the field goal was good.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

NFL 08: Falcons walnut-cream the Buccaneers by a stolen glance

NFC South. NFC South. Green eggs and dry mouth.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcomed the Atlanta Falcons into their parlor in September of this year and certainly proved who owned the lot. Twenty-four to nine, the Bucs won. Today, the roles were reversed. Would the Falcons be able to demonstrate some Southern hospitality to their peninsular brothers?

Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia was unable to put on his ritz due to an injury. Brian Griese was the substitute teacher for the day. Televised by Fox, the first quarter started off rather creakily, with a pocketful of penalties (most of them on the Buccaneers) and a Falcons field goal (second time with the ball). Falcons wide receiver Roddy White made a spectacular catch towards the bottom of the quarter (body elongated to perfection) but he didn’t spring back up after being brought down to the turf (at least not before commercial break). Falcons running back Michael Turner put the first touchdown on the board for his team with under two minutes on the clock (his TD was preceded by a pretty happenin’ Jerious Norwood run). Atlanta 10 and Tampa Bay 0.

The second quarter started with Tampa Bay rookie cornerback Aqib Talib getting in between Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s throw and Roddy White’s hands. It was an interception. Another interception occurred with under a minute in the quarter when Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber got his hands on another ball meant for Roddy White. Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Bryant’s thirty-yard catch under thirty seconds was ruled incomplete (his left foot came down out-of-bounds). A couple plays later, Antonio Bryant put the ball into the end zone. Going into halftime, Atlanta 10 and Tampa Bay 7.

The third quarter sprang forth with Falcons tight end Jason Rader breaking the plane for a touchdown, but did the ball come out of his hands before or as he was crossing the goal line? Bucs head coach Jon Gruden challenged the TD call– and he won it. Tampa Bay was awarded possession as cornerback Phillip Buchanon had scooped up the ball after Rader fumbled it in the end zone. Was the offensive tide turning in favor of the Buccaneers? Not completely. Falcons cornerback Domonique Foxworth got his hands around Brian Griese’s pass two or so plays later. Would Atlanta be able to capitalize on that interception? That would be a negative. Niet. Nyet. Nein. Non. Pas du tout. Falcons running back Jason Snelling did, however, grind the Buccaneers’ field position to the nine yard line after Michael Koenen punted the ball away.

The fourth quarter whittled down to under four minutes without any points for either team. Buccaneers kicker Matt Bryant tried to tie the score with a fifty-three yard field goal but the ball swerved to the left of the uprights (from his POV). Falcons still in the lead 10 to 7. Tampa Bay wasn’t going to let their ship sink in the Georgia Dome. A blocked punt in the bottom of the fourth quarter put the Bucs in a position to swipe the victory. Matt Bryant went for a thirty-eightish yard field goal attempt with under a minute left on the clock. And it was good. Both teams tied with 10 points.

Tampa Bay won the coin toss in overtime. Their first possession yielded no score. When the Falcons got their hands on the ball, Matt Ryan slid, then connected with Roddy White, then lost the ball as he was sliding but Falcons recovered the ball. Michael Turner was able to move the ball down the field seventeen yards, but a ten-yard penalty on guard Justin Blalock undid some of that gain. Falcons kicker Jason Elam was sent onto the field to go for a thirty-four yard field goal. SWEET MARY OF MARINARA SAUCE!!!! He did it. FALCONS GAGNENT!!! Atlanta won. 13 to 10. Tampa Bay now has two back-to-back losses.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Dick Stockton and Brian Baldinger provided commentary.

2. I was experiencing major unease, nervousness upon Tampa Bay’s first possession in the first quarter. It lasted the entire game. I watched most of this game standing up. A first I believe.

3. Roddy White did go back into the game a play after he was able to get up. The slow-motion instant replays (from behind and in front of him) indicated that perhaps in his reaching for the ball, he stretched his back a might too far.

4. I wonder how many NFL players do yoga for muscle conditioning. Mind-clearing. I did a search and here are the results.

5. In the bottom of the first quarter, before Michael Turner ran into the end zone, Brian Baldinger gave props to Falcons quarterback coach Bill Musgrave. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey has been praised numerous times throughout the season by other commentators. Dick Stockton then remarked that a head coach’s staff doesn’t receive nearly the amount of credit that they should.

6. How rattled would Jeff Garcia feel if Brian Griese led his Bucs to a win? Would he be happy for his backup QB?

7. Brian Baldinger praised Michael Koenen’s punting skills in the bottom of the third quarter.

8. MVPs for the Falcons? I’m thinking Domonique Foxworth, Michael Turner, John Abraham, and Jason Elam.

9. The camera got a glimpse of a red-jacketed Arthur Blank at the two-minute warning. He looked understandably concerned.

10. My heart was beating so fast in OT, which lasted much longer than I’ve seen other OT’s last.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

NFL 08: Saints out-charades the Falcons

When the New Orleans Saints voyaged to the Eastern time zone a month ago to stare down the Atlanta Falcons, the home team proved to be the master of the ceremonies.  Today, the Falcons were over in  the Saints’ playground aiming to capture another victory.   Broadcast on Fox, the first quarter started with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throwing an interception.  Saints cornerback Jason David plucked the ball right out of the air as it was traveling towards Falcons wide receiver Roddy White.  Saints running back Reggie Bush made a touchdown a couple plays later.  New Orleans 7 and Atlanta 0.

The second quarter started with Saints quarterback Drew Brees throwing to wide receiver Marques Colston.  The ball ended up in the hands of Falcons cornerback Chevis Jackson, but it hit the ground.  Thus, incomplete pass.   The Saints shot up a field goal at the end of that possessio.  New Orleans 10 and Falcons 0.   The first play of Atlanta’s next possession was a fifty-nine yard pass to Roddy White.  Spectacularly projected and cradled.   The end of that drive led to a touchdown, courtesy of running back Michael Turner.  The Saints flung up another field goal (of forty-six yards) not long after the Falcons got on the board.  New Orleans 13 and Atlanta 7.   Towards the bottom of the second quarter, Matt Ryan connected superbly with wide receivers Harry Douglas, Michael Jenkins, Roddy White, and finally  Brian Finneran for a TD.  Atlanta 14 and New Orleans 13.  Going into halftime, though, the Saints reclaimed the lead with a field goal.  New Orleans 16 and Atlanta 14.

The third quarter pulsed halfway through and Matt Ryan launched two awesome passes while under much pressure (once to Brian Finneran, who was flanked by two Saints, and a second time to Michael Jenkins).   Edging towards the bottom of the third quarter, as that possession ended, Jason Elam’s field goal placed the Falcons back in the lead.  Atlanta 17 and New Orleans 16.

The fourth quarter commenced with a Saints touchdown by running back Pierre Thomas.   They would attempt a two-point conversion but it was not successful.  New Orleans 21 and Atlanta 17.   On the Falcons’ next possession, Matt Ryan ran twelve yards into the end zone himself for a touchdown.  A two-point conversion was tried and it worked (Michael Jenkins caught the ball).   Atlanta 25 and New Orleans 22.   The Saints responded with a zippy kickoff-return and a drive that culminated in a Pierre Thomas TD.  Saints 29 and Atlanta 25.   Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Two of the pre-game segments were a vignette on the Falcons and a getting-to-know Roddy White sequence.  White was also featured on 11alive’s (my local NBC station) Falcons Face to Face last night.  It’s taped at the ESPN Zone in Buckhead and is hosted by Fred Kalil, one of 11alive’s sports reporters.   Roddy White was born in November of 1981.  I’m older than him by nearly a year.  He’s adorable.  His off-field, onscreen persona is remarkably different from his on-field, onscreen persona.

2.  Brian Billick, Dick Stockton, and Brian Baldinger were the commentators.

3.  Jason David made that interception in the first quarter, was then brought to the ground by Roddy White, and then proceeded to do the Carlton Dance upon standing up.

4.  Before cutting to commercial after the second quarter ended, one of the Fox cameras got a shot of a Saints fan dressed up as the Joker a la Heath Ledger.  Only, his jacket was chartreuse.  In fact, the fan bore a strong resemblance to actor Crispin Glover.

5.  Falcons defensive end John Abraham has Chinese character tattoos in his left bicep.  I can’t make out what they are, though, from the camera angle that revealed them (in the top of the fourth quarter after Falcons cornerback Dominique Foxworth got a penalty for illegal contact).

6.  Falcons owner Arthur Blank got a medium close-up after Atlanta lost the forward progress challenge in the fourth quarter.  His face could be read as blank–ha! pun–or stoic.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

<~>

But the Eagles beat the Giants.

NFL 08: Falcons unseal the Packers

The Green Bay Packers got their fromage on against the Atlanta Falcons. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers injured a shoulder last week but he did play today–he played the entire game.

Televised on Fox, the first quarter started with a touchdown by the Falcons. Wide receiver Roddy White and running backs Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood, contributed to the drive. Quarterback Matt Ryan connected with tight end Justin Peelle for a touchdown in the front right corner (from the field’s perspective) of the end zone. Atlanta’s next possession culminated in a field goal. Falcons 10. Packers 0.

The second quarter put the Packers on the board with a forty-four yard TD reception by wide receiver Donald Driver. Atlanta 10 and Green Bay 7. The Falcons increased their lead with a twenty-two yard Roddy White TD reception, 17 to 7. Green Bay was going to go into halftime with a field goal, but an offensive holding call forced kicker Michael Crosby to kick again. Second attempt at fifty-three (or was it fifty-two) yards didn’t make it through the uprights.

The third quarter narrowed the Falcons’ lead with a Green Bay field goal. 17 to 10. The fourth quarter began with what was supposed to be a Falcons TD catch by tight end Ben Hartsock, but it turned into an interception by Packers tight end Tramon Williams in the end zone. On Green Bay’s next possession, they tied the game with a TD by wide receiver Greg Jennings. The Falcons were able to regain the upper hand with a field goal, 20 to 17. Towards the bottom of the fourth quarter, Falcons linebacker Michael Boley intercepted Aaron Rodgers’s pass. After getting the ball back, Michael Turner increased the Falcons’ lead with a TD. 27 to 17. Green Bay shrank that lead with a TD of their own in the two-minute warning, courtesy of tight end Donald Lee. Final score. 27 to 24.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. On Green Bay’s second possession, the camera that shot Atlanta punter Michael Koenen kicking the ball to Green Bay cornerback Will Blackmon remained behind the Packers at a slight low angle. It was a rather nice change to the standard start from behind the kicking team, cut to a high angle long shot of field (sidelines on top and bottom of screen), and then cut pan to the receiver catching the ball.

2. The interception Aaron Rodgers threw in the bottom of the fourth quarter was preceded by an intentional grounding call (defensive end John Abraham made the tackle).

3. After Michael Turner made the TD in the fourth quarter, the sidelines footage included an Arthur Blank trailing behind Matt Ryan who walked across from screen left to screen right.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.