Looks like someone decided to give the Atlanta Falcons a couple of go-home-and-collect-200 cards. The Baltimore Ravens broke up the Dallas Cowboys’ party 33 to 24 Saturday night. The San Diego Chargers took out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 41 to 24 earlier today. The Falcons went into todays game against the Minnesota Vikings with one condition: win and you’re in the playoffs (as a wild card). So, were they able to do it? and on the Vikings’ turf?
Televised by Fox, the first quarter started with a super cool throw from Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throwing to wide receiver Michael Jenkins, who caught the ball one yard away from the goal line. Running back Michael Turner trudged his way into the end zone on the next play. Atlanta 7 and Minnesota 0. Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe got his hand into the end zone for a touchdown in response. Atlanta and Minnesota tied 7 a piece.
The second quarter surfaced with Matt Ryan shovel passing the ball to running back Jerious Norwood, who ran his way into the end zone. Atlanta 14 and Minnesota 7. The Vikings hit back with a few good runs by running back Adrian Peterson and throws by quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, and then the ball got away from the Vikings and into the hands of Falcons wide receiver Roddy White. Unfortunately, no score came from that cul-de-sac of ball exchange. Once Vikings were back on offense, Tarvaris Jackson and Adrian Peterson made good ground coverage…but then there was another fumble and Falcons cornerback Chris Houston got his hands on the ball. Going into halftime, Atlanta was in the lead with 17 points to Minnesota’s 7.
The third quarter began with another series of impressive Vikings action which then turned into Falcons fumble recovery. Defensive tackle Kindal Moorehead sacked Tarvaris Jackson and defensive end Chauncey Davis got on top of the ball. The outcome of that turnover? Rien. Nothing. The Falcons had to punt the ball away. SWEET MOLLY OF MARINATED CUBAN SANDWICHES?! The game clock was tripping passed three minutes in the bottom of the third quarter; the Falcons were second-and-five on the Minnesota five yard line; Matt Ryan couldn’t find someone to whom he could launch the ball. Alors, he decided to take it to the goal line himself.
Only, his forward somersault was possibly twelve inches shy of the goal line, and as he came closer to the ground, the ball fell away from his hand and into the end zone (diagonally left from Matt Ryan’s hand). Purple and white swarmed around that prolate spheroid and Falcons guard Justin Blalock ended up with the credit for repossessing it for a TD. Atlanta 24 and Minnesota 7. The fourth quarter commenced with a re-energized Vikings offense…in the form of a field goal. Minnesota benefited from another Visanthe Shiancoe TD in the bottom of the quarter. Atlanta 24 and Minnesota 17. The Vikings’ defense were not going to surrender. With the two-minute warning left to play in the fourth, Tarvaris Jackson and his eligible receivers had one more chance to tie or take the win by a one point lead. Despite the Vikings’ efforts, the Falcons reclaimed control of the ball in the final minute of the game. Atlanta 24 and Minnesota 17. Final score. SWEET SHINY PLANTAINS ON A SUNDAY!!! The Falcons are going to the playoffs!!!
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Wow. After the Tennessee Titans beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31 to 14, CBS cut to the end of the Miami Dolphins attempting to maintain a lead over the Kansas City Chiefs. The Dolphins wore white jerseys and the Chiefs red. Together on the field, they looked like diced salsa ingredients or a Tabasco bottle.
3. So, about that Matt Ryan somersault. I wonder if he’d ever do that again….I wonder if he’d practice doing that again for next season.
4. Last week’s game against Tampa Bay caused much anxiety since Matt Ryan’s second throw. Today’s horse-shoe toss against the Minnesota didn’t fill me with as intense a level of nerves, but from halfway through the third quarter to the end of the fourth, I experienced a dull chattering of anxiousness. I believed the Falcons could maintain a numerical lead but the Vikings just weren’t going to let up one breath, as evidenced in the bottom of the fourth quarter.
Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.