NFL 2009: Falcons nectarine the Panthers

The Atlanta Falcons went old school uniform and the Carolina Panthers contended with GA rain today at the Dome.  Broadcast on Fox, the Panthers went on offense first and ended their drive with a field goal (thirty-eight yards kicked by John Kasay).  Carolina 3 and Atlanta 0.  When the Falcons got to bat, the Panthers head coach John Fox challenged the complete pass made when Matt Ryan threw to tight end Tony Gonzalez.   The Panthers won the challenge; Roddy White’s subsequent complete pass was then “undone,” as if it never happened.  As a result, the Falcons had to punt the ball away.  The nerves, the nerves!  Matt Ryan threw an interception in the bottom of the first quarter.  The pass that wide receiver Marty Booker was supposed to catch instead went straight into the arms of Panthers cornerback Richard Marshall.  Later on, Panthers punter Jason Baker didn’t do a great punt-away as Falcons cornerback Brian Williams interrupted the ball’s trajectory and  linebacker Mike Peterson caught the ball (this play was filmed from behind the punter, in an on-field POV).  A couple plays later, near the end of the quarter, Matt Ryan threw a twenty-four yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez.  Atlanta 7 and Panthers 3.

Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams cut into the left, front corner of the end zone in the top of the second quarter.  Carolina 10 and Atlanta 7.  Just past the middle of the quarter, Tony Gonzalez caught the ball, was brought down to the ground, rolled up, insisting that he had the ball.  He and Mike Smith’s red flag claimed that because Gonzalez kept his hand around the ball, the ball never touched the ground, and thus it was a complete pass.  The referee overturned the incomplete ruling.  Two plays later, Matt Ryan threw to running back Jason Snelling for a TD.  John Kasay sent through a fifty-yard field goal before the end of the first half.  Atlanta 14 and Carolina 13.  The Falcons weren’t going to let the Panthers go into halftime with just a point difference on the score board.  Matt Ryan connected with Roddy White for a TD.  Atlanta 21 and Carolina 13.

The ball came out of Falcons running back Michael Turner grasp as he was brought down near the middle of the third quarter and the Panthers recovered it.  What would the kitties do with the turnover?  Not entirely.  Mike Smith won another challenge regarding whether or not Panthers tight end Jeff King had possession of the ball as he hit the ground, and then DeAngelo fumbled Jake Delhomme’s thrown ball.

The fourth quarter gave Michael Turner his first TD of the season.  Atlanta 28 and Carolina 13.  Mike Smith won his first two challenges so he won a third chance to challenge, which he used to dispute Panthers tight end Dante Rosario’s upper body crossing the goal line, with hands extended above his head, but when Falcons safety Erik Coleman brought him down, the ball immediately popped out of his hands.  Mike Smith lost the challenge.  Atlanta 28 and Carolina 20.  How would the Falcons retaliate?  The clock ticked down to two minutes and thirty some-odd seconds when Falcons cornerback Chris Houston intercepted Jake Delhomme.  On the Panthers’ final attempt on offense, Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran tipped the ball upwards, it fell and hit the field.  Game over.  Atlanta won it 28 to 20.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Dick Stockton and Charles Davis were the commentators.

2. Festivities that took place in today’s game.

3.  John Fox and Mike Smith both wear a watch on the left wrist.  No leather straps.

4.  Steve Smith’s mouth guard is red.  Tony Gonzalez’s mouth guard is yellow.

5.  After Gonzalez made the TD catch in the first quarter, he dunked the football over the upright’s cross bar.

6.  Falcons running back Jerious Norwood left the game sometime between the first and second quarters (or the top of the second) because of an injury to the head.  Big hit I suspect.

7.  A camera cut to the press box, where Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was sitting.  There was a Dasani bottle and a can of Diet Coke in front of him.

8.  After Jason Snelling made the TD catch in the bottom of the second quarter, Matt Ryan jogged into the end zone and they did a body high-five.

9.  Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry sustained left foot/ankle injury in the fourth quarter.  Apparently his ribs were bruised after the Dolphins game last week.

10.  Did Dick Stockton and Charles Davis say that Michael Turner referred to Arthur Blank as “that Clark Gable dude” when he first came to Atlanta?  I always thought Arthur Blank looked more like Basil Rathbone, who played Sherlock Holmes in a series of films in the 1940s.   What say you?  Click here for more images of Arthur Blank, Basil Rathbone, and Clark GableGridiron Goddess sees resemblance between Arthur Blank and Walt Disney.

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

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