Before I begin with the post-proper, I have to share something that I saw this morning while I was on my Starbux run. I was driving down the street and saw a fifteen or sixteen-year old guy walking on the sidewalk on the same side of the road I was driving but in the opposite direction (we were facing each other). I was possibly eight car-lenghths away from him when I noticed a small sedan drive by and splash him. The youth turned around and patted the back of his head and neck. I checked my rearview mirror and saw that no cars were behind me, so I approached very slowly. Had I had a towel in my car, I probably would’ve rolled down the window when I got to where he was standing and asked, “Hey, I saw that … would you like a towel for your head?”
But, I didn’t have a towel. Moreover, I wouldn’t have wanted to startle him just by saying that I saw what happened and if he was okay. Of course he was okay…just a bit wet. I did what any considerate, courteous driver would do, I drove very slowly over that puddle. The youth was still looking in the direction that the splasher was headed; in my rearview mirror, I observed the boy putting his hand up in acknowledgement. He probably realized that I had seen him get splashed and did my best not to do the same thing.
All right. The New Orleans Saints crossed over into east coast time in an effort to maintain their all-win season this afternoon at the Georgia Dome. The Atlanta Falcons, once more without quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner, didn’t perform — haven’t performed as well as they know they can, and we know they can. Whatever the explanations, elaborations, and legitimate excuses, would the Falcons be able to muster and channel energy and confidence sufficiently to interrupt the Saints’ perfect season?
Broadcast on Fox, with commentary provided by Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, the first quarter started with the Falcons on offense. Chris Redman reprised his role as QB; Sam Baker was back in the game today. Running back Jason Snelling made a solid impression early in the drive with a thirty-eight yard run. The Falcons put up the first score with a thirty-six yard Matt Bryant field goal. Atlanta 3 and New Orleans 0. One needn’t wonder what the Saints would do in reaction. Shall we say red zone pronto? But no to touchdown, yes to field goal. The Falcons made another field goal at the end of their second possession. Atlanta 6 and New Orleans 3.
The second quarter banged out with the Saints in the red zone following a stellar pass between quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Robert Meachem. Two plays later, running back Reggie Bush sliced through the front, right corner of the end zone for a TD. New Orleans 10 and Atlanta 6. With roughly seventy seconds left in the first half, wide receiver Marques Colston made a TD catch. The extra point was no good. New Orleans 16 and Falcons 6. The Falcons would’ve wanted to get a TD too going into halftime but they took a FG instead. New Orleans 16 and Falcons 9.
The third quarter sprang out with the Saints on an energetic, and eventful, offense. They got into the red zone, the officials called defensive pass interference on Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, Falcons head coach Mike Smith fumed and sent his headset crashing to the turf, the Falcons broke up a Saints TD catch and nearly recovered a Reggie Bush fumble. The Bush ran the ball in for a TD on the next play, though. New Orleans 23 and Atlanta 9. The Falcons didn’t lose momentum. They came back with a fifty-yard TD catch and run by wide receiver Michael Jenkins (who had missed a similar set-up in the second quarter). New Orleans 23 and Atlanta 16.
I assert that the Falcons played much better against the Saints today than they did against the Eagles last week (the Ch’i from last week was all off). Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez made an excellent run, which preceded a Jason Snelling plane-breaking TD. The Falcons tied the game in the top of the quarter 23 to 23. The Falcons’ defense stayed the course as well, holding the Saints to an FG rather than another end zone visit with four minutes left to play. New Orleans 26 and Atlanta 23. Oh Lourdes. After losing twelve yards, Chris Redman threw an interception…Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma snatched the ball. With just about two minutes left, the Saints faked a field goal attempt but Mark Brunell’s pass to tight end Darnell Dinkins was incomplete. Alas. New Orleans 26 and Atlanta 23. Final score.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman looked like Ken dolls. Joe wore a navy jacket, a white button-down shirt, and a shimmery light blue tie. Troy wore a light gray jacket, a white button-down shirt, and a shimmery dark burgundy/purple tie. It’s like Prom Ken and CEO Ken.
2. Hmmm…the producers decided to air the feed from a camera that was taking in a high-angle close-up of Brent Grimes with a hand and an arm waving about while lining up for a snap.
3. “That’s just good NFC South football right there: banging heads, knocking around…” Joe Buck remarked of the impromptu mosh pit that formed in the final second of the first quarter after the Saints returned a kickoff.
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