Tag Archives: Brian Baldinger

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.

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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.

Cotton Bowl 2009: Ole Miss tongue-ties Texas Tech

The Red Raiders of Texas Tech and the Rebels of Ole Miss got their snorkeling gear on at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX for the seventy-third Cotton Bowl victory bragging rights.  Broadcast on Fox, eighty-eight thousand plus spectators congregated today to watch this sporting competition for the last time in the Cotton Bowl.  2010’s CB will unfold in the new home of the Dallas Cowboys.

The first quarter progressed more than halfway before anyone put a score on the board.  Edward Britton, Red Raiders wide receiver, got his legs to the end zone for a touchdown.  Shortly thereafter, safety Red Raiders Darcel McBath intercepted Rebels quarterback Jevan Snead’s pass for a TD.  The Rebels TD’d back with about two minutes left in the quarter, thanks to tight end Gerald Harris.  Texas Tech 14 and Ole Miss 7.

The second quarter boosted the Rebels with a touchdown by wide receiver Mike Wallace.  He was surrounded by bodies (friend and foe alike) and he kept the ball cradled when he fell to the turf.  Both teams tied 14.  Briefly.  The next Red Raiders possession resulted in a TD catch made by wide receiver Michael Crabtree.  Texas Tech 21 and Ole Miss 14.  Let’s hear it for a back, back, forth, and forth on the offense in the first half.  The Rebels’ Gerald Harris made another TD with under five minutes on the clock.  Both teams re-tied at 21.  The Rebels had a chance to take the lead when defensive back Cassius Vaughn intercepted the Red Raiders quarterback, Graham Harrell, with roughly three minutes left in the quarter.   Touchdown opportunities were had but they ended up with a field goal.  In the final play of the second quarter, Red Raiders QB got himself within five yards of the end zone.   Going into halftime, Ole Miss 24 and Texas Tech 21.

The third quarter chirped off with Graham Harrell throwing another interception into the scoop of Rebels cornerback Marshay Green, who then sprinted sixty-five yards for a touchdown.  Ole Miss 31 and Texas Tech 21.  Green nearly put another TD on the board (via punt-return) a couple plays later, but one of his feet got out of bounds within ten yards of the end zone.  The Rebels had to take a field goal attempt that was no good.  Would the Red Raiders jump on the opportunity to close a ten point deficit?  Well, those ten points became seventeen points.  Rebels running back Brandon Bolden charged his way into the end zone halfway through the third quarter.  Ole Miss 38 and Texas Tech 21.

The Red Raiders finally got back on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth quarter as Edward Britton made a touchdown.  Ole Miss 38 and Texas Tech 28.  In the space of one end zone and thirty seconds maybe, the Rebels went from turning the ball over to getting a safety.  The Red Raiders safety Daniel Charbonnet landed on a fumbled Rebels ball.  And then, Graham Harrell lost the ball in the end zone.  Towards the bottom of the quarter, Rebels wide receiver Dexter McCluster got the ball into the end zone.  Ole Miss 47 and Texas Tech 28.  The Red Raiders weren’t going to go down with a hissy fit.  They increased their numbers by a touchdown with a Harrell-to-Eric-Morris connection.  Texas Tech tried for a two-point conversion but it was not successful.  Ole Miss 47 and Texas Tech 34.  Final score.  With a handful of Rebels running onto the field holding banners of their school, Ole Miss earned those Cotton swab Bowl bragging rights.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Brian Baldinger and Pat Summerall provided commentary.

2.  The Red Raiders wore black jerseys and white pants.  An odd look.  Like salt and pepper forgot to wear pants to school one day.

3.  Betty Stanford tossed the coin.  Ole Miss received the ball first.  Their uniforms made me think of the Giants’ with their white-with-red tops and gray pants.

4.  One of the cameras got a glimpse of Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell’s mother.  She is so young.  Not “do you still get carded at rated R movies” young…but either Graham is her youngest child (or middle one) or she takes very good care of her physiology….and is videogenic.

5.  Halftime performances consisted of the Ole Miss marching band.  They played Irene Cara’sWhat A Feeling.”   Texas Tech’s band hit the field too, but I couldn’t figure out what song they were playing.  The geometric re-arranging of lines was neat.  The Rangerettes performed as well.

6.  Commercial for David Cook and the American Idol franchise.  His eye make-up increases with every appearance on the tellyvision.  When is he going to go mime? Or jester?

7.  Summerall and Baldinger remarked that Texas Tech wasn’t starting the second half with any substantial changes to methodology.  They would simply do what they’ve been doing better.  Baldinger then said, “Repetition is the mother of invention…is that how the saying goes?”  Summerall responded, “It is now.”  So, what  really is the mother of invention?  It’s necessityPlato once said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

8.  Was Red Raiders offensive lineman Brandon Carter chewing gum in the fourth quarter?

9.  The Rebels had blue in their Gatorade barrels.

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

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And now for something tangentially related…for tailgaters and sports fans that travel by land to watch their teams compete during away games.  Nevermind what morning and evening commuters might posit, people aren’t traveling via automobile in frequency or duration as they once did (before people got trendily environmentally aware), thus, a restructuring or reconceptualizing of public roads is apparently in order.  Otherwise, there won’t be enough money for maintaining healthy roads infrastructure.  Fewer traditional cars, less gasoline purchased.  Click here for the Yahoo news details.

NFL 08: Falcons send the Vikings longship-packing

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.

2. Brian Baldinger, Dick Stockton, and Brian Billick provided commentary.

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.

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.