Tag Archives: Brian Finneran

NFL 2010: Falcons pin cushion the Rams

The St. Louis Rams hosted an afternoon of turf wars with the Atlanta Falcons.  Televised by Fox, the Rams, quarterbacked by Sam Bradford, were on offense first.  Three minutes later, the Rams punted the ball to the Falcons.  Due to one 5 yard false start penalty, a 15 yard unnecessary roughness penalty, and an incomplete pass, the Falcons had to send the ball right back to the Rams.  Two plays later, tight end Michael Hoomanawanui made a touchdown catch for the home team.  St. Louis 7 and Atlanta 0.  The Falcons’ offense improved by the middle of the quarter when his decision to throw the ball, after seconds of tip-toeing in the pocket, led to a complete pass to wide receiver Eric Weems.  Five minutes later, Falcons Matt Bryant kicker attempted a forty-two yard field goal.  It was good.  St. Louis 7 and Atlanta 3.

The top of the second quarter had Rams kicker Josh Brown making a fifty-three yard FG.  St. Louis 10 and Atlanta 3.  At the end of the Falcons’ next possession, quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Brian Finneran connected for a TD.  St. Louis 10 and Atlanta 10.  The middle of the second quarter gave the Falcons a lead with a FG.  Atlanta 13 and St. Louis 10.  The final forty seconds could’ve given the Falcons a TD lead but they had to settle for a FG because Brian Finneran couldn’t keep hold of the ball (he was well-covered) and Matt Ryan may not have known that tight end Tony Gonzalez was wide open.  Atlanta 16 and St. Louis 10.
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The third quarter began strongly for the Rams–wide receiver Danny Amendola’s thirty-one yard kickoff return and running back Steven Jackson’s sixteen yards of moving down the field preceded a TD catch by wide receiver Brandon Gibson.  St. Louis 17 and Atlanta 16.  The Rams defense turned out a solid performance through the middle of the third quarter.  The Falcons defense wasn’t backing down, but would their offense reclaim their own momentum?  One could argue in the affirmative given Tony Gonzalez’s catch with under six minutes left in the quarter.   Three minutes later, the Falcons were first-and-goal courtesy of a catch by tight end Justin Peelle.  A couple plays later, Peelle brought the ball in to the end zone.  Atlanta 23 and St. Louis 17.

The fourth quarter ticked down halfway and the Falcons gained another three points from a FG.  Atlanta 26 and St. Louis 17.  The game hadn’t seen any sacks by the bottom of the quarter; the first interception would occur when Falcons safety William Moore got his hands on a shovel pass.  Wahoo! Double time on that wahoo as Falcons running back Michael Turner doled out a rushing TD after the two-minute warning.  The Falcons nailed a two-point conversion thanks to wide receiver Roddy White (who cut into the bottom right corner of the end zone).  Atlanta 34 and St. Louis 17. Final score.
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Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Game narration was provided by Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan (the former was in the booth, the latter on the field).

2.  Rabbit Hole!  There’s the Nicole Kidman I love.

3.  The Falcons wore white jerseys and pants.  The Rams wore navy tops and bottoms.

4.  After Brian Finneran made the TD in the second quarter, one could hear him “woohoo-ing” all along the sidelines.

5.  Roddy White has had high school experience in wrestling, baseball, and football.  He was good in all three.

Click here for the Falcons’ roster and here for the Rams’ roster.

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

NFL 2010: Falcons grate the cheese out of the Cardinals

The Atlanta Falcons’ 2010 season debut at the Pittsburgh Steelers did not turn out as victoriously as they or their fans had hoped.  Would their home opener against the Arizona Cardinals today be a repeat or a reversal?  Televised by Fox, and narrated by Brian Billick and Thom Brennaman, the first quarter started with the Falcons on offense.  Whatever quarterback Matt Ryan might have done differently before he went to sleep last night and after he woke up this morning paid off as the Falcons gave a solid first drive, featuring Michael Turner and Jason Snelling rushing yards, that resulted in a touchdown (courtesy of wide receiver Roddy White).  Atlanta 7 and Arizona 0.

Cardinals running back LaRod Stephens-Howling received the kick for his team’s first possession.  He ran the ball back all the way into the end zone, but it was nullified because of a holding penalty on one of his teammates.  Derek Anderson quarterbacked for Arizona.  The Cardinals suffered from penalty upon penalty and didn’t get much done offensively.  The bottom of the second quarter saw Falcons Christopher Owens intercepted Derek Anderson, whose team incurred an illegal formation penalty that gave the Falcons a first down.

The Cardinals got another defensive penalty in the top of the second quarter as someone (either Joey Porter or Robinson) who tugged on Matt Ryan’s face mask.  After the referee announced the penalty, a camera cut to a medium close-up of the Cardinals sidelines.  One of the coaches, probably the defensive coordinator Bill Davis, was looking in the direction of head coach Ken Whisenhunt .  He mouthed “damnit” or something that expressed disappointment.  His body language then went very huff-and-puff-and-grrrr.   Matt Bryant put a thirty-four-yard field goal through the uprights.  Not long after the Cardinals went on offense again, wide receiver Tim Hightower made an eighty-yard TD run.  Atlanta 10 and Arizona 7.  Moments after the commentators praised running back Jason Snelling’s abilities and playing time last season, he caught Matt Ryan impending-blitz pass and ran the ball into the end zone.  Although the Falcons had compiled a couple penalties of their own by the bottom of the second quarter, a slew of Cardinals defensive flags facilitated the Falcons performance on offense.  Jason Snelling got a second TD before halftime.  Atlanta 24 and Arizona 7.  Cardinals Jay Feely attempted a fifty-four-yard FG in the final minute of the first half.  It was no good.  Matt Ryan was going to run the ball into field goal range when the Falcons were on offense before the half, and during the ball popped out of his hand as he was being tackled.  The Cardinals recovered the fumbled ball.

The Cardinals took to the field first in the third quarter.  The second play (I believe) led to Falcons safety William Moore intercepting Derek Anderson (the ball had bounced off a player’s hands and Moore caught it).  Two plays later, with the Falcons on offense, wide receiver Brian Finneran made a TD catch in the end zone.  Atlanta 31 and Arizona 7.  Matt Bryant increased his team’s lead with a thirty-five-yard FG in the bottom of the third.  Atlanta 34 and Arizona 7.

The fourth quarter was ripe with both teams receiving penalties for various reasons.  And then Jason Snelling crossed the bottom left corner of the end zone.  Atlanta 41 and Arizona 7.  Matt Ryan was still quarterbacking through the fourth quarter, but Derek Anderson trotted off to the sidelines with three minutes left on the clock.  Max Hall stepped on as QB…and threw an interception shortly thereafter.  Falcons cornerback Dominique Franks got his hands on the ball.  He ran the ball back but was pushed out of bounds a dozen or so yards before reaching the goal line.  Atlanta 41 and Arizona 7.  Final score.

Yay Jason Snelling!

By the way, GaTech beat UNC yesterday 30 to 24UGA didn’t fare as well against ArkansasArmy, TCU, Ohio State, and Alabama pulverized their respective opponents.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Brian Billick’s shoulders slope down.

2.  The stadium was aglow with rouge…from both Falcons and Cardinals fans.

3.  Whatever Michael Turner did differently this week compared to last week in preparation for the game also appeared to be successful as his performance elicited more confidence and conviction.  I know what I am doing.

4.  Jason Snelling’s second TD in the first half was via jumping over/into a bunch of bodies and breaking the plane with extended hands around the ball.

5.  I wrote about basketball a year ago and how I began watching basketball game-play so that it wouldn’t bore me to near-tears.  Specifically, “If, however, I focus on the players without the ball, then it’s about when/if they’ll get the ball and how they are reacting, which is much more interesting to me.”  I’ve been watching a few plays of football in such a manner and it creates a more disorienting viewer experience.  I’m not even sure the suspense is greater.

6.  Um, Ken Whisenhunt and Derek Anderson, did you know that with under thirty seconds left on the clock and the game was effectively over…one of the cameras cut to a close-up of both of you touching your nose?  And Derek, you were full on face to camera–did you stick a finger up in a nostril?  Coach Whisenhunt, the camera may have gotten your left side, and slightly from the back, but still…I saw that nose-pinching, downward stroking.  Qu’est-ce vous faitesQue’est-ce que vous pensiez?

Click here for the Falcons roster and here for the Cardinals roster.

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

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.

Pre-S 09: the Falcons moon-dust the Chargers

The boys of the Pacific, the San Diego Chargers, drifted eastward to Atlanta to shake the chandelier with the Falcons.  Broadcast on CBS, commentary was provided by Greg Gumbel and Dan Fouts.

The first score of the game occurred in the first half of the first quarter.  Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers chucked the ball to running back Darren Sproles.   San Diego 7 and Atlanta 0.   The Falcons answered that TD with one of their own.  With Matt Ryan quarterbacking, wide receiver Brian Finneran made a twelve-yard catch in the end zone (or rather a catch and a few steps into the end zone).   An amazing Roddy White reception preceded this TD by a couple of plays.  Atlanta 7 and San Diego 7.

The second quarter ticked halfway through and Chargers running back Michael Bennett jetted off forty-eight yards for a TD.   San Diego 14 and Atlanta 7.   Jason Elam put up a forty yard field goal for the Falcons in the bottom of the second.  San Diego 14 and Atlanta 10.  Billy Volek then stepped in as QB for the Chargers.  With under a minute left in the quarter, Chargers wide receiver Malcom Floyd broke the plane with his right hand (and as soon as the ball hit the turf, the ball came out of his grip).  San Diego 21 and Atlanta 10.  Jason Elam stepped onto the field with seconds left on the clock.  He sent the ball thirty-nine yards through the uprights.  San Diego 21 and Atlanta 13.

The third quarter featured Charlie Whitehurst as quarterback for the Chargers.  Chris Redman then went in as QB for the Falcons.  The fourth quarter said hello to a Falcons TD, which Redman ran in himself (twenty-two yards).  San Diego 21 and Atlanta 20.  The Chargers increased the gap with a Nate Kaeding field goal in the bottom of the quarter.  San Diego 24 and Atlanta 20.  With fewer than twenty seconds to play, Chris Redman connects with wide receiver Eric Weems for a TD.  Atlanta 27 and San Diego 24.

Observations  & Miscellania:

1.  Did Dan Fouts say of Matt Ryan, “he is smart, he is tall” in the expository broadcast pre-kickoff chat?

2.  Compared to last year, Matt Ryan has definitely grown up in the way he carries himself.  At the same time, though, a few extreme close-ups (before snaps) in the first quarter revealed such a youthful exuberance and eagerness.

3.  After returning from commercial break (that followed Michael Bennett’s TD in the second quarter), the camera was focused on the Falcons bench.  Mike Smith, filmed in high angle medium long shot, was speaking and gesturing passionately about what his players could no longer permit the other guy to do on the field.

4.  How sweet.  In the middle of the third quarter, Chargers fullback Jacob Hester was walking towards the huddle and trying to put his left shoulder pad back under his uniform.  He was having trouble doing it and his teammate wide receiver Legedu Naanee gave him a hand.  Love it.  I love moments like this one.

5.  Greg Gumbel noted in the third quarter that Charlie Whitehurst went to Chattahoochee High School.

6.  Matt Ryan spoke to the commentators via headset in the fourth quarter.  His irises were so dark and filled up so much of his eyes.  Oooo! he licked his lips right before he took off the headset!

7.  Great job Chris Redman!

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

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.