Tag Archives: Dick Stockton

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.

NFL 08: Saints out-charades the Falcons

When the New Orleans Saints voyaged to the Eastern time zone a month ago to stare down the Atlanta Falcons, the home team proved to be the master of the ceremonies.  Today, the Falcons were over in  the Saints’ playground aiming to capture another victory.   Broadcast on Fox, the first quarter started with Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throwing an interception.  Saints cornerback Jason David plucked the ball right out of the air as it was traveling towards Falcons wide receiver Roddy White.  Saints running back Reggie Bush made a touchdown a couple plays later.  New Orleans 7 and Atlanta 0.

The second quarter started with Saints quarterback Drew Brees throwing to wide receiver Marques Colston.  The ball ended up in the hands of Falcons cornerback Chevis Jackson, but it hit the ground.  Thus, incomplete pass.   The Saints shot up a field goal at the end of that possessio.  New Orleans 10 and Falcons 0.   The first play of Atlanta’s next possession was a fifty-nine yard pass to Roddy White.  Spectacularly projected and cradled.   The end of that drive led to a touchdown, courtesy of running back Michael Turner.  The Saints flung up another field goal (of forty-six yards) not long after the Falcons got on the board.  New Orleans 13 and Atlanta 7.   Towards the bottom of the second quarter, Matt Ryan connected superbly with wide receivers Harry Douglas, Michael Jenkins, Roddy White, and finally  Brian Finneran for a TD.  Atlanta 14 and New Orleans 13.  Going into halftime, though, the Saints reclaimed the lead with a field goal.  New Orleans 16 and Atlanta 14.

The third quarter pulsed halfway through and Matt Ryan launched two awesome passes while under much pressure (once to Brian Finneran, who was flanked by two Saints, and a second time to Michael Jenkins).   Edging towards the bottom of the third quarter, as that possession ended, Jason Elam’s field goal placed the Falcons back in the lead.  Atlanta 17 and New Orleans 16.

The fourth quarter commenced with a Saints touchdown by running back Pierre Thomas.   They would attempt a two-point conversion but it was not successful.  New Orleans 21 and Atlanta 17.   On the Falcons’ next possession, Matt Ryan ran twelve yards into the end zone himself for a touchdown.  A two-point conversion was tried and it worked (Michael Jenkins caught the ball).   Atlanta 25 and New Orleans 22.   The Saints responded with a zippy kickoff-return and a drive that culminated in a Pierre Thomas TD.  Saints 29 and Atlanta 25.   Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Two of the pre-game segments were a vignette on the Falcons and a getting-to-know Roddy White sequence.  White was also featured on 11alive’s (my local NBC station) Falcons Face to Face last night.  It’s taped at the ESPN Zone in Buckhead and is hosted by Fred Kalil, one of 11alive’s sports reporters.   Roddy White was born in November of 1981.  I’m older than him by nearly a year.  He’s adorable.  His off-field, onscreen persona is remarkably different from his on-field, onscreen persona.

2.  Brian Billick, Dick Stockton, and Brian Baldinger were the commentators.

3.  Jason David made that interception in the first quarter, was then brought to the ground by Roddy White, and then proceeded to do the Carlton Dance upon standing up.

4.  Before cutting to commercial after the second quarter ended, one of the Fox cameras got a shot of a Saints fan dressed up as the Joker a la Heath Ledger.  Only, his jacket was chartreuse.  In fact, the fan bore a strong resemblance to actor Crispin Glover.

5.  Falcons defensive end John Abraham has Chinese character tattoos in his left bicep.  I can’t make out what they are, though, from the camera angle that revealed them (in the top of the fourth quarter after Falcons cornerback Dominique Foxworth got a penalty for illegal contact).

6.  Falcons owner Arthur Blank got a medium close-up after Atlanta lost the forward progress challenge in the fourth quarter.  His face could be read as blank–ha! pun–or stoic.

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But the Eagles beat the Giants.