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.
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.