Tag Archives: Jason Elam

NFL 2009: Panthers dodge the Falcons ball

True story.  My alarm clock went off at 6:30 in the morning.  There were string instruments.  I got up, went to the bathroom, started brushing my teeth, and then thought, hey, the Falcons haven’t played yet.

The Atlanta Falcons in Carolina Panthers home turf on Fox.  Any predictions?  The first heart-thumping play of the first quarter occurred when Falcons running back Michael Turner ran forty yards into Panther territory.  Jason Elam went on the field at the end of that possession to make a thirty-five yard field goal.  Atlanta 3 and Carolina 0.  The Panthers weren’t going to have any Falcons’ scoring first and responded with a mean drive down to the end zone thanks to wide receiver Steve Smith’s catch and run, and running back Jonathan Stewart crossing the goal line (who gave the TD ball to a female fan behind the end zone).  Carolina 7 and Atlanta 3.

Sour puss’n boots.  How are the Panthers “doing this” offensively?  This meaning getting down to the red zone in a matter of breaths in the top of the second quarter.  Steve Smith made a pretty awesome TD catch.  Carolina 14 and Atlanta 3.  Have the Falcons taken a cue from their opponents in getting down the field?  Quarterback Matt Ryan made a lovely pass to wide receiver Roddy White to get the birds just shy of the goal line.  After two unsuccessful tries (a pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez and a run attempt by running back Jason Snelling), the Falcons finally made it in for a TD with six minutes left in the first half–thanks to Snelling.  Carolina 14 and Atlanta 10.  Matt Ryan threw an interception in the bottom of the second quarter; Panthers cornerback Sherrod Martin got his bosom to the ball.  Steve Smith TD number two but at the expense of his noggin lower back.  Replays suggested that Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud’s knee might’ve rammed into Smith’s lower back.  Carolina 21 and Atlanta 10.

The third quarter commenced with much potential for a Falcons touchdown.  But, there would be a field goal instead.  Carolina 21 and Atlanta 13.  Nearing the bottom of the third quarter, I was overcome with feelings of “I can’t watch!”  et j’ai mal a la tete.  What was that? Hope? L’espoir est retourne!  Jason Snelling, Michael Jenkins, and Tony Gonzalez made necessary strides to get the Falcons into the red zone.

The fourth quarter began with a Falcons TD catch by tight end Justin Peelle.  Peelle was able to get away from the huddled mass at the line of scrimmage.  The two-point conversion wasn’t successful.  Carolina 21 and Atlanta 19.   By the middle of the quarter, the Falcons had summoned up a substantial amount of rhythm and agility to get across the field (Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White made important catches)…and then Mike Smith threw in the red flag to contest the exact location of the ball after the ball was just snapped and a heap of bodies converged on Matt Ryan.  Smith lost the challenge and Jason Elam’s field goal was nowhere near the uprights.  Wide left.  No, not just wide left.  The ball appeared to be at least seven to ten feet away from the cross beam.   The shadow over innsmouth just got darker.  Matt Ryan threw his second interception of the day, over the head of Michael Jenkins and into the hands of Panthers cornerback Richard Marshall.  Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart made his second TD of the day just a few plays later.  Nearing the two-minute warning, Carolina 28 and Atlanta 19.  Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston provided commentary.  For the love of the Forbidden City, why is there a yellow handkerchief in Moose Johnston’s breast pocket?  C’est moche.

2.  The Falcons had a pretty impressive second go “at bat,” but they were unable to get far enough into Panthersville.  Seconds before commercial break, the telecast cut to a high-angle medium close-up of a helmet-less, red-faced Matt Ryan walking to the bench on the sidelines.  The words, “shite, dayam” could be deciphered from his mouth.  He certainly said the latter.

3.  Michael Turner’s right ankle was battered a bit late in the second quarter.

4.  There was a moment when I started losing faith in a favorable outcome on the score board.  Middle of the third quarter when the Panthers were taking the ball down the field.  I’m not sure why it happened.  It just did.  But a sliver of hope re-ignited as the Falcons blocked a fifty-one yard field goal attempt by the Panthers.

5.  After the Justin Peelle TD in the top of the fourth quarter and it became apparent that the Falcons would go for two, Daryl Johnston kept expressing his criticism of the decision to go for two.  When the Panthers were on offense next, he reprised his thoughts that two-point conversions should be saved for the final six minutes of the fourth quarter.  Sure, most teams would probably save it for the last four to six minutes, but psychologically, perhaps the Panthers would see that they still have a lead (even a two-point lead) and let their anxiety down just enough for the Falcons to make another much needed TD.

6.  Footage of the Jason Elam missed FG indicated that there was likely some miscommunication between him and holder Michael Koenen.

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

NFL 2009: Falcons staple down the Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins.  The Atlanta Falcons.  The GA Dome. Red, red everywhere in the stands.

NFL 2009 Sunday football begins! Yay! puppies and cupcakes and stalking cat!

Broadcast on CBS, the first quarter began with the Falcons on offense and a slew of opening day jitters.  Two touchdown opportunities were foiled (quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Roddy White and then tight end Tony Gonzalez couldn’t quite connect) and Jason Elam missed a forty-two yard field goal.  When Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington made his third throw, he fumbled the ball.  The Falcons recovered but were unable to hit that scoreboard.

The second quarter spelled offensive improvement for the Falcons as Matt Ryan got the ball to Roddy White, wide receiver Michael Jenkins, and Tony Gonzalez.  After the Tony made two stellar catches, fullback Ovie Mughelli made a TD catch (and then expressed his delight with a bit of flapping a la bird).  Atlanta 7 and Miami 0.   Did Dolphins wide receiver Greg Camarillo catch the ball in the bottom of the second? He sure did.  Even when the ball came out of his hands, the ball never made contact with the ground.  CBS cameras were able to provide irrefutable evidence to prove as much.  Pennington had gotten his team to the Atlanta sixteen and was surely poised to get a number up on the board, but Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano lost the ball when Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson tackled him, and then Falcons cornerback Brian Williams scooped up the ball and ran it back to the other side of the field.  Would the birds make the most of this turnover?  Yes, but probably not to the extent that the would’ve wanted.  Jason Elam didn’t miss his FG.  Atlanta 10 and Miami 0.

The third quarter started with Matt Ryan hurling the ball into the other side of the field, Roddy White in sight, but the pass was incomplete.  White lost a shoe and Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith let the instant replay camera know just how long his arms are–so long!  In the bottom of the third quarter, Mike Peterson intercepted Chad Pennington and ran the ball back to the Miami twenty.  Tony Gonzalez would increase the Falcons lead with a twenty-yard TD.  Wahoo! Atlanta 16 and Miami 0 (the extra point was no good).  Anthony Fasano dropped the ball again; Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux jumped on the loose goose.

The fourth quarter started with Falcons running back Michael Turner covering more horizontal than vertical ground.  The left side of his jersey was pulled off from his shoulder pad, and Gonzalez fixed it for him.  How sweet.  Jason Elam missed a thirty-eight yard FG attempt.  Is it allergies?  A migraine?  Bygones.  He nailed a fifty-yarder in the middle of the quarter.  Atlanta 19 and Miami 0.  Fasano’s goal-line crossing TD was undone on account of an offensive holding penalty Dolphins tackle Vernon Carey.  The game clock moonwalked down to under four minutes when the Dolphins finally scored with a TD by running back Ricky Williams.  Atlanta 19 and Miami 7.  Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  I had previously thought that Eagles wide receiver Kevin Curtis was the only football player that looked as good out of his uniform (and helmet) as he did in it.  I must admit, though, that Tony Gonzalez looks just as good sans helmet.

2.  The red of the Falcons’ uniforms and the white and teal from the Dolphins’ uniforms made me think of salsa.

3.  Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf were the commentators.  They mentioned a couple times that the GA Aquarium is so amazing.

4.  Jim Breuer in a Pizza Hut commercial.

5.  The new NFL game center features ads.  Interesting.

6.  Steve Barnes (formerly of 99x) in an Air Tran “Internetiquettecommercial?

7.  One of the Falcons fans was dressed up as a falcon.  The animal, not the animal suit.

8.  “Much ado about very little,” Greg Gumbel said of a Ted Ginn Jr. scramble in the bottom of the third quarter.

9.  Ironic, isn’t it?  That during and after the pre-season, most of us Falcons fans were harping on a young and inexperienced defense when today’s game sings a different tune.

10.  Greg Gumbel noted in the bottom of the fourth quarter that Michael Turner’s thighs are very impressive.

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

Pre-S 09: the Ravens suddenly appear upside the Falcons


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.


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.


Dogs and infants are very much alike.  Wolves cannot be fooled.   So says an NPR broadcast.

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 Falcons fraction off the Rams

The St. Louis Rams tested the competitive waters with the Atlanta Falcons tonight at the Edward Jones Dome.  Televised on NBC, the Falcons were first to go on the offense with Matt Ryan at the helm.   A few plays later and touchdown courtesy of running back Michael Turner.    Kyle Boller quarterbacked for the Rams on their first possession.  Tony Gonzalez, former Kansas City tight end, caught a TD pass, increasing the Falcons’ numbers in the bottom of the first quarter.  Atlanta 14 and St. Louis 0.

The second quarter saw DJ Shockley went to quarterback for the Falcons…three (?) plays into it, he threw an interception.  Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis got his hands on the ball, which Falcons wide receiver Marty Booker nearly had.  The Rams got a forty-three yard field goal out of kicker Josh Brown’s foot.   Atlanta 14 and St. Louis 3.

The third quarter spelled a TD for the Rams–QB Brock Berlin to wide receiver Derek Stanley.   Jason Elam made a thirty-four yard field goal with four minutes left in the third quarter.  Atlanta 17 and St. Louis 10.  John Parker Wilson went on as QB in last half a minute of the third quarter; DJ Shockley resumed in the fourth.  On his second pass of the quarter, he was intercepted by Rams safety Todd Johnson.   Keith Null quarterbacked the next drive for the Rams.  They closed the point gap with a field goal.  Atlanta 17 and St. Louis 13.  JP Wilson went in again and threw quite well (even though he couldn’t send in a TD pass).  Jason Elam upped the Falcons score by three.  Atlanta 20 and St. Louis 13.  With under two minutes left to play, the Rams got their legs down to the red zone, but the Falcons’ defense held strong (stood strong; held strongly–hmmm, adjective or adverb).   In fact, safety Eric Brock intercepted Null’s pass in the end zone.  Final score: Atlanta 20 and St. Louis 13.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Randy Waters and Brian Baldinger provided commentary.   During the Rams’ first possession, Baldinger noted that Falcons punter Matthew Koenan’s alma mater, Western Washington University, ended its football program due to financial reasons.

2.  Falcons president Rich McKay spoke with Randy Waters and Brian Baldinger during the top of the second quarter.

3.  Halftime including a segment with Jerious Norwood and defensive tackle Peria Jerry going fishing.

4.  Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff stopped by the press box in the third quarter.  Randy Waters asked and Dimitroff answered: he was born in 1966 (the same year as the Falcons).

5.  Out of all the televised games I’ve seen in the last two to three years, network cameras are more likely to cut to the sidelines to get Kodak moments of the players and coaches than the crowd.  On average, anecdotally speaking, every four sideline shot might yield a crowd shot.  Today’s game, though, was more equal.

6.  Matt Ryan had a much better first quarter tonight than in the game against the Lions.

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