Tag Archives: Jon Kitna

NFL 08: Falcons de-pride the Lions

Opening day of the 2008 NFL regular season on Fox. The Detroit Lions went southwards to size up the Atlanta Falcons. The Lions tried (not well at all in the first quarter) and put up a decent retort (in the second and third quarters), but in the end. Falcons soared above.

Sweet holy tuna sandwich! Just two minutes into the first quarter and Matt Ryan, Falcons starting quarterback, threw a sixty-two yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Michael Jenkins. On the Falcons’ second possession (about halfway through the first quarter), running back Michael Turner made a sixty-six yard dash into the end zone; he then put another TD on the board towards the end of the first quarter. Falcons 21. Lions nope.

Jon Kitna quarterbacked for Detroit. After three (?) attempts to make it into the end zone, Lions running back Kevin Smith finally made it through near the bottom of the quarter. Falcons 21. Lions 7. And then, like a giddy spatula on icing, wide receiver Roy Williams caught a TD pass (in a far corner of the end zone) with fewer than twenty-five seconds left on the clock. Going into halftime, Atlanta 21 and Lions 14.

Third quarter. Falcons safety Lawyer Milloy intercepted a Kitna pass in the top of the quarter. It was an awesome blossom. That drive ended in a field goal. Atlanta 24. Detroit 14. A bit after the halfway point of the third quarter, wide receiver Roddy White caught a forty-six yard pass from Matt Ryan, which got the Falcons down to end zone country. Running back Jerious Norwood made the TD. Atlanta 31. Detroit 14. In the bottom of the third, after Falcons cornerback Chris Houston gets a penalty (pass interference/illegal contact, je pense), the Lions put a TD on the board, thanks to tight end Casey FitzSimmons and a play action fake. Falcons 31 and Lions 21.

The fourth quarter began with what might have been a lovely third Michael Turner touchdown. Alas, it was subtracted–holding penalty on Roddy White–and that drive yielded a field goal instead. Falcons 34 and Lions 21. Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. It was still, and I suspect always will be, a pleasure to watch Calvin Johnson reach into the air for the ball–even when he doesn’t hold on to the ball.

2. JC Pearson and Matt Vasgersian provided commentary for Fox.

3. Bottom of the second quarter and Jon Kitna became quite expressive on the sidelines with his frustration. Understandably expressive.

4. I do believe UGA’s Redcoat marching band performed during halftime.

5. According to the commentators, Lawyer Milloy did a stint in the MLB before venturing into football. They also said he is a “soccer dad in the off-season.”

6. Visually, the first thing that came to mind when Jerious Norwood went into the end zone in the third quarter was “prance.” A stag leap, which happens to be a gymnastic maneuver.

7. After returning from the commercial break at around ten minutes, one of the cameras revealed 11Alive’s Fred Kalil at the game sitting next to Gerald Riggs, a former NFL player. Michael Turner broke Riggs’s rushing record.

8. Matt Ryan is the eighth rookie quarterback to dominate and win on opening day.

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

Fabulous. GaTech and UGA beat their respective opponents yesterday, Boston College and Central Michigan. Click here and here for details.

Thanksgiving 2007: Packers ziplock the Lions

But first, a little something to make you smile.  When I was leaving work yesterday, I overheard someone talk about a Sears gift card.  Another person said, “There’s nothing like a Sears card that says ‘Merry Christmas.'” I thought it was funny.

And now for the football.

Turnovers and interceptions make for a narratively and visually thrilling game.  And when the producers decide to vary the kinds of camera angles that get air time (field goals and punts filmed from behind the kicker and punter), football game-play can’t get any lovelier (unless you’re NFL Films, of course).

The daytime Thanksgiving game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions (on Fox) was such a game.  The first and fourth quarters were quite stirring athletically and aesthetically.  Both teams started defensively impressive, but then Green Bay’s defense and offense took control of the game in the second quarter when Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings made a touchdown (running ten yards into the end zone and then catch!), and then running back Ryan Grant put in one.  By the end of the first half, the Lions sustained a slow pace by making field goals, three of them.  Green Bay got three points from a field goal in the very end of the second quarter, giving them a total of 17 points before halftime.  The Lions had 9 points.

The third quarter started with another Green Bay touchdown, courtesy of Jennings.  Packers 24. Detroit got a fourth field goal shortly thereafter for 12 points–that Jason Hanson has a great leg.  Great leg or not, the Packers still demonstrated their skill, grabbing another TD thanks to wide receiver Ruvell Martin.  Green Bay 31.  Detroit 12.

The Packers’ field goal in the top of the fourth quarter increased their score to 34.  Then hallelujah, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (a former GaTech Yellow Jacket) caught a touchdown pass.  Detroit 19. After Johnson caught two more passes, the Lions made it to the end zone and running back Kevin Jones galloped into the the zone for a TD.  Detroit 26.  Alas, in the final two minutes, Green Bay widened the point gap with a field goal, and ultimately winning the game 37 to 26.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Katherine McPhee sang the national anthem in the Packers vs. Lions game.  After singing a few lines, the camera cut to Calvin Johnson.  It then cut to Packers wide receiver Koren Robinson who had overcome an addiction to alcohol and has lived the redemption narrative in the last couple of years.

2. Although Calvin Johnson didn’t make that touchdown in the first quarter (around 6 minutes on the clock), simply watching him attempt the catch was enough.  His body sailed through the air and achieved a kind of slow-motion look without actually being in slow-motion.  Good stuff.   He caught but then dropped the ball towards the bottom of the first quarter; in one of the replays, the camera cut to Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, who slammed his arms downward to his knees, where he remained hunched down.  His back was facing the camera.  Johnson made a thirteen yard catch in the third quarter, jumping in the air (nearly straight up) with the grace of a dancer.

3. The Goo Goo Dolls performed for the 70,000 or so fans at Ford Field in Detroit during halftime.   I wasn’t too keen on that modern ballet dance number.  I would’ve preferred something by a color guard (nevermind that a color guard performance would probably be saved for a college game).  A United Way banner was unfurled halfway through the Dolls’ second song.

4. Aside from after-Thanksgiving shopping ads, the commercials that appeared throughout this telecast included holiday wishes from family members of players in the game.  Pretty creative idea on the part of the marketing/sales/advertising folks.

5. Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre is thirty-eight years-old.  Brad Pitt is forty-one.

For game summary, stats, and play by play, click here.