Tag Archives: Matt Bryant

NFL 2010: Falcons frown on the 49ers

Is it autumn yet?  The temperatures of the past few days have fluctuated between a crisp spring morning and a pre-heated oven evening.  The San Francisco 49ers jumped timezones east to test the Atlanta Falcons’ upwardly improving trajectory.  Broadcast on Fox, the Falcons took to offense first but had to punt the ball away three minutes into the first quarter.  Alex Smith quarterbacked for the 49ers.  Their first drive resulted in a touchdown courtesy of tight end Vernon Davis.  San Francisco 7 and Atlanta 0.  The 49ers special teams put on quite a show when Falcons punter Michael Koenen had to kick the ball away–the 49ers blocked the kick and safety Taylor Mays jumped to catch the ball and stayed just inside the back of the end zone when he landed.  Mays then then he posed for a few members of the press at the back of the end zone and did a little dance.  San Francisco 14 and Atlanta o.  Watch me watching this play.

The 49ers’ performance on offense and defense jolted the Falcons awake.  They started the second quarter with a TD connection between quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Harry Douglas.  San Francisco 14 and Atlanta 7.  What?! Not AGAIN! Just when Matt Ryan and his offense were beginning to bring in da noise and da funk, his pass intercepted by 49ers cornerback Shawntae Spencer.  Luckily for fans of carnivorous ornithological creatures, the 49ers did not score.  But, wait, what’s that I hear?  Falcons linebacker Curtis Lofton recovers a fumbled 49ers ball with a minute left to play in the second quarter (Alex Smith threw to a receiver who couldn’t make a one-handed catch; the ball bounced out of his hand and Lofton grabbed it).  The Falcons couldn’t tie the game, but kicker Matt Bryant’s thirty-seven yard field goal brought the score gap down to just four points.  San Francisco 14 and Atlanta 10.

Six minutes into the third quarter, with the 49ers making good field coverage, and Falcons safety William Moore intercepted Alex Smith.  Matt Bryant went back onto the field for a thirty-one yard FG.  San Francisco 14 and Atlanta 13.  The fourth quarter was all over the place as Matt Ryan was intercepted with fewer than seventy seconds left in 49ers territory.  Falcons wide receiver Roddy White managed to cause a fumble and Harvey Dahl recovered the ball, but they had to go down the field all over again.  Harry Douglas made a beautiful catch a few plays later.  Roddy White did as well thrice.  With seven seconds left on the clock, Matt Bryant went in to attempt a forty-three yard FG.  It was good!  Atlanta 16 and San Francisco 14. Final score.

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My heart was pounding the entire last five minutes of the fourth quarter.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Dick Stockton, Charles Davis, and Jim Mora provided commentary.

2.  Before kickoff, 49ers head coach Mike Singletary popped a piece of blue chewing gum into his mouth.  Extra? Cobalt? Stride?

3.  The Falcons wore black jerseys and red helmets.  The 49ers wore white jerseys and gold helmets; they’ve also incorporated hot pink into their uniform (arm bands, towels, gloves, shoes).

4.  After Harry Douglas made the TD catch in the top of the second quarter, he and a teammate leaped into the air and high-fived each other with the sides of their bodies.

5.  Middle of the second quarter: did the ball hit one of the officials in the face after Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez got the first down?  I’m certain I saw the official who made the arm-in-a-circle-motion get a ball in the face.

Click here for the Falcons roster and here for the 49ers.

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

NFL 2010: the Falcons wrangle win from Saints

Seafood gumbo and sweet peaches rumbled in the Nawlins with Fox behind the camera.  The first quarter began with the Falcons on offense.  Two minutes in and there’s already a challenge on an incomplete pass call.  Mike Smith didn’t win the challenge.  Saints wide receiver Lance Moore demonstrated field-slicing swiftness by returning the ball seventy-two yards from a Michael Koenen punt.  A few plays later, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Jeremy Shockey connected for a touchdown catch in the end zone.  New Orleans 7 and Atlanta 0.  The Falcons responded with a steady momentum on offense courtesy of tight end Tony Gonzalez.  Nine plays into the Falcon’s second go and quarterback Matt Ryan threw a TD pass to Gonzalez.  New Orleans 7 and Atlanta 7.

The Falcons defense displayed their shining colors when cornerback Brent Grimes intercepted a throw meant for Saints wide receiver Devery Henderson.  Drew Brees “righted” that passing “wrong” when Lance Moore made a TD when the Saints got the ball back.  New Orleans 14 and Atlanta 7.

The second quarter started off with Drew Brees and posse performing solidly on offense…until four minutes in when Brees managed to wiggle out of a sack but was off-balance when he chucked the ball in the direction of another Saint.  Golden fleece carpet ride! Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud was there to make that catch (he then jogged along the sidelines a handful of yards, arms outspread and the ball in one hand).  Tony Gonzalez proved his abilities again when he out-maneuvered the Saints defensive player trailing him to become an open receiver for Matt Ryan and then later when he held onto the ball in the red zone.  It took a number of attempts, but the Falcons eventually got into the end zone via running back Michael Turner.  New Orleans 14 and Atlanta 14.

Halfway through the third quarter the ball got loose from one of the Saints players and one of the Falcons recovered it from under a pile of bodies.  Oh, but what a change of luck in the bottom of the third as Falcons running back Jason Snelling lost the ball as he was brought down to the ground and a Saints player scooped it up.  The Falcons have challenged the ruling of recovered fumble and won the challenge.  Snelling’s left elbow hit the turf before he lost the ball.  The Saints defense kept the running game from going anywhere.  The Falcons would go for a twenty-three yard field goal.  Atlanta 17 and New Orleans 14.

The Saints got luckier when an incidental ball-touch on Falcons DeCoud’s left foot resulted in a ricochet that enabled New Orleans to stay on offense.  How would the Falcons defense respond?  Not too well since Lance Moore eventually ran the ball into the end zone.  He then proceeded to do a celebratory dance involving foot kicks and arm waves a la clogging meets breakdancing.  New Orleans 21 and Atlanta 17.

The Falcons fought to close the score gap in the fourth quarter when they were on offense again.  Wide receiver Roddy White put his team on top of the board with a TD catch.  Atlanta 24 and New Orleans 21.  The score remained the same through to the two-minute warning.  The Saints were on offense with under a minute left to on the clock.  Would they go for a field goal to tie the game? Would they try to go for the end zone? Saints kicker Garrett Hartley ended up tying the game with a thirty-two yard field goal.

Atlanta won the coin toss in overtime.  The first three plays didn’t help the Falcons on offense.  Would their defense fare better?  Not much better.  Thanks to a complete pass to Lance Moore, the Saints got down the field far enough so that even if they don’t get into the end zone, they’d still have a FG try.  And field goal they went.  Garrett Hartley missed the twenty-nine yard field goal!  It went wide left.  Would the Falcons make their fans proud?  Specifically, would kicker Matt Bryant put the forty-six yard FG through the uprights?  YES!!! SWEET GRANNY SMITH APPLES!!!! Atlanta 27 and New Orleans 24.  Final score.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Brian Billick and Thom Brennaman provided commentary.

2.  The Saints wore white jerseys, the Falcons red.

3.  After Matt Bryant put the extra point on the board following the Falcons’ first TD in the first quarter, Matt Ryan (sans helmet) got a medium close-up screaming “lets go” and “yeah!”.  It was in slow-motion.  He might have fist-pumped the left side of his chest.

4.  Thomas Decoud’s intercepting of Drew Brees resulted in a Falcons TD.  Atlanta had the ball for eleven game-play minutes.

5.  Awww, a few nuns attended the game in support of the Saints.

6.  The Falcons spent their last OT time-out with four minutes left.  Matt Ryan got into the faces of his offense teammates.  He probably demanded that his guys ‘finish this thing.’

6.  Did the Saints use a time-out after running back Pierre Thomas couldn’t get off the field after catching a pass in the bottom of the fourth?

Click here for Falcons roster and here for the Saints.

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.