Live from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA (broadcast by NFL Network and MyATLTV). The Indianapolis Colts met the Atlanta Falcons for an evening Thanksgiving game. So-close-and-yet-so-far has become the cloud over the Falcons.
The Falcons had two chances to make a touchdown in the first quarter but the throws were off just a tad. They did get a field goal. When the Colts were on offense for the first time of the evening, their quarterback Peyton Manning was sacked by Falcons linebackers Keith Brooking and Michael Boley (the slow-motion instant replay suggested that Boley made contact first). Then HOLY RUSTED METAL, BATMAN!! Falcons wide receiver Roddy White made a forty-eight yard touchdown.
The first play of the second quarter was a touchdown made by Colts tight end Dallas Clark, but a face mask penalty on Colts tight end Bryan Fletcher voided it. Two plays later, though, Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne put one on the board. The Falcons got three more points from a field goal, increasing their lead to 13 over 7. Unfortunately, that lead was snatched away when Dallas Clark made “another” touchdown (also in the second quarter). Colts tight end Ben Utecht widened the score gap even more with a TD.
Third quarter spelled the Colts successfully making first downs and then SWEET FANCYMOSES!! Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall intercepted a Manning pass! He leaped into the air almost straight up–what a marvelous sight. But one smile is met with a frown. Immediately after Michael Boley had to step out of the game about halfway through the third quarter (due to injury/pain), Colts running back Joseph Addai made a TD. Indianapolis 28. Atlanta 13. The third quarter ended with a Colts field goal.
As the fourth quarter progressed, and as I was reflecting upon the games the Falcons played this season thus far, I realized that a suitable metaphor for Atlanta’s path is that of a perpetually petering relationship. The initial encounters might lead to further interaction, but the other party never calls you back regarding a meal or a movie–even when they’re the ones that told you to call them in the first place–and basically, nothing comes of how things start. You think you’ve made a strong, opening impression; you think this one will be different, but they’re all the same. All your strength is spent on the hook that there is either no more line to reel in the target or the target pretended to bite.
The Falcons started many games well but couldn’t hold on, couldn’t keep it together.
The Colts beat the Falcons 31 to 13. I’m happy and sad.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Take a look at the following players that were unable to participate in today’s festivities:
2. Peyton Manning hasn’t played in Atlanta in nine years as Bryant Gumbel narrated moments before kick-off.
3. Bobby Valentino sang the national anthem, which was quite refreshing (to hear a male voice that is after the previous two games today were sung by females).
4. Colts safety Bob Sanders was wired for sound by NFL Network.
5. Tonight is the first time Falcons kicker Morten Andersen has played a Thanksgiving game–and he’s been in the NFL for a quarter of a century. It’s also the first time I’ve seen an NFL Network televised game. When he made the field goal around eleven minutes in the second quarter, broadcaster Cris Collinsworth noted that Andersen’s shoes were just like the ones that he wore when he was an NFL player. Andersen is one year younger than Collinsworth.
4. Why does the NFL Network score bar make me think of a hot dog and a Slim Jim? I can’t find a visual aid, but if you know what the score bar looks like, you’ll see the resemblance.
The down-and-yard graphic was a rounder version of the one that appears on Fox. NFL Network incorporated a screen graphic during a replay of Dallas Clark’s “second” touchdown that recalls a river’s tributaries. As the footage replayed, for each of the pertinent players, a yellow bar snaking out from underneath them. It may be a SportVision product. There was another graphic that illustrated the three Colts passes that led up to the Utecht TD in the second quarter. I can’t find a visual aid, but it reminded me of something that would be included in a presentation of sales numbers or profit margins–not quite bar graphs or pie charts or bell curves, but something in between.
6. After Roddy White made the TD in the first quarter, Falcons quarterback Joey Harrington ran into the end zone and body-high-fived his wide receiver. Is it a coincidence that Harrington was starting QB in the games that Atlanta has managed to win this season? Je ne pense pas.
7. When Atlanta got the ball in the top of the second quarter, running back Warrick Dunn achieved 10,000 rushing yards.
8. Joseph Addai had to step off to the sidelines near the bottom of the first quarter due to a neck injury. From then on, he was in and out.
9. After Falcons linebacker DeMorrio Williams got a holding penalty during a kick-off in the second quarter, the camera cut to special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg shouting, (or rather “mouthing” for the folks watching the game on TV) “That was so bad! That was so bad!”
10. Michael Boley sacked Peyton Manning in the final minute or so in the second quarter.
For game summary, stats, and play by play, click here.
pic cred: official web site of the Falcons