The Miami Dolphins. The Atlanta Falcons. The GA Dome. Red, red everywhere in the stands.
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.
5. The new NFL game center features ads. Interesting.
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.
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