Tag Archives: Michael Koenen

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 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.