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Falcons have a knack for finishing

The Falcons can’t be beat in the Georgia Dome this year. And they can’t help but make each game a thriller.

Atlanta outlasted the Ravens 26-21 Thursday night to move to 7-2, maintaining sole possession of first place in the NFC South. The Falcons blew a 20-7 fourth quarter lead, just one week after the Bucs came up two yards short of a two touchdown comeback.  Like last week, like most weeks,  the Falcons made the decisive plays to win.

Matt Ryan led a 80-yard, 45-second drive capped off with a 33-yard score to Roddy White to win it with only 27 ticks left. White made up for two killer drops in the final minutes, the first of which could have iced the game for the Falcons.  Ryan finished with 316 yards and three scores on 50 attempts (50!), while White caught 12 passes for 138 yards and two scores.  Aside from the drops, there isn’t a receiver having a better season.

This had the feel of a playoff affair; it was one of the better games of the season.   Atlanta is rather used to keeping their fans entertained. The Falcons are 5-0 at home, but four of the games were by one score.  They survived thrillers against the 49ers and Bengals too.

In many ways, the Falcons are typical of this 2010 season.  Two thirds of all games have been within one score in the fourth quarter. The Falcons stand out by not beating themselves.   They have turned the ball over only ten times in nine games and won the turnover battle 2-0 Thursday.

The Ravens, now 6-3, made Ryan work hard all night.  The Falcons bled Baltimore with one third down conversion after another in the first half.   In a razor tight game in which Baltimore’s offense took over in the fourth quarter, perhaps the Falcons wore the Ravens down just a bit.

As losses go, the Ravens can stomach this. It’s a road game out of conference against a quality opponent.  (Not to mention the short week.)  They battled back impressively.  Baltimore just can’t afford many more like this one because it may take 11 wins to make the AFC playoffs.

It’s hard to imagine the Falcons not reaching both 11 wins and the playoffs at this point. They face Carolina two more times, and Atlanta’s toughest games left (New Orleans, Green Bay) are in the Georgia Dome.

Just get Matt Ryan and company to the fourth quarter of a close game at home and they seem to find a way.

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18 Responses to “Falcons have a knack for finishing”
  1. laxer37 says: Nov 12, 2010 12:50 AM

    How many weeks of watching the Ravens defense getting abused will it take to finally realize they are no longer a top defense?

    Top defenses don’t give up 150 rushing yards to the Browns and get lit up for 319 yards through the air by Atlanta.

  2. atlien698 says: Nov 12, 2010 12:54 AM

    Of course, I’m just talking smack to those of you who said the Falcons were overrated.

    Ravens played a great game and you guys will be just fine. We needed this game way more than Ravens did.

  3. woodson26pitt says: Nov 12, 2010 1:20 AM

    I see that Ed Reed has solved all of their defensive problems.

  4. nps6724 says: Nov 12, 2010 1:20 AM

    The Ravens D was terrible. You can’t be a great defense and let a team convert 12 of 20 3rd downs.

    Atlanta got away with one here. They got a gift “catch” and a blatant push-off by Roddy White (who seems to do this on at least half his TDs) to win the game. This is the 3rd win based on either luck or BS calls/non-calls. At some point, it’ll run out.

    They’ll still win a good number of games, but come playoff time I don’t see them even getting to the NFC championship. Unless they get better because right now, they have an average offense, an average defense, and excellent luck.

  5. romosrevenge says: Nov 12, 2010 2:52 AM

    There was no knack to it. The Ref completely blew the offensive pass interference call and gave Atlanta a free win. Where was tough guy Harbaugh when his team was robbed?

  6. cynicalvision says: Nov 12, 2010 3:52 AM

    The nfl.com coverage was atrocious as usual. They showed 1/3 of the game at most. I was reduced to following on the gamecenter. Lame NFL, lame.

  7. atlien698 says: Nov 12, 2010 8:29 AM

    nps6724 and romosrevenge:

    Quit making exucues

  8. atlien698 says: Nov 12, 2010 8:29 AM

    oops….I meant excuses

  9. raiderfankirk says: Nov 12, 2010 8:37 AM

    Offensive pass interference non call on last play saved their ass’s. Penalty would have pushed them out of field goal range and run off the clock. Its bad enough that so many terrible calls are deciding games now, but how can you not call that…. what the DB just fell down? Ravens D looked pretty bad against a vanilla O. They only ran out of power formation and got 4yds on their best run, Turner was off the feild on passing downs or only pass blocking…. He can’t catch or what? I don’t think either one of these teams are as good as their record.

  10. nps6724 says: Nov 12, 2010 9:08 AM

    atlien698: As soon as they win consecutive games without ref assistance or fluky once-in-a-decade occurrences. The Saints had far fewer of those last year and several more blowouts and dominating performances than Atlanta and they were called lucky all season. If they were lucky, the Falcons are a walking rabbit’s foot.

    The Falcons could easily be 4-5 right now if not for said assistance and luck.

    What’s funny about White’s PI is he admitted it after the game in the on-field interview: “I hit him and he fell down”. Last I checked, that’s called a penalty. But Roddy can’t score half the time without knocking over or running through defenders. I wonder if he’s Michael Irvin’s son.

  11. roddy84 says: Nov 12, 2010 9:16 AM

    Such whining over the Ravens…I guess you guys didn’t notice the hand the Ravens defender extended to try and alter White’s route, hold him with, whatever. All White did was knock the arm away and the clumsy oaf fell down….it would’ve been illegal contact had White done nothing…or a catch anyway, followed by White stepping on clumsy boy’s chest as he scored…

    So gather up Ray Lewis and his sore foot and big, big mouth and head on back to the mid-atlantic…and Heap with his sore back….and ed reed with his injured leg…he looked good laid out on the ground after he and his teammate sandwiched White to no avail….they both looked good, dazed and semi-conscious….

  12. roddy84 says: Nov 12, 2010 9:18 AM

    and your whining is no different, raiderfairweatherfan…give it a rest and just be glad that great catch Sunday wasn’t reviewed and overturned just before the tying fieldgoal….

  13. nps6724 says: Nov 12, 2010 9:30 AM

    “Such whining over the Ravens…I guess you guys didn’t notice the hand the Ravens defender extended to try and alter White’s route, hold him with, whatever. All White did was knock the arm away and the clumsy oaf fell down….it would’ve been illegal contact had White done nothing…or a catch anyway, followed by White stepping on clumsy boy’s chest as he scored…”

    And that is called denial. The CB never even touched White; he moved to his right as White went into his break and then White knocked him down.

  14. starderup says: Nov 12, 2010 11:52 AM

    The rules on offensive pass interference are clear:
    Actions that do not constitute offensive pass interference include but are not limited to:

    (a) Incidental contact by a receiver’s hands, arms, or body when both players are competing for the ball or neither player is looking for the ball.

    ( b ) Inadvertent touching of feet when both players are playing the ball or neither player is playing the ball.

    ( c ) Contact that would normally be considered pass interference, but the ball is clearly uncatchable by involved players.

    Note 1: If there is any question whether player contact is incidental, the ruling should be no interference.

  15. nps6724 says: Nov 12, 2010 12:19 PM

    Actions that constitute offensive pass interference include but are not limited to:

    (a) Blocking downfield by an offensive player prior to the ball being touched.

    (b) Initiating contact with a defender by shoving or pushing off thus creating a separation in an attempt to catch a pass.

    (c) Driving through a defender who has established a position on the field.

    Note B, which is exactly what White did.

  16. starderup says: Nov 12, 2010 1:01 PM

    nps6724:
    Watch the play. The defender initiated the contact. White brushed him off and he fell down.
    Sorry!

  17. nps6724 says: Nov 12, 2010 1:14 PM

    starderup:

    I did watch it. Several times. First contact is White on the CB’s shoulder. The CB moves toward White to man up on him, but no contact was made until White shoved him down.

    So “Sorry!” is the correct statement to make since you’re wrong.

  18. bebopa says: Nov 16, 2010 8:53 PM

    Falcons are a very underrated team

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