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Week Three, Falcons at Patriots

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by jmt57, Sep 22, 2009.

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  1. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I didn't see the game but from looking at the recaps and stats came away with a few thoughts about Atlanta. Perhaps somebody with more knowledge can correct, amplify, whatever.

    Defensively the Falcons allowed Jake Delhomme to complete over 60% of his passes for over 300 yards. In addition Carolina ran for 144 yards, averaging close to six yards per rush. The Panthers were able to roll up 440 yards against the Falcons, gaining an average of 6.6 yards per snap. In addition the Carolina offense was able to convert on 7 out of 12 third downs against the Falcons. The Atlanta defense did force two turnovers however, which helped limit Carolina to 20 points. But considering the way the Panthers were able to move the ball - they punted just two times - perhaps the Falcons' defense is just what the doctor ordered to get the Pats offense back on track.

    On offense Tony Gonzalez seems to have already become the Falcons go-to-guy. He caught all seven passes that were thrown his way last week, for 71 yards and a touchdown. In two games Ryan has thrown the ball to Gonzalez 16 times, resulting in 12 completions for 144 yards and two touschdowns. Neutralizing Gonzalez will obviously be one of the Pats priorities on defense.

    The other big weapon for Atlanta is RB Michael Turner. For all the press Ryan gets, it looks like Atlanta is more of a running team than a passing team. Turner carried the ball 28 times last week and in two weeks has carried the ball a league-high 50 times already. As a team the Falcons ran the ball a whopping 37 times last week for 151 yards - but only 4.1 yards per attempt. Turner is no threat to catch the ball out of the backfield; he has one reception for five yards this year and totalled just six receptions for 41 yards last season.

    QB Matt Ryan has thrown 5 TD and just one INT in two games so far, after posting a 16:11 ratio last year. He completed 20 of 27 last week and though his yardage may not be as high as some other quarterbacks, his completion percentage and QB rating are among the NFL's best. Roddy White was Ryan's favorite target last year, but there's a significant dropoff after he and Gonzalez: Marty Booker, Michael Jenkins and Brian Finneran are adequate but nothing special.

    Special Teams looks like it may be a very strong suit for Atlanta. Jason Elam still has a strong and accurate leg on field goals. All five of Michael Koenen's kickoffs went for touchbacks last week. Koenen also punts and averaged 49.7 yards per punt last week with a net of 44.0; last year he had 25 punts inside the twenty and the Falcons as a team allowed only 49 punt return yards last year, an NFL record. Falcons opponents starting field position was the 24.6 yard line last year, 2nd best in the NFL.
  2. farn

    farn Rookie

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    As has been the case in both of the games this season - as more than likely in most games - I am more concerned with D than O.

    People might think the O will be a problem going forward, but I continue to think they'll get it together. But will the D continue progressing (especially vs a high powered offense like ATL ?).
  3. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Falcons: 5 things we learned from the Atlanta Journal Constitution

    Apparently not everything went right for Atlanta last week. Apparently dumb penalties, a red zone fumble, poor technique on an attempted tackle, and poor situational awareness on a hail mary at the end of the game nearly resulted in a loss for Atlanta last week. Atlanta was unable to run out the clock in the 4th quarter, and then their prevent defense nearly prevented a win. Reading the column and the following comments I'd never guess Atlanta was 2-0. Looks like negativity among fans is a universal thing. Though Falcons fans do have sufficient reason for being skeptical; the franchise has yet to put together back-to-back winning seasons (though that streak should end this year.)

    Here's the best part of that column:
    [​IMG]
  4. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There isn't much question that our defense is the question mark against ATL.

  5. TheComeback

    TheComeback Rookie

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    Hopefully Brady and the oline can handle the Falcons' pressure, as that seems to be the only strength of their defense.

    It might be difficult for our D to contain Tony Gonzalez. I'm pretty confident we can shut down their receivers. T.O. had nothing on us and neither did Evans.

    We'll need to double up Tony, if possible. Our best match for him would be Guyton or A.D., but I don't think either of them can cover him for very long by themselves. Keep Chung/McGowan/whoever the nickel safety will be over the top on 3rd down.
  6. BradysBunch12

    BradysBunch12 Rookie

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    Win or lose (hopefully win) I'm in the mood for a shoot-out, a 38-31 type of game.
  7. Nikolai

    Nikolai Football Atheist PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #54 Jersey

    Gonzalez is the biggest threat to the Patriots and I expect that if the Pats are going to take away a weapon, it's going to be him. The upside is that moving a safety closer in will help to contain the run, but the downside is that this puts the game in Matt Ryan's hands, and he's a solid QB.

    Abraham is a traditional menace for the Pats, and I expect some trouble from him, but fortunately, I don't expect Atlanta to bring the pressure the way NY or Buffalo did. As long as Brady is careful and not trying to force anything in the passing game, it could be a good week for the Pats.

    In fact, I'm fairly sure it will be. I said on Sunday that the Falcons are not going to enjoy their stay at the Razor, but I'm going to hold off on any score predictions until that thread comes up.

    By the way, thanks for making a thread that looks forward (to the Falcons) and not backward. :rolleyes:
  8. HEY BRO! WHAT UP?

    HEY BRO! WHAT UP? Banned

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    This is the game they either go back to basics on offense, or they take their insanity (passing offense) to a whole new level.
  9. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    I don't care anything at all about the score, it can be 3-2 for all I care.

    As long as we come away with a win. I really would like to stay away from facing Baltimore with a 1-2 record of course, there'd be some added undue pressure.
  10. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    How about putting Springs on him? Gonzalez may as well be a WR rather than a TE the way he is used in their offense, and Springs was signed in large part due to his ability to handle the bigger, more physical receivers.
  11. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    I think we keep both safeties on top for this reason.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  12. PATSNUTme

    PATSNUTme Paranoid Homer Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

  13. fair catch fryar

    fair catch fryar Rookie

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    No Jersey Selected

    I'd rather see a solid defensive effort and clock-controlling offense where Brady completes 80% of 25-30 pass attempts combining screen passes and good play from the running backs. That would help ease some concerns with a 30-14 win.
  14. jcwfalcon

    jcwfalcon Rookie

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    Thought I'd repost this one here...as I never got any responses on the other thread. Thanks

    I kinda wanted to come post a new thread just getting some Pats fans thoughts on the upcoming game...but couldnt start a thread because of some crazy rules here. So, i'm hijacking a Falcons related thread to talk about the upcoming game. Sorry.

    Losing Peria Jerry hurts, but I am hoping we will be ok because we have a couple of guys we have been pretty high on, Thomas Johnson and Vance Walker, and it will be interesting to see if they can look like they belong. Johnson has been rotating in and has looked pretty decent. Walker was on the practice squad and is a rookie but looked great in the preseason for what thats worth. We were also hgh on Trey Lewis, but he never seems to be 100% after two knee surgeries. Babineaux is our best DT...and thankfully he is still healthy.

    Are you guys viewing this as a big game or more of a passive game? I know most Falcons fans circled this one on their calendar early on...and we have a few folks going up for the game. We are all pretty excited about it. Hope its a good game.

    Been listening to some Boston sports talk today, and it seems like you guys are still a little hungover and pissed off about the Jets game...at least more so than focused on the upcoming game. Wasnt sure if thats because of how much you hate the Jets, or because you are a bit concerned and down on the Pats, or because you kinda view these as the same ol loser Falcons...not really worth discussing this early in the week?

    We are all pretty concerned about Brady to Moss because our biggest weakness seems to be the deep pass, but the Dolphins almost never tested us deep and the Panthers wanted to run first (but Smith still torched us, like always). We are really hoping Welker is still hurt (sorry, it is what it is). Do you think he will play?

    Do you think Ryan will get an ovation since he is coming back to where he played his college ball? Do people kinda pull for him up there when hes not playing the Pats?

    I would think this would be an interesting game to watch from a Pats fan. Dimitroff seems to be making moves you may find familiar. Obviously, Turner, Ryan, Gonzalez, etc speak for themselves as far as quality acquisitions by TD, but its the less heralded moves that I think make the difference between 7-9 and 11-5. One example is a guy you may see playing opposite Abraham at DE on passing situations, a 5th round pick from last year named Kroy Biermann. He put on about 30lbs in the offseason and has a motor that reminds me a little of Patrick Kerney. He looks a lot better than our former 1st round pick Jamaal Anderson (a McKay pick). Dimitroff has also been able to acquire guys no one else really wanted, example is Williams (CB/DB) who was cut right before the season by the Jags and has stepped in to band aid the weakness at DB almost immediately. Mike Peterson has been our MVP on defense thus far, and seemingly the line to acquire him as a free agent was pretty damn short. He has been invaluable through the first two. He is everything Brooking was heralded to be, but never really was. He has been busting heads and making plays.

    My point is, as a Falcons fan, after 40 years of poor front office moves, its nice to have a GM who seems able to draft, acquire, and pick up off the scrap heap guys who can come in and make an impact relatively quickly...and I assume he learned that while working for your organization.

    I BELIEVE the last time we traveled to New England was the year we went to the Super Bowl. That was one of the first Falcons blowouts in years, and a crazy ugly dance we loved for a year or two in Atlanta was born from OJ Santiago. I would say I hope this weekend turns out the same way, but I honestly dont see a blowout in the Falcons favor being an option.

    Two weeks ago I saw no way the Falcons could win this game...but I am riding the NFL roller coaster and now see the Falcons being able to pull this one out. We simply need to do what we have done the last two weeks on offense...which is run Turner up the gut (which I understand has been a bit of a weakness for you guys) and when you stack 8 or 9 in the box, find Gonzalez, Roddy White, or Michael Jenkins. I see the Falcons being able to score enough points and control the ball enough to win.

    The big question, of course, is can we keep Brady from doing whatever he wants, when he wants. What good is scoring 30 points if the Pats are able to score 38 with ease. If our defense can keep up the kind of play they have in the first two games---bending but not breaking---getting timely turnovers---then the Falcons can win...but then Pennington and Delhomme arent Tom Brady.

    What are some of the other things you view as weaknesses on defense for the Pats right now?

    Looks like there might be rain in the forecast? Does that typically help or hurt how you guys (and Brady/Moss) play? Would you see that making it easier or more difficult for the Pats to get a W this weekend?

    Hope its a good game! Its huge for our organization for sure as a measuring stick and homecoming of sorts for two of the people we consider to be most vital to our turn around.

    GO FALCONS!
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  15. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks for the work.

    This week, I'm looking for a few simple things from our guys.

    Signs that the Offense is getting in sync in the passing game, can get a modest running game going and can continue to protect Tommy so he can get his 2007 legs back under him in the pocket. If we do those things, it's only a matter of time before they start to put up big points.

    Signs that the D is beginning to gel and can manage without Mayo (not to mention Bruschi, Rodney, Seymour and Vrabes). Those signs would be some sort of a rush on Ryan, limited damage down-field while acknowledging that Ryan and Gonzalez are going to have a couple of big plays, regularly stuffing the run up the middle and limited success by the Falcons in getting runners outside. I was happy with holding the Jets to 16 points and don't accept the argument that things "might have been different" if Sanchez had thrown more in the first half; that's way too hypothetical for me.

    Signs that last week was a complete aberration for Special Teams (except for Ghost). Specifically, making the Falcons start somewhere between the 15 and 25 instead of between the 30 and 40(5) on KO's and a few punts that stick them inside the ten. For now, I'm giving them a pass on last week and assuming that the unit spent too much time congratulating themselves on stripping the ball from McKelvin at the end of the Bills game.

    I really want a W, but I'll be satisfied with signs that things are coming together and that they've started to turn the corner after two rocky games. It's a long season and I'm willing to be patient with incremental progress over the next few weeks. This team is going to make a lot of noise before the season is over and into the Playoffs.
  16. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good post. See my comments above.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2009
  17. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think that's as good a suggestion as any I've heard so far. Much better than putting a LB on him. I do think we need to dedicate someone to shadow Gonzalez the whole game.
  18. Slope

    Slope Rookie

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    Falcons' fan here. Dropping in to get some info on some of the things to look for in the game.

    Here is some Falcons info.

    Offense:

    I've been watching the NFL since the '60s, and this year's Falcons team has the most BALANCED offense I've seen. Literally.

    A pro-bowl receiver that can stretch the field in White, Jenkins is a better than average tall, possesion receiver that has excellent straght line speed (if he catches the ball in stride he is hard to catch from behind, also a deep threat because of his straight line speed.) Finneran is a vet possesion receiver. Not a lot of speed, but good route runner that always seem to be in the right place when a clutch play is needed.)

    Tony Gonzalez at TE. The Falcons are deep with blocking TEs, but Gonzalez is the only receiving threat.

    Turner is a powerback that is also blessed with excellent open field speed. It is important to stop Turner at the line of scrimmage. If he breaks through the d-line into the open he has a second gear that kicks in and he can tear off some long runs. Norwood (who came out of the Carolina game with a head injury) is a guy that plays faster than his 40 time (4.3 at combine.) The Falcons use him a lot like the Saints use Reggie Bush. They attempt to get the ball into his hands in space with a lot of short passes, screens, and sweeps. Norwood is a guy that can take it to the house every time he touches it IF he can get in the open. It will be a big loss for the Falcons should Norwood not play. Snelling is a solid powerback with good hands, but not explosive.

    The o-line is solid and has a reputation for playing mean. They are thin at left tackle though. There is a big dropoff from Baker to his backup. There is good depth at the rest of the o-line positions. You probably won't see any drop-off in play should any other o-line starter get injured, but a LT injury would be a drop-off.

    Ryan isn't in the league of a Brady YET, but he is playing like he is heading in that direction. He still makes mistakes (like the one that resulted in an interception against Carolina), but he doesn't seem to make the same mistake twice.

    Despite having all the tools to be a high scoring, big play offense the Falcons play a ball control offensive scheme. Trying to eat up as much clock as possible. The reason...

    Defense:

    On the plus side, the linebackers have been playing lights out against both the pass and run, and making a number of big plays. Definitly the strongest part of the defense.

    Abraham has been playing as well as ever at DE, but he is the only pass rusher the Falcons have that should strike fear into anyone. They have some promising young guys (like Sidbury and Bierman), but they have a way to go. On the other side they have Jamaal Anderson who is going into his third year as a starter and has a total of 2 sacks. He plays the run well, but can't pass rush to save his life. Davis gets a lot of play at LDE also and is solid (but not great) as both a pass rusher and run stopper.

    At DT, Jerry is out for the season. A big loss. Babineaux at the other DT spot is very underrated. He can put a lot of pressure on the QB and plays the run well. He is not though, anywhere near an elite DT. The Falcons rotate a lot of DTs, so I'm not sure how much the loss of Jerry will hurt them, but it will to some extent. Anderson moved in from DE and played some DT last week also.

    The Falcons' CBs are awful. Bran Williams came in after being cut by the Jags and took the starting job away from one CB after being here a week. The Falcons traded a 7th rounder for Tye Hill, and everyone expects him to take the other CB's spot once he learns the system. Chris Houston plays smaller than his size and has mediocre ball skills. Expect him to get picked on.

    At safety both Coleman and DeCoud have stepped it up to the next level this year, but when you are starting at the bottom the next level really isn't that far. In all honesty I'd give the Falcons a C grade at safety. Not bad, but not great either. The Falcons drafted Moore this year who seems to have all the tools to be a top notch safety, but he was injured in training camp. He is supposed to be back for this game, but I expect him to see limited play.

    The Falcons play a bend but don't break defense. They give up a lot of yardage, but don't give up a lot of points. Last year they were 24th in yards allowed, but only 11th in points allowed. They are following that same route this year. Teams are running up big stats against the Falcons defense, but they have only allowed 27 points in two games.

    As down as I seem on the defense, the bottom line is the defense this year is BETTER than it was last year. The fact that they allowed so few points last year (and so far this year) probably says more about the quality of the coaching staff than the players. Atlanta does seem to be very well coached, if nothing else, on the defensive side of the ball.

    The Falcons' punting unit is top notch (as are the kickoff and kickoff return teams.) They actually franchised their PUNTER this year. Norwood does kick off returns. He returned several for touchdowns last year (along with several long runs.) Several teams made a point to kick away from him last year. If he is out it will be a big loss for the Falcons in kickoff returns also. The punt return team is average. They lost their punt returner to injury in pre-season and haven't found anyone as good to take his place. Elam is a vet kicker, but had a bad opening game but seemed to be fine against Carolina. He is solid from most ranges, but doesn't have the strongest leg anymore. Koenen (the punter) handles the really long field goals. Not real accurate but has a booming leg and has made a 58 yard FG during a game.

    The Falcons game plan (imho) will be to play a ball control offense and attempt to keep the Pats offense off the field. The Falcons will not abandon running the ball, even if they aren't getting a lot of yardage. The defense will hang on for dear life. They'll look bad in the stats department, but will keep the score lower than expected.

    So how do you think the Pats will attack the Falcons?

    PS

    I hope it's a good game, nobody gets hurt, and of course the Falcons win.
  19. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

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    Numbers point to the Atlanta D being susceptible to the run right now (giving up almost 250 yards in 2 games), so I sure as heck hope we break out the running game big time.

    Their cornerback situation (and to a larger extent, their DB's) does not seem solid at this point. However I'd like to see us develop a more balanced attack.
  20. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Nice analysis. Thanks for the work.

    I agree that the Falcons offense is very balanced. I personally think Matt Ryan is the best young QB in the league by far, though he's still learning. Dmitroff has really impressed so far - I think he's probably had the most success of anyone leaving NE from the BB tree in some time. I'm not sure your OL is quite as strong as you make it out to be, and think there is definitely some opportunity to put pressure on Ryan, if our DC can actually bear the thought of rushing the passer. If we sit back passively on defense I think Matty Ice will carve us up.

    I think your secondary is extremely vulnerable, and after a lousy offensive performance against the Jets I expect our offense to rebound, especially if Welker is back. Atlanta's defense has played well enough to win in the first 2 games, but it hasn't really faced an offensive challenge yet. Outside of John Abraham I don't see much pressure coming from your D.

    Just my guess.
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