Do We Even Root For Victory Now?

I don’t think we’re quite to the point where we’re actually actively rooting for the #1 draft pick for next year, but we’re close.  For when that time comes, here’s a little preview of the race, and by preview I mean the current standings:

St. Louis Rams 0-6
Miami Dolphins 0-6
Atlanta Falcons 1-5
New York Jets 1-5
New Orleans Saints 1-4
Buffalo Bills 1-4
Cincinnati Bengals 1-4

I’m still harboring hopes of an 0-16 Dolphins finish. Wouldn’t it be awesome if that happened in the same year that the Patriots matched the Dolphins undefeated season? So I guess at least as long as that dream is alive, the answer to the question in the lede is yes.

The Byron Leftwich Era Begins

Byron LeftwichWell, we called it prematurely a few weeks ago, but it appears that the Byron Leftwich Era is now upon us.  Harrington’s play wasn’t enough to force the move during Monday night’s game, but Petrino apparently took a step back and looked at the big picture and decided to hand the rest of the year over to Leftwich.

As I stated previously, I don’t know if this will make much of difference.  But as I’ve also said previously, we don’t really have a lot to lose, so what the heck.  Bring on the Leftwich.

Week 6: Atlanta Falcons v. New York Giants

Falcons Helmetgiants-helmet.jpgAre you ready for some football? We are; we hope that the Falcons are too.

As the New York Times points out, the Falcons’ appearance on MNF tonight is strangely an anniversary rematch between the Falcons and the Giants; the two teams played each other exactly a year ago (on a Sunday then of course).  The Giants beat us then, and of course are expected to again.

The NYT article also points out that Harrington technically has a better QB rating than Eli Manning, for whatever that’s worth (not much):

 Att. Comp. Percent Yds. TD Int. Rating
Harrington 156 105 67.3 1,070 4 3 87.3
Manning 157 92 58.6 1,076 9 6 82.7

Deadspin doesn’t expect much of a game, but that’s ok, because we have a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts handy.  So we’ll be following the rumbling train of inconsistency that is the Atlanta Falcons down the tracks deep into this Monday Night.  Stay with us for updates.

 First Quarter Update:  Falcons open up with a decent drive and cap it off with a 47-yarder from 47-year-old Morten Andersen.  Atlanta 3, New York 0.

In classic Falcon form, the Falcons actually force a three and out on the first Giants drive, but allow it to continue by roughing the punter.  The Giants then capitalize on that error to take the lead; Atlanta 3, New York 7.

Fantastic 67-yard explosion from Jerious Norwood puts the Falcons back on top; Atlanta 10, New York 7.

This time the Falcons show no signs of stopping Eli and his gang; Atlanta 10, New York 14.

Follow the updates for the rest of the night after the jump.

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Better Luck This Time, Falcons

Falcons Helmetgiants-helmet.jpgThis is what happened the last time we played on Monday Night Football.  We ran into the buzzsaw that was the Katrina-related mojo of the Saints last year. 

The Giants don’t have anything like that on their side tomorrow night, but they have won 3 games in a row.  And we’re, um, us.  We just hope that it doesn’t become the crap show that we’re afraid it might.

Hey giants, Where You At?

We haven’t heard from you lately.  giants-helmet.jpgWe’d love to hear your thoughts on the trouncing that your guys are gonna give our guys tomorrow night.

It All Boils Down To The O-Line

olineThis article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution lays out what it perceives as the issues for the Falcons in their losses so far this season that must be addressed if there is to be any improvement. 

While I don’t necessarily agree with any of the analysis in the article, to me the theme tying all of the issues together and the underlying problem is the offensive line. 

I’ve never seen a QB consistently under so much pressure as Harrington (and Leftwich when he came in) on Sunday.  When Harrington has had time to throw, and even at times when he really hasn’t, he has gotten some things done.  But when’s he’s pressured like he was Sunday, you get picks.  And then you get that lost look in his eyes in the one drive after his pick-six interception that gave the Titans the lead.  And then add a rusty Leftwich to the mix, and you get passes airmailed over everyone and the inability to take advantage of being handed the ball inside the 20 twice with a chance to tie the game. 

Also not helping is the general lack of a running game; once again mostly the fault of the offensive line.  And when the offense is not functioning well, you end up with stalled drives too far away from the goalposts and long field goal attempts (and since we have Father Time and the inaccurate Koenen kicking for us, we often miss those). 

So, while initially I was all set to do a post about whether Harrington or Leftwich will emerge as the starter for the Falcons (it’s still Harrington for now, according to Petrino), I’m not sure that it matters if we can’t resolve our o-line issues.  Whoever is in will struggle until we do, and thus the team will struggle.  Settle in for a long year.

Week 5: Atlanta Falcons v. Tennessee Titans

Falcons HelmetTitans HelmetIn a battle of teams trying to make the best of it after having a star player suspended (Vick of course for the Falcons, Pac Man for the Titans), the Falcons (1-3, 3rd NFC South) face the Tennessee Titans (2-1, 2nd AFC South) today at 1:00.

We feel good about the way the Falcons are playing right now, but the Titans have been tough, losing only to the powerful Colts.

We’ll have regular updates throughout the game and some breakdown later.

First Quarter Update: Touchdown! Deangelo Hall makes good news for once, picking up a fumble and bursting down the sideline 57 yards for a touchdown.  The big play was actually made by the rookie Jamaal Anderson, who caused the fumble.  Atlanta 7, Tennessee 0.

And the Titans respond with an unstoppable drive.  Atlanta 7, Tennessee 7.

Second Quarter Update: The Falcons execute a flawless fake punt and run into field goal range, and of course are limited to a field goal attempt.  It’s good, Atlanta 10, Tennessee 7.

Halftime: Atlanta 10, Tennessee 10.  Titans kick a field goal on the final play of the half to tie it.  Titans have physically dominated the Falcons, but two big plays (the fumble and the fake punt) have the Falcons in it anyway.  Let’s hope they can manage a little more offensively in the second half.

Third Quarter Update:  Vince Young basically hands us three points by throwing a stupid little lob pass as he’s under pressure that is picked off by Trey Lewis.  The Falcons are unable to convert it into anything more than a field goal since the offense is still crap, but it’s enough for the lead.  Atlanta 13, Tennessee 10.

Titans then drive to tie it up with a field goal; Atlanta 13, Tennessee 13.

Right after the Titans commit their fourth turnover of the day, the Falcons commit their first.  Harrington threw the ball behind Jenkins, Jenkins tipped it, and the Titans’ DB picks it and takes it to the house.   Ugh.  I guess I can’t complain too much, because we shouldn’t even be in this game.  I’m not so sure that we are now.  Atlanta 13, Tennessee 20.

Fourth Quarter Update: After several drives of Harrington looking more and more discombobulated, Byron Leftwich makes his first Falcon appearance.  The Falcons have the ball in good field position after a missed Titans field goal.  Save us Byron.

The drive stalls, but not because of Leftwich.  His third down pass should have been caught for a first down by Jenkins, but Jenkins let it sail through his fingertips.  Koenen pinned the Titans down at the 11.  Defense needs to step up.

And they do!  Another ill-advised pass from Vince Young leads to his 3rd interception and the Titans’ 5th turnover of the game.  It’s the only reason we’re in this game.  We’ve got it on the 20, and we’ve got to punch this in.

Ugh.  Leftwich overthrows a wide open receiver in the endzone, and then his next pass is tipped and picked off.  I think this one’s over, and who knows what the hell is going on with our QB situation now.  Maybe we should try Redman.

 Well, it’s not quite over.  The defense steps up after the pick and forces a 3 and out.  We’ll get the ball back with around 2 minutes left.

And we tackle the punter!!!!  A mad rush caught him with not enough time to get it off, and we’ve got the ball in the red zone again.  Come on, guys, they’re doing everything in their power to hand us this game.  Let’s take it finally.

I’m too disgusted to talk anymore.  Suffice it to say we didn’t take it.  Breakdown of the game tomorrow.

Your Weekly Vick

PETAMichael Vick refuses to let me not write about him on this blog. 

He’s in the news now because PETA claims that Vick accepted an invitation to attend an 8-hour course on animal cruelty at the group’s Virginia headquarters.  According to ESPN

PETA assistant director Dan Shannon said when Vick completed the course, he was given material to take home and study. Shannon said Vick returned to the offices on a later day to take a test on the things he’d learned, which he passed. Though PETA officials are still pressing for jail time for Vick, Shannon did say everyone was impressed with the seriousness with which Vick approached his classes.

“He seemed nervous at first,” Shannon said, “but he seemed really interested.”

Vick’s attorneys were not immediately available to comment on PETA’s account of Vick’s attending the class. The NFL also did not immediately return a call for comment.

I’m not really sure what purpose this served, other than to further humiliate Vick. I suppose it’s not enough for PETA that Vick go to jail (notice that their position on pushing for extra jail time hasn’t changed since the course), but they have to indoctrinate him too.

Don’t get me wrong; I think Vick should go to jail too. And I guess if Vick was sincere about the course, as he reportedly was, and if he truly learned something, then that’s a good thing. But this has the feel to me of somebody going to meet with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson because they used the N word. I’m not so sure that a couple of individuals or a group like PETA ought to be the ultimate arbiter of whether somebody has redeemed themselves.