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#Falcons fans not interested in #SB52 Still haunted by collapse in #SB51

4 Feb

By Jonathan Simmons

This time last year I found myself in Houston the host city of Super Bowl 51. Who knew I would be there to witness the highs and lows of that unforgettable OT loss to the NE Patriots.

The excitement surrounding the Falcons before SB51  reached unprecedented heights. Multiple pep rallies around Metro Atlanta. Huge send off with over 15,000 people. A 25 point lead in the big game itself. All for nothing. Washed away by a mind numbing,  record setting comeback by Tom Brady and the Patriots.

Then this year they once again ended the season in heartbreaking fashion. The lost to the NFC champs the Eagles in the final minute blowing a chance to win with a series of poor plays near Philly’s goal line.

Frustrating ways to end a season 2 years in a row. I think it has left most Atlanta football and this writer a little numb and not really interested in the big game this year.

Plus time for rest and ready ourselves for Super Bowl 53. That game will be in Atlanta for the first time in almost 20 years. It would the ultimate coming full circle in the Falcons become the 1st team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium. Hopefully this time next year Falcons fans will have something to cheer about and not home considering another lost opportunity.

 

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#CelebrationBowl big stage in Atlanta invigorates, but doesn’t intimidate #NCAT or #Grambling

16 Dec
2017 Celebration Bowl NCAT players

NCAT Aggies

2017 Celebration Bowl Grambling players

Grambling State Tigers

Mercedes Benz stadium is a glorious new state of the art stadium considered to be one of the finest sports venues in the world. It annually hosts the SEC championship, and this year the College Football Championship two of the biggest events of the year for the sport. The Celebration Bowl is the 1st bowl game played each year. It’s the 125th anniversary of the 1st football game played in HBCU football history.  None of this seems to faze the players from Grambling State or No. Carolina A&T.

It’s the 2nd appearance for each in the game with Grambling State returning as defending champs, and No. Carolina A&T coming back after winning the the inaugural game in 2015. NC A&T also boasts a unblemished 11-0 record.

Check out the press conference the day before the big game in Atlanta. Players from both teams seemed relaxed but ready to play in this historic game.

In the #CelebrationBowl the cheers are about family as much as #football

16 Dec

CELEBRATION BOWL,MAYORS MASKED BALL 155CELEBRATION BOWL, FALCONS vs 49ERS,MAYORS MASKED BALL 044

As the hours are counted down before the 3rd annual Celebration Bowl the head coaches and players took time out to speak to the media in their final press conferences. The Celebration Bowl matches the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champions in Atlanta to determine the kings of Black College football.

There were plenty of Q & A regarding team strategy, key player strengths, school pride and the like. What stood through the answers from the coaches of both teams was the importance of being a family.  It was wonderful to hear what that meant to coaches personally as well as for their teams.

Check out our videos from each coach below to see and hear for yourself

#Falcons snatch win from hands of #Saints on #DeionJones end zone INT

9 Dec
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#InBrotherhood

Saints Falcons Football

Debo Time -atlantafalcons.com

The Atlanta Falcons continue their season in the year of living dangerously. Matt Ryan throws 3 interceptions, including 2 in the Red Zone. But in another strange and miraculous finish, the Falcons intercept Drew Brees in the end zone with less than a minute to go to preserve a 20-17 victory in Atlanta.

Falcons star middle linebacker Deion Jones, a Louisiana native, once again stung his home state with a game changing interception. He intercepted a Brees pass 2 years ago in New Orleans in his rookie year to help the Falcons win that game.

The offense was doing what it needed to do…. control the ball to keep it away from Drew Brees and the Saints Offense.  Early on it was the Saints who had  control and held a  2-1 time of possession edge. but it was still a 3-3 tie in the 1st quarter. Atlanta seemed to take charge midway through the 2nd quarter with a beautiful 15 play 90 yard drive lasting  8:17. Austin Hooper had 2 catches to keep the drive alive. Devonta Freeman had 5 carries, 19 yds and caps off long drive with a TD with 4:35 left 2nd quarter.
After score however  it seems like Atlanta’s defense relaxed. First they gave up a big 31 yard kickoff return. Then Brees took Saints on nifty TD drive in just 2:30
When the Falcons get the ball back and the offense moves the ball right back down the field to the Saints 42 yard. Matt Ryan looks at Julio all the way and throws his 1st of 3 interceptions. Saints return it 33 yards and kick FG to take the lead. Or so they thought. Atlanta got it’s first break of the day as a Saints penalty causes a 10 second runoff, negates the field goal, and keeps the game tied at 10.

Ryan threw interception #2 to start the 2nd half, as TE Austin Hooper fumbled the pass right into the hands of the Saints Chris Banjo leading to a short TD drive as New Orleans took the lead 17-10. Atlanta responded by driving to the Saints 5 when Ryan, again staring down Julio Jones throws into triple coverage and interception number three blowing another opportunity to score, and gave the Saints the ball back again.

The Falcons defense was on a mission though and stopped Saints drives twice.  The  second drive stop was highlighted by a key 3rd down sack by Atlanta’s huge interior lineman Dontari Poe. Matt Ryan and Atlanta’s offense then showed they had some resilience and grit.

First with about 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Falcons began a 15 play, 69 yard drive that ended with nifty 8 yard TD pass for Ryan to wide open Mohamad Sanu in the end zone to tie the game at 17. On their next drive they moved from their own 28 to the Saints 34 when the drive stalled. Mr. Reliable Matt Bryant came on nailed a 52 yard FG to give Atlanta a 20-17 lead with 3:49 to play. A lot of time for future Hall of Famer Drew Brees to get something done. Brees did not disappoint. He led the Saints quickly downfield from their 20 to the Falcons 34 in just a minute and a half. The final moments left everyone there buzzing. On 3rd and 1, 2 minutes left in the game, the Saints are charged with offensive holding, a 10 yard penalty. This would make it 3rd and 11 and the ball on the Falcons 35. Not so fast. Atlanta head coach starts the chess match. He declines the 1st down. It’s now 4th and 1. Saints head coach passes on the 42 yard FG and elects to go for it on 1st down. New Orleans gets the 1st down on a Drew Brees QB sneak. Brees fires an 11 yard pass to Ted Ginn for a 1st down. But Ginn is injured on the play forcing New Orleans to take a timeout and the clock is stopped at 1:39. Brees throws again this time for no gain and Atlanta takes their 2nd timeout. The Saints are clearly playing for the win on the road as Brees is throwing, even though they are easy FG range. On the next play the strategy backfires. Brees throws towards Josh Hill in the end zone but middle linebacker Deion Jones jumps about 3-4 feet in the air for a spectacular interception to kill the drive.

There was still some drama left though. After a New Orleans timeout, on 2nd down Falcons RB Devonta Freeman fumbles. Atlanta recovers however, and is able to kneel down twice and hang on for a hard fought, but strange 20-17 win. The victory puts Atlanta just one game behind the Saints with 3 games left to play. All the games remaining are in the division, including a rematch with the Saints in New Orleans on Christmas eve. The Falcons have it all in front of them, and control their own playoff chances.

It should be an interesting finish as the Falcons fight to return to playoffs to defend their NFC Championship and head back to the Super Bowl.

#Falcons vs #Seahawks – No room for error in #NFLPlayoff chase

21 Nov

The 2017 Atlanta Falcons have played their way into a precarious position in their quest to return to the postseason.

Winnable games vs the Bills, Dolphins at home, and Panthers on the road have left them in 3rd place in the NFC South. Even after a big home win against a depleted Cowboys team, Atlanta needs to win 5 or 6 of their last 7 games to get back in the playoffs. The good news is all but 2 of those games are against teams that are ahead of them in the standings. The bad news is those teams are playing well.

The Falcons offense looked the best it has since the opening game vs Green Bay. 6 different players caught at least 2 passes from Matt Ryan who looked loose and confident even when forced out of the pocket. Atlanta even ran some hurry up offense a few times (finally)

Once again the Falcons opponent will be missing key players from their roster. All Pro defenders Cam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Cliff Averil are all out due to injury.  The Falcons offense should be able to move the ball against Seattle IF they have the cohesiveness and execution of last Sunday.

On defense for the 3rd week in a row Atlanta has the challenge of stopping a dual threat QB. Against the Panthers the D had huge problems stopping Cam Newton. They fared much better against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys sacking him 8 times.  With Russell Wilson they face their stiffest challenge yet. Not only is he elusive but his ability to make big plays of a scramble is amazing

If the Falcons can contain Wilson and maintain their offensive efficiency from last week. Atlanta will have the same record they had after 10 games last year, 6-4.  They also will find themselves right back in the middle of the playoff hunt.

GA Tech loses program game changer opportunity in loss to Tenn

6 Sep

Tech misses… Kevin C Cox/Getty Images

It was there for the taking. On center stage at the Chick Fil A Kickoff at Mercedes Benz Stadium, everything went the way Tech dreamed it could go.

Lose your best RB, (a preseason All ACC pick) because of disciplinary issues? No problem. His replacement KirVonte Benson rushes for 124  yards and a TD. Lose the best QB you have had since Hall of Famer Joe Hamilton to graduation and the NFL? No problem his replacement TaQuan Marshall accounts for over 350 of  offense by himself.  It was a game Tech dominated for most of the time. But in the end the Yellow Jackets found themselves stunned as Tenn came back from a 14 pt deficit in the 4th quarter to tie the game and win in 2 OT 42-41.

This was a game that could have gone a long way in changing the narrative of college football in GA and even nationwide. All the talk would have been on how exciting Tech new playmakers Marshall and Benson were. Paul Johnson’s offense which is often mocked being called boring and archaic, would be lauded as exciting and entertaining. Recruits in the talent rich Southeast and elsewhere would begin to put Ga Tech on it’s short list of schools to attend.

Instead Tech fans were left with a bitter defeat and thoughts of what could have been. The good news for Jacket fans is:

  • It’s the 1st game of the season
  • Tenn is a non conference opponent
  • Benson and Marshall appear to be breakout stars

It will once again take great coaching and team leadership to rebound from this brutal loss. But like last year when it looked the season was not going to end well Tech fans must remember the season has just begun and it’s still all in front of you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#YellowJackets QB play and speed key for a #CFAKickoff win

4 Sep

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Georgia Tech finds themselves on their biggest stage since the 2014 Orange Bowl. In that game they also were up against a ranked SEC opponent. The Jackets were led by mercurial quarterback Justin Thomas. Thomas had one his best games a Tech uniform. He garnered MVP as he accounted for 4 TDs en route to a 49-34 Tech win.

This year there was no clear starter at QB even though Matthew Jordan was Thomas backup last year.  But after Jordan was injured the best option is last years 3rd stringer TaQuan Marshall, at 5’10 185 he is built and runs more like the elusive Thomas. Jordan at 6’2 and over 200 lbs was the better straight ahead runner, but look for Marshall to get some explosive plays before the night is done.

The other spot where Jackets have speed lurking is at running back.  As noted in the GT Football website local product  B-Back KirVonte Benson has outstanding speed. Qua Searcy at the A-back spot is always a threat on the jet sweep and dangerous as a receiver as well.

The Vols defense gave up over 200 yards per game rushing in 2016. Tech has averaged almost 260 yards and 5.5 per carry. If the Jackets can do that tonight thet ay have their 4th straight win over an SEC opponent. And we know how much Coach Paul Johnson would like that.

First game at #MBStadium – The Virtual reality tour

27 Aug

When you first walk into the stadium from the front landing with the massive Falcon sculpture you are overwhelmed by the visuals. Halo board, lower field electronic scoreboards, and colors so vivid and bright  it all seems surreal.

It’s as if you’re a character in the movie #Tron, or have donned a set of VR glasses. Being inside the stadium is like you have been dropped inside a giant video game.

Everything has taken to a new level. Fans enjoyed a Field Level Club area that allowed them to walk from inside a stylish restaurant/lounge, to a porch right behind the team bench on the field.

As for the game itself, the Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals 24-14. Matt Ryan was was not as sharp as 1st 2 games. Julio played a little as did Takk McKinley.

The Falcons  performance will raise some questions about the team, especially since they have not won a game this preseason. But that is for another story. Mercedes Benz stadium was the story tonight. There is more work remaining before it is totally finished. But early reviews from the fans are 5 star rated for excitement and entertainment.

#Falcons final 2 practices at Flowery Branch before 1st game at MB Stadium

23 Aug

Dan Quinn Falcons Head Coach

The Falcons are back to the norm except for one change. Their Friday walk through will be at their brand new home – Mercedes Benz Stadium.

This season is unique as the Falcons are defending NFC for only the 2nd time AND heading into a brand new stadium that is a technological marvel.

How important is it to have this walk through on Saturday and 2 home games at the new stadium before playing regular season game there?

It will also give coaches the opportunity to evaluate players under pressure of not only making the team, but the excitement of a new stadium and a real regular season feel

Coach Dan Quinn in his daily press conference gave the media some key points to consider:

  • Linebackers look good. Rookie Due Riley’s initial impact may be biggest on special teams. Quinn loves the way he flies around.
  • De’Vondre Campbell has looked good at the Sam LB spot
  • DE Jack Crawford has quickness unusual for a man that size.
  • Coach Bryant Young has the ability to coach the D-Line with a hands on approach befitting a recently retired player

Running back, lineman, and defensive backs are areas that still have the most competition remaining in terms of the 53 man roster. Coach Quinn still deciding whether to have coordinators and ass’t coaches calling plays form on the field or in the press box.

Click Here for the VIDEO of the press conference.

Is @AtlantaFalcons Matt Ryan a future Hall of Famer?

22 Aug

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Is Matt Ryan QB of the Atlanta Falcons a future Hall of Fame player? Many people both in and out of Atlanta are either #SMH or #ROTFL after reading this statement. But is it that far fetched? One Super Bowl winning season would make him a candidate at the very least. Here’s why.

  1. Impact on the teams you played on. Did you make them better and/or were an invaluable part of your teams overall success.-  For Ryan the answer is an overwhelming yes. When Matt Ryan arrived in Atlanta as the #3 overall pick in 2007 the franchise was in disarray after the Mike Vick situations. He stepped in as the starter won and led the Falcons to the playoffs. He then became the first Falcons QB to lead Atlanta to back to back winning seasons. He also has been durable missing only 2 games thus far
  2. Post season appearances -He has led Atlanta to the postseason 5 of his 1st 9 years, including 4 times in 5 years from 2008-2012. In his 2 NFC Championship games he has thrown for almost 400 yards in each one (392 in ’12, 396 in ’17)
  3. Personal awards –  Pro Bowl 4X, All Pro – 1X, NFL MVP – 1X,  2008 Offensive Rookie of the Year
  4. Overall Stats and Performance rank vs his peers – Top 5 among active QBs in Avg yards per game, Avg, Comp % per year. He is in the Top 10 in virtually every other measurable passing statistic among active players

A franchise changing career, league MVP, Super Bowl winner, and ranked  among the best statistically at his position during his playing days. Sounds like a pretty worthy resume…if the Super Bowl ring is won.

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