Was the Falcons’ Defeat a Fait Accompli?

  ATLANTA – The Miami Dolphins’ 20-17 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons on the road at Mercedes-Benz Stadium has already dulled the luster off of the new, pharaonic structure. Fans in the metro area who have yet to recover from the Fred Sanford heart attack of Super Bowl LI remain in high dudgeon when a so-called Yankee mentions 28-3, thus, are suspicious of the Falcons amassing big leads only to have a competitor do an okie-doke on them.

As the game commenced, Atlanta deviated slightly from their traditional high wire act on offense by orchestrating an uncharacteristic pattern for them with reasonably time consuming drives. The Falcons devoured approximately ten minutes of clock in the first quarter resulting in a 50-yard field goal by Matt Bryant and an exhilarating 40-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan to Marvin Hall for an early 10-0 advantage.

On defense, the Falcons provided just enough pressure on Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler that may have made him temporarily reevaluate his decision to forgo the start of his career in broadcasting in exchange for the quintessential last stand opportunity on the gridiron. Nevertheless, Miami points were not forthcoming, and Atlanta capitalized on another drive that culminated in a touchdown following a six-yard dash by running back Tevin Coleman to extend the lead to 17-0 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Dolphins Head coach Adam Gase and staff devised a strategy that was quite different than the first half. Since they did not want Cutler to hide back into his phlegmatic shell of yesteryear, running back Jay Ajayi was featured prominently in the offense to mitigate Atlanta’s ball hawking defenders. Also, Miami decided to employ more of a zone defense instead of relying upon Suh and company to get home on Ryan until the offensive line was more battle worn.

            The gambit began to payoff as Cutler engineered sustained scoring drives seemingly hitting receivers like Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry in space with two touchdown passes after a total of 20 plays in the third quarter alone (approximately 10 minutes time of possession). Atlanta’s defense began to fatigue as usual and was prone to penalties that are often an indication that the mind was no longer in control of the body like Jimmy Johnson used to promulgate.

In the fourth quarter, the Atlanta Falcons appeared to be shell-shocked in all phases of the game. The offensive line (tight end included) missed blocking assignments, the defense looked feeble, and even a snap of the football was muffed resembling a wounded quail flailing in air on a crucial special teams play.

The Falcons were roasted to perfection as Ajayi rushed for 18 yards out of 132 yards total deep into Atlanta’s territory for game winning field goal by Cody Parkey with about 2:30 remaining. Although the Atlanta Falcons had sufficient time to either tie the game or win outright, it appeared to be a fait accompli that the contest would end on a tipped Ryan interception, which it did off the hands of Austin Hooper into the grasp of Miami’s Cordrea Tankersley near the goal line.

In conclusion, the Miami Dolphins are not the Belua that they were decades ago, but they possessed enough fortitude to achieve victory today in Atlanta. This is especially difficult to accept with the appearance of a refurbished, risible color scheme resembling a mint julep trimmed in white and orange for Miami in 2017.

Atlanta: Home Where the Buffalo Bills Roamed

ATLANTA – The Buffalo Bills 23-17 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons provided additional ammunition for the national media that the Falcons really should not have been considered near the top of the inane, weekly power rankings. For the Bills, they have proven that they are not the same old team that is incapable of being competitive.

Atlanta entered into the contest donning a variation of the Too Legit to Quit Falcons gear and was favored to win despite competing against the Bills’ highly touted defense. The game did not follow the script early as the high-flying Falcons were unable to score a single point in the first quarter. Nevertheless, Atlanta managed to take a slim 10-7 advantage into halftime following another strong run by running back Devonta Freeman.

The Falcons found themselves involved in another controversial call by the officials in consecutive weeks. Approximately four minutes into the third quarter, Atlanta’s quarterback Matt Ryan was just about to enter into his throwing motion deep behind the line of scrimmage as his right arm was hit. Ryan attempted to regain control of the football as it appeared to accelerate forward about ten plus yards downfield like a shot put, which was ruled by the officials as a fumble as Bills’ Tre’Davious White on the qui vive recovered the ball for a 52-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

While some local fans thought the fumble return for a TD was a cruel fate in the fortunes of the Falcons on that afternoon, Atlanta should not place too much emphasis on calls or no calls because they had ample opportunities to win the game outright. Things do not always go your way in athletics. Therefore, a team must be able to rise above circumstances no matter how arduous; you win some and lose some.

            Of course, the Atlanta Falcons’ offense had to undergo some adjustments for half of the contest because wide receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu Sr. were out due to injuries incurred by both. Ryan and the rest of the receiving corps were out of synchronization enough to be partially responsible for more interceptions. Unfortunately, running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 137 rushing yards but still found themselves not being called upon in seminal moments.

The truth of the matter is the fact that the Buffalo Bills placed Atlanta’s defense in an imponderable predicament. Since running backs LeSean McCoy and Mike Tolbert have the running styles and abilities akin to Joe Cribbs and Thurman Thomas of old passim, elusive quarterback Tyrod Taylor operated the play action pass adroitly by roaming so well that the Falcons were incapable of halting the run game or preventing the secondary from covering receivers for over three days duration.

In reality, the Atlanta Falcons’ situation is no different than it was when the season commenced. The defense remains a work in progress that must become more proficient in subsequent games as the offensive brethren may face defensive units that will preclude them from amassing leads like they hope, especially if receivers Jones and Sanu Sr. may require convalescing injuries for multiple contests. Well, the fortuitousness of Atlanta about to enter into the bye week is a blessing because they need to rest and refocus in sodality.

Atlanta Falcons: Lessons from Motown

The Atlanta Falcons were certainly fortunate to have secured a 30-26 victory over the Detroit Lions in Sunday’s game in Motown. Of course, the waning moments of the contest has been mired in controversy as a Lions’ game-winning touchdown was negated after a review by the officials with only eight seconds remaining will be discussed for some time in the future.

Although countless reviews of the play appeared to validate the call, there are valuable lessons to be learned by the Falcons from this experience. The first is illustrated by former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb from statements he uttered in one of those parades of eristic sports shows that dominate weekday morning cable television.

Essentially, the venerable McNabb opined that the Atlanta Falcons were probably the most overrated football team in early season NFL history. His premise centered on the fact that Atlanta’s defense still struggles to put teams out of their misery during the second half of games.

While this has been a point of contention for Falcons fans since their catastrophic collapse against the New England Patriots on my birthday in Super Bowl LI, there are reasons for this tendency. For example, Falcons Head coach Dan Quinn elected to call a timeout at 2:09 just moments before the two-minute warning as the Detroit Lions’ scoring drive was about to conclude. Quinn hoped to provide his offense added time to go on a scoring drive themselves before half.

          It seemed as if Quinn heard the late Al Davis whisper in his ear Davis’ motto: We shall take what we want! Unfortunately, the gambit was unsuccessful as the Lions’ Glover Quin intercepted a Matt Ryan pass for a 37-yard momentum-changing touchdown. Yes, the aggressive move backfired, but it was not entirely incorrect.

The miscue did put more pressure on the defense to be out on the field for more possessions, which is not the best course of action for Atlanta when they have injured playmakers out like Vic Beasley Jr. Last season, I wrote an entry based on the late Vince Lombardi’s famous quote, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” I used this expression because I noticed that the team, overall, faded like a 1985 Yugo at times because the defense was young and inexperienced in 2016.

In conclusion, the Atlanta Falcons and the fan base are on their own when it comes to galvanizing support. For example, the Falcons’ new aerie (Mercedes-Benz Stadium) did not receive an overwhelming embrace by some media members as the season commenced. It seemed like the reluctance was that some did not want to give the stadium credit for possibly supplanting Jerry Jones’ AT&T Stadium (aka The Death Star) as North America’s premier play palace.

Nevertheless, the Falcons must balance the desire for offensive supremacy with long drives that can assist the defensive unit in their development. Besides, one does not need to accelerate 0-60 m.ph. in five seconds on every offensive possession.

Devon Berry: A Source for Inspiration at any Age

From the Hoss Martin Archives: Saturday, September 12, 2015

While most of the nation’s commemoration for the victims and survivors of the day that will live in infamy with regards to the New Millennium from September 11, 2015, a picturesque, serotinal day was taking place on the campus of the Hampton High School Hornets in Hampton, Georgia. The sunlight sky was blue (from the way that our eyes interpret it) with sporadic wispiness of clouds that resembled cotton candy.

There was a sizable klatch of spectators who were participating in tailgate type of festivities like the Partner’s Club where high school students sold barbeque dinners to arriving football fans in an endeavor to raise money for children with disabilities. Suddenly, the marching band began to walk amain the short distance to the stadium where their Hornets Varsity Football Team were already on the field preparing for the visiting Riverdale High School Raiders.

The backdrop for a Friday evening high school football game in the South may not have seemed epochal to anyone who happened to visit until one observed a small film crew capturing virtually every movement of a remarkable young student athlete. His name was, Devon Berry, a senior at Hampton High School who has excelled at football (he is a captain), wrestling, and basketball; he has also been challenged with Cerebral Palsy.

As the game commenced, Berry did not receive any playing time initially. Hampton’s program is still in its nascent stages of development since opening in 2014. Riverdale was far more experienced which was evident with their quick striking offense that generally amassed any yardage they wanted that resulted in two touchdowns at halftime.

          Approximately seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, the public address announcer notified the crowd that number 62 Devon Berry was entering the game. The home fans cheered ecstatically as the young man used his arms to blitz towards his team’s defensive huddle dragging both legs behind him.

It only took Berry a few plays to get into a rhythm where he was in the middle of the scrum from the defensive guard position to help tackle Riverdale’s ball carrier or at least influencing the mobile quarterback to move to either his left or right away from Berry. Although Berry’s Hornets were eventually overmatched by size and experience that culminated in a 39-6 defeat to the Raiders, his indomitable spirit did not allow his team to demonstrate any signs of waving the figurative white flag at any moment.

For many of us, we are not challenged with a condition that may compromise our ability to ambulate in a traditional sense, but it is noteworthy to see how Devon Berry is making the best of his abilities to the point where he has positioned himself to enter college in the pursuit of a degree in sports broadcasting. What can we accomplish with our God given talents?

There are moments in life when some of us may feel as if we are unappreciated or overlooked in comparison to others who have enjoyed more of a celebrated status. If that is the case, we must learn how to overcome these periods of distraction by developing the kind of determination to become a champion on the inside whether or not we are always touted by others. Some of us are finally realizing what it takes to become a champion after four decades or more of life; Devon Berry is a true champion in less than half that time.

Hoss Martin’s Autobiography

 

My parents discovered my obsession with sports and broadcasting when I “borrowed” their cassette tape recorder in a feeble endeavor to imitate Detroit Pistons’ venerated sports commentator George Blaha back in the late seventies. Of course, they opted to keep that amateur “podcast” for years instead of erasing it in a bribery attempt to be used against me when I got out-of-line. Henceforth, I spent most of my time in barber shops promulgating the merits of why my favorite teams should perform better, but I usually attempted to take notes of signature moments in sports for later usage consequently. Although I attended and received my Bachelor of Science in Mass Media Communications from Oral Roberts University in 1996, I never really had an appropriate outlet for these reflections of previous and current sporting events. I was finally able to unleash over 35 years of hidden frustration when I met DJ Mike (http://djmikeshow.com/), who was the impetus behind the establishment of Sports Round-Up With Hoss Martin on November 23, 2010, under the aegis of Chris Mar Studios. So, please enjoy these postings of blog entries, statistics, and links contained on the website; just do not inquire my parents about that tape mentioned above. Contact: hossmartin@hossmartin.com

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