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  1. I didn't even think he was the better QB... he played well, no doubt, and importantly didn't make any/many mistakes when the Ravens were protecting the lead, but I never felt as though Flacco was consistently making great passes, driving his offence and carrying his team. Kaepernick, on the other hand, apart from the terrible throw for the interception, was playing incredibly well to drive his team back. It frustrates me that people put so much emphasis on one person's reputation based on a team's performance. Every Baltimore have reached the playoffs, and got closer each time to the Super Bowl. A lot of that has been on the back of the defence. Flacco has been solid throughout and deserves a great deal of credit, but I think a lot of QBs could have played the game he did behind that O-Line, and of course with the moments of magic from Jones. Perhaps the Falcons should see the Ravens as a team to emulate, and an example of how it is OK to gradually improve with each year, and that being a constant presence in the playoffs gives your team a chance to learn and improve in those scenarios specifically. A few weeks ago it was all about winning ONE playoff game, now people have just moved on to the next 'problem'. If we had beaten SF and lost to the Ravens, no doubt people would be moaning in exactly the same manner!
  2. Wasn't it within 5 yards of the LOS? I'm not sure of the rule, but I thought you were allowed to 'jam' the player at that distance. At that point I think we were all desperate for the call regardless, but that seemed to be what people were saying. Tandy - I agree with you that bad officiating on other calls was there, and that the Matthews penalty was inocuous at best. But when I watched the replay I cringed because to me it appears that the 'swatting' was a bit late and a bit silly.
  3. No, that's why it was so frustrating! If you're going to put one on the QB at least let him know about it, don't just stroke his face mask... I agree that it was a stupid penalty, but if Matthews had been more controlled, there wouldn't be an excuse for the refs.
  4. Ok, thanks. It does prove my point to a large extent (the Nic penalty significantly increased their chances of a TD). I too thought they were harsh penalties, but the fact is the play was over (for those players at least) and they lost composure and did something stupid. That's the kind of thing a coach must get SO frustrated with, it cost us massively.
  5. I can't remember off the top of my head, but were the penalties given away by Nicholas and Matthews on scoring drives for the 49ers? I know people want to blame individuals, but most mistakes are unintentional and often unlucky (think fumbles, slips, interceptions) - even if they come as a result of poor ball security etc, they are still not deliberate. Those penalties were totally unnecessary and stupid. We stopped them, and then we gave them another shot. Everyone knows the Falcons are the least penalised team this year, but it is perhaps fairly seen as a side issue to our success. However, games are won and lost by fine margins. If that fine margin is a yard of pace, or an unfortunate slip, then so be it, that's how the cookie crumbles, but it is painful to see the difference being a lack of discipline on a usually well drilled team.
  6. But again, you could ask whether that is solely down to the RB, or the O-Line (even though they have been excellent in pass protection of late), or playcalling. Plus, Gore and Lynch are special players, there aren't many like that floating around. On a side note - during the Seahawks game I noticed that whenever you heard Matt Ryan call "Green!", it ended up as a running play. First snap of the entire game yesterday, he calls "Green!" and I say to myself "this is going to be a run then", and sure enough it was. I might be wrong on this, but if I'm right, surely that level of obviousness will be exploited by the other team?!
  7. People can use blanket arguments but I'm not sure they are full proof. For example, the defence was poor on many occasions, but they come up with a few key stops, like they have done all year. Equally, Matt Ryan made a couple of mistakes, but the interception was a bit unlucky because Roddy slipped (probably incomplete rather than picked otherwise), and he had a **** of a first half. One specific thing which I feel made the difference is that Gore (or James) consistently got decent yardage (e.g. 4 - 8 yards) on the first down. That totally opens up the playbook for the next two, and makes it difficult to cover Kaepernick, Gore, Davis and Crabtree effectively and consistently. Yet too often the Falcons were stopped for no gain or for 1 - 2 yards. Suddenly the pressure is on Ryan to complete a pass, and the defence can focus on that. Maybe that's the play calling, the O-Line, the backs, I don't know, but it was key. People have been critical of Nolan, and my observation is that he and Koetter seem very good at adjusting when things aren't going well in the first half. We've seen the Falcons stutter and then solidify and get their act together, going on to win. Yet, when we start off well, it's the other team who make adjustments, and once they've figured us out, we don't seem to be able to counter with anything else. We've seen it in the playoffs, but also on occasions in the regular season. It's hard to point to exactly why this happens, perhaps just a reflection of Mike Smith's mentality of playing not to lose (but then the INT against Seahawks was an example of an unnecessary gamble when a safe play would have been better...) We came pretty close to a Super Bowl tonight, the entire organisation doesn't suck, which I why I prefer to focus on the details rather than simply blaming individuals/groups. Still gutting though.
  8. Is it a regular thing that you guys go there? I've been there once or twice. I don't know if I'll be there on Sunday, but if you head there quite a lot during the season then I might drop in, it's not too far from my house.
  9. The rule combats the first stage of discrimination, whether or not it is warranted. Unfortunately there might be a perception that an ethnic minority person can't do the job. In some cases, an interview will confirm this belief, and the job will be given to someone else, but in other cases the (for simplicity, let's assume they are) black person really impresses the owner/GM and they are given a chance. Sometimes it's not that people are racist, but incorrectly statistically discriminate, or simply have misconceptions about groups of people, which are perpetuated by no-one actually forcing a change. Eventually, you should be able to remove such a rule, but I don't think they're at that stage yet.
  10. It would definitely work for me, I put a bet on Falcons and Ravens (and Bears...) at the start of the season to reach/win the Super Bowl!
  11. It was a dreadful decision. People could legitimately have pointed to that throw, and then our inability to score again and put the game safe, as Ryan not having the playoff calibre and choking when it matters. But then he pulled it together with 30 seconds left when it seemed all was lost. We know he can do that in the regular season, but he showed his mettle and clutch qualities can extend to the post-season too. Woohoo! Wasn't this almost exactly like the Panthers home game? It even finished 30-28 as well! Credit to the Offensive Line today, I thought their play would be the key factor in deciding the game, and I can't remember many occasions when the pocket collapsed.
  12. Thought it was quite funny that these two posts were in succession...
  13. I don't think the past playoff failures have been Ryan's fault, but this one is on him. That throw was a crazy decision. Still a few seconds left, pleeeeeeease do something amazing now Matt!
  14. I've been to see the Falcons twice from the UK, this year to see Asante's last minute pick 6 vs Oakland and 2 years ago to see Weems 100 yard kick return in Tampa, I picked a couple of good ones! You think life as a Liverpool fan is tough, try supporting Southampton! I think when you've dealt with relegation and the reality of nearly going out of business, it puts things in perspective. Although, just as like with the Falcons, there always seem to be fans with short memories who are never happy...
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