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Falcons’ Turner turns on burners in preseason loss


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Falcons’ Turner turns on burners in preseason loss

By STEVE WYCHE

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It really didn’t matter who played quarterback for the Falcons Saturday. This was Michael Turner’s night.

Faster than you could say Joey Harrington, Turner racked up more rushing yards in Atlanta’s 16-9 preseason loss to Indianapolis than any Falcons running back managed in any of 16 games last season.

Turner gained 113 yards on four carries — and two of his carries were for zero and minus-2 yards.

“The thing that was most impressive was that Michael Turner ran the ball extremely well,” coach Mike Smith. “It was the second straight week we rushed for 100 yards so that was a positive.”

The Falcons’ lone, big-money free-agent acquisition’s blowout came in the newly refurbished Georgia Dome, where plenty of the redone red and black seats were visible in the half-filled stadium. Many of the faithful few donned rookie quarterback Matt Ryan jerseys. Many wore garb from Falcons gone bye.

With the fan base looking for something to cling to in this potentially long season of rebuilding, No. 33 replicas could be in demand.

The Falcons coaching staff wants to run and apparently so does Turner. After spending the past four years as LaDainian Tomlinson’s backup with the San Diego, Turner, signed to a six-year, $34.5 million contract, unleashed some pent up energy on the depleted Colts.

On the second play of Atlanta’s second exhibition loss in as many games, Turner took a handoff from Harrington then peeled through a massive hole created by right guard Harvey Dahl and tackle Tyson Clabo to race 52 yards to Indianapolis’ 26-yard line.

“They have a small front and our guys were able to get up underneath them and we drove them on out and it opened up the cutback for me,” Turner said.

The energy from the dazzling run fizzled when Atlanta drove all the way to the 5-yard line and had to settle for the first of three Jason Elam field goals to take a 3-0 lead.

Turner was just getting warmed up, though.

On the first play of the Falcons’ next drive, he took another handoff from Harrington and raced for 63 yards to the Colts’ 22.

“It was straight up the gut,” Turner said. Fullback Ovie Mughelli “got a good block on the middle linebacker and it opened up like the Red Sea. That gives me encouragement for the season. We just have to clean up the little things, finish in the red zone. Converting third-and-ones, third-and-twos.”

There was little else for Turner to show as he was pulled out of the game for good.

Turner’s production with so little work is pretty much the way things have gone for him in his career. He averaged just four touches a game with the Chargers. It was menial work that made him hungry, and the ideal fit for offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey’s run-first offense.

Turner also proved his value to an offense that might have to rely on him and a developing offensive line for some sort of identity.

With Turner out, the Falcons couldn’t muster much else. Condemning them were five turnovers, three of which were interceptions.

“This is a process that we’re going through as a football team,” Smith said.

Harrington started and completed 2-of-3 passes for 17 yards.

“Honestly, that was probably one of the easiest quarters of football I ever played,” Harrington said. “The way we ran the ball made my job as a quarterback easy. There were a couple of times I handed the ball off, looked back inside and saw the offensive line had created a pretty big hole. Michael Turner did a great job running the ball.”

Ryan was cheered as he ran onto the field to replace Harrington at the start of the second quarter. Expectations were high in his home debut following his solid outing in the preseason opener at Jacksonville.

Things didn’t go nearly as well, though, as Ryan completed 8-of-16 passes for 62 yards and he threw an interception near the end of the first half that was returned 67 yards by Kelvin Hayden for the game’s only touchdown.

Ryan played into the third quarter and drove the Falcons to a field goal before being replaced by Chris Redman. D.J. Shockley finished out the game for the second week in a row.

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The live bullets are coming Falgoons, you're going to be in for it come Sept

Is the Bucs board SO boring that you come over here to have some excitement?

I really don't get why you are here other than the fact that you are a lonely little boy who has no friends.

Get a life kid. You need to go somewhere that you can be positive instead of all this hatred and negativity. Sad, lonely and angry people are the only ones who feed on trying to anger others and to pass on their negative emotions.

You may want to seek some professional help. You seem to really need some.

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Is the Bucs board SO boring that you come over here to have some excitement?

I really don't get why you are here other than the fact that you are a lonely little boy who has no friends.

Get a life kid. You need to go somewhere that you can be positive instead of all this hatred and negativity. Sad, lonely and angry people are the only ones who feed on trying to anger others and to pass on their negative emotions.

You may want to seek some professional help. You seem to really need some.

If y'all could do me a favor, instead of quoting him, could you just put something like "Reply to pathetic Jigga Donkey" or "Hey Loser"? (We'll know who you are referring to.)

When you quote him, that subjects all of us to his tripe. The two or three people that haven't put him on ignore may be amused by his constant blather, but most of us would prefer to not see it.

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If y'all could do me a favor, instead of quoting him, could you just put something like "Reply to pathetic Jigga Donkey" or "Hey Loser"? (We'll know who you are referring to.)

When you quote him, that subjects all of us to his tripe. The two or three people that haven't put him on ignore may be amused by his constant blather, but most of us would prefer to not see it.

ditto

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Is the Bucs board SO boring that you come over here to have some excitement?

I really don't get why you are here other than the fact that you are a lonely little boy who has no friends.

Get a life kid. You need to go somewhere that you can be positive instead of all this hatred and negativity. Sad, lonely and angry people are the only ones who feed on trying to anger others and to pass on their negative emotions.

You may want to seek some professional help. You seem to really need some.

ive been to the bucs boards & i can tell you the reason he posts like he does here is because that board would ban him it he tried to post his crap there.....just dont feed the troll...its that easy
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chargers fan here checking back in for the first time since you signed him

man like i said then, you guys are in for a real treat this year getting to watch him

wait till you see him break 3 or 4 tackles, and do some crazy madden spin move crap

agreed. I love turner, he will be a beast for us. oh, and its nice to hear from another teams fans without them saying something completely ******** like jiggadonkey. what a waste of space

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I have been excited for Turner from day one. I have had the good fortune of drafting LT in two fantasy drafts two years in a row so I took MT as a protection. I always watched the Chargers on the NFL package to see how my #1 was doing. Every time I saw Turner I thought, "Why can't the Falcons get a running back like him?" Now we have him and I could not be more excited about what he will do over the next few years.

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