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Atlanta Falcons' veterans shine in performance for the ages


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This article didnt copy & paste well, sorry for the CRAP that this crap online newspaper posted.

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Atlanta Falcons' veterans shine in performance for the ages

Older and better: John Abraham, 31, Mike Peterson, 33, and Tony Gonzalez, 33, made key contributions in the Falcons' season opener.

For one week at least, the Falcons answered all those questions about their defense.

There were never any doubts about Tony Gonzalez.

Atlanta's new tight end hauled in a touchdown pass and became the 21st player in NFL history with 11,000 yards receiving, helping the Falcons beat the mistake-prone Miami Dolphins 19-7 Sunday.

FIRST QUARTER

Impact player: Kroy Biermann made the most significant play of the quarter, fighting persistently to get to Chad Pennington and creating Pennington's fumble to put the Falcons on the edge of scoring range.

Highlights: The defense held Atlanta to nothing after the Falcons recovered Pennington's fumble at the Dolphins' 37. Ricky Williams showed that his quickness remains on a 14-yard burst.

WHEN THE DOLPHINS RUN THE BALL

Go left, young men. The book says run at speed guys, such as Atlanta right defensive end John Abraham, and rookies, such as Atlanta defensive tackle Peria Jerry. So why shouldn't the Dolphins just trump the Falcons with their mass and power, especially behind either left tackle Jake Long or right guard Donald Thomas and center Jake Grove? The Dolphins should own the middle, active as Atlanta middle linebacker Curtis Lofton can be. If they can get weak-side linebacker Mike Peterson blocked, it could look like the Penn Relays. And Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams aren't the kind of backs linebackers and defensive backs want to see moving with serious momentum.

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•Gonzalez has TD, milestone in Falcons debut

Gonzalez has TD, milestone in Falcons debut

After becoming the only tight end in NFL history with 11,000 yards receiving, Tony Gonzalez said he's no longer driven by personal milestones.

Gonzalez said the only number of interest on Sunday was the Atlanta Falcons' 1-0 record after their 19-7 win over the Miami Dolphins.

Gonzalez, 33, said the team success is "really what it's all about at this point."

BY RAY GLIER

Special to The Miami Herald

ATLANTA -- Falcons graybeards marched all over the Dolphins Sunday. Forget about younger and faster as the calling card of the NFL, where the average age is about 27. How about older and better?

John Abraham, the 31-year-old defensive end, had two of Atlanta's four sacks in the Falcons' 19-7 win in the Georgia Dome. The weak-side linebacker Mike Peterson, 33, forced a fumble and intercepted a pass and was running amok through Miami plays.

Tony Gonzalez, the 33-year-old tight end who was acquired from Kansas City in a trade this offseason, made a spectacular catch to set up one touchdown and then smelled out a blitz to score another six points.

``Too old? I don't think so,'' said Jamaal Anderson, the Falcons' 23-year-old defensive end. ``They're not too old. Pete was running around all over the place, and you saw what Tony was doing.

``We have a great mixture of youth and veterans.''

Gonzalez, the NFL's all-time leader in receiving yards for a tight end, made the game's first pivotal play when he made a diving catch of Matt Ryan's pass at the Miami 1-yard line in the first quarter. The Falcons scored on the next play to lead 7-0.

In the third quarter, Gonzalez turned a short flip from Ryan into a 20-yard touchdown pass when the Dolphins were caught in the blitz.

``I saw it coming, and Matt saw it coming because he yelled `Cover Zero,' '' Gonzalez said of the touchdown. ``I just broke it outside like I'm supposed to.''

Gonzalez said the Falcons understood the Dolphins would try to shut down Atlanta's All-Pro running back Michael Turner, so they attacked the defense with the pass. Ryan, who averaged 27 passes a game as a rookie, threw 36 Sunday.

``If they want to go ahead and stack the box and make sure they stop him -- Turner was held to 65 yards in 22 carries -- then we should hurt them,'' Gonzalez said.

The Falcons had five new starters on defense, including Peterson, an 11-year veteran and former University of Florida star, who joined Atlanta this season. That overhauled defense forced four turnovers out of the Dolphins, who led the NFL in turnover margin in 2008 (plus-17).

Peterson moved so fast he was almost an apparition, a ghost who would appear suddenly near the football. The Falcons linebacker jarred the ball loose from Miami tight end Anthony Fasano in the second quarter at the Falcons' 16-yard line, and Atlanta cornerback Brian Williams snatched the ball and ran it to the Miami 31.

Five plays later, Jason Elam kicked a 36-yard field goal and the Falcons led 10-0.

``We try and emphasize BDs, ball disruptions,'' Anderson said of the fumble. ``That was one.''

Added linebacker Curtis Lofton, ``They start the down with the ball, who says they have to end the down with the ball? We wanted to run through them and get the ball out of there.''

Atlanta's Abraham was part of a defensive front that did not allow Miami quarterback Chad Pennington time to attack the most suspect part of the Falcons' defense, the rebuilt secondary. Atlanta rotated eight defensive linemen in and out of the game and pressured Pennington throughout.

``I'm just hoping everybody doesn't try and steal our formula,'' Abraham said. ``People said I wasn't playing enough last year, but my production was going up. There is no need, because you are a starter, to stay in the whole game and be dead tired.''

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``I'm just hoping everybody doesn't try and steal our formula,'' Abraham said. ``People said I wasn't playing enough last year, but my production was going up. There is no need, because you are a starter, to stay in the whole game and be dead tired.''

Saying this to a reporter, btw, is a fantastic way to insure that they don't think about doing that. Keep up the good stealth tactics, bro :lol:

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so now the other teams know that "cover zero" means TG goes to the flats.

'Cover zero' is an all out blitz. Man up on Wr's and TE's and blitz everone else.

He was telling Gonzo that Miami was in Cover Zero. Ryan and Gonzo were on the same page with the delivery and spot.

.....a li'l shake and bake, a great block by Roddy....TD!

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