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Falcons Team Report


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Inside Slant

The Falcons won their seventh straight game to improve to an NFC-best 11-2 and 4-0 in the NFC South, but a very serious red flag came up in the Carolina game.

Before leaving for Seattle, the Falcons must fix their run defense.

The Panthers, led by Jonathan Stewart's 133 yards, rushed for 212 yards. It was the second straight game that the defense has given up more than 100 yards to a running back. Tampa Bay's LeGarrette Blount slammed them for 103 yards.

The Falcons won at Bank of America Stadium for the first time under head coach Mike Smith.

For the second time in the last three seasons, the Falcons have posted 11 wins in a season. It is the first time in franchise history that the team has posted three straight winning seasons and 11 wins are tied for the third-most in a single season in franchise history.

The Falcons posted a franchise-best 14-2 record in 1998, went 12-4 in 1980 and posted 11-5 seasons in 2004 and 2008.

The Falcons defense set the tone for Sunday's game when linebacker Mike Peterson forced Stewart to fumble on the opening play of the game. Cornerback Dunta Robinson scooped up the loose ball to give Atlanta possession on the Carolina 29-yard line.

It would go downhill fast for the run defense.

"We definitely know that people are going to see this game and see how many yards they had rushing and try to work on that," defensive end John Abraham said.

Smith wasn't pleased who the run defense seem to get worst after the Falcons opened up a 17-0 lead.

"We didn't' play very well after we jumped up on them," Smith said. "That's something that we have to make sure we take a good hard look at and address. We started fast and we weren't able to sustain it and do it consistently. We talked about week about being consistent with everything that we do."

The Falcons know if the get in the playoffs, they can't give up so much rushing yards.

"We don't concern ourselves with what other teams are doing," Smith said. "We try to concern ourselves with what we are doing. If it happens, it happens. The thing that we have to make sure that we do is that we get ourselves ready and get to Seattle as quickly as possible."

The team will leave early on Friday and try to practice at the Quest Field on Saturday.

Notes, Quotes


Quarter Matt Ryan tied his career-high with his 22nd touchdown pass of the season in the first quarter. He also threw 22 touchdown passes last season.

Ryan has thrown at least one touchdown in 12 consecutive games.

Since 2008, Ryan's 60 touchdowns rank fifth in the NFC.

"We did a number of things well," Ryan said. "We converted on some third downs. Which always helps when you have some of those long drives. We ran the ball effectively in that drive as well. It was just a good drive for us."

By The Numbers:

The Falcons are the first NFC team with a 3,000-yard passer (Ryan), a 1,000-yard rusher (Turner) and a 1,000-yard receiver (White) this season.

The Houston Texans (Matt Schaub-Arian Foster-Andre Johnson) are the only other team to accomplish that feat in 2010.

Strategy and Personnel

Player Notes

*TE Tony Gonzalez's 4-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter was the 87th on his career, which tied him with Andre Reed for 11th in NFL history. Don Maynard is in 10th place with 88. Isaac Bruce is ninth with 91 receiving touchdowns.

*DE John Abraham's second sack in the second quarter gave him 100.5 for his career. He became the 25th player in league history with more than 100 sacks.

*QB Matt Ryan went over 3,000 yards passing in the second quarter on a 12-yard completion to Michael Turner.

*RB Michael Turner has 38 rushing touchdowns and ranks second in the NFL behind Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson (39 touchdowns).

*DE Kroy Biermann has two sacks against Carolina. The defense totaled a season-high five sacks pushing its season total to 25.0 sacks, just three shy of the 28.0 quarterback takedowns it posted in 2009.

*RB Michael Turner rushed for 112 yards on 28 carries and a season-high three touchdowns. It was his fourth straight 100-yard game. In his last 11 NFC South games, Turner has run for 1,247 yards and 16 touchdowns.

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Consistent because its true. Yes, its something to work on, but people are making it seem way bigger than it is.

Giving up 200 yards to a team where the only thing you have to worry about is their running game is more than a little concerning.

We knew we didnt have to worry about their passing game so you would have thought we would have focused on shutting the run down. Hopefully we get this fixed by next week or else the Saints game is going to be very tough.

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Giving up 200 yards to a team where the only thing you have to worry about is their running game is more than a little concerning.

We knew we didnt have to worry about their passing game so you would have thought we would have focused on shutting the run down. Hopefully we get this fixed by next week or else the Saints game is going to be very tough.

That's not entirely true. Yes, that's their only talented position, but they started the half 17 points down. Normally, that's a recipe for going to the passing game. I think that it's a possibility we were looking for an attempt to pass to get back into the game.

Just a thought.

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I agree we can't let teams rush like that on us. The silver lining is that they couldn't rush the ball until we had a 3 possession lead. They had 8 rushes for 21 yards by the time we were up 17-0. They had 130 rushing yards on the next two drives with only 7 points. Then we went up by 3 possessions again. They got it to a 2 possession spread, and they had 1 carry for -1 and an interceptionbefore we extended to a 3 possession lead again.

My point is that they couldn't rush the ball when the game was close, and that's what matters most. Don't get me wrong, I don't like seeing teams pick up huge rushing yards at any point during a game. I'm just saying that our rush defense was good when we needed it most, even in this game where the stats look horrible.

For the record, they had 5 carries for 5 yards and a fumble on their first 4 drives with no first downs. They also couldn't pick up a yard when they needed it. They faced 1 3rd and 1 and lost 3 yards on it. It needs to be fixed, but it's something our D has shown capable of doing, so I'm not as concerned as the stat line implies.

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Pzummo great points there I think our defense doesn't get enough credit to be fair as when a play needs to be made on that side of the ball someone has always come up with a play to stop a opponents drive at a crucial time to stop the opponents momentum.Yesterday's game was a great example the defence absolutely locked Carolina's running game down in the 1st half and to be honest this game was in the bag at 1/2 time for us so am I worried no because I no MS like every other week will rectify what he see's wrong on tape.

Edited by kiwifalcon
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It was done on purpose to make teams game plan to attack us where we are actually very strong. Its a military tactic. Hide your strength as a weakness. Guess I should state that I'm being sarcastic.

Sarcasm or not, run defense has been a strength throughout the season. I doubt it was done on purpose, but if that works out to be a benefit eventually, so much the better.

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Over 200 rushing yards, yet they only scored 10 points should send up a flag to everyone that this was some sort of extremely aberrant statistic that has no place in a world ruled by logic.

Mike Smith, who loves statistics, is going to mull over this one for hours before he throws up his hands.

I mean really.........

How do you rush for over 200 and only score 10.


They had a few lucky big runs before our D hawked them down and then stonewalled them.

They caught us sniffing for a pass, which all common sense dictated they should be doing, and ripped some.

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