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Nine Games The Atlanta Falcons Wish They Could Re-Play


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I went to Bleacher Report today and came across an article that I thought would be interesting for discussion. It's the offseason anyway so, why not spend it looking back at our past failures? Um, Yay? Anyway, the games mentioned are all across the board and most don't even happen during the Smith/TD/Ryan era. Hopefully this will keep the trolls at bay but I doubt it. There probably aren't a lot of people here that remember some of these games but they are painful nonetheless, and maybe we can learn something by breaking them down. Oh, and yes, this Bleacher Report. I've blasted them a few times myself, so I get it, but it's not like these are predictions, so it should be OK. I'll post the link 1st then try to post the individual games. However, I'm not sure whether or not it will work so be patient.


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November 13, 2005: Green Bay Packers 33 Atlanta Falcons 25


Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In his second season in Atlanta, head coach Jim Mora looked to build on an impressive 2004 campaign which saw the Falcons win the NFC South and reach the NFC championship game.

Mora and the Falcons looked well on their way back to the postseason after getting off to a 6-2 start to the 2005 season, but everything would fall apart in their ninth game of the year.

Facing off against the 1-7 Green Bay Packers in the Georgia Dome, the Falcons weren’t quite prepared for little-known running back Samkon Gado. Making his first career start that day, the rookie out of Division 1-AA Liberty University was promoted from the practice squad two weeks prior—just in time to torch the Falcons defense for 103 total yards and three touchdowns to help the Packers win their second game of the year.

The Falcons were never able to recover from the stunning loss, going on to win just two of its final seven games to finish the year out of the playoffs with a disappointing 8-8 record.

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December 6, 2009: Philadelphia Eagles 34 Atlanta Falcons 7

Fresh out of prison after serving a 23-month sentence on dogfighting charges, Michael Vick returned to the Georgia Dome in Week 13 of the 2009 season.

This time, however, he was on the away team.

Listed as third-string quarterback behind Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid activated Vick for his the game against his former team.

Suffice to say, he didn’t let the chance slip away.

Amidst cheers and jeers, Vick would go on to score his first points since the 2006 season after throwing a touchdown pass and running for another, posting his best statistical showing that season en route to a 34-7 thrashing of the Matt Ryan-less Falcons.


Edited by hjerry
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December 26, 2011: New Orleans Saints 45 Atlanta Falcons 16

The score alone puts this one atop the list of the Falcons’ worst losses, but that’s not the only reason Atlanta would want a second shot at it.

The first is the fact that the Falcons were 9-5 and still had a chance to win the division entering their Week 16 matchup of against the 11-3 New Orleans Saints.

Evidently, they lost that chance in an embarrassing 45-16 blowout loss at the hands of Drew Brees and the Saints on national television on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

In the process, all of America was on hand to see Drew Brees break the single-season record for most passing yards in a season, a mark previously set by Dan Marino 27 years prior.

The pass came on a nine-yard throw to Darren Sproles with just under three minutes to go in the game, capping off a 307-yard, four-touchdown performance for Brees.

With the way Brees was torching nearly every team through the air last season, keeping Brees from reaching the 305-yard mark that Monday night may have been wishful thinking for the Falcons.

But there’s no doubt, they would jump at a chance to replay the game, if only to do just that.

Edited by hjerry
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September 20, 1999: Dallas Cowboys 24 Atlanta Falcons 7


Brian Bahr/Getty Images

From the box score, this Falcons loss doesn’t look much different than any other one they suffered over the years.

But Atlanta lost a lot more than just a game that day.

On his third carry of the game, All-Pro running back Jamal Anderson was lost for the year after tearing his ACL, taking the Falcons’ season along with it.

Anderson was looking to repeat his dominant 1998 performance in which he rushed for a franchise-record 1,846 yards and set the record for most carries in a single season with 410.

Atlanta struggled to compete without him for the next 13 games of the 1999 season. The Falcons ended the year having recorded just five wins—a disappointing follow-up to their 14-2 record and Super Bowl appearance from a season ago.

For Anderson, the game would mark the beginning of a swift downfall as he would go on to suffer a career-ending knee injury just two years later.

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August 16, 2003: Baltimore Ravens 13 Atlanta Falcons 10


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After bursting onto the scene in 2002 in Michael Vick’s first full season as a starter, 2003 was supposed to be Atlanta’s year.

But Vick and the Falcons’ playoff hopes were dashed before the season even started after Vick broke his right leg on a third-quarter scramble of a meaningless preseason game, leaving everyone to wonder why he was still in the game in the first place.

Unfortunately, Vick wouldn’t make his first start of the season until Week 14, by which time the Falcons were already long eliminated from the playoffs with a 2-10 record.

Despite leading the team to a 3-1 record in its final four games of the year, Vick’s heroics weren’t enough to salvage the season nor to keep Dan Reeves from losing his job as the Falcons finished last in the NFC South.

January 4, 1981: Dallas Cowboys 30 Atlanta Falcons 27

The Atlanta Falcons officially joined the league in 1966, but they had to wait until the 1978 season to make their first playoff appearance. In their very first postseason game, the Falcons edged the Philadelphia Eagles 14-13 to move onto the Wild Card Round.

Once there, however, they couldn’t keep a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter on the road against the Dallas Cowboys, who would win 27-20 to go on to compete in the Super Bowl that season.

Yet, the Falcons would get another shot at the Super Bowl two seasons later, when they played their way to a 12-4 record and the NFC West division title.

Their opening game? A divisional-round rematch with the Dallas Cowboys. This time, however, the game took place at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

The Falcons were able to take a commanding two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter and looked poised to reach their very first NFC championship game, but it wasn’t enough as the Cowboys once again clawed their way back to victory by a score of 30-27.


Edited by hjerry
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November 15, 2010: Green Bay Packers 48 Atlanta Falcons 21

Having ended the regular season with a 13-3 record, taking the NFC South crown and earning the NFC’s top seed, the Atlanta Falcons looked poised for a deep playoff run in 2010.

Leading up to their opening game against the Green Bay Packers, everything looked to be in Atlanta’s favor on paper:

Well-rested after earning a first-round bye? Check.

Game at home in the Georgia Dome, where Matt Ryan had been 20-2 up to that point? Check.

Taking on the Packers, which the Falcons had previously beaten in week 12 of that season? Check.

Then, they played the game.

Atlanta looked to have the momentum early after a 102-yard Eric Weems kick return for a touchdown gave the Falcons a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. But things quickly took a turn for the worst after John Kuhn would score on a touchdown run for the first of 35 unanswered points for the Pack—28 of which were scored in the second quarter alone.

Green Bay slowed down but didn’t stop in the second half, never punting on their way to a 48-21 rout—the most lopsided loss by a top seed in divisional playoff history.


Edited by hjerry
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Sunday January 3, 2005: Philadelphia Eagles 27 Atlanta Falcons 10

In Jim Mora’s first season as the Falcons’ head coach in 2004, the Atlanta Falcons staged a major turnaround from their forgettable 5-11 2003 season.

Atlanta won 11 games on its way to an NFC South title and a trip to the postseason. The Falcons routed the St. Louis Rams 47-17 in the Georgia Dome, their opening playoff game, setting numerous records along the way.

But the team wasn’t able to repeat that performance a week later on the road in its first NFC championship game since the 1998 season. The Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Falcons in nearly every phase of the game as they won their first NFC title game in four years.

The Falcons exacted revenge in the opening game of the following season, beating Philadelphia 14-10.

However, something tells me it didn’t quite mean as much, as it would have, had Atlanta defeated the Eagles the first time around.

Edited by hjerry
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January 31, 1999: Denver Broncos 34 Atlanta Falcons 19


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In what remains the best regular season in team history, the Falcons of 1998 looked like the Falcons of old in their only Super Bowl appearance.

After posting a 7-9 record in 1997 and going 3-13 the year prior, the Falcons surprised everyone when they ended the 1998 season on a nine-game winning streak for a 14-2 record.

Atlanta’s fairytale season continued in the playoffs when they edged out the San Francisco 49ers 20-18 in the divisional round before beating the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings 30-27 in overtime in the NFC championship game, sending the Falcons to Super Bowl XXXIII—their first in team history.

Facing the 1997 champion Denver Broncos for the title, Atlanta entered the match as underdogs yet again. The Falcons originally looked to be in control after jumping out to a 3-0 lead on its opening possession, but it was all Denver after that.

The Broncos would take a commanding 17-6 into halftime before a John Elway touchdown run in the fourth quarter made it 31-6, effectively putting the game, and any hopes of a Super Bowl victory, out of reach for the Falcons.

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