Atlanta Falcons News
11-23-15: A home loss against the Indianapolis Colts sans Andrew Luck stretched the Atlanta Falcons losing streak to three games and have officially cooled off from their hot 5-0 start. Two of their next three games come against likely playoff opponents with games against the Vikings, Buccaneers and Panthers.
11-16-15: The Atlanta Falcons used the bye week to straighten things out after their two-game losing streak. At 6-3, the Falcons have two quality opponents in the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings to finish the month.
10-20-15: After playing on Thursday Night Football last week, the Atlanta Falcons have some much-needed rest for their next game against the Tennessee Titans. The Falcons are coming off their first loss of the season to the New Orleans Saints and are second in the NFC South division behind the Carolina Panthers.
9-29-15: The Atlanta Falcons pulled off a late rally to overtake the Dallas Cowboys in week three, 39-28. Devonta Freeman was a total machine, amassing a ridiculous 191 total yards and three touchdowns. The Cowboys had no answer for Atlanta’s offense in the second half, as stud receiver Julio Jones also dominated en route to 164 yards and two scores off of 12 receptions. Atlanta’s defense was the story of the second half, as they put the clamps down on the Cowboys and didn’t allow any scoring in the final two quarters. The Falcons will try to keep their balanced play up in week four, when they put a perfect 3-0 record on the line against the Texans at the Georgia Dome.
9-22-15: For the second week in a row, the Atlanta Falcons made the key plays when they had to and found a way to gut out a close win. Matt Ryan put up 363 passing yards and was especially clutch to close out a week two win over the New York Giants, 24-20. With the G-Men up by 10 going into the final quarter, Matt Ryan guided the Falcons to two clutch touchdowns, while running back Devonta Freeman provided the difference with a two-yard plunge with just over a minute to go after taking over as Atlanta’s lead back late following Tevin Coleman’s exit with a rib injury. Coleman is likely to miss Atlanta’s next game and could be out several weeks. Atlanta’s defense did a solid job helping out, as they sacked Eli Manning twice and forced two fumbles in the win. The Falcons enter week three at a perfect 2-0, but will need to start trying to avoid the last-second finishes if they want to become a consistent team. Their next attempt to do so comes against the Tony Romo-less Cowboys in week three.
9-15-15: Atlanta’s week one battle just about lived up to gaudy expectations, as they out-lasted a Philadelphia Eagles second half rally to hold on for a nice 26-24 win at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons stormed out to a 20-3 halftime lead thanks to a top shelf performance by stud wide receiver Julio Jones. Atlanta cooled off considerably in the second half, but held firm when it mattered most, as cornerback Ricardo Allen snagged a Sam Bradford pass in the final minute to ice the game. Atlanta surprisingly ran the ball fairly well on the night, as rookie rusher Tevin Coleman worked his way to 80 yards on 20 totes. The passing game is where the Falcons continued to hang their hat, though, as Matt Ryan put up 298 yards and two touchdowns, while Julio Jones burned Byron Maxwell all night for 9 catches, 141 yards and two scores. Atlanta starts the season undefeated and will hope to keep the momentum going in week two against the New York Giants.
9-8-15: Tevin Coleman looks like the leading man at running back for the Atlanta Falcons, as he finished the preseason strong with a 56-yard performance last week. Devonta Freeman is still just “90%”, as well, which could give the rookie tailback a huge role when the Falcons host the Philadelphia Eagles next Monday night. While Coleman looks to be the guy and has a solid matchup on paper, Atlanta’s offensive line woes still could present an obstacle. The Falcons have been proactive in adding more depth to the o-line, however, as they traded for offensive guard Andy Levitre (from Titans) and have been in recent talks with free agent offensive tackle Jake Long. While getting the ground game going will be key for week one and 2015 in general, the Falcons’ biggest concern may lie on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Brooks Reed (groin) is one loss the defense will have to withstand when they try to slow down Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense in week one.
9-1-15: The Atlanta Falcons weren’t quite on top of their game this past week, as the offense struggled to produce a touchdown in a tight 13-9 to the Miami Dolphins. One big reason why was because star wide receiver Julio Jones stuck on the sidelines after signing a mega deal with the team. Jones is now locked up for the next five years after finalizing a massive $71.25 million deal. While the offense wasn’t great, the Falcons at least got to see rookie rusher Tevin Coleman, who made his pro debut. Coleman only managed two rushing yards on four carries, but it was good to see him healthy and in the lineup. Coleman may now have a leg up in his competition with Devonta Freeman, although both could get a little more work in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens. Elsewhere, Atlanta will have to do without Lamar Holmes to begin 2015, as the offensive tackle was placed on the PUP list with a foot issue. He’ll be eligible to return in week seven, but was already looking like a poor fit in Atlanta’s system.
8-25-15: Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ passing game looked strong for the second week in a row, as Ryan carved up the New York Jets for 75 yards and a score on his lone series. Leonard Hankerson stepped up with a touchdown and three catches, as his summer hype finally translated to the field in a game. Hankerson may be needed more than originally thought to start the year, as veteran #2 wide receiver Roddy White went under the knife recently for a troublesome elbow issue. White is fully expected back for the start of the regular season, but will likely sit out the rest of preseason action. Julio Jones can be counted on for week one, even though long-term contract talks with Atlanta have reportedly “stalled significantly”. Jones hasn’t threatened to hold out at any point and should remain a huge part of what the Falcons do until a new contract can get finalized. The Falcons continue to have issues in their offensive backfield, as neither Tevin Coleman or Devonta Freeman were able to face the Jets and Atlanta managed just 31 total rushing yards as a team. Both Freeman and Coleman will aim to suit up in week three, when the Falcons take on the Dolphins in South Beach.
8-18-15: Matt Ryan and the first team offense came out firing in their first preseason game, as Ryan connected with Julio Jones repeatedly in what ended up being a 31-24 Falcons win. Ryan tossed a 13-yard score to his favorite target (Jones), who finished his 2015 preseason debut with four catches and 61 yards. Atlanta’s passing game looks to be in midseason form, but the same can’t be said for their rushing attack. Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman (hamstrings) both sat out of week one and Jerome Smith (25 yards on seven carries) ended up being their best rusher. Antone Smith was able to find the end-zone in the win, but he was also nicked up and could be in danger of missing some time. With Coleman, Freeman and now Smith on the shelf, the Falcons have a lot of thinking to do about their offensive backfield. Atlanta will look to improve on the ground in week two, when they take on the Jets in New York.
8-12-15: The Atlanta Falcons are no closer to figuring out their offensive backfield situation, as both Devonta Freeman and rookie rusher Tevin Coleman have been sidelined with hamstring injuries. Both running backs are on the shelf for at least a week and will miss Atlanta’s preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans on Friday night. Their absence should thrust Atone Smith into a big role with the first team, while the coaches will also get a good look at backups Jerome Smith and Terron Ward. Either Freeman or Coleman are still likely to win the starting job, but their health woes don’t help matters. The team also recently brought in running back Michael Ford to help with depth and competition. Ford was out of football last year after being cut by the Chicago Bears, but is a speedy back with solid size and could impress if given the chance on Friday.
8-5-15: The Atlanta Falcons have had some highs and lows with their wide receiver corps thus far in training camp, as veteran receiver Roddy White has endured “multiple” knee drainings and Leonard Hankerson has reportedly been an early “star” in practices. White is supposedly not concerned about his knee issue and doesn’t see it being a problem during the regular season, while Hankerson still has a ways to go before he can seriously think about pushing Devin Hester for a regular role. Julio Jones is the main man everyone is waiting on, though, as the stud #1 receiver is hoping for a new deal before the 2015 season begins. Jones has reportedly lost weight to get even faster and could be in for his best season yet. The Falcons continue to reshape things elsewhere, as Mike Person is working with the first-team offensive line at left guard. Rookie pass rusher Vic Beasley has looked as good as advertised early in camp, and combined with new head coach Dan Quinn’s “fast and physical” philosophy, the new-look Falcons could be a bit nastier on defense this season.
7-28-15: The Atlanta Falcons are prepared to hold an open competition for their starting running back job, but as the team prepares for their July 30th training camp, Devonta Freeman is listed as the starter. Rookie rusher Tevin Coleman is expected to push Freeman, but will enter camp as the clear backup and will need to prove himself to earn a big workload. One guy the Falcons coaches have their eye on is wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, who is a solid size/speed player. New offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan coached Hankerson in Washington and could have him pegged as competition for current #3 receiver, Devin Hester. There is expected to be heated competition on the defensive side of the ball, too, as Ricardo Allen makes the switch from corner to safety. Allen will face competition to land a starting gig as the Falcons try to improve their shaky secondary.
7-22-15: Dan Quinn takes over the Atlanta Falcons officially on July 30th, when all Falcons players are set to report to training camp. The team hopes to get a deal done with superstar wide receiver Julio Jones by the time camp rolls around, but even if they don’t they should yet again field a strong offense. Atlanta also figures to try to balanced things out more with their running game, which should make for a good competition at tailback between Devonta Freeman and rookie rusher Tevin Coleman. The Falcons could see a nice spike on defense, where Quinn’s presence should be felt the most. Rookie pass rusher Vic Beasley is easily the top name to watch on the defensive side, as Atlanta’s first round pick will try to prove right away he can make a huge impact. Rookie corner Jalen Collins is the other top name to watch on defense, as he tries to overcome a foot issue from OTAs to win a starting job.
5-4-15: Fewer teams had a more productive draft on paper than the Atlanta Falcons, who addressed key needs on both sides of the ball during the 2015 NFL Draft. Atlanta hit it right on the head in round one when they nabbed stud pass rusher Vic Beasley out of Clemson, who should inject major life into a lethargic pass rush. They then caught sliding corner Jalen Collins, who has some off field questions but was without a doubt a first round talent. The Falcons made one more stellar pick when they snagged athletic Indiana running back Tevin Coleman in round three. Coleman could project as the future at the position, but at the worst should push Devonta Freeman and give the running game a nice boost. Take a look at all of Atlanta’s picks from a very solid 2015 draft class:
Round One - Pick 8: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
Round Two - Pick 42: Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
Round Three - Pick 73: Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
Round Four - Pick 107: Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina
Round Five - Pick 137: Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson
Round Seven - Pick 225: Jake Rodgers, OT, Eastern Washington
Round Seven - Pick 249: Akeem King, DB, San Jose State
4-9-15: Rookie head coach Dan Quinn has been quite active in his first go around in free agency, as the Falcons have leaned hard on improving their defense. Adrian Clayborn was brought in to shore up the defensive line, while Justin Durant and Brooks Reed were signed to increase competition in the linebacking corps. Atlanta also added pass rusher O’Brien Schofield and did well to retain safety Charles Godfrey. Mike Pearson will come in and try to help a shaky offensive line, as well, while Phillip Adams comes in to provide versatility and depth to Atlanta’s secondary. The Falcons did lose wide receiver Harry Douglas and will be on the lookout for running back help, but so far is off to a solid start this offseason.
3-9-15: The Atlanta Falcons didn’t live up to expectations in 2014, failing to miss the playoffs for the second year in a row. That led to the firing of head coach Mike Smith, which gave way to a new philosophy with rookie head coach Dan Quinn taking over. With Quinn leading the charge, the formerly soft Falcons are expected to turn into a tough, hard-nosed team - especially on defense. That new mentality could lead to some new faces coming in to help Atlanta’s defense, specifically in the pass rush department. On offense, it figures to be business as usual in the passing game, while the release of Steven Jackson frees up Devonta Freeman or a new incoming running back to inject life into Atlanta’s struggling running game. That may be fruitless to attempt without some more work on the offensive line, of course.
12-29-14: Even if Steven Jackson was not out due to a quad injury, the Falcons would not have won
Sunday’s game against the visiting Carolina Panthers. With the 34-3 loss, the Falcons
finished the season with a 6-10 record. Then, on Monday, they fired coach Mike Smith, who finished his tenure with Atlanta 20 games over .500, but without a Super Bowl appearance.
12-23-14: The Falcons stayed undefeated against divisional opponents this season, as they swept the New Orleans Saints for the first time since 2005. Matt Ryan completed 30 of his 40 passing attempts for 322 yards and a touchdown in the 30-14 victory. The 6-9 Falcons will host the 6-8-1 Carolina Panthers in Atlanta, and the winner will win the NFC South title.
12-17-14: The Falcons were without Julio Jones, the league’s leader in receiving yards per game, due to a hip injury on Sunday, as Atlanta fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-20. The
Steelers scored the first 13 points of the game, and the Falcons were unable to catch up. In the fourth quarter, Roddy White set a franchise record with his 62nd career touchdown.
12-9-14: Roddy White was active on Monday after missing one game due to an ankle injury, but it was Julio Jones who had a tremendous night in Atlanta’s 43-37 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Jones scored one touchdown on 11 receptions, and his 259 yards were the most in a single game in franchise history.
12-3-14: Steven Jackson surprised everyone with his 100-yard rushing game against the ArizonaCardinals on Sunday. The Roddy White-less Falcons continued their home success against Arizona, as they defeated an opponent outside of the NFC South for the first time this season. It was an important victory for the Falcons as they still hold the tiebreaker for first place in their division.
11-26-14: Matt Ryan completed 27 of his 43 passing attempts for 273 yards and two touchdowns, but Steven Jackson ran for just 34 yards on 13 rushes. Although the veteran running back got into the end zone on Sunday, he was not efficient in Atlanta’s 26-24 loss. The Falcons scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, but then Billy Cundiff kicked the game-winning field goal.
11-19-14: Behind 268 yards and a touchdown from Matt Ryan and four field goals from Matt Bryant, the Falcons defeated the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, 19-17. The Falcons’ victory combined with the New Orleans Saints’ loss gave Atlanta the top spot in the NFC South. In addition, Roddy White reached 10,000 receiving yards for his career.
11-12-14: The Falcons finally stopped their lengthy losing streak, as they scored in every quarter in their 27-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Matt Ryan connected with Julio Jones for more than half of his passing yards. Steven Jackson ran for 81 yards on 16 rushes and got into the end zone.
11-6-14: The Falcons’ schedule has not been too kind to them this season, but they will come out of their bye facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Atlanta is hoping that the extra time off can help the team end its five-game losing streak. Fortunately for the Falcons, Josh McCown will be starting for the first time since the Falcons dispatched the Buccaneers in Week 3.
10-30-14: There was early football on television in the United States as the Atlanta Falcons were the “home” team. The Falcons seemed to really enjoy playing in London, as they jumped out to a 21-point lead in the first half. However, they did not score another point in the game, as they fell to the Detroit Lions, 22-21. Fortunately, the Falcons get their bye in Week 9 to see if they can find a way turn around their season.
10-21-14: With yet another loss, the Falcons are on their way to a second straight season below .500 after making it to the playoffs the previous three years. Atlanta could only muster one score in Baltimore on Sunday, and it came in the fourth quarter when the Falcons were down by 20 points.
10-14-14: The Falcons’ losing streak continued on Sunday, as they fell to the Chicago Bears, 27-13. Although Atlanta’s offense was not doing too well, Matt Bryant continued his strong kicking. In this contest, he made both of his field goals, which were each from more than 50 yards. The Falcons look to bounce back in Baltimore in Week 7.
10-8-14: Before Week 5, Roddy White practiced on a Wednesday for the first time during the 2014 season. However, he and the Falcons offense struggled near the end of Sunday’s game. Atlanta was shut out in the fourth quarter, as the New York Giants came back to win, 30-20, and dropped the Falcons to 2-3 on the season.
10-1-14: The Falcons received extra rest for their Week 4 game, but could not score in the fourth quarter in Minnesota. Atlanta had two big touchdown plays in the third quarter: one was a Devin Hester 36-yard score on a reception from Matt Ryan and the other a 48-yard rush to end zone by Antone Smith. However, the Falcons allowed the Vikings to score 14 points in the final 15 minutes, which led to Atlanta’s 41-28 loss.
9-25-14: The Falcons gave their fans a show by blowing out the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, 56-14. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devin Hester were the stars of the night. Ryan almost threw for 300 yards in fewer than two and a half quarters. Jones caught nine passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Hester set the NFL record for the most career total return touchdowns.
9-17-14: After having a terrific Week 1, Matt Ryan was shut down by the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. He completed just 24 of his 44 pass attempts, threw only one touchdown and had three interceptions. However, on the bright side, Julio Jones caught seven receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown.
9-10-14: Matt Ryan and the Falcons put on an offensive show on Sunday in front of their home crowd. The Boston College product threw for a career-high 448 yards and added three touchdowns. Then, in overtime, a costly Marques Colston fumble led to Matt Bryant’s game-winning 52-yard field goal to bring the Falcons the 37-34 victory.
9-4-14: The Falcons will be hosting the New Orleans Saints as they begin what hopes to be a bounce-back season. They made the playoffs in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but their postseason streak came to a screeching halt with their 4-12 season last year. It was by far the worst Atlanta record with Mike Smith and Matt Ryan.
8-26-14: Although the Falcons fell to 1-2 on the preseason on Saturday, Matt Ryan played very well. In Atlanta’s 24-17 loss, Matt Ryan completed 18 of his 23 pass attempts for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Julio Jones, who racked up 63 yards on two catches, and Devin Hester, who had four receptors for 56 yards, accounted for the touchdowns. Then, on Monday, Steven Jackson returned to practice after missing almost a month.
8-20-14: Over the offseason, Julio Jones had foot surgery and added 10 pounds of muscle, but he reportedly still has the same speed he has had in previous years. On Saturday, he caught just one of his four targets, but the one reception was for a team-high 29 yards. Unfortunately, left tackle Sam Baker, who played just four games last season, suffered a torn patella tendon and is out for the 2014 season.
8-14-14: The Falcons, who are this year’s Hard Knocks team, began their preseason on a good note. They scored in all four quarters and beat the visiting Miami Dolphins by six points on Friday. The Falcons’ only touchdown that evening was late in the first quarter on a drive led by Matt Ryan. Jacquizz Rodgers’ two-yard rush completed the touchdown drive.
8-5-14: The Falcons will be hosting the Miami Dolphins in their preseason opener on Friday. This past Saturday was a special day for Claude Humphrey, who spent most of his career with the Falcons. The 70-year-old defensive end was formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on that day.
7-30-14: The Atlanta Falcons are having deja vu. Veteran running back Steven Jackson is out once again with a hamstring injury - an issue that hampered him for much of 2013. Jackson was said to be looking more spry than he did a year ago, but is now out ”indefinitely” with his latest hamstring issue. Jackson is still tentatively expected to be ready to go come week one, but could end up losing snaps to backups Jacquizz Rodgers and Devonta Freeman due to the missed time. Atlanta has something to feel good about, though, as they ensured they have some stability at wide receiver for the next few years. The team agreed to terms with veteran receiver Roddy White, locking him up to a new four-year, $30 million deal.
7-15-14: The big story of Atlanta’s offseason so far has been wide receiver Julio Jones’ return to full strength. The stud play-maker missed over half of 2013 with a recurring foot issue, but is said to be back to 100% and ready to hit the ground running. Jones recently stated he’s “back to the old Julio” but is expected to be eased back into action slowly when camp opens for Atlanta’s veterans on July 24th. Fellow receiver Drew Davis hasn’t been quite as fortunate with his own foot injury, as he’s expected to begin training camp on the PUP list.
6-5-14: The Atlanta Falcons have been quiet since a stellar showing in the 2014 NFL Draft, as they’ve mostly been busy locking up their new draft picks. The biggest of which was easily their 6th overall selection, stud offensive tackle Jake Matthews. Matthews got his deal wrapped up on May 21st, with the two sides agreeing to a four-year pact. The deal comes with a fifth-year team option and gives the Falcons a versatile tackle for the long-term that can man either side of the line. Atlanta also secured talented rookie running back Devonta Freeman, as well as hulking defensive lineman Ra’Shede Hageman. The latest buzz has been around freakish wide receiver Julio Jones, who appears to be progressing well from a foot injury that ended his 2013 season prematurely.
5-19-14: The Atlanta Falcons went into the 2014 NFL Draft with serious needs at offensive tackle and defensive end. With the #6 overall pick, they’d nail down at least one spot with an elite player. Here’s how their selections mapped out:
Round 1. Pick 06 Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Round 2. Pick 05 Ra'Shede Hageman, DL , Minnesota
Round 3. Pick 04 Dezmen Southward, DB , Wisconsin
Round 4. Pick 39 Prince Shembo, LB, Notre Dame
Round 5. Pick 07 Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue
Round 5. Pick 28 Marquis Spruill, LB, Syracuse
Round 7. Pick 38 Yawin Smallwood, OLB, UConn
Round 7. Pick 40 Tyler Starr, OLB, South Dakota
Atlanta knocked one need down right away, as the steady and NFL-ready Matthews should slide into one tackle spot and help protect Matt Ryan for years to come. Sticking on the line but shifting to defense, the Falcons got a borderline still with the athletic and beastly Hageman in round two. With a potential shift to a 3-4 base defense, landing Hageman could turn out to be a bigger deal than it appears. The Falcons didn’t make any other huge picks throughout the draft, but they did wisely acquire more depth and competition for their secondary and linebacking corps.
5-9-14: The Atlanta Falcons had two major holes going into this year’s draft: a lack of elite pass rushing and instability in pass protection. Consider one problem fixed. While the Falcons didn’t have a stud pass rusher slide to them (missed out on Khalil Mack by one pick), they surely didn’t mind patching up their offensive line with the selection of Texas A&M tackle, Jake Matthews. Matthews ended up being the second tackle off the board, but is probably the most well-rounded, NFL-ready tackle in the draft. Matt Ryan’s blind side is covered.
4-28-14: The Atlanta Falcons were an unlucky team in 2013. They dealt with numerous injuries to key players and lost several close games that they normally would win. Heading into 2014, their biggest concern has to be staying healthy, with concern number two being to get better on defense. They absolutely need more out of their pass-rush, which is why we keep hearing about them wanting to trade up to nab Jadeveon Clowney or Khalil Mack. If they can’t get one of them, though, they would likely revert to offensive tackle, which is a huge need. Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson are elite tackles that Atlanta would be stoked to have. Heading into the second round, the Falcons could they go after their pass rush with someone like Trent Murphy. Tight end is also a glaring hole with Tony Gonzalez now retired. Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins would give them size and athleticism at the position they sorely lack.
4-18-14: The Atlanta Falcons suffered through a rough injury-plagued 2013 season and will look to rebound in a big way in 2014. That will likely begin with giving their star player some rest, so fans can probably count stud wide receiver Julio Jones out for the week one battle against the Miami Dolphins. Jones and the rest of the starters could see extended action as early as week two, though, as the Dirty Birds head to Houston to take on the Texans. Things should progress even more against the Tennessee Titans in week three, where the Falcons should look to play at least two quarters on the road. Atlanta’s preseason schedule draws to a close one week later in Jacksonville, where they should deploy mostly backups against the Jaguars.
4-7-14: The Atlanta Falcons went through some horrific troubles in 2013, dealing with injuries and poor line play on both sides of the ball. Naturally, the Falcons hit the trenches early and often in free agency, bring in big bodies like Paul Soliali and Tyson Jackson, while also re-signing Peria Jerry, Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters. Atlanta did the same for the offensive line, signing Jon Asomoah and Gabe Carimi as high upside risks, while also holding onto offensive tackle Mike Johnson. Atlanta marches into the 2014 NFL Draft still needing some help at defensive end and tackle, but with better health in 2014 still isn’t far away from getting back to the playoffs.
3-21-14: After a disastrous 2013 season that saw the Falcons drop from Super Bowl contenders to bottom feeders, it appears they are picking up the pieces with a solid stand in free agency. There are still plenty of holes to address, but the Falcons have done themselves a favor by addressing their offensive line, as well as their shaky defense. Re-signing right tackle Mike Johnson could potentially be the only move they need to make in that area if he can stay healthy, while guard Jon Asamoah could end up being a very strong depth add. On the defensive side of things, Atlanta cut some dead weight in aging cornerback Asante Samuel, while adding great run defense talent in Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliali on the line. Atlanta could still grab a tackle and pass-rusher in the draft, but is already much better in the trenches than they were a year ago.
12-31-13: Atlanta wanted to say goodbye to veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez with a win. The Carolina Panthers had other plans. Gonzalez caught four balls for 56 yards and almost ended his pro career with a win, but the Falcons couldn’t finish the job and lost their 12th game of 2013 at home, 21-20.
12-24-13: Matt Ryan played excellent football en route to 348 passing yards and two touchdowns, but a pick-six late in the game ruined his and the Falcons’ night as the San Francisco 49ers stole the win, 34-24. Wide receiver Roddy White was sensational, reeling in 12 of 15 targets for 141 yards and a touchdown as Atlanta dropped to 4-11.
12-17-13: Steven Jackson fought for 38 hard-earned rushing yards and found the end-zone twice as Atlanta held on at home to top the Washington Redskins, 27-26. The win was more fortunate than usual, as the Redskins scored a late touchdown that would have likely sent the game into overtime, but the Falcons stopped a two-point conversion attempt with just 18 seconds remaining to get the win.
12-10-13: Matt Ryan tossed two touchdowns and Atlanta gave a valiant effort, but couldn’t get it done with their final opportunities, losing on the road to the Green Bay Packers, 22-21. Off-season free agent acquisition Steven Jackson added 71 yards on the ground in Atlanta’s 10th loss of the year.
12-3-13: The Atlanta Falcons were eliminated from the playoffs before they hit the field on Sunday, yet they played like they had everything to gain. Roddy White had his best game of 2013, hauling in 10 receptions for 143 yards, while running back Steven Jackson added two touchdowns on the ground in the exciting 34-31 overtime win over the Buffalo Bills.
11-26-13: The Falcons were supposed to be dead in the water entering week 12, as they were just 2-9 and had been struggling to even compete in recent weeks. They didn’t get the memo. Instead of laying down the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta struck first for a 7-0 lead. They gave the Saints a fight throughout, but did end up conceding defeat, 17-13.
11-19-13: Matt Ryan and the Atlanta offense struggled early for the third straight week and were never able to recover from a huge hole, falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road, 41-28. The Falcons were gashed all day on defense by third string running back Bobby Rainey, who piled on over 160 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the defeat.
11-12-13: Matt Ryan continued his rough stretch, as not even the healthy return of star wide receiver Roddy White could cure what ails Ryan and this Atlanta offense. Ryan avoided throwing an interception this time around, but just couldn’t move the ball consistently, as the Falcons failed to establish any semblance of a ground game in a deflating 33-10 home loss.
11-5-13: Matt Ryan clearly misses Julio Jones and Roddy White. An early Steven Jackson touchdown run that would have made the week nine battle with the Panthers a close contest was called back and nothing else went right as Atlanta dropped to 2-6 in a 34-10 blowout loss. Matt Ryan was off of his game for the second straight week, as he threw three interceptions in the defeat.
10-30-13: The Atlanta Falcons were supposed to be climbing out of an early hole in week eight with a second straight win. Instead, Matt Ryan threw four picks and got sacked four times in a 27-13 road loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Atlanta simply couldn’t get anything going in this one and had to work for every little bit of success they found, as Arizona’s defense give them problems all day.
10-22-13: No Roddy White, Julio Jones or Steven Jackson? No problem. The Atlanta Falcons overcame a slew of injuries and an ineffective ground attack to get their second win on the season, a 31-23 triumph over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This one wasn’t quite as close as it appeared, as Matt Ryan tossed three scoring strikes and backup wide receiver Harry Douglas stepped up in an expanded role (149 yards and a touchdown) as Atlanta began to dig itself out of a 1-4 hole.
10-9-13: Wide receiver Julio Jones could
miss the rest of the 2013 NFL season with a foot injury. Jones will seek a second opinion on Wednesday.
Atlanta’s week five battle with the New York Jets was full of poor decisions, bad defense and late-game heroics. It’s too bad the latter didn’t matter in the end. Head coach Mike Smith made a poor call to go for it on the goal-line with no time left before the half, turning a potential 17-10 deficit into a 17-7 hole at the break. Matt Ryan worked against the Jets all night and overcame Smith’s questionable decision-making, putting Atlanta up 28-27 with just under two minutes to go. Unfortunately, just as had been the case all night, Atlanta’s injury-ravaged defense could not slow Geno Smith, who drove the Jets down the field and let kicker Nick Folk send the once mighty Falcons to a 1-4 start in the 30-28 home loss.
10-1-13: The Atlanta Falcons entered week four with slight desperation at home against the New England Patriots, but were unable to get to 2-2 despite some huge individual performances. Matt Ryan accounted for most of Atlanta’s offense, as he took it to the air 54 times, putting up 421 passing yards and two touchdowns. Ryan found tight end Tony Gonzalez to be his most reliable target in the loss, as Gonzo racked up 12 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Atlanta simply couldn’t overcome a 30-13 hole late in this one, thanks to an ineffective rushing attack and a defense that was unable to register a single sack or turnover.
9-19-13: The Atlanta Falcons looked to be taking care of business in a big way early in this battle, as they went up 24-3 on the visiting Rams and appeared to be headed for a nasty blowout. Sam Bradford and the Rams had other ideas, however, as St. Louis stormed back to make a game of it before bowing out in the 31-24 win for Atlanta. Ex-Rams running back Steven Jackson scored a touchdown before leaving the game due to injury, while Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones was by far the MVP of this battle, as he caught 11 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown. It was an exciting shootout that nearly was capped with a ridiculous comeback, but ultimately ended with the Falcons preventing a 0-2 start to their season with the win at home. Next weekend, the Falcons head to Miami to take on one of the early season surprises in the NFL, the 2-0 Dolphins.
9-10-13: The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints were supposed to combine for week one’s most heated offensive battle. Instead, both teams struggled out of the gates and flamed out in the second half. Drew Brees ended up leading the way with over 350 passing yards and the Saints’ defense was the unlikely hero, allowing Atlanta to just 17 points in a tight 23-17 win. The Falcons had a chance to steal the game late, but turned the ball over on downs after a Matt Ryan pass fell incomplete in the end-zone. Next week, the Falcons host the Rams at The Georgia Dome.
9-3-13: Here are the Falcons final roster cuts heading into the regular season:LB Brian Banks, G Theo Goins, DT Neal Huynh, CB Terrence Johnson, S Charles Mitchell, DT Micanor Regis, T Alec Savoie, LB Pat Schiller, K Jeremy Shelley, CB Peyton Thompson, and RB Ronnie Wingo, WR James Rodgers, LB Robert James, WR Darius Johnson, OL Jacques McClendon, FB Patrick DiMarco, WR Martel Moore, OG Phillipkeith Manley, CB Jordan Mabin, DT Adam Replogle. Injured Reserve: QB Sean Renfree and TE Andrew Szczerba.
8-16-13: Despite their 27-23 loss to the Ravens, Week 2 of the NFL preseason went a lot better than week 1 for the Falcons. After their starters built up a 23-7 lead, the backups allowed 20 unanswered point from to the Ravens.
Matt Ryan completed 8 of 15 passes for 97 yards and a TD to Julio Jones. Jones caught 3 balls for 55 yards. Steven Jackson ran the ball 8 times for 42, Josh Vaughan chipped in with 5 carries and a team-high 44 yards, while Jacquizz Rodgers carries it 10 times for 28 yards and a TD.
8-11-13: The Falcons lost their preseason opener to the Bengals 34-10. Matt Ryan completed 6 of his 9 passes for 89 yards. Newly acquired running back Steven Jackson had five carries for only 8 yards.
7-25-13: Matt Ryan signed a 5-year, $103.75 million extension with the Falcons on Thursday. $59 million is guaranteed.
7-10-13: The Atlanta Falcons were merely a 4th down conversion away from last year’s Super Bowl, so it’s no shock they didn’t make many changes heading into 2013. Would-be retired tight end Tony Gonzalez decided to stick around, though, while the team drastically improved their rushing attack by adding Steven Jackson to the mix. On defense, Atlanta lost Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes from their secondary, but boosted their pass-rush with Osi Umenyiora and also drafted cornerback Desmond Trufant to pair with Asante Samuel. The Falcons are as good as they were last year, if not better, and have another shot at the Super Bowl in 2013.
6-12-13: It’s no secret that the Falcons are out for blood in 2013. After missing the Super Bowl by a hair and finally winning their first playoff game in the Matt Ryan/Mike Smith era, Atlanta can genuinely taste the NFL title game, and they’re going to have a determined demeanour throughout the 2013 season. That’d be the situation no matter what, probably, but add on veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez, who was supposed to be hanging up his cleats, and these Falcons have extra motivation to finish the job this season. With a high-powered offense and an upgrade at running back with the signing of steady vet Steven Jackson, there is no reason why the Falcons shouldn’t get back to the playoffs and make a deep run.
1-20-13: After defeating the Seahawks in the Divisional round, the Falcons dream season came to an end in the NFC Championship game, losing 28-24 to the 49ers.
2013 Falcons Draft Overview:
Round 1, Pick 22 (from Washington though St. Louis): Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Round 2, Pick 28: Robert Alford, CB, Southeast Louisiana
Round 4, Pick 30: Malliciah Goodman, DE, Clemson
Round 4, Pick 36 (Compensatory Selection): Levine Toilolo, TE, Stanford
Round 5, Pick 20 (from Chicago): Stansly Maponga, DE, Texas Christian
Round 7, Pick 37 (Compensatory Selection): Kemal Ishmael, DB, Central Florida
Round 7, Pick 38 (Compensatory Selection): Zeke Motta, SS, Notre Dame
Round 7, Pick 43 (Compensatory Selection): Sean Renfree, QB, Duke
1-9-13: The Falcons won 13 games this year earning the wild card bye week and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. They will face a young and hungry Seattle Seahawks team for the first time this year. The Falcons have been unbelievable at home this season using the dome to their advantage. Matt Ryan and their high powered air attack will meet a legitimate test against Seattle’s tall and talented corners. The offensive line will also be tested against Seattle’s fast defensive linemen. Matt Ryan threw for over 4,000 yards this year and will need to look for more of the same type of success if Atlanta wants to back up its 13-3 record and make a title push.
12-4-12: The Atlanta Falcons have not only clinched their division but they also possess the best record in Football. At 11-1 and with the 3-9 Panthers on deck for them, some may wonder if this team may pack it in and rest some players in preparation for the playoffs. While that is a risky move it may prove wise in order to keep certain players healthy. With their only loss coming on the road, the Falcons will look to host each round of the NFC playoffs in their home, the Georgia Dome.