Found December 05, 2011 on
Fox Sports South:
New Orleans Saints
The Falcons are still working on the timing of the deep passing game.
The Falcons, who had won five of the last six before losing to the Texans Sunday, were working their short and intermediate passing game well. But to loosen up the Texans whey wanted to throw it deep.
Against Carolina, the Falcons will need to figure out their full passing attack before they run the risk of falling further behind the New Orleans Saints and in the NFC wild-card race.
The Panthers have traditionally played the Falcons tough and might be emboldened from a win over Tampa Bay.
Wide receiver Roddy White was targeted on 15 passes and caught four for 51 yards against Houston. Julio Jones was targeted on 11 passes and caught four for 68 yards.
Jones was called for an illegal touching call later in the game.
"I thought it was defensive pass interference," Jones said. "I still caught the ball, and I didn't feel like I went out of bounds."
Jones was the target on the last play of the game. If he had hauled down a Ryan pass for a 30-yard touchdown, the game would have likely gone to overtime.
"You put any receiver in that position, and you'll know you should have made that play," Jones said. "I think about stuff I could have done differently, but that's football."
With the Falcons attempting to throw deep passes early, they did not have tight end Tony Gonzalez featured. But after the deep passes didn't work and the Texans were laying some wood on Turner, Ryan started to lean on Gonzalez.
"Tony made some big plays for us in the middle of the field," Ryan said. "Although we didn't hit those plays, we backed their safeties off little bit in the passing game and that opened things up for Tony and he did a great job of moving us down the field."
Gonzalez finished with seven catches for 100 yards. He improved his NFL record for consecutive 60-catch seasons. Jerry Rice did it for 11 seasons. By going over the 60-catch mark, Gonzalez now has 13 seasons with 60 or more receptions.
LINEUP WATCH: On his 32-yard interception return, linebacker Mike Peterson made a couple of nice moves to get to the end zone. The play was nullified by cornerback Dunta Robinson's holding penalty. "I tell these guys all the time, I played quarterback in high school," Peterson said. "Once, I get the ball in my hands, I'm no stranger to that. I know what to do." Peterson, who started for the injured Stephen Nicholas, had 10 tackles and one pass defensed.
UNDER THE RADAR: The Falcons are in the most difficult spot in Matt Ryan's four years. They are in danger of not making the playoffs while he's healthy for the first time in four seasons.
"This is the time of the year where it gets hard," Ryan said. "This is the time of the year where it gets fun, too. We are right in the mix of things ... It's going to be important for us, through thick and thin, to stay together. I think our team will. We've got a great locker room. I think that's going to give us a chance."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
MLB Curtis Lofton led the Falcons in tackles with 11 against the Texans.
SS James Sanders had 10 tackles against the Texans.
FS Thomas DeCoud had 10 tackles against the Texans.
RB Michael Turner came into the game against the Houston Texans needing 52 yards to register the third 1,000-yard season of his career. Next week, when the Falcons face the Carolina Panthers, Turner will need eight more yards after the Houston Texans held him to 44 yards on 14 carries in their 17-10 victory on Sunday.
QB Matt Ryan is now 8-9 as a starter on grass fields.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Corey Peters in action here earlier this season against the Detroit Lions. AP
Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters was selected as the team’s nominee for the 2011 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award on Monday during a banquet at the Commerce Club.
“This award means a great deal to me,” said Peters. “There were plenty of my teammates that were so deserving of this award...
The Atlanta Falcons listed defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux as limited after the defensive tackle practiced Wednesday with an injured right ankle.
Atlanta (8-5) hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9) on Thursday night.
Babineaux, who did not practice Tuesday, has started all 57 of his games since Mike Smith was hired as Falcons head coach in 2008. The seven-year veteran has 19...
After squandering another chance to take control of their playoff fate, the Atlanta Falcons are beginning to realize this is the way it's going to be.
In all likelihood, the postseason race will come down to the final week.
The Falcons (7-5) are right in the thick of the wild-card race, tied with Detroit and Chicago, but their hopes of repeating as NFC South champions are beginning...
Maybe you've seen the video circulating these week that shows Minnesota's Jared Allen punching Atlanta's Ray Edwards directly in the crotch during the Falcons' 24-14 win in Week 12. If not, here it is, and here's Allen's frank explanation of the incident from today's episode of PFT Live: <a href="http://deadspin...
Houston star receiver Andre Johnson has injured his left hamstring in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons.
Johnson pulled up at the end of a route and fell to the turf untouched. He hopped off the field and went to the bench. He sat with his head in his hands as trainers checked him out.
He got up after a few minutes and walked gingerly to the locker room. The team says...
Atlanta suffered a 17-10 loss to Houston that could eventually do great damage to their playoff hopes.
Matt Ryan had 267 yards, a TD and 2 interceptions. Michael Turner managed only 44 yards on 14 attempts. Tony Gonzalez had 7 catches for 100 yards while Roddy White had 4 catches for 51 yards and a TD.
Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes has been ruled out of Sunday's game at Carolina while he recovers from minor knee surgery.
When the Falcons meet the Texans, there will be a few key matchups that decide the fate of the game. Let’s take a look at three:-Falcons WR Roddy White vs Texans CB Johnathon Joseph – Roddy has been very hot of late catching 17 balls in the last two games, but his week he faces a bit of a stiffer challenge. The Texans acquired CB Johnathon Joseph in free agency for big money...
The following are excerpts from Falcons coach Mike Smith’s Monday press conference following the 17-10 loss to the Texans.
Good afternoon. Obviously we didn’t make enough plays in the ball game yesterday to get the outcome that we wanted. We did some very uncharacteristic things on offense and defense that put us in a situation that we could not overcome.
With that I will open...
FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey interviewed for the Cleveland and Denver head coaching jobs last season.
Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.
With Jack Del Rio dismissed in Jacksonville, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on Monday Night Football that Mularkey and former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman were on the short list to replace Del Rio...
Houston linebacker Brian Cushing has been injured after slipping while trying to make a tackle in the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons. Cushing appeared to injure his right knee when he slipped chasing Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez after a catch. He entered the game leading the team with 76 tackles, including seven for losses.
Atlanta: QB John Parker Wilson, T Kirk Chambers, C Brett Romberg, DE Cliff Mathews, LB Stephen Nicholas, CB Kelvin Hayden, CB Brent Grimes
Houston: QB Kellen Clemens, FB Lawrence Vickers, TE Garrett Graham, T Andrew Gardner, G Thomas Austin, DE Tim Bulman, CB Brandon Harris