ATLANTA Michael Turner, in some small measure, felt vindicated.
After all, Paul Dunn, the Atlanta Falcons assistant offensive line coach, had delivered a message to the veteran running back and his teammates in meetings this week, pulling aside his short-yardage unit to remind them of its potential. There was little screaming. Just a reminder; A simple message concerning what the team was and what it wasn't.
"It wasn't the fire-and-brimstone speech," tight end Tony Gonzalez said.
It was just last Sunday that Dunn's unit, heavily reliant on Turner in past years, faltered with the game on the line, failing to punch the ball into the endzone for a game-winning touchdown over the rival Saints.
On second-and-goal, with one yard to go, a Matt Ryan pass fell short. On fourth down, another incomplete pass, all but finalizing the outcome. But it was the third-down attempt trailing New Orleans 31-27 with time ticking away that dominated the media airwaves. Ryan handed the ball off to ...