Originally written on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 10/21/14
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. After Michael Turner had pounded the ball into the end zone from one yard away for what would prove to be the Falcons winning score in their 23-19 win over Arizona on Sunday, 35-year-old center Todd McClure, all 296 pounds of him, ran over to Turner and jumped on the running back in celebration. One week after the Falcons suffered their only loss of the season, 31-27, to New Orleans in large part because they failed to run the ball in from the 1-yard-line raising questions that date to last year about their ability in short yardage situations they had succeeded in a phase of the game that has gnawed at their collective psyches and left some of them raw, the usually level-headed and accommodating McClure among them. The success came after a second-quarter situation when the Falcons ran the ball on third-and-1 from the Cardinals 32 but linebacker Daryl Washington stopped Jason Snelling for a one-yard loss. I was pretty pumped, man, McClure said of Turners score on Sunday. Situations that happened last week and, little do you know, it comes right back up. Third-and-goal, game on the line, and we got it done. Then there at the end, third-and-2, we needed a first down to seal the game, we got it done. It was a rough week for everybody and theres definitely a little added pressure there. The first third-and-short we didnt get. But I dont know if you want to use the word redemption, but we got it done today and were going to have to get it done for the rest of the season. A week ago, McClure was asked about comparisons between the failings against the Saints and similar ones against the New York Giants in a 24-2 loss in the NFC Wildcard playoff round. During the offseason, the Falcons fired their offensive line coach of the previous four seasons under whom they had excellent success and hired a new one. Their first two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft were both offensive linemen, one of whom, Peter Konz, now starts at right guard. McClure uncharacteristically bristled at the question with its implicit criticism of the offensive line, a group in which four of the five starters have remained virtually unchanged since 2008. You know, thats two totally different ballgames and thats what pisses me off more than anything is you guys are going to write about how bad we are up front and that we cant get in the end zone but theres more to it than just blocking up front and thats all Im going to say about that, McClure said. I get really frustrated when I hear things and I read things knowing theres more to it than five guys up front but we take the blunt of the blame and I dont want to talk about it anymore because I dont want to say anything I regret. McClures comments made a stir both locally and, to a degree, nationally. Some suggested that he was pointing the fingers at others maybe Turner or the others involved in blocking for the running game, either the fullback or tight ends. But he did not offer further specifics and seemed to point more to the idea that the running game has to operate as a whole -- from the play call, to the blocking schemes, to the running backs timing and that all of those, perhaps, were what was off kilter. On Wednesday, when a large media contingent visits the teams practice facility, McClure was not present for the open locker room session, which is a rarity, and as a result did not have to answer follow-up questions about his comment. Right tackle Tyson Clabo, who is now behind his second campaign to try and get McClure selected to the Pro Bowl, took to Twitter to defend his teammate. After Sundays game, Clabo explained the sense of relief among all the linemen. Well, we werent losing anymore so that was a big load off everyones backs, he said. Obviously, look, when everybody makes a big deal about something, right? Everyone gets a little bit uptight, which I think is what happened on that (first) third-and-1. Thats all you talk about all week, third down, third down, third down. Then here comes third down and everybody tenses up. I think on that touchdown run, everybody just relaxed and played football and thats why we got in. I was definitely happy that we scored. Theres no doubt. Head coach Mike Smith said the blocking in those two late short-yardage situations ranked among the few positives for the offense in a game in which the Falcons were lucky to win despite committing six turnovers. Smith said that in the period from 2003 until yesterday, teams were 59-2 when holding a turnover advantage of plus-5. Youve got to get back on the horse when you get thrown off it, Smith said. We didnt convert down there the week before and we needed to make sure we got it done this week when we had the opportunity. That was one of the few things probably we did well on offense. When you really look at the things we did above and below the line, knocking the ball in our goal line offense was something we hadnt been very successful at so it was nice to get that done. McClure said the Falcons effort was about will. Nonetheless, he admitted on that third-and-1 in the second quarter, the linemen were tense. Im not going to sit here and tell you there werent tight buttholes, you know, when we got out there, he said. Just telling the truth. It was a pressure situation, a situation we had to step up and get. The teams counting on us. I felt like we got it done today when it mattered.

Giants dethrone Royals in Game 1 of World Series

Wife of Royals pitcher leaves World Series ticket as tip

Report: Chandler Jones to miss a month with hip injury

Lance Briggs left Bears' locker room to avoid the fighting

Could the Seahawks have gotten more for Percy Harvin?

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series


Favre delays Lambeau return due to Bart Starr’s health

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

Fan in critical condition after being beaten before Bears game

Ben Roethlisberger rips the media

Tim Tebow: Gators don't have offensive leadership, lack heart

Colts punter asks Antonio Brown not to kick him in face

Royals fans sleeping during Game 1 loss at World Series

Matt Flynn had a blast at Pearl Jam concert

Report: Back injury could end Nathan Horton's career

Report: Ray Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report: Groups E – H

PHOTO: Fans place Manning’s 509 football in Hall of Fame

Jets sign Jeremy Kerley to $16M 4-year extension

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Lego stadiums: turning a childhood hobby into a business

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge' and 'sizzle'

Blackhawks make leukemia patient's dream come true

College football's post-Week 8 Playoff projection

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Rice files grievance against Ravens

UEFA Champions League midway report

Cowboys release Michael Sam

Bayless: Kobe's sexual assault trial gave him 'edge'

10 teams that should try to trade for Yoenis Cespedes

Five storylines to watch in the 2014 World Series

Ben Roethlisberger rips media

NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Pistorius sentenced to five years

Lane Kiffin trashed in political ad

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.