Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 11/19/12
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.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Budweiser: Peyton Manning not paid for Super Bowl beer plug

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

Marshawn Lynch: Complicated and talented NFL anti-hero

Hue Jackson lets Manziel and ex know they aren’t alone

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher


Tyronn Lue faces backlash for Cavs record since Blatt’s firing

Report: LeSean McCoy assaulted off duty Philly police officers

John Elway was right, the Broncos didn’t need a Plan B

Canadiens and Sharks starting to gauge trade market

Danny Trevathan: Broncos defense better than ’85 Bears

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

Ranking every game from 2015 NFL Playoffs

PHOTO: Panthers LB shows gruesome arm injury after SB

Patriots, Panthers early Super Bowl 51 favorites

Von Miller trolls Cam Newton, Panthers

Cam Newton proves again he is a great winner and terrible loser

Steph Curry trolls himself with Jordan face meme

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker