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It seems that there is some bad news out of Sunday’s win. Rookie Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon injured himself on a Cleveland Browns running play. He was attended to by trainers then walked off by his own power.
According the AJC Weatherspoon is going to get an MRI on his knee to make sure there is no serious damage. But with an already sore ankle things don’t sound the brightest.
If the Falcons expect to make a run in the playoffs they will need Weatherspoon for the season. Let’s hope he is healthy and ready to go next week against Philadelphia.
For those of you keenly interested, here is a video of Kroy Biermann's first career interception. Oh and his runningback skills are up to date too, as he returns it for a touchdown.
Good god he's amazing.
The Falcons have won four in a row after an overtime loss in Pittsburgh in week one. In almost perfect symmetry, the Falcons rushed for 165 yards and passed for 173 yards.
The offense and defense each accounted for one touchdown and Matt Bryant delivered on two field goals.
The Falcons came into this game leading the league with eight interceptions. They’ll likely leave with the lead as well. They’ve picked off Jake Delhomme twice in this one after struggling against Seneca Wallace in the first half.
Wow, I mean who would’ve predicted that to happen? I think it’s safe to say Kroy Biermann is an absolute male.
Kroy Biermann tipped a pass and regathered it to intercept the pass and return it for a touchdown. His motor is continuous and unrelenting. Well done, Beer Man!
The Falcons two big guns on offense are clicking on all cylinders but the entire offense has yet to cash in and are stuck at 13 points in the fourth quarter.
When Seneca Wallace left the game with an ankle injury, the Browns offense came to a sputtering stop. Jake Delhomme has been unable to move the ball and the Falcons take a 13-10 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Falcons have had no trouble moving the ball in this one, rolling up 267 yards with 15 minutes to play, but it’s the scoreboard that has given them trouble.
As is their trademark in 2010, Atlanta has also delivered a balanced attack with 149 passing yards and 118 rushing yards.
The score remains; Falcons 13, Browns 10.
Update to come when available…
Dating back to last season, Roddy White has had 100 yards receiving or scored a touchdown in seven straight games.
He has 82 yards receiving including a 45-yard touchdown against the Browns with over 22 minutes to go.
Sheldon Brown got beat by Roddy and Matt delivered the ball on target making Mike Murlakey look the genius to Falcon fans. Just wait for them to flip side again.
Phil Dawson kicked a 19-yard field goal to put the Browns up by 4. The Browns are being opportunistic on defense and looking decent on offense, while the Falcons are squandering opportunities on defense and looking inept on offense.
Sure, this is a winnable game, but the Falcons need to wake up quickly because time is running out.
Peyton Hillis came into this game with a lot of praise. He was the NFL’s 8th leading rusher and was thought to provide a tough test for the Falcons’ smallish defensive line. That has not been the case.
The Browns have managed only 14 yards with Hillis gaining only seven of those. He does have a touchdown on a pass reception but is averaging only 2.3 yards per carry with a fumble.
For the second straight week, the Falcons have outplayed their opponent on the stat sheet but find themselves trailing at the half.
The Falcons have more first downs, more yards and have controlled the time of possession but a blocked field goal has them trailing the Browns by one at the half, 7-6.
The Falcons prayers are answered.
Turner was averaging only 3.8 yards per carry coming into this one but is putting up 7.8 yards per touch in this one.
Michael Turner has 11 carries for 39 yards through two quarters.
Ryan still has happy feet and the run game looks decent. But what’s hurting the Falcons is a sense of finesse that elite football teams have.
In what’s becoming a trend for this year’s version of the Falcons, they have controlled the ball in the first half.
They’ve held the ball for over 15 minutes giving the Browns less than 10 minutes of possession time.
Matt Ryan is 4-for-13 against a pressuring Cleveland defense.
A Peyton Hillis catch for a touchdown has given the Browns the first touchdown of the game. While Dunta Robinson gets burned, and the Falcons defense gets fooled on play-action, the Browns are looking the better team out there.
If it weren’t for a couple of mental errors by the Browns defense this could easily be 7-0. The Falcons better wake up because there’s a game out there to be played.
Matt Ryan has struggled to adjust to the Cleveland defense completing only two passes in the first quarter.
Peyton Hillis fumbled early on and was benched for a few series but is back in the game. He has 41 total yards and one touchdown reception.
If the Falcons offense keeps giving up these kinds of opportunities it could turn out a lot worse than last week's 49ers game.
So far a scoreline of 0-0 plagues the TV screens of people around Georgia as the Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns play a tough and gritty game. Both defenses are getting stops when needed. Look for one play to shift momentum for one of the teams.
So far Matt Ryan looks nervous and Turner looks decent. The Falcons defense is swarming to the ball with Abraham getting a sack and making plays. A lot to like, while a lot to not like.
My favorite Sunday morning read. Download here for the all the goodness or hit the highlights below.
Chris Mortensen is reporting that every defenses favorite quarterback, Jake Delhomme, is active for this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, but he will not start. Instead, the Falcons will face Seneca Wallace.
No big surprises this week as Michael Jenkins will have to wait another week to make his season debut.
Expect the running backs to take center stage in this game, and there are two good ones worth using in Peyton Hillis and Michael Turner. The former has scored a touchdown in each of the first four games of the season, while the latter has amassed double-digit scores in back-to-back years and only faces a mild threat to his workload from Jason Snelling.
Matt Ryan seems to be in an attractive spot as well, as the Cleveland defense has given up a slew of passing yards and touchdowns the past couple of weeks. There’s really not a whole lot of options you can count on from the Browns’ side other than Hillis, though Josh Cribbs is a decent play in leagues that reward return yardage.
Jake Delhomme isn’t a recommended choice, but since the erratic quarterback has been known to give away the football at times, the Atlanta defense, which leads the NFL in interceptions, could be a good selection.
(Sports Network) – Two teams brimming with optimism in the wake of recent events square off for an interconference matchup this Sunday in Cleveland, where the Atlanta Falcons set their sights on a fourth consecutive victory in a Week 5 clash with a Browns team expected to have its No. 1 quarterback on the field for the first time in nearly a month.
Atlanta comes into Cleveland Browns Stadium sporting a 3-1 record, with an overtime loss at Pittsburgh in the season-opener the club’s lone blemish. The Falcons have been rock-solid on both sides of the ball during their strong start, while displaying a knack for winning close games as well.
After showing a real gut-check in coming through with a 27-24 overtime triumph on the road over fellow NFC South member and reigning Super Bowl champion New Orleans in Week 3, the Falcons were able to overcome a big early deficit and rally for a 16-14 win over visiting San Francisco this past Sunday.
Atlanta spotted the determined 49ers a 14-0 first-quarter lead before assuming control, with the defense stifling the opposition the rest of the way. Wide receiver Roddy White made a big impact as well, hauling in seven Matt Ryan passes for 104 yards and forcing a game-saving turnover as time was winding down.
Ryan threw what seemed to be a fate-sealing interception with 1:20 left to play and his team still down by a point, but White ran down Niners cornerback Nate Clements and induced a fumble that was recovered by Atlanta lineman Harvey Dahl at the Falcons’ seven-yard line. Ryan than moved the offense into scoring range, with White coming up with three catches on the second-chance drive, to set up Matt Bryant’s go-ahead 43-yard field goal with two seconds remaining.
The fortunate Falcons will now be aiming to record four straight wins for the first time since Oct. 31-Nov. 28, 2004, a year in which Atlanta advanced to the NFC Championship Game under quarterback Michael Vick and head coach Jim L. Mora.
Cleveland has been involved in its share of close calls as well in the early going. The Browns lost their first three contests of 2010 by a combined 12 points before finally breaking out with a hard-earned 23-20 decision over division-rival Cincinnati last Sunday.
The Browns rode the strong legs of Peyton Hillis to the much-needed victory, with the powerful running back churning out 102 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries, while a defense that was burned for 346 passing yards on the afternoon came up with a big late stop to preserve Cleveland’s three-point edge.
Cleveland also received an efficient outing from backup quarterback Seneca Wallace, who completed 18-of-30 attempts for 184 yards and a touchdown with one interception in making a third consecutive start for an injured Jake Delhomme, out with a high ankle sprain the veteran suffered in a Week 1 loss at Tampa Bay.
Delhomme was able to return to practice on Wednesday, and all indications are he’ll be back in the huddle for this weekend’s tilt barring any setbacks. The 35-year-old will be facing a very familiar foe, having spent the previous seven seasons as the primary triggerman for Atlanta’s NFC South co-tenants in Carolina before signing with the Browns in March.
Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini told reporters Friday that he needs one more day to examine quarterback Jake Delhomme's ankle and mobility before selecting a starter for this weekend's home game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Delhomme is listed as questionable on the Browns' official injury report.Unlock HQ Video HQ video delivered by Akamai
"(Jake) had a little bit more work yesterday and little more work today," Mangini said. "It's better than last week, but we've got to go through the whole set of days before we make a decision.
And in the other corner, ESPN:
The Cleveland Browns' offense could get a boost for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Starting quarterback Jake Delhomme participated in practice all week and is as healthy as he's been since injuring his ankle in the season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Delhomme is confident he'll play.
So what to believe? In fairness, Mangini is notorious at spreading misleading information so this is a difficult one to unravel. If he doesn't go, Seneca Wallace gets the start and the Falcons are 0-1 this year against mobile quarterbacks, losing to Dennis Dixon and the Steelers in Week 1.
Nothing new from Thursday's report except the oddness of listing Curtis Lofton (knee) and Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) as Questionable for Sunday's game. They both practiced fully on Thursday and Friday so I'd say their chance to play against the Browns is way more than 50%.
The full report via the official site:
WR Michael Jenkins (shoulder) - LP-Q
LB Curtis Lofton (knee) - FP-Q
LB Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) - FP-Q
The Browns' report shows us what Eric Mangini learned from the privacy-monger Bill Belichick. List everyone! That'll show 'em.
DL Kenyon Coleman (knee) - LP-Q
OL Alex Mack (shoulder) - LP-Q
DL Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip) - LP-Q
DL Robaire Smith (back) - LP-Q
DB Nick Sorensen (calf) - LP-Q
OL John St. Clair (ankle) - DNP-O
RB Jerome Harrison (thigh) - FP-P
WR Josh Cribbs (ankle) - FP-P
QB Jake Delhomme (ankle) - LP-Q
OL Shawn Lauvao (ankle) - FP-P
WR Brian Robiskie (hamstring) - FP-P
RB Peyton Hillis (thigh) - DNP-Q
Here's what's important. Delhomme is questionable and Mangini has said he is waiting until Saturday before making a decision at quarterback. If he can't go, the Falcons would see Seneca Wallace.
The other MAJOR issue is the eighth-leading rusher in the NFL, Hillis, did not practice and is questionable to play. Now, reports are he was held out to rest his thigh but if he can't go, that's a huge blow to the Browns chances. And good news for the Falcons.
Welcome to the pre-game quick hit stats-apalooza. Enjoy.
Falcons Vs. Browns
Their Week 5 meeting will be only the 13th meeting - and first since 2006 - between the Falcons and Browns. The Browns have actually dominated this series, winning 10 of 12. In fact, the Falcons haven't beaten the Browns in 17 years. Mind you, that only includes three games but it still needs to be rectified.
The Falcons record against the Browns (by decade):
Average Score in all 12 meetings:
Most Points Scored:
Falcons 31, Oct. 31, 1971
Browns 49, Oct. 30, 1966
Fewest Points Scored:
Falcons 3, Nov. 8, 1987
Browns 13, Dec. 16, 1990
The Browns' Eric Mangini is 29-40 as a head coach. He is 1-2 in Week 5 games lifetime.
Mike Smith is 23-14 as Falcons head coach and is 2-0 in Week 5 games.
Best Individual Performances Against the Browns:
Last week, the Madden Simulation predicted a two-point win for the Falcons over the 49ers and I mocked it's video game naivete. This is my apology. Never again will I doubt the all-knowing EA Sports engine. If it warns me of a close game against a winless team, I will listen.
Now, on to this week's sim.
The analysis via ESPN and EA Sports:
The Falcons are one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now, and they capitalize on their momentum to beat up on the Browns, 27-10. Matt Ryan threw for 254 yards and two touchdowns, while Michael Turner added 169 yards -- including an 85-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter -- that helped put the game away for Atlanta.
Player of the Game: Michael Turner
Last week the Atlanta Falcons were huge favorites over the San Francisco 49ers. Why shouldn't they be? They were coming off an upset of the New Orleans Saints on the road and the 49ers had yet to win a game. As it turned out the game was a lot closer than many expected but that hasn't deterred the experts from showering the Falcons with prediction love again in Week 5.
|ESPN Consensus||Falcons||All 10 experts picked the Falcons.|
|Yahoo Sports Consensus||Falcons||Three of four (including Fan vote) picked the Falcons. Only Les Carpenter thinks the Browns pull the upset.|
|CBS Sports Consensus||Falcons||A clean sweept for the Falcons as all five experts pick Atlanta.|
|Fanhouse||Falcons||Dave Goldberg foresees a projected score of Falcons 17, Cleveland 15.|
|What If Sports||Falcons||Projection reveals a three-point Falcons win, 23-20.|
|Sports Illustrated||Browns||Peter King: Eric Mangini on this generation's Norm Bulaich, Browns jumbo back Peyton Hillis: "Even I avoid him in the hallway.'' I say Hillis eats enough of the clock against the Falcons to make this my upset special.|
|USA Today||Falcons||All eight experts picked the Falcons.|
|Sporting News||Falcons||Vinnie Iyer: Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez will cause problems for the Browns' secondary. Then Michael Turner will seal the deal. Falcons 24, Browns 20.|
For those of scoring at home, that's 29 experts in the Falcons corner with only two (Les Carpenter and Peter King) picking the Browns. It's getting really hard to keep playing the "no respect" card when the national media keeps giving the Falcons... well, respect.
Last week the Falcons were alone among NFL teams in not wearing pink as a part of the league's Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. The team wore its throwbacks, and God help you if you try to pink up Mr. Falcon’s unis, though we’re pretty sure Mr. Falcon wouldn’t mind, but it’s nice to have God’s help anyway, with life.
As Andrew Sharp captioned a photo of Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez laughing, “You know who clearly doesn’t care about cancer though? Falcons QB Matt Ryan. Not an inch of pink on there. What are they laughing about here? I bet Matt Ryan told a cancer joke.”
John Abraham says it’s all pink everything for the rest of this month:
We honored the past ProBowl Falcons so we wore our old school gear for SF but it Breast Cancer awareness for the rest of the month pinkedoutless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®john abraham
Would it amuse you if the team went overboard to make up for last week? It would.
Abe also tweets a cleat CLEAT TWEET he’s thinking about wearing:
We can all breathe easier now.
Curtis Lofton (knee) and Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) were full participants in practice on Thursday. Michael Jenkins, on the other hand, is perhaps the slowest healing human being on earth. He's nine weeks into an injury originally diagnosed as a four-to-six week setback. He was limited again.
From the official site:
WR Michael Jenkins (shoulder) - LP
LB Curtis Lofton (knee) - FP
LB Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) - FP
Great, great news that Lofton and Weatherspoon had no setbacks today. They'll definitely be needed to slow down the NFL's eighth-leading rusher, Peyton Hillis. Whether Jenkins plays is anybody's guess.
The Browns' injury report reads as follows:
DL Kenyon Coleman (knee) - DNP
OL Alex Mack (shoulder) - DNP
DL Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip) - LP
DL Robaire Smith (back) - DNP
DB Nick Sorensen (calf) - DNP
OL John St. Clair (ankle) - DNP
RB Jerome Harrison (thigh) - FP
WR Josh Cribbs (ankle) - LP
QB Jake Delhomme (ankle) - LP
OL Shawn Lauvao (ankle) - LP
WR Brian Robiskie (hamstring) - LP
It's one thing to read about how awesome the Falcons have become on Atlanta-specific sites, but it's way better to read about the awesomeness when it comes from outside sources. Tony Grossi of The Plain Dealer gives glowing praise to the Falcons organization on and off the field.
Consider where the Falcons were when Dimitroff was hired as Atlanta GM in January, 2008.
Their franchise quarterback, Michael Vick, was a national pariah and on his way to federal prison for leading a dog-fighting ring. Their coach, Bobby Petrino, bolted the team after the 13th game to return to college coaching. The 2007 season ended with 16 players on injured reserve and a bunch of the healthy ones pining to play elsewhere.
Dimitroff was given carte blanche by owner Arthur Blank to change the culture in the Atlanta organization. He weeded out players and employees who didn't fit his "positive, passionate and persevering people" mantra.
He mentions the home run choices of Mike Smith and Matt Ryan and hitting the free agent jackpot with Michael Turner. Grossi also heaps large amounts of praise syrup on the defense:
The Falcons started a youth movement on defense last year. Now coordinator Brian VanGorder is taking the unit to the next level. The addition of cover corner Dunta Robinson has emboldened VanGorder to trust the secondary in single coverage. He is taking more risks on third downs with blitzes, and they can come from anywhere. The Falcons will throw some exotic looks on third down to confuse quarterbacks. The gambling strategy has worked so far. The Falcons have improved from 32nd last year to fifth this season in third-down efficiency. They also lead the league with eight interceptions and are tied for fifth with 10 takeaways.
The entire article makes you think the Falcons are the greatest team of all-time and the Browns have no chance. I heartily agree but then something hit me. Perhaps this is a trick designed to make the Falcons over-confident and look past the Browns to next week's revenge-minded game against the Eagles. Could this all be a ruse? I'm on to you Grossi.
When the Atlanta Falcons kickoff Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns, they'll be facing a familiar foe in new Browns' quarterback Jake Delhomme. Delhomme, who is expected to start this Sunday, spent seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers and led them to three playoff berths including appearances in two conference championship games and one Super Bowl.
Then the badness started. Delhomme's Faustian deal must have run out because after a 2008 playoff loss to the Cardinals, he could no longer determine the difference between a receiver and a defender and piled up 23 interceptions in 12 games before the Panthers decided his future would no longer include a Carolina address.
The Falcons secondary, which leads the NFL in interceptions with eight, has to be drooling at the prospect of Delhomme throwing beach balls into the middle of the field. In Delhomme's one start for the Browns this year he threw two more interceptions giving him an impressive 25 interceptions in his last 13 NFL games.
Delhomme against the Falcons
6-6 as a starter. Average game was 18-for-30 for 224 yards with one touchdown and (you guessed it!) one interception.
Two Falcons who missed Sunday's game against the 49ers, Michael Jenkins and Sean Weatherspoon, were limited in practice on Wednesday. The surprise was seeing Curtis Lofton on the report with a knee injury. This concerns me in a way it didn't used to concern me.
If a player was limited on Wednesday it usually just meant they were resting some bumps and bruises. However, after last week's Weatherspoon fiasco where he went from having a cramp to a minor issue to not practicing all week to missing the game, I don't take anything for granted.
For the love of everything Falcony, I hope Lofton is fine and reduces Peyton Hillis to rubble but his participation - even limited - is concerning. Oh and it'd be nice to see Jenkins and Weatherspoon back too.
From the official site:
By the way, thank the Football Gods the Falcons have avoided a lot of injuries this season because it could be worse. The Browns have 11 players listed on their injury report.
DL Kenyon Coleman (knee) DNP
OL Alex Mack (shoulder) DNP
DL Shaun Rogers (ankle, hip) DNP
DL Robaire Smith (back) DNP
DB Nick Sorensen (calf) DNP
OL John St. Clair (ankle) DNP
RB Jerome Harrison (thigh) FP
WR Josh Cribbs (ankle) LP
QB Jake Delhomme (ankle) LP
OL Shawn Lauvao (ankle) LP
WR Brian Robiskie (hamstring) LP
The Atlanta Falcons' receivers may want to keep their head on a swivel this Sunday. Cleveland Browns' safety T.J. Ward was fined $15,000 for his cheap shot to the head of a defenseless Jordan Shipley during last Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"A ridiculous play," Bengals receiver Terrell Owens said after the game. "The guy's defenseless. I just hate to see a guy get hit like that in the head. For him to take a cheap shot like that, that's uncalled for.
"At one point, I thought [Shipley] was out cold. His eyes were rolling in the back of his head. You never want to see a teammate in that situation."
We've seen the hit and can only hope the Falcons' receivers will take extra care when in the vicinity of Ward.
Bro-wns coach Eric Mangini, on the subject of kicker-icing, bro:
That’s a really tough question because you look really smart when he misses the second one, and you look really dumb when he kicks the second one.
Saints and Niners head broaches Sean Payton and Mike Singletary both iced Falcons kickbro Matt Bro-ant within the past two weeks. Neither icing worked, bro, not that the learned scholar-bro would expect them to.
Injuries derailed the Falcons season in 2009 and minor ailments have kept the Falcons from having their full complement of weapons during the first four weeks of this season. No more, says head coach Mike Smith via D-Led:
"All 53 of our guys on our roster will be participating in practice on Wednesday for the first time this season."
Music to my ears.
This weekend's match-up between the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons has many pundits already making up their mind as to the victor. However road games are road games; I don't care who it is, it's tough to win in someone else's house.
Last week Cleveland got a win against their AFC North rivals the Cincinnati Benglas which suprised many in the NFL blogsphere. So instead of blindly judging the Browns let's delve into how they rank against the rest of the NFL.
This is going to be a more difficult game than people think. We should win this, and I expect us to. But the Browns have some very strong points that will make this weekend a tougher game than expected, not the walk-over many thought it would be in August.
I have no idea how Shutdown Corner managed to embed NFL.com video, but that’s where I got the code from.
The Falcons are a rarity: a power team that prefers to play indoors. Matt Ryan has gone 15-1 in the Dome and 17-4 in all domes. This week they'll play in one of their blessedly few colder-than-Atlanta regular season games, even though it's supposed to be 64 degrees and sunny on game day, or three degrees colder than it was here yesterday. Negligible!
Comparing resumes: The Browns lost their first three games by one score each before beating the Bengals by three. Nobody knows if the Bengals are any good, because this is the NFL and nothing ever makes sense except for about five minutes during the Super Bowl halftime show when we can all agree they should just let Prince do it every year.
The Falcons blew away the Cardinals, but their other three games could've gone either way. Two went the right way, so the Birds get the edge here.
Browns to watch:
Scrappy blocking fullback (sorry, don't know why I keep calling him that) running back Peyton Hillis has more than twice as many yards from scrimmage as any other Brown. The 250-pound cannonball has hands, with 16 catches for 94 yards. The Falcons couldn't shut down Frank Gore, but they did manage to funnel the entire 49er offense through him, ensuring no big plays by anybody else. That may be more doable this week, with the Browns lacking anybody of Vernon Davis' caliber.
If we don't wrap up Hillis, it's gonna be a long day. Here he is breaking a Rams tackle. No, not a specific Rams player. More like the entire defense:
Their strength appears to be their defense, though they do give up more than their share of yards. Expect to hear headhunter safety T.J. Ward's name called frequently, as he's tied for 11th in the league in tackles. Some of his most terrifying wallops, from his college days:
Vegas says: Falcons by 3. All signs point to this being a low-scoring deal, but Cleveland's "Dawg Pound" home field advantage is significantly overrated. They've only won five more games at home than on the road over the past ten seasons. Then again, they've only had two winning seasons in that span, so five is kind of a lot.
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