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"Do I need Rodney White’s respect? No. Leave it at that."
That was the reply from second-year phenom defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh after Atlanta Falcons wideout Roddy White said after Sunday’s game in Detroit that he'd "lost respect" for the Lions 2010 first-round pick because he taunted an injured Matt Ryan.
While the slight on Roddy's name seemed intentional, Suh defended himself and fellow defensive lineman Cliff Avril after the Falcons offensive line accused Detroit of dirty play and shenanigans.
"I’m not even near their quarterback so how am I going to trash talk somebody that has a medical staff that’s all around him?" Suh said.
Matt Ryan's ankle seems to be fine, but as a precaution sources say that Ryan will be getting a second opinion during the upcoming bye week before the Falcons face the Colts on Nov. 6.
One thing's for certain, Falcons' head coach Mike Smith recognizes that his team was able to stand up to the pugnacious style of the Lions.
"There's a lot of things said between the sidelines and I know this: that was a physical, tough football game against two, I think, very aggressive teams. Probably the most physical game that we've played to this point."
Once again, Michael Turner's physicality running the ball wore down the Lions. The Falcons are now 4-0 when Turner carries the ball 20+ times in a game, as he performed admirably with a 27-carry, 122 yard performance.
In his weekly Monday press conference with the media, Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith all but confirmed that All-Pro FB Ovie Mughelli will not be out for the season, despite suffering what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the Falcons game against Detroit on Sunday:
However, with Atlanta entering its bye week and not playing again until Nov. 6 against Indianapolis, don't expect much additional information on Mughelli or any other Falcon injuries this week:
After their humiliating 62-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints on national TV, the Colts seem headed for a full-on pursuit of a 0-16 season and a chance at Stanford QB Andrew Luck, which could give the Falcons a get well week and a 5-3 record headed into a crucial home showdown with the NFC South leading Saints on Nov. 13.
For more Falcons news visit the SBNation blog The Falcoholic.
Ovie Mughelli, the Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl FB, suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, when safety Louis Delmas upended him as he was catching a dump-off pass in the fourth quarter.
However, on his Twitter account, Mughelli re-assured Falcons fans:
oviemughelli34 Ovie MughelliThx for all the love and support guys. I promise I'm ok. It looked worse than it is. I heard the slo mo looked bad on tv. I'll b back soon.
He will undergo tests on his knee on Monday, but the good news is he'll have two weeks to recover before Atlanta's game against the win-less Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 6.
Losing Mughelli, a two-time All-Pro selection, would be a blow to an Falcons rushing game averaging only 112.7 yards a game, 18th in the NFL. Mughelli is one of the few classic I-formation fullbacks prospering in an increasingly pass-happy NFL; he signed a 6-year $18 million contract with a $5 million signing bonus in 2007, the biggest contract ever given to a fullback at the time.
Well, on the first play of the fourth quarter Matt Ryan made a critical mistake. His pass floated just over the reach of Tony Gonzalez and right into the hands of a waiting Amari Spievey in the end zone, killing any chance of a score. Inconsistent is what Matty Ice has been all game: sometimes he looks elite, other times he could be a rookie.
Fortunately, the Lions offense couldn't get anything going, and the defense forced a very quick three and out. A nice 15-yard return by Eric Weems (he's had a great day) had the offense beginning their drive at the Detroit 45.
But good news seems like it's always followed by bad news. In this case, it was more injury news: Ovie Mughelli knee took a pretty bad beating on a short reception, and unlike Ryan he needed help of the trainers to walk off the field. That's a big loss for the Falcons.
But on that same set of downs, the Falcons went for it on fourth down and a defensive holding penalty would allow a free first down and keep the drive alive. After a 14-yard completion to Roddy White however, the drive would stall. Thankfully, Matt Bryant hits field goals as if his life depended on it, nailing on from 40 yards out. With about nine minutes left in this football game, that now gives the Falcons a seven-point lead.
The defense followed that up with another good series, forcing yet another three and out of the Lions' struggling offense. A combination of good pressure and a little bit of inaccuracy on the part of Matt Stafford has limited the Lions to zero first downs this quarter.
So the offense took over again, and on first down Ryan hooked up with now-starting fullback Jason Snelling for 18 yards. They'd keep things moving with a nice run by Turner, and then a pass to Jacquizz Rodgers that would draw a facemask. Suddenly, the Falcons looked to be in great position to put things away.
And then Garrett Reynolds got called for false start twice in a row. Twice in a row. That moved the Falcons out of field goal range, and put the Falcons ultimately in third and 18. Ryan's pass, intended for Roddy White, was nowhere near where it needed to be (pressure probably had something to do with that). But 10 penalties for 90+ yards on the day is simply not the kind of football this team can afford to play.
Penalties prevented a Falcons score, and so now it would be on the defense to stop the Lions- still trailing by seven points- one more time. After forcing a fourth and five however, Stafford would find Brandon Pettigrew and convert for the first down. A helmet-to-helmet penalty would award the Lions with fifteen extra yards.
And then a confusing pass interference call against the Falcons would be reversed because Corey Peters managed to tip the ball at the line. That would bring up the second fourth down of the drive. This time, the Falcons would get great pressure on Stafford and Pettigrew couldn't come up with the catch.
The Falcons would run down the clock with Michael Turner, and narrowly escape Ford Field with a 23-16 "upset" road victory. At the end of the day, penalties were probably the difference in this one. But then again, at the end of the day Falcons win. They'll climb to 4-3, above .500 for the first time this year. Always great to head into your bye week with some momentum.
Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli suffered a knee injury and was helped off the field in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions. The Pro Bowler was catching a dump-off pass from previously injured quarterback Matt Ryan, at which point he took an instant hit from cornerback Louis Delmas. Mughelli is questionable to return after being carted to the locker room.
Mughelli curled up and grabbed his knee as Delmas motioned for sideline help. Delmas was seen kneeling and perhaps praying while Mughelli was checked out by Falcons staff.
Trainers had to help the fullback off the field. He was clearly wincing, but he was able to put a little bit of weight on it as he approached the sideline.
He'll likely be replaced by Jason Snelling in two-back sets, but the Falcons may opt to stick with one-back formations for much of the rest of this game.
Literally as I was posting the previous update, Matt Ryan came back into the game and in heroic fashion he connected with Harry Douglas on a 49-yard gain. Keep in mind, this was his first play back from injury. What a trooper.
But following that big gain, the Falcons offense stalled. They had a big mismatch as Ryan attempted a shovel pass to Jacquizz Rodgers on third down as multiple Lions were sent blitzing, but the ball fell incomplete. The Falcons would kick a field goal, and Matt Bryant would nail it from 47 yards out. With that, the Falcons extend their lead to 20-9. Even nicer than that is seeing Ryan back in the game. For about five minutes, I was feeling very "panicky."
And then after being so good all game, the Thomas DeCoud/William Moore's collective inability to wrap up bit the Falcons in the arse. After converting a key third down to keep the drive alive, Matt Stafford found Calvin Johnson on a deep post that he would take 57 yards to the house. It was a great pass-and-catch for the Lions. But really Willy Mo, you have to make that tackle!
That score cut the Falcons lead to only four points. All of a sudden, we have a close game once again. But as the third quarter came to a close, Ryan once again was leading a valiant charge towards the Lions' end zone. After a nice 10-yard pass to the ever-reliable Tony Gonzalez, Michael Turner showed us why he's called "the Burner" by busting through the Lions' front seven for 50 yards.
The Falcons' lead may have diminished in the third quarter, but that last run by Turner has the Falcons in great position to build on that slim lead once again. Oh ya, and that Matt Ryan guy is healthy. That's cool too.
Well, that was quick. After Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan suffered a knee injury by having his ankle crushed beneath Will Svitek (video here), he was taken into the locker room and declared questionable to return. Chris Redman took a couple snaps, then Ryan came jogging out and onto the field.
Matt Ryan and a pair of staff members gave him the once over. He pointed at his knee, reclaimed the saddle from Redman and threw a 49-yarder over the middle to Harry Douglas, then nearly found Tony Gonzalez to enter the red zone. The Falcons wound up with a field goal to make it 20-9.
So ... um ... I guess Matt Ryan is OK. That's pretty good. We'll learn more about his condition after the game. Well-timed bye week, at least.
The Falcons defense flexed their collective muscles by only allowing six Lions points. Matt Stafford has only managed 58 yards passing in the game thus far. However, while the third quarter has been a struggle this season, the defense forcing a pretty quick punt was great to see even though the offense went three-and-out on their first possession of the half.
And then Falcons fans witnessed possibly their worst nightmare: Matt Ryan on the ground in clear pain. On third-down of the ensuing possession, backup tackle Will Svitek inadvertently stepped on the ankle of Ryan and he immediately went down in pain. He walked off the field under his own power, but is now on his way to the locker room. Not promising.
So, Matt Bosher, punting out of his own end zone, only managed to lift the ball to the Atlanta 46 and gave the Lions great field position. Thus far the Lions have had surprising success on the ground, and that trend continued on this particular drive. Maurice Morris broke off a run good for 31 yards as both Atlanta safeties struggled to bring down the veteran backup. Note to Mike Smith: safeties need to tackle better. William Moore has missed a few today.
But the Falcons red zone defense held strong, and limited the Lions to a 29-yard field goal. Corey Peters made a fantastic play to sack Stafford on third-down, and all day the pressure has been very good.
On offense, I would also be tempted to say the offensive line has had a good day. That, however, was negated when Will Svitek completely destroyed his QB's ankle. Now holding a 17-9 lead halfway through the third quarter, the Falcons will turn to Chris Redman to lead the offense. Let's cross our fingers and hope Ryan can return soon...
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had his foot bent backward on itself in the third quarter against the Detroit Lions (entirely uncomfortable video here), and was able to make it off the field and into the locker room. He's questionable to return for this game, and has been replaced by Chris Redman.
Interesting to note it's being called a knee injury and not an ankle injury. They're all connected, but it's easy to look at that video and worry for his ankle without even thinking of his knee.
Redman is a capable backup and will hopefully be able to preserve Atlanta's 17-9 lead. Getting out of Ford Field with an upset win and a bye week ahead would be a welcome turn of events. Or Ryan could return. Updates as they come.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan went to the ground with a leg injury in the third quarter against the Detroit Lions. He appeared to hit the deck without even being touched, but upon review, his foot was stepped on by backpedaling tackle Will Svitek. He made his way to the locker room, and will be replaced by Chris Redman.
Here's a video of the play:
Ryan's foot looked to bend sideways at the ankle. This is not good, but it looks like it could be worse.
Trainers surrounded him on the field. He was able to make his way to the sideline with a slight limp without any assistance. Doesn't mean anything definite about whether he'll be able to return for this game, but it's at least a good sign.
Medical personnel checked on him near the Falcons bench before escorting him to the locker room. The best news yet: Ryan was shaking off trainers as they searched for pain in his leg, according to FOX's sideline report.
Interesting start to this second quarter. The Lions began the quarter having just lost the lead after allowing the Falcons to score a touchdown, which itself was forced by a timely turnover on special teams (timely for Atlanta, that is).
So, the Lions finally had achieved their first first-down of the game, and were driving deep into Atlanta territory. Then on third and seven, there was some apparent miscommunication between Stafford and Titus Young, and Stafford threw to a wide open Brent Grimes in the end zone. Like, Grimes was all alone. And he dropped what was a "gimme" interception.
It's not the end of the world, but it could have kept the Lions from scoring at all. Instead Jason Hanson would hit his second field goal of the day, cutting the Falcons lead to 10-6.
The Falcons took over on offense, and managed to manufacture a long, methodical drive that took some time off the clock, but yet again Matt Ryan looked pretty shaky. He was then sacked by Cliff Avril on third-down for a nine-yard loss, effectively killing the drive. On the plus side, Matt Bosher continues to look better: he pinned the Lions inside their own 10-yard line.
The Lions took over again, and after the defense allowed a 25-yard gain on a Stafford-Johnson connection, on the very next play Brent Grimes made an absolutely beautiful play to jump up and at the highest point tip the ball out of Calvin Johnson's grasp. More miscommunication between Stafford and Titus Young would end the Lions' drive.
And then the Falcons would put together what I would call their best offensive drive of the season. With 3:30 left in the half, Matt Ryan would lead the offense on seven-play, 81-yard scoring drive (I should mention, this was all while running the no-huddle). It was flawless execution and mistake-free, highlighted by a 30-yard pass to Tony Gonzalez and a 19-yard run by Michael Turner.
To cap off the drive, Ryan- who has struggled with the deep ball all year- made probably his best throw of the year. On a second down pass out of shotgun, Ryan hit Roddy White in stride on a deep corner route in the back of the end zone (over ex-Falcon Chris Houston, I might add).
With that score, the Falcons enter halftime with a 17-6 lead over the (5-1) Detroit Lions. As I said, it has not been a pretty game. But the defense has been fantastic. The offense has been able to put capitalize on turnovers, and Ryan put together a great two-minute drill at the end of the half. And for once, the Falcons have gotten great play out of Eric Weems and special teams.
Should the Falcons be able to make it through the dreaded third quarter and cut down on the penalties, the Dirty Birds just might walk out of Ford Field with a win. Stay tuned.
For the Falcons, it has been more of the same this quarter: good defense and poor offense.
After allowing the field goal following the Matt Ryan interception, the offense again went three and out. Ryan's third-down pass intended for Harry Douglas was easily defended by the covering Lions defensive back. Thus far, Ryan has looked very much out of his comfort zone. He needs to settle down and complete some passes.
But the defense responded with a three-and-out of their own. A first-down holding penalty put the Lions at a big disadvantage yardage-wise, and the defense simply had to hold their ground. I'll say this: the play of the secondary so far, especially Grimes' coverage of Calvin Johnson, has been great.
Then Eric Weems, whose 104-yard kickoff return was negated by a penalty, took a punt back for 36 yards and set up the offense on the Detroit 26. It was time for a score. After doing little on first- and second-downs, Ryan finally completed a pass- this one to Tony Gonzalez- for 11 yards that would keep the drive alive.
The Falcons would get the ball all the way down to the Lions five and have third-and-inches, but would inexplicably come up short. On a dive play, Turner simply tripped over a Lions defender and couldn't manage the first down. I understand the thinking- Turner is big after all- but perhaps we could call a play they don't expect?
Still, Atlanta would at least come away with some points. Matt "money" Bryant's would knock his field goal true from 23 yards out, tying the game at 3 points apiece. And then as they have done all season, the Falcons came up with a key turnover, this time on special teams. Akeem Dent would be the man to knock the ball out of return man Stefan Logan's hands, and the Falcons would recover at the Detroit 28-yard line.
Yet again, the Falcons started with excellent field position. Could they capitalize by scoring a touchdown this time?
Well, after another holding penalty (what happened to "most disciplined" Mike Smith?) Ryan would make a couple of good throws- one to Harry Douglas and a14-yard completion to Roddy White on third-down- to push the Falcons further into Lions territory.
And then we'd see three Lions penalties in a row. Two pass interferences and an "elbow to the head of the quarterback" penalty would have the ball sitting at the quarter-yard line(!!). For the second straight week, the Falcons would use a pass interference penalty to put them on the goal line, and for the second straight week Ryan would tuck it in himself for a touchdown.
Confirmed by review, the Falcons now hold a 10-3 advantage over Detroit through one quarter of play. It may not look pretty, but a lead is a lead. Man though, this is starting to look more like a preseason game than two playoff contenders.
Weird start to this one, Falcons fans. The Falcons came into this game with both Julio Jones and Sam Baker listed as inactive. Thus in a game that should be dominated by defense, the offense needs to take advantage of every opportunity possible.
But in a theme consistent with several other games this year, the offense let the defense down after a promising start. Detroit began the game with the ball, but some great pressure on third and five would force an incompletion and a three-and-out. Playing on the road against a tough team like the Lions, that's exactly how you want to start.
On offense though, it was the same old story: penalties and miscues. A false start on Garrett Reynolds put the Falcons in second and long, and a Michael Turner dropped pass (shocker) led to third-and-long. Matt Ryan's throw intended for Roddy White didn't have enough pepper on it, and was snatched away by Lions cornerback Eric Wright for the interception.
Following that pick, the Lions would start on the Atlanta 15 but two consecutive sacks (one by John Abraham, one by Sean Weatherspoon on a blitz) would eliminate any threat of a touchdown. Jason Hanson's 41-yard field goal attempt was good, and Detroit would take an early 3-0 lead in this one.
Perhaps even more frustrating was that, like so many other times, a penalty would eliminate a big play. Eric Weems returned a kickoff 104 yards all the way to the house, but a block-in-the-back penalty would call it back to the 20-yard line. So. Agonizing. To. Watch. Stay tuned.
The Atlanta Falcons will take on the Detroit Lions at Ford Field minus rookie reciever Julio Jones, who's missing his second game after hurting a hamstring. Starting left tackle Sam Baker will also miss the game due to a back injury, along with nickel back Christopher Owens, who'd been declared out earlier in the week. The complete list of Atlanta's inactives:
Expect Harry Douglas and Will Svitek to get the starts at receiver and tackle as Kelvin Hayden takes over the defensive back slot. The good news: defensive end John Abraham and center Todd McClure are in after being listed as questionable, along with guard Garrett Reynolds.
Here's Detroit's list of inactives:
The Atlanta Falcons knew going into their matchup against the Detroit Lions that Ford Field was a loud stadium. The Falcons practiced with noise up to 124 decibels to simulate the crowd noise at Ford Field. Lions players are praising the fans for being so loud as a reason to their success. On the year the Lions have forced 15 false starts penalties at home which is an NFL-best and they are on pace to break the record for most false starts which is 32.
Matt Ryan understands that the offense must be on the same page to avoid false start penalties:
"Obviously when you watch the tape, some of the offenses that they have gone against at home have been disrupted by the noise and have had some procedural penalties against them," Ryan said of the Lions. "For us, we have to be on top of our game plan and execute the way we know how to on the road."
The Falcons will need to be on the in sync when lining up on offense to avoid being another victim of a false start penalty due to the crowd noise at Ford Field.
Week Seven is highlighted by Tebow-mania in Miami, the possible return of Carson Palmer, and two prime-time matchups the networks would like to rethink. With a dearth of super-exciting matchups out there, it might be necessary to make games more interesting the old-fashioned way. The NFL lines are here!
Slightly good news for the Atlanta Falcons: star wide receiver Julio Jones is merely doubtful for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions despite missing three days of practice this week. Nickel back Christopher Owens is the only Falcons player ruled out, while defensive end John Abraham, tackle Sam Baker, center Todd McClure and guard Garrett Reynolds are all questionable, though Mike Smith has already said he expects McClure to play.
PLAYER 10/19/11 10/20/11 10/21/11 DE John Abraham (groin) DNP LP LP-Q DT Jonathan Babineaux (knee) FP FP FP-P T Sam Baker (back) DNP DNP LP-Q TE Tony Gonzalez (elbow) FP FP FP-P WR Julio Jones (hamstring) DNP DNP DNP-D C Todd McClure (knee) DNP LP LP-Q CB Chris Owens (concussion) DNP DNP DNP-O G Garrett Reynolds (ankle) DNP LP LP-Q S James Sanders (hamstring) LP LP FP-P WR Roddy White (knee) FP FP FP-P
PLAYER 10/19/11 10/20/11 10/21/11 CB Eric Wright (illness) DNP-P DE Willie Young (calf) LP-Q CB Aaron Berry (groin) DNP LP LP-Q RB Jahvid Best (concussion) DNP DNP DNP-O WR Rashied Davis (foot) DNP DNP DNP-D LB Justin Durant (concussion) DNP LP LP-P S Vincent Fuller (elbow) DNP LP LP-D CB Chris Houston (back) DNP LP LP-P TE Tony Scheffler (concussion) DNP LP LP-P S Amari Spievey (not injury related) DNP DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (not injury related) DNP T Gosder Cherilus (knee) LP LP LP-P LB Doug Hogue (hamstring) FP FP FP-P RB Jerome Harrison (illness) DNP
The Atlanta Falcons travel to take on the now one-loss Detroit Lions this Sunday afternoon. Last week the Lions lost their first game of the year against the San Francisco 49ers 25-19, while the Falcons were able to take care of business against the Carolina Panthers 31-17. The Lions needed running back help with Jahvid Best likely out with a concussion so the Lions traded Jerome Harrison for Ronnie Brown. However, the trade was voided when it was found out that Harrison had a brain tumor during his team physical. So, the Lions did not get the running back they wanted and look to be without Best.
The Falcons themselves could be out with a star player in wide receiver Julio Jones who has not practiced all week due to a hamstring injury, but the good news is that he has not be ruled out of the game.
Even with the lack of depth at running back for the Lions opened as a 4.5-point favorite over the visiting Falcons, according to Odds Shark. However, the latest line on the game has dropped down to the Lions being a 3.5 point favorite. The over/under on this matchup is 47.5 and that seems low since the combined average of points per game by these squads is 53.
Both the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions injury reports got a lot cleaner Thursday, with a number of players taking the field for the first time this week. However, wide receiver Julio Jones, tackle Sam Baker and nickel back Christopher Owens had to sit out again for Atlanta, while running back Jahvid Best and receiver Rashied Davis missed for Detroit.
Defensive end John Abraham, center Todd McClure and guard Garrett Reynolds took on limited Thursday loads after missing Wednesday. The Lions got back a whole slew of players ... check below for the details.
Atlanta may need to sit Jones for one more week, which would actually give him two more weeks of rest. The Falcons have a well-timed bye up ahead after the Detroit game.
PLAYER 10/19/11 10/20/11 10/21/11 DE John Abraham (groin) DNP LP DT Jonathan Babineaux (knee) FP FP T Sam Baker (back) DNP DNP TE Tony Gonzalez (elbow) FP FP WR Julio Jones (hamstring) DNP DNP C Todd McClure (knee) DNP LP CB Chris Owens (concussion) DNP DNP G Garrett Reynolds (ankle) DNP LP S James Sanders (hamstring) LP LP WR Roddy White (knee) FP FP
PLAYER 10/19/11 10/20/11 10/21/11 CB Aaron Berry (groin) DNP LP RB Jahvid Best (concussion) DNP DNP WR Rashied Davis (foot) DNP DNP LB Justin Durant (concussion) DNP LP S Vincent Fuller (elbow) DNP LP CB Chris Houston (back) DNP LP TE Tony Scheffler (concussion) DNP LP S Amari Spievey (not injury related) DNP LP DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (not injury related) DNP T Gosder Cherilus (knee) LP LP LB Doug Hogue (hamstring) FP FP RB Jerome Harrison (illness) DNP
In his 13th season in the league, Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez is climbing his way up the NFL record books. With his next four catches, he will pass Marvin Harrison and Cris Carter for second-all time in career receptions, behind only Jerry Rice.
The next closest tight end is Shannon Sharpe at No. 21, nearly 300 catches behind Gonzalez. The nine-time All Pro selection has caught 1,099 passes for 12,781 yards and 92 TD's playing for Kansas City and Atlanta.
"With no disrespect to any of the other tight ends including Ozzie Newsome who I know very well, I think he's probably the best tight end to ever play the game and his work ethic is just unbelievable," said Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith.
And while Rice had Joe Montana and Steve Young throwing him passes, the best QB's Gonzalez has played with is Trent Green and fourth-year Falcons QB Matt Ryan.
"It's a testament to how good of a player he is, how hard he has worked for such a long time and how talented he is," said Ryan. "He's been incredible for my career. He's taught me a lot both on the field and off the field."
Gonzalez, at 6'5 247, was a two-sport star in college. His success blazed a trail for an entire generation of undersized power forwards to make the transition to football, from Antonio Gates, who played only basketball at Kansas State, to Jermichael Finley, a high-school basketball standout who has credited his time as an AAU player for a lot of his success in the NFL.
Some amazing news surrounding the Atlanta Falcons upcoming opponent. Earlier in the week, the Detroit Lions attempted to trade running back Jerome Harrison to the Philadelphia Eagles in advance of their upcoming game against the Falcons, due to injury concerns surrounding running back Jahvid Best's concussion recovery. The trade was voided due to health reasons.
According to Adam Schefter, a brain tumor was the cause.
Wingo rightly points out that the trade may have saved Harrison's life, since he may not have known about it for quite some time otherwise. Unbelievable.
Not much more to say here, other than to marvel at what a fortunate coincidence led to the discovery Harrison's condition and hope he's able to fully recover very soon.
The Detroit Lions could be the first team the Atlanta Falcons play this year with actual significant injury trouble of their own. Most significant: running back Jahvid Best suffered a concussion last week, and isn't looking likely to play on Sunday.
And now this, via the Detroit Free Press: CBS Sports reports Best is being advised to consider sitting out the rest of the year. If the situation is that serious, you can highly doubt he'll come anywhere near the huddle against the Falcons. Best has missed practice so far this week.
Best has 72 percent of the Lions' rushing yards so far this season, despite missing a portion of Week 6. He's also third on the team in receiving yardage. Just to give you a sense of what an important piece he is for the Lions: he currently has 113 more yards from scrimmage than Calvin Johnson has.
Julio Jones remains the big injury news for the Atlanta Falcons -- the rookie wide receiver missed practice and has yet to be ruled out for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions. That's better than bad news!
Star defensive ends John Abraham and Kyle Vanden Bosch were held out, dinging each team a pass rusher. Abraham missed the Falcons' Week 5 game against the Green Bay Packers before returning to play the Carolina Panthers -- wouldn't read too much into his sitting out a day.
The Lions are banged up across the board, however, and could be the first team the Falcons will play this year that can match them on the injury report. Jahvid Best remains questionable due to his recent concussion, while former Falcons cornerback Chris Houston sat out Wednesday's practice.
|DE John Abraham (groin)||DNP|
|DT Jonathan Babineaux (knee)||FP|
|T Sam Baker (back)||DNP|
|TE Tony Gonzalez (elbow)||FP|
|WR Julio Jones (hamstring)||DNP|
|C Todd McClure (knee)||DNP|
|CB Chris Owens (concussion)||DNP|
|G Garrett Reynolds (ankle)||DNP|
|S James Sanders (hamstring)||LP|
|WR Roddy White (knee)||FP|
|CB Aaron Berry (groin)||DNP|
|RB Jahvid Best (concussion)||DNP|
|WR Rashied Davis (foot)||DNP|
|LB Justin Durant (concussion)||DNP|
|S Vincent Fuller (elbow)||DNP|
|CB Chris Houston (back)||DNP|
|TE Tony Scheffler (concussion)||DNP|
|S Amari Spievey (not injury related)||DNP|
|DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (not injury related)||DNP|
|T Gosder Cherilus (knee)||LP|
|LB Doug Hogue (hamstring)||FP|
Atlanta Falcons star rookie wide receiver Julio Jones, missed last Sunday's contest versus the Carolina Panthers with a hamstring injury suffered in the fourth quarter versus the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. Green Bay would go on to win that game 25-14.
Now the first year pro out of Alabama has missed another day of practice. Per the Falcons' twitter account:
Julio Jones did not practice today. Coach Smith said team doctors will determine later this week if he'll be available to play. #atldet11
For the Falcons, head coach Mike Smith leaned heavily on the run game last week as Michael Turner carried the ball 27 times for 139 yards and two scores. Jones replacement, Harry Douglas, led the team in receiving yards with 57 as Matt Ryan and the Falcons aerial attack was not put to the test versus the Panthers porous run defense.
For more Atlanta Falcons coverage be sure to follow The Falcoholic on SB Nation.
For a while it seemed like the Detroit Lions were unstoppable. The offense was clicking, their defensive line was as good as any in football, and the Stafford/Johnson connection was one of the better pairings in the NFL. On Sunday though the mighty Lions couldn't handle the San Francisco 49ers, or their head coach's handshake as they lost their first game of the season.
Meanwhile in the Georgia Dome the Atlanta Falcons took care of business. They hosted a Carolina Panthers team struggling on defense and played the game perfectly to take advantage of the Panthers weaknesses and register a convincing win. Michael Turner ran roughshod over the beleaguered Panthers defensive line as they had no answer for the bruising RB.
Las Vegas aren't quite so convinced in the Falcons as Detroit are 3.5 point favorites at home. The Lions running game will be interesting to see on Sunday as starting RB Jahvid Best struggles with a concussion, and just yesterday Detroit made a deadline deal to acquire running back Ronnie Brown.
This is a really hard game to call, which the game line represents. The Lions didn't look as infallible as we were lead to believe, and the Falcons looked better than they have for much of the season. With Julio Jones returning and Michael Turner returning to form I think the Falcons can prevail this weekend. There are some serious questions about Atlanta's ability to protect Matt Ryan against a brutal Lions' pass rush, but when it's all said and done I think they'll protect him enough.
The over/under is set right now at 47.5, which I think is a gift. I'm taking the over all day long on that. Calvin Johnson is unstoppable in the red zone in the passing game, and Michael Turner is the same for the Falcons' running game. At the end of the day I'm taking the Falcons to win outright in a minor upset, and the over on points.
The Atlanta Falcons move up across the board from various power rankings across the web after their 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers.
The Falcons could see Ronnie Brown twice in a year, and not because he's on a divisional opponent: Philadelphia Daily News writer Les Bowen reports that the Eagles have traded Brown to the Detroit Lions for Jerome Harrison and a draft pick. Brown will be playing for his third team in less than a year, while Harrison returns to Philadelphia, where he played eight games in the 2011 season.
For the Lions, the move could be seen as insurance in case starter Jahvid Best can't play on Sunday. Best suffered his second concussion of the year last week against the San Francisco 49ers, and while he could still play against the Falcons, concussions often require more than a week of recovery.
Brown, meanwhile, will likely suit up against the Falcons for the second time in six weeks. He had three carries for 10 yards for Philly in the Falcons' 35-31 win in Week 2.
Despite suffering his second concussion of the season against the San Francisco 49ers last weekend, Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz is optimistic that RB Jahvid Best will be able to play against the Atlanta Falcons this weekend:
"Oh, sure," Schwartz said when asked whether Best could play this week. "He just needs to pass all his things. But again, it's a very objective test by neutral doctors."
Best missed the last three series of the game against San Francisco. A speedy 5'10 200 second-year RB out of Cal, he has seen his role expand dramatically this season for the 5-1 Lions. Through six games, he's rushed for 390 yards and 2 TD's with an impressive 4.6 yard-per-carry average.
Losing Best would be a blow for the 25th-ranked Lions rushing attack, which averages only 90.8 yards a game. Schwartz indicated that Marcus Morris and Jerome Harrison would get the majority of the carries in Best's absence; the two have combined for 61 yards on 25 carries this season.
The Lions leading rusher might not to be able to play against the Falcons.
In his regular Monday press conference, Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith said the team has no new information on the hamstring injury that kept rookie WR Julio Jones out of the team's 31-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Smith said the team will "wait and see" on the condition of the injury, with an official update about Jones' status for their upcoming game against the Detroit Lions likely coming on Wednesday.
In Jones' absence, the Falcons reverted to a more ground-oriented attack, with Michael Turner getting 27 carries to only 22 pass attempts for Matt Ryan. Harry Douglas, a third-year WR who has played sporadically in his time in Atlanta, had his most productive game of the season, with 2 receptions for 57 yards.
But while the Falcons were able to prosper offensively against a struggling 1-5 Carolina team, they will need all their firepower to combat Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson and the 5-1 Detroit Lions on Sunday.
If you've been following these previews up to this point, or at the very least taken a quick look at the schedule, you'll realize that the Falcons really have a tough first half of the schedule. The Lions, while they may not be an elite team just yet, were still much better than their record indicated last season. With an overtime loss to the Jets, a three-point loss to the Eagles, a two-point loss to the Packers, the Lions could've easily finished 2010 with a winning record.
This year, the Lions will look to build off their late season success, having won the last four games on last year's schedule. Injuries always seem to be a problem for Detroit, especially for QB and UGA-alum Matt Stafford, but if the Lions stay in one piece this could easily become a tough game for the Falcons.
Record: Finished 6-10 last season under Jim Schwartz
Last Meeting: 2008, Week 1 (Falcons won 34-21)
Notable Additions: LB Stephen Tulloch, LB Justin Durant, S Erik Coleman, CB Eric Wright, RB Jerome Harrison, DT Nick Fairley (draft pick)
Notable Losses: QB Drew Stanton
If you recall, the last time these two teams met was the 2008 season opener. Matt Ryan threw a TD on his first pass attempt, Turner broke loose for 200+ yards and all of a sudden the massive pain that was the 2007 season suddenly didn't seem so bad. For the Lions, it was the first of many losses on route to an historic 0-16 season.
Still, this Lions team is much improved from the franchises darkest days. They have a good QB in Stafford, a fantastic receiver in Calvin Johnson, and a more-than-capable supporting cast. The offense was above average last year (No. 15 in scoring) while the defense was more or less mediocre (No. 21 in the NFL).
For the Falcons, this game should be won because of a few favorable matchups. One is Detroit's offensive line, which has notoriously been pretty terrible throughout the decade. If they can't protect Stafford from Abraham, the offense has no chance of keeping pace with the Falcons in this game.
The other big matchup is Detroit's secondary. Former Falcon Chris Houston, famous for making fans scream "turn your head around!" while in Atlanta, is probably the best cornerback on their roster. Roddy White is going to have a field day. If all goes well, the Falcons will go into their bye week with a win and momentum to finish strong in the second half.
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