Falcons Vs. Steelers: Passing Game, Jacquizz Rodgers Showcased In ATL Loss

The Falcons enter their next-to-last tuneup of the year Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

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Falcons Vs. Steelers Final Score: Jacquizz Rodgers, Roddy White Shine In Fake Game Loss

The three biggest plays of the Pittsburgh Steelers' 34-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons: a 77-yard touchdown from Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown that was nearly broken up by Brent Grimes, a 44-yard score to Brown that Grimes nearly picked off, and a 95-yard Crezdon Butler interception return of a Chris Redman pass.

Obsess over the score if you like, but Atlanta's first team hung with the AFC champs' first team, down by a score by the time backups came in. The Falcons put 405 yards on Pittsburgh, outgaining the Steelers by 85. Yayyy, preseason stats!

And no major Falcons injuries occurred, at least that we know of yet. Former Atlanta quarterback Byron Leftwich suffered a broken arm, however.

Falcons coaches definitely established the weekend's areas of focus. Matt Ryan passed 42 times in right around one half of play, throwing 220 yards and a pick but almost finding Julio Jones on a long bomb. Roddy White caught a 10-yard strike with Troy Polamalu in coverage and produced 101 yards on the day, with Jones adding 59.

Jacquizz Rodgers was the star of the second half, putting up 50 squirrelly yards on nine touches, his most extensive activity yet. Considering he did some of that against Pittsburgh's starting defense, which might be the NFL's best, count his performance as one of the brightest spots of the preseason so far. We didn't get to see much of him in weeks one and two -- worth the wait? I'd say so.

Ray Edwards' debut didn't feature anything eye-popping, but Atlanta's pass rush looked strong early on. Jonathan Babineaux and Vance Walker each contributed a sack.

Atlanta wraps up its preseason Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Falcons Vs. Steelers Update: Jacquizz Rodgers Busts Out The Moves As Score Remains 24-16

Well, the second-team Falcons took the field in the third quarter, and performed about as well as I reasonably expected. Even the 2nd-string Steelers D is pretty tough. The Redman-led offense went to work, and Rojohombre has yet again been the efficient game-manager we all expect him to be. Michael Palmer had a really nice 19-yard catch and run on the first drive.

Then on the second offensive possession of the half, we got reacquainted with our friend Jacquizz Rodgers. He racked 30 yards on only five touches, and added in two catches for 12 yards just for good measure. Some runs he looked shifty as he busted to the outside, and others 'Quizz showed suprising power as took it up the middle against the backup Steeler defense. If he ends up being third-string, I'd call him the best No. 3 back in football. Good draft pick.

The defense was solid, and held the Steelers scoreless on their one possession of the quarter. While backup Isaac Redman had a few pretty successful runs, the rotating front four of the Falcons never really let Bryon Leftwich get settled enough to make a good throw. While we'll likely see more of the second-string teams next quarter, it will be interesting to see who gets playing time and who doesn't.

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain


Falcons Vs. Steelers: Antonio Brown Scores Twice On Near Brent Grimes Picks

You know that feeling you get when you smell some homemade cooking in the oven as you get home? You know it's there, and you just can't wait until dinner. That's exactly how I feel about this Falcons offense. They're already looking pretty strong against one of the best defenses in the NFL, and I am really excited about the prospect of watching this group come regular season.

Taking the field after the defense had just allowed a 77-yard TD pass, the offensive unit again went to work and calmly, methodically marched its collective way down to the red zone yet again. Ryan hooked up with Julio Jones twice for 32 yards, and also connected with Roddy, Gonzalez and Harry Douglas on the drive.The Falcons made it all the way down to the two-yard line, and just as it seemed Ryan had completed the game-tying TD pass to Gonzalez, the play was called back due to an interference penalty.

So, again the Falcons settled for a field goal as Matt Bryant made it two for two on the night. What's worth noting on that drive, however, is that we saw Ryan go long to Julio on a deep post route to the end zone. The pass was incomplete, but it just shows you how dangerous this offense can be. A 'la Roddy White, "you can't cover all of us."

For the secondary, it's just been a tough night. The Falcons defense had Pittsburgh in a 3rd-and-10 and Ben Roethlisberger again went deep to Antonio Brown. The pass, nearly picked off by Grimes, somehow floated over two Falcon defenders and Pittsburgh was credited with a 44-yard touchdown pass.

The Falcons offense took the field once more before halftime, and Ryan was able to hook up with Roddy a couple of times on third down and push the offense into field goal range. Matt Bryant nailed a 46-yarder, making him a perfect three-for-three on the night.  The offense was at the very least able to come away with points and finish their night on a high note.

As the first half comes to a close, Ryan finishes his night with a respectable 22-for-42, 220 yard performance (1 TD, 1 INT). Roddy White has already racked up eight catches for 101 yards, and his new partner in crime Julio Jones grabbed five catches of his own, good for 59 yards. While the ground game was pretty quiet, this Falcons passing attack is looking like quite potent against a notoriously tough Steelers defense.

On the negative side, the secondary could stand to tighten things up a bit. I understand Roethlisberger is a good quarterback, but I wouldn't exactly mistake Antonio Brown for Larry Fitzgerald, either. Falcons trail 24-16 at halftime. Bring on the backups!

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain


Falcons Vs Steelers Update: Roddy White, Offense Looking Sharp As Atlanta Trails 17-10

The Falcons offense took over trailing 10-0, and put together a great drive that probably should have ended in a touchdown. Matt Ryan ran the no-huddle and relied on the devastating receiving combo of Roddy White and Julio Jones, hitting Roddy twice for 35 yards and Julio twice for 22 yards. He also mixed in a couple of solid runs by Turnelling (Turner + Snelling = Turnelling?).

The Falcons took the ball all the way to the Pittsburgh 5-yard line, and Ryan had Harry Douglas wide open in the corner of the end zone. Alas, the pass was a little high and Douglas couldn't quite come down with it. The Steelers D held strong and limited the Falcons to a 23-yard Matt Bryant field goal, cutting the Falcon deficit to 10-3.

On the following drive the Falcons defensive line showed up big once again as Vance Walker applied the pressure and sack of Big Ben, Atlanta's second one of the night. That put the Steelers into another third and long, one that the Falcons almost blew as Hines Wards broke free of coverage and nearly got his hands on a deep Roethlisberger pass. 

Still, it was a great start to the second quarter for the Falcons. The defense came up with yet another stop, and return man extraordinaire Eric Weems followed up that defensive stand with a beautiful 48-yard return to the Pittsburgh 38.

Set up with good field position, Matt Ryan quickly went to work and marched the Falcons offense all the way down the field, capped off by a 10-yard TD pass to the one and only Roddy White. Ryan has looked stronger as the game has worn on, and this drive he really utilized all of his weapons, completing two passes to Harry Douglas, one to Tony Gonzalez and the TD pass to Roddy that tied the game up 10-10. If Ryan can get good protection, this offense can be really special.

However, that score deadlock didn't last long as Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for a 77-yard touchdown pass. Brown beat out the usually unflappable Brent Grimes on a seam route, and as Thomas DeCoud went for the pick and failed, no one was going to beat Brown as he took it to the house. Falcons trail 17-10.

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain


Falcons Vs Steelers Score: Atlanta Trailing 10-0 After Goal-Line Stand

After looking a little shell-shocked during the first Steelers possession, the Falcons defense settled down and stood strong, forcing a quick three-and-out. Pittsburgh found themselves in a third-and-long situation, and a combination of Abe and Babineaux put the pressure on and brought the big-bodied Roethlisberger down for a sack.

The offense, however, did not quite have the same success. After an 11-yard Michael Turner run on first down, things looked to be going in the right direction. However, the Steelers have been getting their hands on passes all night, and on third down a tipped pass landing in the hands of Lawrence Timmons, who return the ball all the way to the Atlanta four-yard line.

Following that interception, the Steelers offense trotted onto the field looking for a quick score. But the Falcons defense had other plans, and came up with a big goal-line stand, holding the Steelers to only a field goal. 

Outside of that first drive, this Falcons defense is looking very strong against a darn good Pittsburgh offense. I like what I see out of Mike Smith's group.

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain


Falcons Vs Steelers: Pittsburgh Quickly Up 7-0 After Short TD Drive

Well, we're under way in Pittsburgh, and if the Falcons actually did do any sort of gameplanning for the Steelers, the first two drives of the game did not show it.

On the game's opening kickoff, the Steelers got a 51-yard return from WR Antonio Brown. Brown would have gone all the way if it weren't for the TD-saving tackle made by Matt Bosher. However, that tackle was ruled a horse collar, allowing the Steelers to start with the ball on the Atlanta 35-yard line.

With that, it only took Ben Roethlisberger & Co. three plays to make it into the endzone. Two were the actually the same play- a bootleg pass to backup TE David Johnson- and then Rashard Mendenhall capped off the drive with a 1-yard TD run.

On the offensive side of the ball, the pass protection again looked a little confused out there. At least two times Steeler defenders went untouched on their way our QB, forcing Matty Ice to rush his throws a little bit. Other than a nice 12-yard completion to Roddy White, however, the Pittsburgh D was everywhere in pass coverage.

But really, what do you expect from the Steelers? Not a cakewalk, clearly.

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.


Falcons Vs. Steelers TV Schedule: Oh Good, The Patriots Are On

Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons 7:30 pm ET preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers can be viewed on CBS in Atlanta and Pittsburgh, or on various other channels in surrounding areas. It's not the evening's national game, as that honor goes to the New England Patriots vs. the Detroit Lions. The world yearns for more Ryan Mallett, yo.

It was pretty awesome Thursday night when the Baltimore Ravens (Joe Flacco!) vs. Washington Redskins (Rex Grossman!) game was the main event. Nobody wants to watch Cam Newton or Michael Vick, right? Whatever.

For those of you lucky enough to get it, this will be the one Falcons preseason game to watch this season. Starters are expected to play about half the game, and Ray Edwards will take the field for the first time as a Bird. With roster cuts looming, more than a couple jobs will be solidified here.

Just please don't draw any conclusions from this game.

For more Falcons, head to The Falcoholic. For more Steelers, visit Behind The Steel Curtain and SB Nation Pittsburgh.


Falcons Vs. Steelers: What They're Writing Before Atlanta Battles The AFC Champions

The Atlanta Falcons' preseason continues Saturday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in their penultimate contest of the exhibition portion of the schedule. Atlanta has lost its two prior outings by a combined seven points, so it's not as though it's been outclassed. Nonetheless, the Falcons face a tough test versus the Steelers, the reigning AFC champions.

Dave Choate of The Falcoholic believes Pittsburgh is "the best challenge the Falcons could hope for in the pre-season, when the team is trying to tune up for a tough regular season." Given that both teams are likely to play their starting units for at least the first half, Choate concludes "this is the first pre-season game [...] where the team's performance genuinely matters."

Behind the Steel Curtain details the Steelers' depth chart, and who's battling for which spots, in this marathon post. Steelers fans will surely be focused on some of these battles, particularly between running backs Jonathan Dwyer and John Clay.

Long term, Pittsburgh is worried about retaining six-time Pro Bowler Troy Polamalu, whose contract expires following this season. It's likely the Steelers will apply the franchise tag to him.


Atlanta Falcons Waive Thor Merrow, Ken Parrish, AJ Simmons, Andrew Schulze

The Atlanta Falcons announced the waiving of four players Wednesday: fullback Thor Merrow, punter Ken Parrish, tight end A.J. Simmons and long snapper Andrew Schulze. All except Parrish were undrafted free agents -- Simmons was brought on earlier this month after the team released Robbie Agnone.

The biggest story here: Atlanta's kicking units are now set, with Matt Bosher outlasting his competition for punting duties and Joe Zelenka returning as long snapper. Fellow undrafted fullback Lucas Cox remains on the depth chart behind Ovie Mughelli, as do young tight ends Michael Palmer, Marquez Branson and Ryan Winterswyk behind Tony Gonzalez and Reggie Kelly.

The Falcons have until August 30 to get down to 80 players. They're currently at 83, according to the team's official site.


Name No. Pos. Age Exp.




Adam Froman 13 QB 23 UDFA


Chris Redman 8 QB 34 11


John Parker Wilson 4 QB 25 2


Matt Ryan 2 QB 26 3


Running Backs


Antone Smith 35 RB 25 2


Gartrell Johnson 27 RB 25 2


Jacquizz Rodgers 22 RB 21 Rookie


Jason Snelling 44 RB 27 4


Jerious Norwood 32 RB 27 5


Michael Turner 33 RB 29 7


Philip Sylvester 32 RB 22 UDFA




Lucas Cox 42 FB 23 UDFA


Ovie Mughelli 34 FB 31 8


Thor Merrow 40 FB 21 UDFA


Wide Receivers


Andy Strickland 15 WR 23 1


Brandyn Harvey 17 WR 23 1


Brian Finneran 86 WR 35 12


Doug Beaumont 18 WR 22 UDFA


Drew Davis 19 WR 22 UDFA


Eric Weems 14 WR 26 4


Harry Douglas 83 WR 26 3


Julio Jones 11 WR 22 Rookie


Kerry Meier 80 WR 24 1


Kevin Cone WR UDFA


Michael Jenkins 12 WR 29 7


P.J. Gore 89 WR 23 UDFA


Roddy White 84 WR 29 6


Tim Buckley 16 WR 22 1


Tight Ends


A.J. Simmons TE


Justin Peelle 87 TE 32 9


Marquez Branson 85 TE 24 2


Michael Palmer 81 TE 23 1


Robbie Agnone 48 TE 25 2


Reggie Kelly TE 34 12


Ryan Winterswyk 86 TE 24 UDFA


Tony Gonzalez 88 TE 35 14




Garrett Reynolds 75 OT 24 2


Rob McGill 70 OT 23 UDFA


Sam Baker 72 OT 25 3


Tyson Clabo 77 OT 29 7


Will Svitek 74 OT 29 6




Andrew Jackson 69 OG 26 Rookie


Harvey Dahl 73 OG 30 6


Joe Hawley 61 OG 22 1


Jose Valdez 65 OG 24 2


Justin Blalock 63 OG 27 4


Matt Murphy 66 OG 22 UDFA


Mike Johnson 79 OG 24 1




Paul Fenaroli 68 C 21 UDFA


Rob Bruggeman 67 C 25 2


Ryan McMahon 64 C 23 UDFA


Todd McClure 62 C 34 12


Defensive Ends


Chauncey Davis 92 DE 28 6


Cliff Matthews 98 DE 21 Rookie


Emmanuel Stephens 96 DE 24 1


Jamaal Anderson 98 DE 25 4


John Abraham 55 DE 33 11


Kroy Biermann 71 DE 25 3


Lawrence Sidbury 90 DE 25 2


Ray Edwards 93 DE 26 5


Tom McCarthy 70 DE 22 UDFA


Defensive Tackles


Corey Peters 91 DT 23 1


Jonathan Babineaux 95 DT 29 6


Kiante Tripp 76 DT 23 UDFA


Peria Jerry 94 DT 26 2


Trey Lewis 97 DT 26 4


Vance Walker 99 DT 24 2




Akeem Dent 43 LB 23 Rookie


Bear Woods 45 LB 1


Coy Wire 52 LB 32 9


Curtis Lofton 50 LB 25 3


LaMarcus Thompson 46 LB 23 UDFA


Mike Peterson 53 LB 35 12


Robert James 45 LB 27 2


Sean Weatherspoon 56 LB 23 1


Spencer Adkins 59 LB 24 2


Stephen Nicholas 54 LB 28 4


Youri Yenga 49 LB 22 UDFA




Brent Grimes 20 CB 28 4


Brian Williams 29 CB 32 9


Christopher Owens 21 CB 24 2


Darrin Walls 29 CB 23 UDFA


Dominique Franks 24 CB 23 1


Dunta Robinson 23 CB 29 7


Kamaal McIlwain 26 CB 23 UDFA


Kirk Belgrave 37 CB 23 UDFA




Matt Hansen 30 S 21 UDFA


Rafael Bush 36 S 24 1


Rafael Priest 38 S 24 1


Shann Schillinger 39 S 25 1


Suaesi Tuimaunei 41 S 23 UDFA


Thomas DeCoud 28 S 26 3


William Moore 25 S 26 2


Special Teams


Andrew Schulze 47 LS 23 UDFA


Jacob Harfman K UDFA


Joe Zelenka 82 LS 35 12


Ken Parrish 6 P 27 4


Matt Bosher 5 P 23 Rookie


Matt Bryant 3 K 35 9


Michael Koenen 9 P 29 6

For complete Falcons coverage, please visit The Falcoholic.


Falcons Vs. Steelers: Ray Edwards Expected To Make Atlanta Debut

The Falcons enter their next-to-last tuneup of the year Saturday night in Pittsburgh.

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