December 2008 - Atlanta Falcons Wiretap
Turner Involved In 'Domestic Dispute'
Michael Turner was involved in a "domestic dispute" Monday night with the mother of his infant child, Gwinnett County Police Corp. David Schiralli said. Schiralli said police responded to a call between 7 and 8 p.m. EST Monday, but he would not identify the woman or the site of the incident. Police made no arrests and do not plan to file charges. "There is not enough probable cause for us to proceed any further," Schiralli said.
Matt Ryan Named Offense Rookie Of The Year
Matt Ryan was named The Associated Press 2008 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. Ryan was a landslide winner in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league. Ryan became the third quarterback in five years to win the award; before that, no QB ever took the honor. He joins Ben Roethlisberger (2004) and Vince Young (2006) as top rookie quarterbacks. Ryan collected 44 votes, far in front of Titans running back Chris Johnson with three. Broncos tackle Ryan Clady had two and Bears running back Matt Forte got one. RealGM Note: Ryan finished 2008 with a season FIC of 704, compared to 746 for Forte, 721 for Steve Slaton and 646 for Johnson. The impact Ryan made on Atlanta's club and their quick turnaround makes the quarterback the right choice and a relatively easy one, though the performances of those three running backs should not be downplayed whatsoever.
Falcons Could Get Billion Dollar Stadium
The developer negotiating to buy the former General Motors assembly plant in Doraville, Georgia, is floating the idea of building a stadium for the Falcons there. The Sembler Co. of St. Petersburg, Fla., has proposed using 90 acres for the stadium, with the remaining 75 acres going to mixed-use development, according to city documents. The stadium could have a retractable roof and cost approximately $1 billion. ?It is a possibility, but we don?t know yet what it will be,? Doraville Mayor Ray Jenkins said Wednesday. ?It?s an excellent spot for anything.? The Falcons play at the 16-year-old Georgia Dome downtown, which is older than 20 other NFL stadiums. The NFL frequently awards Super Bowls to cities with newer stadiums. Falcons' owner Arthur Blank has said he wants a new stadium when the bonds sold to build the Dome are paid off, probably around 2015 to 2020. The team?s lease of the state-owned facility expires in 2020 or when the bonds are paid off, McKay said.
RealGM's Week 16 NFL Rundown: Hope Gained And Lost
Chances are you saw a majority of the thirteen games played on Sunday in the NFL's Week Sixteen ? especially if you were snowed in -- but there is no need to worry if you weren't watching all the action. RealGM is here to help summarize all that went down as NFL teams took the field in the final weekend before the Christmas holiday. We will also calculate each team?s Trench Counter*. Indianapolis 31, Jacksonville 24 Team Trench Counter: Colts +1.9, Jaguars -1.9 The Colts (11-4) clinched a playoff berth against the Jaguars (5-10) on Thursday night with their seventh consecutive victory. Peyton Manning was nearly perfect, going 29-for-34 with 364 yards and three touchdowns. Dominic Rhodes, playing for the injured Joseph Addai, had 89 total yards and a scoring reception. Both Reggie Wayne (seven receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown) and Dallas Clark (eight catches for 105 yards and a score) showed great chemistry with Manning. The Colts trailed 14-0 midway through the second quarter, and needed three scores in the fourth quarter (including a 35-yard interception return by Keiwan Ratliff) to secure the win. David Garrard played respectably against the Colts? tough secondary, going 28-for-41 with 329 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Maurice Jones-Drew, handling a majority of the rushing duties for the Jaguars with Fred Taylor out for the season, tallied 91 rushing yards and 71 receiving in the defeat. Dennis Northcutt, covering for Matt Jones due to a suspension, was Garrard?s top target with eight receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown. Baltimore 33, Dallas 24 Team Trench Counter: Ravens +16.6, Cowboys -16.6 The Ravens (10-5) dealt a damaging blow to the playoff hopes of the Cowboys (9-6) with a thrilling win on Saturday night. Rookie Joe Flacco kept his cool in the important game, going 17-for-25 with 149 yards and a touchdown. With Dallas rallying in the fourth quarter, Willis McGahee and Le?Ron McClain scored on runs of 77 and 82 yards, respectively, to put the game away. Each run was the first play from scrimmage by Baltimore following a Dallas score. Derrick Mason led the team in receiving with six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, while McClain (139 yards on 22 carries) and McGahee (108 yards on eight attempts) both surpassed the 100-yard mark. After a poor start, Tony Romo rallied to finish the game with 252 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 24-for-45 passing. Tashard Choice, who handled the team?s rushing load with Marion Barber still nursing an injury, tallied 115 total yards and a score in the loss. Both Jason Witten (five catches for 87 yards) and Terrell Owens (five catches for 63 yards) reached the end zone on Romo passes, which may keep them from arguing for the time-being. DeMarcus Ware had one sack, which gives him 20 for the season. He?ll need 2 ? against the Eagles in Week 17 in order to tie Michael Strahan?s NFL record. San Diego 41, Tampa Bay 24 Team Trench Counter: Chargers +11.6, Buccaneers -11.6 The Chargers (7-8) momentarily kept their postseason hopes alive, while minimizing the Buccaneers? (9-6) chances. Philip Rivers excelled with 287 yards and four touchdowns on 21-for-31 passing. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed 21 times for 90 yards. San Diego scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, thanks to two Rivers? passes and a 59-yard interception return by Antoine Cason. Vincent Jackson led the team with seven receptions for 111 yards, while Antonio Gates reeled in four balls for 43 yards and two touchdowns. Jeff Garcia struggled when the Buccaneers needed him the most, going 21-for-35 with 232 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also scrambled six times for 45 yards and a score. Antonio Bryant was Tampa Bay?s leading receiver, catching six passes for 127 yards and a touchdown. In order to remain in the playoff race, San Diego needed Denver to lose to Buffalo in the second slate of games. Tampa Bay is still locked in a battle with Dallas, Atlanta and Philadelphia for a Wild Card spot. Tennessee 31, Pittsburgh 14 Team Trench Counter: Titans +4.3, Steelers -4.3 The Titans (13-2) clinched the AFC?s top seed and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs with a dominant win over the Steelers (11-3). Kerry Collins went 20-for-29 with 216 yards and one touchdown, while Chris Johnson (69 yards and a score) and LenDale White (48 yards and a touchdown) helped the team control the clock. Justin Gage was Collins? top target, catching five passes for 104 yards and a trip to the end zone. Tennessee put the game away late in the fourth quarter with an 83-yard interception return by Michael Griffin. Ben Roethlisberger was harassed all afternoon long, getting sacked five times by the swarming Titans? defense. He finished the afternoon with 331 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions on 26-for-40 passing. Willie Parker struggled on the ground, tallying 29 yards on eighteen rushing attempts. Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes had decent stat lines, with a combined twelve receptions for 202 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to his two interceptions, Roethlisberger lost two fumbles. San Francisco 17, St. Louis 16 Team Trench Counter: 49ers -6.4, Rams +6.4 The 49ers (6-9) rallied to score the game?s final fourteen points and defeat the lowly Rams (2-13). Shaun Hill went 18-for-34 with 216 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Both of Hill?s scoring strikes came in the fourth quarter, and he also scrambled four times for 45 yards. DeShaun Foster, playing for the injured Frank Gore, tallied 36 rushing yards on twelve carries. Isaac Bruce, who is now second on the NFL?s all-time receiving list, had seven receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. Josh Morgan caught a 48-yarder from Hill with a little more than one minute left in the game to give San Francisco the victory. Marc Bulger added to his disappointing season, going 19-for-36 with 227 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Steven Jackson ran well, tallying 108 yards on 32 attempts, but didn?t break a run longer than 12 yards and couldn?t find the end zone. Both teams had three sacks, and neither is still in the NFC playoff picture. St. Louis cornerback Ronald Bartell was the team?s lone star, picking off Hill twice in the loss. New England 47, Arizona 7 Team Trench Counter: Patriots +21.6, Cardinals -21.6 The Patriots (10-5) thoroughly dominated the Cardinals (8-7) on Sunday in a snowy battle at Gillette Stadium. Matt Cassell went 20-for-36 with 345 yards and three touchdowns in rough conditions, while Kevin O?Connell attempted two passes in garbage time. Sammy Morris had 88 rushing yards on fifteen carries, and LaMont Jordan added 78 yards and two touchdowns on twenty attempts. Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk all caught touchdown passes, while Jabar Gaffney led New England with five receptions for 90 yards in the victory. Kurt Warner struggled, going 6-for-18 with just 30 passing yards. Matt Leinart came on in the second half and went 6-for-14 with 138 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Arizona?s receivers had a great deal of difficulty reeling in passes, dropping many balls that would have been caught on a sunny day. The Cardinals? offense wasn?t much better on the ground, as Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower combined to rush for 36 yards on fourteen carries. Larry Fitzgerald had three receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown, which came on a late 78-yard completion that finally got Arizona on the board. Miami 38, Kansas City 31 Team Trench Counter: Dolphins +2.2, Chiefs -2.2 The Dolphins (10-5) edged the Chiefs (2-13) for a much-needed win on Sunday thanks to a 14-yard pass from Chad Pennington to Anthony Fasano near the end of the fourth quarter. Pennington had 235 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on 26-for-34 passing. Miami had 168 yards receiving, with five players accounting for at least 29 yards. Ricky Williams and Ted Ginn Jr. both reached the end zone on rushes. Fasano finished the afternoon with three catches for 47 yards and two scores. Miami kept themselves in the AFC East title race with the victory. Tyler Thigpen went 20-for-41 with 320 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in yet another close loss. Larry Johnson continued to put himself back on the map, rushing twelve times for 108 yards and a score. Thigpen scrambled well once again, tallying 57 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Running back Jamaal Charles led Kansas City with three catches for 102 yards. Devard Darling (three receptions for 69 yards) and Tony Gonzalez (seven catches for 64 yards) both had touchdown receptions. The Chiefs failed to record a sack. New Orleans 42, Detroit 7 Team Trench Counter: Saints +23.7, Lions -23.7 With the flu running through the locker room, the Lions (0-15) are one loss away from history after a beating from the Saints (8-7). Drew Brees had 351 yards and two touchdowns on 30-for-40 passing, and four players scored rushing touchdowns for New Orleans. Pierre Thomas (77 rushing yards), Deuce McAllister (61 rushing yards), Mike Bell (26 rushing yards) and Robert Meachem (20 yards on one carry) all rushed for scores. Marques Colston had one of his best games of the season, with nine receptions for 99 yards and two scores. Dan Orlovsky went 10-for-23 with 125 yards and two interceptions, while Drew Stanton had 12 yards on three pass attempts for Detroit in the loss. Rookie running back Kevin Smith had 111 yards and a touchdown, while Calvin Johnson hauled in four receptions for 64 yards. The Lions? defense forced one fumble, but couldn?t get to Drew Brees and allowed New Orleans to put up 532 total yards. Cincinnati 14, Cleveland 0 Team Trench Counter: Bengals +18.7, Browns -18.7 The Bengals (3-11-1) shut out the Browns (4-11) in a bland game. Ryan Fitzpatrick went 5-for-9 with 55 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 20-yard strike to Chris Henry in the second quarter. Cedric Benson enjoyed his best day with Cincinnati, rushing 38 times for 171 yards in the victory. Benson lost a fumble, and didn?t reach the end zone. Leon Hall scored the other touchdown for the Bengals, reaching the end zone on a 50-yard interception return in the first quarter. Ken Dorsey went 10-for-17 with 68 yards and three interceptions. Brad Gradkowski came on and added 8 passing yards and an interception on eight attempts. Jamal Lewis ran for 76 yards on sixteen attempts, which brought him over the 10,000-yard mark for his career. He?s just the 24th player to reach the plateau. Braylon Edwards led Cleveland in receiving with three catches for 35 yards. Seattle 13, N.Y. Jets 3 Team Trench Counter: Seahawks +4, Jets -4 The Jets (9-6) have fallen behind the Patriots and Dolphins in the AFC East race after losing to the Seahawks (4-11) on Sunday. Seneca Wallace managed a good game, going 18-for-25 with 175 yards and a touchdown. Maurice Morris ran 29 times for 116 yards, while Bobby Engram was Wallace?s top target with six receptions for 65 yards. In addition to intercepting Brett Favre twice, Seattle? defense sacked him four times. The game was coach Mike Holmgren?s final one at Qwest Field in Seattle. Favre went 18-for-31 with 187 yards and two interceptions in the loss. Thomas Jones had 67 rushing yards on seventeen carries, and added 29 receiving yards on three catches. Jerricho Cotchery led New York with six receptions for 81 yards, and Laveranues Coles had five catches for 60 yards. The Jets? defense wasn?t able to sack Wallace, and will need some luck and a win against the Dolphins next week to make the playoffs. Oakland 27, Houston 16 Team Trench Counter: Raiders +4.9, Texans -4.9 The Raiders (4-11) used a big third quarter to keep the Texans (7-8) from moving over. 500 on the season. JaMarcus Russell went 18-for-25 with 236 yards and two touchdowns, and Justin Fargas rushed for 93 yards on 22 carries. Rookie Darren McFadden added 46 yards on twelve attempts, and tight end Zach Miller led the team in receiving with four catches for 70 yards. Johnnie Lee Higgins and Chaz Schilens both topped the 50-yard mark and reached the end zone. Higgins helped led Oakland to victory with an 80-yard punt return in the third quarter that put the game out of reach. Matt Schaub went 19-for-36 with 255 yards and an interception. Rookie Steve Slaton had 66 yards on eighteen carries, and tight end Owen Daniels led the Texans in receiving with seven catches for 111 yards. Andre Johnson, one of the league?s top receivers on the season, was limited to just 19 yards on two catches. Buffalo 30, Denver 23 Team Trench Counter: Bills -2.3, Broncos +2.3 The Broncos (8-7) will have to beat the Chargers next weekend in order to win the AFC West and make the playoffs after losing to the Bills (7-8) at Invesco Field on Sunday. Trent Edwards went 17-for-25 with 193 yards and a touchdown, while Fred Jackson (43 yards on ten carries) and Marshawn Lynch (34 yards on eleven attempts) both scored rushing touchdowns. Jackson added three receptions for 70 yards, while Josh Reed led Buffalo in receiving with nine catches for 79 yards in the victory. Jay Cutler had 359 yards and an interception on 25-for-45 passing. Denver?s running backs struggled, with receiver Eddie Royal (71 yards on one carry) and Cutler (30 yards and two touchdowns) leading them on the ground. Brandon Marshall didn?t reach the end zone, but he had ten receptions for 129 yards. Royal, the leading rookie receiver in the NFL, added five receptions for 57 yards in the loss. After opening the season with a 4-1 record, the Broncos have lost six of their last ten games. Washington 10, Philadelphia 3 Team Trench Counter: Redskins +1.2, Eagles -1.2 The Eagles (8-6-1) couldn?t take advantage of a prime opportunity to put themselves in control of their own playoff destiny as they lost to the Redskins (8-7). Jason Campbell went 18-for-33 with 144 yards in a game that was dominated by defense. Clinton Portis had 70 yards and a one touchdown on 22 carries, while Ladell Betts added 66 total yards in the victory. The Washington defense sacked Donovan McNabb twice and delivered hard hits to force a host of drops by Philadelphia receivers. McNabb went 26-for-46 with 230 yards and nothing else. He connected with Reggie Brown with just seconds left, but the receiver was tackled at the goal line to end the team?s chances at a dramatic comeback. Brian Westbrook had 45 yards on twelve carries and caught six passes for a team-high 71 yards. Tight end L.J. Smith added 49 yards on seven catches, as the Eagles opted to run a variety of screen plays to no avail. Philadelphia will need to beat Dallas next weekend, and hopes for some luck in order to grab the NFC?s final Wild Card slot. Atlanta 24, Minnesota 17 Team Trench Counter: Falcons -2.7, Vikings +2.7 The Falcons (10-5) clinched a Wild Card berth with a win over the Vikings (9-6) at the Metrodome. Matt Ryan went 13-for-24 with 134 yards and a touchdown, while Michael Turner had 70 rushing yards and a touchdown on nineteen carries. Justin Blaylock recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown as Atlanta jumped out to a 24-7 lead through three quarters. The Vikings nearly rallied back in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons? defense did just enough to preserve their lead. Tarvaris Jackson went 22-for-36 with 233 yards and two touchdowns, but lost two fumbles and struggled on the team?s final drive. Adrian Peterson rushed for 76 yards and caught two passes for 16 yards, but he lost a fumble as well. Jackson, a much better scrambler for Gus Frerotte, rushed eight times for 76 yards in defeat. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe led Minnesota in receiving with seven catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns. If Chicago beats Green Bay on Monday night, the Vikings will need a win in Week 17 to win the NFC North. N.Y. Giants 34, Carolina 28 (OT) Team Trench Counter: Giants +2.9, Panthers -2.9 They needed overtime and a sizable comeback, but the defending champion Giants (12-3) locked up the NFC's top seed with a win over the visiting Panthers (11-4). Brandon Jacobs scored on a 1-yard run, and Eli Manning converted a two-point conversion pass to Domenik Hixon, to tie the game with a little over three minutes remaining in regulation. Jacobs then scored again roughly five minutes in overtime to give New York the win. Manning finished the night 17-for-27 with 181 yards and a touchdown. Jacobs (87 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries) and Derrick Ward (215 yards on 15 touches) dominated on the ground. Jake Delhomme went 11-for-19 with 185 yards for the Panthers, as DeAngelo Williams excelled on the ground. Williams rushed 24 times for 108 yards and four touchdowns. Muhsin Muhammad led Carolina in receiving with four catches for 80 yards. The Panthers took a 21-13 lead into the half, but the Giants owned the game's final 35 minutes. New York will not have home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. *Explaining The Trench Counter
Could Ryan Be First Rookie MVP?
No rookie has ever won the NFL's Most Valuable Player award, but Atlanta's Matt Ryan appears to be a legitimate candidate for the honor this season. Ryan's 8.1 yards per attempt ranks third in the league, and he is close to leading the Falcons to the playoffs. He has completed 62.2% of his passes, thrown for 3,146 yards and 14 touchdowns through the season's first fourteen games.
Lawyer: Vick Could Move To Halfway House
Michael Vick could be out of federal prison and into a Virginia halfway house by mid-January, one of his attorneys told a federal bankruptcy judge Tuesday. Vick is serving a 23-month prison term in Leavenworth, Kan., for bankrolling a dogfighting conspiracy.
Bucs' Garcia Could Miss Game Against Falcons
Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia could miss Sunday's game against the Falcons with a calf injury. Backup Luke McCown took first-team practice reps for the second straight day Thursday. "I see that as a possibility," Coach Jon Gruden said. "We'll do the best we can to do what's right. We'll talk to the player that's injured, talk to the training staff, the people that are experienced and educated enough to make these calls. Obviously, you need your best players to win at this time of year."
Falcons' Smith: Playoff Teams Don't Miss Tackles
Falcons' coach Mike Smith had a message for his young team on Monday: Playoff teams don't miss tackles. "I've got no reservations about it," Smith said. "With 3:15 to go, fourth-and-5 from our 35, I felt like we'd punt them back, which we did. Michael (Koenen) hit a big punt. They had the ball first-and-10 on the 13 with 3:15 to go. We had two timeouts and the two-minute (warning). If we are able to stop them, we were going to get the ball back to our offense in better field position than if we'd taken the gamble on fourth down." Atlanta didn't just struggle down the stretch on defense, they missed a number of special teams tackles as well. "There were actually three missed tackles on the kickoff return," Smith said. "There were also a couple of leverage issues where guys were out of position."
Morten Andersen, NFL's All-Time Scorer, Quits
Kicker Morten Andersen, the NFL's career-leading scorer, is retiring because of knee problems. Andersen scored 2,544 points during his 25-year career. "I realized I no longer can train in an optimal way because of my knees," Andersen told The Associated Press. "So I am retiring."