December 2010 - Atlanta Falcons Wiretap
Smith Explains Decision To Punt To Saints
The Falcons decided to punt to the Saints in the final moments of their game on Monday night, basically allowing them to run out the clock. New Orleans won 17-14. "Definitely thought it was the right thing to do," coach Mike Smith said. "It was fourth down and six with the ball out their 38, 39-yard line maybe even a little bit further out. But on fourth and six we felt like the way that we'd been playing defensively and we had two timeouts and we hopefully could wrap one around the two-minute warning. Unfortunately, we didn't get it done there at the end." Smith added that he didn't think Atlanta's defense got tired. "I don't believe so. We didn't execute very well on that one drive," he said. "The other score was a short field after a turnover and I thought we kept our rotation like we wanted to. They made the plays. It's the typical game when these two teams meet, since I've been here, there's only been one game that hasn't been at eight points or less. Most of them are at two or three or four point games."
Saints Clinch Berth, No. 1 Seed Still Possible
The Saints clinched a playoff berth by beating the Falcons 17-14 on Monday night. The victory also keep the defending-champions in play for the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC. They trail Atlanta by a game entering the season's final weekend. "It feels good," Drew Brees said. "You just want to punch your ticket to the big show, and we've done that. Obviously Carolina needs to beat Atlanta next week so we can get that 1-seed."
White Questionable For MNF Against Saints
Roddy White is questionable for Atlanta's game against New Orleans on Monday Night Football because of a knee injury. White has started every game this season and practiced fully on Friday with the Falcons. He has 106 receptions for 1,284 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
Gonzalez Unsure About Future Plans
Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez isn't sure if he'll play next season. He's under contract for 2011, but Roddy White thinks Gonzalez will retire if the team wins the Super Bowl. "I would be lying if I didn't tell you that I didn't think about it," Gonzalez said of retiring. "I'd be a fool if I didn't think about it; just trying to be prepared a little bit. But you think about it and then you detach from it." Last week, the tight end became the first player in league history to catch 60 or more passes in 12 consecutive seasons. He has 62 catches for 591 yards and five touchdowns this season. "Right now, I feel great, though," Gonzalez said. "I can tell you if it came down to coming back next year, I could do it easily from a physical standpoint."
Roddy White Regrets Controversial Katrina Remarks
Roddy White regrets sending a Tweet referring to Hurricane Katrina. "The grace of god gave them tht championship so tht city wouldn fall apart now and now they think they hot (obscenity)," he wrote. White acknowledged the comments were inappropriate. "I'm sorry," he said. "I really didn't say anything about the hurricane, but they took it that way. I wasn't trying to say anything mean about the city. I was just talking about the sports team. I am a football player. This is a sports topic. But everybody took it like, 'He hopes the city of New Orleans dies or something.' Come on, are you serious, man? It's not that serious."
RealGM's Week 15 Rundown
The Falcons clinched a playoff berth after the Giants lost to the Eagles and they celebrated it by topping the Seahawks. Philadelphia needed 28 points in the final seven-plus minutes to storm back and beat New York. San Diego 34, San Francisco 7 Trench Counter: Chargers +20.7, 49ers -20.7 The San Diego Chargers (8-6) never trailed as they defeated the San Francisco 49ers (5-9) on Thursday night. Philip Rivers went 19-for-25 with 273 yards and three touchdowns, all of which went to Vincent Jackson. With an early lead, San Diego leaned on Ryan Mathews (17 carries for 56 yards) and Mike Tolbert (17 touches for 46 yards and a touchdown). Jackson hauled in five passes for 113 yards and the three scores. Randy McMichael made a number of impressive catches and finished with five receptions for 55 yards. Alex Smith didn?t get much help and had just 165 yards and an interception on 19-for-29 passing. Anthony Dixon (33 yards) and Brian Westbrook (22 yards and a touchdown) weren?t very productive thanks to San Diego?s stingy defense. San Francisco was forced to punt the ball six times. Josh Morgan led the 49ers in receiving with seven catches for 109 yards in the loss. Baltimore 30, New Orleans 24 Trench Counter: Ravens +14, Saints -14 The Baltimore Ravens (10-4) beat the New Orleans Saints (10-4) on two Billy Cundiff field goals in the fourth quarter. Joe Flacco went 10-for-20 with 172 yards and two touchdowns, while Ray Rice shined. Rice ran 31 times for 153 yards and caught five passes for 80 yards and had two total touchdowns. Drew Brees had 267 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. New Orleans lacked a ground game, getting just 27 yards on 14 carries by Pierre Thomas, Julius Jones and Reggie Bush. Marques Colston was the team?s leading receiver with six catches for 80 yards, but Jeremy Shockey (29 yards and two touchdowns) and Lance Moore (26 yards and a score) caught scoring passes from Brees. Carolina 19, Arizona 12 Trench Counter: Panthers +8.5, Cardinals -8.5 The Carolina Panthers (2-12) earned just their second win of the season by topping the Arizona Cardinals (4-10). Jimmy Clausen had 141 yards and a touchdown on 13-for-19 passing. Jonathan Stewart ran 27 times for 137 yards and Mike Goodson added 21 yards on 10 touches. Tight end Jeff King caught a touchdown pass from Clausen, while Brandon LaFell had three catches for 33 yards. John Skelton struggled for Arizona, going 17-for-33 with 196 yards and an interception. The Cardinals managed just 43 net yards rushing. Larry Fitzgerald was the team?s lone offensive star, catching nine passes for 125 yards, including a 41-yarder. Steve Breaston recovered a Tim Hightower fumble and ran two yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati 19, Cleveland 17 Trench Counter: Bengals +1.6, Browns -1.6 The Cincinnati Bengals (3-11) held off the Cleveland Browns (5-9) despite losing Terrell Owens in the first quarter with a knee issue. Carson Palmer had 209 passing yards as the Bengals leaned on Cedric Benson. He rushed 31 times for 150 yards and a touchdown, the team?s only trip to the end zone. They got four field goals from kicker Clint Stitser. Andre Caldwell was Palmer?s top target, catching four passes for 89 yards. Colt McCoy went 19-for-25 with 243 yards and two touchdowns, including a 46-yarder to Brian Robiskie that brought Cleveland to within striking distance. Peyton Hillis didn?t find the end zone, but he did rush 14 times for 58 yards. Benjamin Watson was McCoy?s top target, hauling in seven catches for 92 yards. Dallas 33, Washington 30 Trench Counter: Cowboys +8, Redskins -8 After jumping out to an early lead, the Dallas Cowboys (5-9) needed a field goal to record a win over the Washington Redskins (5-9). Jon Kitna went 25-for-37 with 305 yards and two touchdowns. Tashard Choice ran for 53 yards and a touchdown, while Felix Jones tallied 117 total yards (70 rushing, 47 receiving). Jason Witten led with 10 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown. Washington fell behind early, but Rex Grossman finished with 322 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Ryan Torain was a game-time decision and had 53 yards on 11 carries. Anthony Armstrong had five catches for 100 yards, while Santana Moss (72 yards and two touchdowns), Chris Cooley (62 yards) and Torain (48 yards) all caught touchdown passes. Indianapolis 34, Jacksonville 24 Trench Counter: Colts +6.4, Jaguars -6.4 The Indianapolis Colts (8-6) pulled even with the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6) in the AFC South thanks to a win at Lucas Oil Stadium. Peyton Manning had 229 yards and two touchdowns, which both came in the first half. Donald Brown excelled for the Colts, rushing 14 times for 129 yards and a score. Austin Collie, who left the game with his second concussion of the season, caught eight passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. David Garrard went 24-for-38 with 294 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The Colts held Maurice Jones-Drew to just 46 rushing yards on 15 carries. Garrard threw a pair of scoring strikes to Mike Sims-Walker, who had four catches for 42 yards. Buffalo 17, Miami 14 Trench Counter: Bills +1.1, Dolphins -1.1 The Buffalo Bills (4-10) played spoiler by beating the Miami Dolphins (7-7) on Sunday. Ryan Fitzpatrick went 16-for-26 with 223 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Fred Jackson rushed 15 times for 36 yards, while C.J. Spiller added 16 yards on nine carries. Steve Johnson (six receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown) and Donald Nelson (three catches for 61 yards and a score) were Buffalo?s leading receivers. Chad Henne had 276 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Ronnie Brown rushed 10 times for 39 yards and a touchdown and Ricky Williams added just 19 yards on seven touches. Brandon Marshall had 11 catches for 106 yards and a score, while Davone Bess caught nine balls for 78 yards. Philadelphia 38, N.Y. Giants 31 Trench Counter: Eagles +8.9, Giants -8.9 DeSean Jackson scored on a 65-yard punt return as time expired to complete a thrilling comeback by the Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) against the New York Giants (9-5). Michael Vick went 21-for-35 with 242 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Vick also rushed 10 times for 130 yards and a score. The Eagles scored 28 points in the final eight minutes of the game to recover from a 31-10 deficit. Brent Celek (two receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown) and Jeremy Maclin (seven catches for 59 yards and two scores) were Philly?s leading receivers. Eli Manning went 23-for-39 with 289 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs combined to rush 31 times for 110 yards. Mario Manningham starred with eight catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns, while Hakeem Nicks (63 yards) and Kevin Boss (59 yards) also made it into the end zone. Kansas City 27, St. Louis 13 Trench Counter: Chiefs +16.2, Rams -16.2 The Kansas City Chiefs (9-5) got a much-needed win against the St. Louis Rams (6-8) on Sunday. Matt Cassel had 184 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his return from an appendectomy. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones combined to rush 33 times for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Dwyane Bowe was Cassel?s top target, catching two passes for 53 yards. Rams defensive end Wallace Gilberry sacked Sam Bradford three times. Bradford went 21-for-43 with 181 yards and two interceptions. Steven Jackson rushed 19 times for 67 yards and a touchdown, which came on a five-yard dash in the fourth quarter. After Sunday?s action, the Rams are tied with the Seahawks atop the NFC West with the 49ers just one game back. Detroit 23, Tampa Bay 20 (OT) Trench Counter: Lions +2.6, Buccaneers -2.6 The Detroit Lions (4-10) ended their 26-game road losing streak with an overtime victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6). Drew Stanton went 23-for-37 with 252 yards and a touchdown. Maurice Morris led Detroit with 15 rushes for 109 yards and a score, while Calvin Johnson led in receiving with 10 catches for 152 yards. Nate Burleson rushed once for 25 yards and hauled in four passes for 28 yards and a score. Dave Rayner sent the game to OT with a kick and won it on a 34-yarder. Josh Freeman had 251 yards and a touchdown on 21-for-32 passing. The Buccaneers led 14-7 midway through the second quarter. LeGarrette Blount rushed 15 times for 110 yards and a touchdown and Cadillac Williams tallied 38 yards on seven touches. Mike Williams had six catches for 96 yards and a score, while Kellen Winslow had 46 yards on four receptions. Tennessee 31, Houston 17 Trench Counter: Titans +8.5, Texans -8.5 The Tennessee Titans (6-8) scored 21 points in the first quarter and cruised to a win over the Houston Texans (5-9) at LP Field. Kerry Collins went 14-for-24 with 237 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Chris Johnson rushed 24 times for 130 yards and a touchdown and Javon Ringer had 19 yards and a score on four touches. Kenny Britt led the Titans in receiving with six catches for 128 yards, while Nate Washington and Justin Gage score touchdowns. Matt Schaub went 35-for-54 with 325 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Tennessee held Arian Foster to just 15 yards on 11 carries. Kevin Walter (seven receptions for 79 yards) and Andre Johnson (58 yards on six grabs) both caught touchdown passes from Schaub. Atlanta 34, Seattle 18 Trench Counter: Falcons +9.7, Seahawks -9.7 The Atlanta Falcons (12-2) pulled away from the Seattle Seahawks (6-8) in the third quarter as they scored all their points in the second and third periods. Matt Ryan had 174 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Michael Turner carried the ball 25 times for 82 yards as Atlanta milked the clock in the second half. Roddy White led the Falcons with seven catches for 65 yards and a score. Michael Jenkins and Jason Snelling also reached the end zone. Matt Hasselbeck went 10-for-17 with 71 yards and two interceptions before coach Pete Carroll replaced him with Charlie Whitehurst, who finished 8-for-16 with 83 yards. Marshawn Lynch rushed 12 times for 60 yards and a touchdown. Whitehurst scored on a one-yard scramble in the fourth quarter. Mike Williams caught a team-high eight passes for 66 yards. Oakland 39, Denver 23 Trench Counter: Raiders +10. Broncos -10 The Oakland Raiders (7-7) scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to down the Denver Broncos (3-11) in Tim Tebow?s first NFL start. Jason Campbell had 238 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Darren McFadden rushed 20 times for 119 yards and Michael Bush added 24 yards and two touchdowns on 12 touches. Jacoby Ford dashed 71 yards for a score, while also catching three passes for 47 yards. Marcel Reece led Oakland in receiving with two catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Tim Tebow went 8-for-16 with 138 yards and a touchdown, while rushing eight times for 78 yards and a score. Brandon Lloyd led Denver in receiving with four catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Tebow scored on a 40-yard run in the first quarter, while connecting with Lloyd on a 33-yard pass on the team?s next possession. N.Y. Jets 22, Pittsburgh 17 Trench Counter: Jets -5.2, Steelers +5.2 The New York Jets (10-4) outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4) with a strong defensive stand on the game?s final possession. Mark Sanchez went 19-for-29 with 170 yards and finished the game without a turnover. LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene totaled 89 yards on 23 carries, while Sanchez scrambled three times for 15 yards and a touchdown. Braylon Edwards was New York?s leading receiver with eight catches for 100 yards. Brad Smith opened the game with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger went 23-for-44 with 264 yards and a touchdown, which came on a nine-yard pass to Matt Spaeth in the second quarter. Rashard Mendenhall rushed 17 times for 100 yards and a touchdown, while Roethlisberger rushed twice for 25 yards. Mike Wallace caught seven passes for 102 yards and Emmanuel Sanders had seven grabs for 78 yards.
Falcons Clinch Playoff Berth With Giants' Loss
The Falcons were undoubtedly cheering as the Eagles completed a miraculous comeback against the Giants on Sunday afternoon. New York's loss allowed Atlanta to clinch a playoff berth before even taking the field in Week 15.
Falcons President Wants Playoff Seeding Changed
Falcons president Rich McKay would like to see playoff teams re-seeded, with division winners not necessarily granted a home game. McKay is also the co-chair of the NFL Competition Committee. He said similar proposals in the past have received upwards of 18 votes, but not the 24 needed by owners to pass a measure. Playoff seeding is an issue this season because the winner of the NFC West could be 8-8 or 7-9, while a team with 10 or 11 wins might have to go on the road. "I see the merits of what they're talking about," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "But I also believe that our playoff system has worked quite well. ... We were focused a lot on (whether or not) the priority should be win your division, get a home game. That's what clubs really felt should be the priority."