Can't decide what's more shocking: that there was a thoroughly entertaining and compelling game on Monday Night Football or that the Jets went an entire game without turning the ball over. Ha. Just kidding. It was Jon Gruden not doing more Crossfit workouts in the booth that surprised me most.
Now that the Falcons have already lost more games than they did in 2012 and dropped four games behind the Saints for the AFC South division lead, Atlanta fans not desperately clinging to the hope of a New Orleans implosions might have to just concede the division to the Saints a week into October. That's rought. That is, if they aren't busy questioning Mike Smith for a panicked and ultimately ineffective 4th down attempt at the first half for the second week in a row.
Can Atlanta possibly bounce back and make something of this season? You might if, like Steve Young, you BELIEVE IN THE GRIT OF MATT RYAN!!!!!!
Oh yes, that really happened. As did that unexpected Jets performance. Let's examine the standout moments of the night while we're still coming to grips with that.
I already posted a GIF of the live shot of Julio Jones' monster 4th quarter catch on the front page, but no question it deserves another look. Julio finished with eight catches for 99 yards. If the Falcons can ever get a running game going again, they could certainly make a run at a Wild Card berth based on the strength of the offense alone. The problem is, the issues with the running game appear to be beyond just Steven Jackson not being around.
Sure, Falcons punter was flagged for a horse collar for his takedown of Jeremy Kerley at the end of a long punt return by the Jets. But I submit that he retains all badass points for also taking out a coach on the sidelines after making the play.
It's not often that you see a punt get blocked and the punting team still manage to recover the ball and complete a pass. The pass was indeed legal. It bought the Atlanta defense a small but of cushion with field position. Given that the Jets had to settle for a field goal on the ensuing drive, that might have made a difference.
It wasn't all fun and touchdowns for Geno Smith. He did get blindsided on this one hit by Osi Umenyiora. Osi has four sacks on the season, only one fewer than his former team, the Giants.
Bless you, leather-clad Falcons fan twisting to "Whoomp! (There It Is)" as well as the fey guy in what appears to be a ladies hoodie. I do hope they came together.
This 360 facemask pull on Jacquizz Rodgers might be the most egregious that I've ever seen not get flagged. Not that it really mattered in the grand scheme of the game as the Falcons scored on that drive. Still, I assume safety and all that is still a concern. Granted, broken necks aren't CTE, but I doubt they're great publicity either.
The usual Sunday Soundtracks greatness. Brady wishing Pacman Jones good luck before the game is a nice touch. FORESHADOWING! As is Kevin Greene telling his players to smash Reggie Bush into the cheap seats. But what I really enjoy is the Lions coach making a half-hearted speech that his players should stop being the nails and get back to being the hammers. You can already see the defeat in his eyes. It's wonderful.
It might be the pose, but Arthur Blank looked more like Gomez Addams than ever this evening. Oh, and I can never get enough Tom Dimitroff looks of disbelief. It's been a great season for that.
ESPN had their production staff put together a stats package about how Geno Smith's 11 turnovers in his first four starts are the most since Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning were rookies. He's clearly following in their footsteps! But which one? Well I suppose we can never know until there are knee-jerk reactions to his performance on a week-by-week basis from now until the end of his career. Thanks, sports media.
I want more like this!
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