Nov 6, 2012, 12:09 PM EDT
Atlanta Defeats Dallas 19-13
The last time the Atlanta Falcons lost and NFL game was in the playoffs last year. They remember.
That’s why, in spite of being 8-0, the Falcons acknowledge they won’t garner a lot of publicity until they do something in the post-season.
And while it’s much too early to talk about going 16-0 in the regular season, it’s tempting given Atlanta’s schedule:
They’ll play both New Orleans and Tampa Bay twice. They host Arizona and the Giants. And they travel to Carolina and Detroit.
Outside of the Giants, that schedule looks favorable to Matt Ryan and Company.
But anyone who’s ever coached or played in the NFL will tell you there is no such thing as an easy win.
And an undefeated regular season is completely unfulfilling if it’s followed by an immediate playoff loss.
“We haven’t won a playoff game in the Matt Ryan era,” Roddy White told me after last Friday’s practice.
“But if we keep winning, we keep getting home games in the playoffs, we’ll eventually win one.”
The Falcons have the skill players to succeed, and they have a defense that is gelling more and more by the week.
They also seem to have strong team chemistry, and in that department CB Asante Samuel’s presence can’t be ignored.
When I asked Samuel about the Falcons’ camaraderie he said, “There’s energy. We have a swag, a confidence. We’re out there dancing at practice and having fun because we’re confident. We’re not nervous. We’re not worried about anybody.”
DEMARCO MURRAY TO RETURN?
The Cowboys best running threat is second year player DeMarco Murray, who missed his third straight game Sunday Night with a sprained left foot.
Murray made the trip to Atlanta for Sunday night’s game and walked the field before the game decked in a slick suit.
I caught up with him and asked when he thinks he can return to action.
The 24-year-old told me he is optimistic he could return next Sunday at Philadelphia. A Monday meeting with team doctors will determine a lot.
Each week, those docs put Murray through a few paces — like jumping, hopping and raising up on his tip toes — to gauge his level of pain and readiness to return to practice.
Murray told me he did some treadmill running last week and felt pretty good. He hopes to convince doctors that this is the week he can get back on the practice field. The concern is that if Murray returns too soon he’ll suffer a setback.
If Murray can practice this week, expect him to play Sunday against the Eagles.
The Cowboys need him. Dallas ran the ball just 18 times for 65 yards Sunday night in Atlanta. Felix Jones, who accounted for 39 of those yards, is still banged up with neck and knee issues.
Lance Dunbar added 26 yards on eight carries, hardly enough to constitute a running threat.
LAST CHANCE FOR GONZALEZ?
Future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez has scored a touchdown against 31 of the NFL’s 32 teams. The only team that has kept him out of the end zone? Dallas.
Falcons tight ends coach Chris Scelfo told me before the game that Gonzalez was very aware of that tiny “blemish” on his otherwise pristine resume.
The only player in NFL history to have scored a touchdown against all 32 teams is WR Terrell Owens.
With Gonzales leaning toward retirement after the 2012 season, Sunday night could have been his last shot at the Cowboys.
A touchdown Sunday night would also have been the 100th in the Cal grad’s illustrious NFL career. He’ll surely reach that milestone, but he may well retire before facing Dallas again.
Sunday Night Football TwitterView all »
Jason Campbell's ready to make a run at Brandon Weeden http://t.co/g1WScCy6BB
Gronk is getting in one more Vegas run before surgery, and you can fly there with him http://t.co/qSVTwsSE8p
Bills' Mt. Rushmore could get crowded quickly http://t.co/wOg6g1PNFJ
Mario Williams, former fiancée at impasse over $785,000 engagement ring http://t.co/U3OYkJL8pO
Bears strike a deal with first-round pick Kyle Long http://t.co/pyq1cFr6LJ
Report: Titans LB Moise Fokou faces DUI charge http://t.co/Vspjs4bwf4
Bruce Irvin apologizes again, indicates he knows suspension could affect how he's perceived http://t.co/5dY5iF64Wz
Report: Packers gave OL Lane Taylor biggest signing bonus among their undrafted rookies http://t.co/zToP7HE6E4
Bengals LT Andrew Whitworth pays for funeral of 17-year-old who died as a result of offseason Oklahoma drills http://t.co/XfcUj9VoUx
RGII says everything "on cue" with RGIII's rehab http://t.co/LcNyss4wIp
Falcons get three more draft picks in the fold http://t.co/KqwCp7RNUX
Source: Gronkowski "probably" will need back surgery http://t.co/SjmAHXw5ae
Bruce Irvin suspended four games for violating performance enhancing substance policy http://t.co/81RgiPY8pS
Redskins sign second-rounder David Amerson http://t.co/3tcFqVg283
Former agent indicted for allegedly taking life insurance proceeds meant for Saints DL Frank Warren's family http://t.co/votxNwZUz1
Dion Sims is fourth Dolphins draft pick to sign http://t.co/OFJoOnLnmX
Report: Rob Gronkowski dealing with a back problem too http://t.co/eSDeyEYHFG
Josh Chapman healthy again, ready to start for Colts http://t.co/3jtbXaSA1g
Smokers will help pay for Vikings stadium funding gap http://t.co/Lno0VTHPyp
Sean Payton's return energizing the Saints http://t.co/CgLnNXN0Wd
Five total charges for Mike Goodson, who was arrested in car parked in middle of highway http://t.co/O76gBLJflI
Kendall Wright drops 14 pounds after cutting out junk food http://t.co/o4rCoEys84
Mike Glennon doesn't plan to take a "back seat" with the Bucs http://t.co/YyAFdLdapD
In a wonderfully timed interview, Chris Ivory said yesterday he was looking to do more for the Jets http://t.co/DiNFKaOvNE
Redskins sign fourth-round pick Phillip Thomas http://t.co/7EgyNWSy4y
Insurance policy on Peyton pays out $10 million for non-neck injury in 2013 that keeps him from playing in 2014 http://t.co/WzFqOCf5Tc
Patriots sign Jamie Collins, Steve Beauharnais http://t.co/Wlg73Rbti4
New Jet Mike Goodson taken in on drug, gun charges http://t.co/UxyWtmhBOY
Ravens suspected Reed had hip problem, Texans apparently didn't http://t.co/G7iYpXWzdG
WR Donte Stallworth has received clearance to return to football after injuries suffered in hot-air balloon accident, per league source.
Change in scheme nothing new for Brandon Carr http://t.co/uFLCYuiAsW
Family's attempts to get money left Tyron Smith feeling "betrayed" http://t.co/yjVaduT20J
Lions offense reminds Reggie Bush of Saints http://t.co/iG1s94249o
Former Dolphins assistant says Nick Saban is "the devil," and Saban doesn't like that very much http://t.co/AwToE2QQrb
C.J. Spiller thinks added speed's only going to help Bills http://t.co/HmSVE5GNts
Woodson expected to visit Raiders on Tuesday http://t.co/Hdt4A9Pr17
Peyton Manning makes another big donation http://t.co/lpFlPSJTLM
It's Texans Mt. Rushmore nomination time http://t.co/CJByVr11hW
Quinton Coples got the message Rex Ryan was sending http://t.co/8nMbGyhdvx
Friday morning one-liners http://t.co/9nxj1vIkkA
Peyton Manning's new deal doesn't change his compensation ($20M this year, $20M next year) or cap numbers http://t.co/5ikGcU0baj
Peyton Manning's new contract has insurance clause, which allows Broncos to get cap credit in the event of injury http://t.co/5ikGcU0baj
Peyton Manning signs new contract, but deal doesn't change. Story coming at PFT.
Dwight Freeney leaves San Diego without a deal, for now http://t.co/BJ14a2siYo
Cribbs calls Idzik's comment on his knee a "negotiation tactic" http://t.co/X6Hu5qOrDf
Giants sign tight end Morgan Newton, waive two http://t.co/8DQeukmmAr
Chargers sign linebacker Thomas Keiser http://t.co/G4bZjUiuSo
Saints coach Sean Payton gets "substantial" settlement from former LS Kevin Houser for nonexistent movie tax credits http://t.co/tqf05Nyp1d
Dimitroff on Matt Ryan contract talks: "We will get this done." http://t.co/1H8u10Isgf
Office finale 1, Seinfeld finale 0.
Sunday Night Football Headlines
- Te’o shows up at Maxim party honoring fake girlfriend
- Campbell’s ready to make a run at Weeden
- Gronk’s getting in one more Vegas run before surgery
- Bills’ Mt. Rushmore could get crowded
- Williams, former fiancée at impasse over ring
- Bears agree with first-round pick Kyle Long
- Report: Titans LB Moise Fokou faces DUI charge
- Bruce Irvin apologizes again, says image has taken “another blow”
- Report: Packers give undrafted guard Lane Taylor $7,000 bonus
- Whitworth will pay for funeral of boy who died from football injuries
- Pro Bowl
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