Reporting Carl Dukes
First let me start by saying Happy MLK Day!
Yes it sucks, sucks to lose! But after an incredible ride I would have rather been here, than not at all. The Falcons were one of six teams that have started 11-1 since the NFL adopted a 16 game schedule in 1978. Only one has won the Superbowl the 1991 Redskins. All the others that started 11-1 fail short and now so have the Falcons.
The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Falcons 28-24 and won the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, I am sad for many reasons… Tony Gonzalez sat frozen in front of his locker, “It’s emotional,” he said. “It’s probably the last time I’m ever going to wear that uniform or wear football pads and football cleats . . . he said. “I didn’t want to take it off to tell you the truth. All good things come to an end, and like I said, all season long, this is probably my last one.” He caught eight passes – on all eight throws he was targeted – for 78 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown that gave the Falcons a 24-14 halftime lead. But the facts are simple…the Falcons had a 17-0 lead and a 10 point lead at the half and BLEW IT!
Gonzalez, who caught 93 passes for 930 yards and eight touchdowns, will retire as the all-time leader in career receptions (1,242), yards (14,268), and touchdown catchers (103) among tight ends in NFL history, and ranks second only to Jerry Rice on the all-time receiving list.
The Falcons blew another postseason lead, Matt Ryan passed for 396 yards and three touchdowns, but the Falcons were shut out in the second half. Great start, terrible finish! The Falcons had 33 plays in the first half which produced 24 points. They had 33 plays in the second half which produced ZERO Points!
The Falcons led 17-0 in the first half and 24-21 entering the fourth quarter. Many people will say that the game came down to a fourth-and-4 from the 10, Matt Ryan’s pass over the middle for Roddy White was deflected by linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Game Over! But there were many other things that lead up to that point. It was the second straight week the Falcons blew a big lead. They led Seattle 20-0 in the first half of last week’s divisional playoff game, but needed a late field goal by Matt Bryant for a 30-28 win. The field goal was set up by Ryan’s two clutch passes. Not this week, not again.
The Falcons (14-4) were denied their second Super Bowl appearance. They lost to Denver in the Super Bowl following the 1998 season. Despite all the passing yards Ryan was hurt by two turnovers – an interception and a lost fumble on a shotgun snap. Penalties - Linebacker Stephen Nicholas was called for unnecessary roughness in the first half. A more crucial call came late in the third quarter when defensive end Cliff Matthews hit 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s helmet. If not for the roughing the passer penalty, the Falcons would have had a third-down stop.
We will talk about the game, this team and what happen today on the show.
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