Posts Tagged ‘Julio Jones’


Monday, January 23rd, 2017

by Nwaji Jibunoh

Nwaji Blog





Falcons head coach Dan Quinn gets the infamous Gatorade bath.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn gets the infamous Gatorade bath.

The date was January 17, 1999. I was in the West Towers Dormitory of Howard University. It was my sophomore year and The Atlanta Falcons had risen as the formidable force in the NFC. They had beaten the 49ers and were coming off a regular season 14-2 and were getting ready to go up against The No.1 seeded Vikings. The game went back and forth and The Vikings were keen on showing why they were pretty much unstoppable that season. When the game went into overtime, I felt as though this might be it. Two plays later and that man [Morten] Andersen kicked a FG that sent the Dirty Birds to the Super Bowl. “Elation” cannot explain the feeling I experienced until that elation quickly turned into despair only 2 weeks later, when the Falcons got a hiding at the hands of John Elway. Very painful…..let’s move on.

After that Super Bowl, the Dirty Birds became a regular NFL team that really didn’t accomplish much. We went from season to season just coasting along and remaining relevant in the NFL. It wasn’t until we drafted Michael Vick in 2001 that we began to see a resurgence of Atlanta magic at the Georgia Dome. Those years of having a deeply athletic elite QB made a big difference in some foundation work of where the Falcons would eventually end up. Then, the dog fight situation happened (grrrr), Vick gets suspended, and then we get a number 3 draft pick with Matt Ryan in 2008.

When Ryan joined the Falcons, I was optimistic given what he had done at Boston College. Since he joined, The Falcons have been to the playoffs 5 times where Matt was only able to record 1 win. Matt Ryan went from “Matty Ice” to “Matty can’t win in January”. 2012 was promising because we saw the Falcons go 13-3 in the regular season and then make it to the Conference Championship Game, only to be ousted by the San Francisco 49ers, even though the Falcons started off the game 17-0.

From that point up until now, we have barely broken .500 and not even gone to the playoffs. Last season, long time coach Mike Smith was replaced by Dan Quinn; a no nonsense thoroughbred Defensive coach that came up through the Seattle system. Immediately we saw a turnaround in the way the team played by starting out the 2015-2016 season 5-0, only to be hampered by injuries, bad situations on penalties costing us vital plays, and overall sloppiness. The season ended 8-8 and most fans were wondering what next and how do we build on these mistakes.

2016 started out promising.  Flashes of the previous season prevailed in certain games, but it wasn’t until the game against the Philadelphia Eagles in November that we began to see the Falcons firing on all cylinders, only losing one game from that point up until now, making it a 7-game winning streak going into the Super Bowl.

The last two games of the playoffs have been nothing short of a phenomenal display of the ability of this team. Beating teams with powerhouse quarterbacks such as [Russell] Wilson and [Aaron] Rogers shows just how far and how prepared this quad is. The offensive weaponry at the disposal of Matt Ryan justifies why he leads the league in touchdowns to several different receivers. Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu Jr are having epic seasons and the ground game controlled by [Tevin] Coleman and [Devonta] Freeman are just gems to watch. Then you have the mostly rookie defense who get stronger by the day.

All in all, it has been a fairytale story for the Falcons. From relative obscurity to playing in the Super Bowl for the second time in their history remains remarkable for fans like me that were introduced to this franchise via association, by living in the city.

Sunday, February 5th, the Dirty Birds will have the opportunity to take us back to the days of Jamal Anderson and the antics that defined the Dirty Bird, but this time flying away sky high in Texas.


Nwaji Jibunoh, International Correspondent for War Room Sports

Located in Lagos, Nigeria, Nwaji Jibunoh is War Room Sports’ International Soccer Contributor.  Nwaji also contributes commentary on U.S. sports from an international perspective.  He’s an Atlanta Falcons fan, Howard University alum, and former tight end for the North Atlanta High School Warriors.

VIDEO: Asante Samuel Delights in Giving an ‘A**-Whopping’ to the Philadelphia Eagles

Monday, October 29th, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell






No one in Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon was happier about the Falcons’ victory over the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field than Asante Samuel.  Not Matt Ryan.  Not Julio Jones.


You’ll be shocked to know that Samuel chose to act a fool while being interviewed in the locker room following the game, delighted over the beating his new team handed his former organization.  To be precise, Samuel called it a “good, old-fashioned ass-whopping.”

We know.  We saw it.

Samuel also stated that Andy Reid refused to speak to him (the best decision Big Red made all day), and that there wouldn’t be the “Fire Andy” talk if Samuel was still on the Eagles roster.

In other words, he was being Asante.

You can read the full transcript of his comments here via CSNPhilly and watch the video above.

Now let us never speak of this man – or this game – ever again.  Alright, fine, we’ll talk a little more  about the loss and Todd Bowles’ horrific debut as the team’s defensive coordinator because I guess we have to.

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.


Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports



Falcons – Eagles Preview: Defeating the Undefeated

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

by Brandyn Campbell




Key to victory: Give Shady the ball.
(Image via Philly Sports Central)

The Atlanta Falcons look pretty beatable for an undefeated team.

Their six wins have come against nary a winning team, .500 being the best record of an opponent they’ve faced this season.  A 30-28 win in Week 4 against the Panthers or a 23-20 victory in Week 6 over the Raiders can’t exactly be described as impressive or dominating.  Yes, the Falcons have come out with wins in every game but are they a commanding team?  That is what the Falcons seek to prove on Sunday.  The Philadelphia Eagles plan to show that the mighty can and will fall, particularly when the Falcons travel to the Linc and have failed to secure a victory in four previous trips to Philadelphia’s stadium.

Sunday’s contest promises to be a great game, with the stakes high for both birds facing each other on the field.  The Philadelphia Eagles are fighting for their very future.  With a coordinator already gone, each and every player and coach has been put on notice.  The time to talk a good game is over.  It’s time to go play it.  But Philadelphia never does things the easy way, proving themselves at the very moment their backs are against the wall.

Well, the wall has appeared and it can’t be much higher.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has been stellar this season with 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with a passer rating of 98.8.  But Ryan threw 3 interceptions in Atlanta’s game against Oakland making ball security a concern for quarterbacks of both teams this week.

The Eagles D is tasked with trying to neutralize Ryan and his tremendous offensive weapons.  Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez are all dangerous players and Ryan spreads out his throws successfully to all three.  This means that Philadelphia’s defense must bring pressure to Ryan and Atlanta’s pass-heavy offense.  Gonzalez gave Philadelphia fits in last year’s meeting and this time will be covered by Mychal Kendricks and Nate Allen.  We know that Kendricks is good but the rookie will face an incredible challenge in trying to contain Gonzalez.  With a new DC, Philadelphia can inject an element of surprise to Ryan and the Falcons with the addition of some blitzing plays to keep the pressure coming.

The same concerns that existed prior to the bye for the Eagles offense are still there, first among them the turnover issue.  Andy Reid and Mike Vick were not able to find an effective solution in their bag of tricks before the break but their futures depend on ending the giveaways.  The shaky offensive line was dealt another blow with rookie Dennis Kelly likely getting his first NFL start on Sunday to replace RG Danny Watkins, who is suffering from left ankle issue.  King Dunlap is back as the starting left tackle, which should provide some solace for this line as Demetress Bell has continued to underwhelm with pass protection.  The o-line has been ravaged by injury this season but quite simply has to make it work this game and for the rest of the year.

Atlanta’s secondary thrives on takeaways and former Eagle Asante Samuel would just love to get a pick this game to prove to his old team that he is not damaged goods and they made a mistake in trading him.  Samuel has one 76-yard interception return for a touchdown this season and the Falcons have gotten a total of 17 takeaways.  Safety Thomas DeCoud has four interceptions alone, tied for the lead in the NFL.

Where can the Eagles get an edge against an aggressive Falcons defense?  By getting the running game going and sticking with it.  LeSean McCoy has struggled in the two weeks prior to the bye but Atlanta’s defense against the run is 28th– worst in the league, allowing an average 143.8 yards per game on the ground and allowing 5.2 YPC.  When Shady is your running back and you’re going against a team with such poor run defense, you run the ball.  Period. Philadelphia found success when it dialed up more rushing than passing attempts as it did in its victories against the Ravens and Giants.  They have the talent to do it and the more Vick is asked to throw the more potential for problems.

The intrigue of the Mike Vick-as-former-Falcons quarterback has faded but there is plenty to make this game a must-see matchup as well as a must-win contest for the Eagles.  Hurricane Sandy will likely make the weather a mess, not a comforting fact given concerns about ball security.  Todd Bowles makes his debut as the team’s DC and needs to prove that he can dial up the right plays at the right time for the Eagles defense.  The implications of 3-4 versus a 4-3 record are entirely different for Philadelphia and this team cannot afford to dip below .500.  There is no more time for excuses.  And if it’s another messy outing for Vick, things will get even more dramatic for Philadelphia.

Who has the edge in Sunday’s game?  I’d say it’s the team who has the most at stake.  In this case, it is hands-down the Philadelphia Eagles.  Expect them to come out swinging, seeking to prove to their detractors and to themselves that they can hand Atlanta their first loss this season.  It doesn’t hurt that the Falcons are 0-4 at the Linc, either.  Prediction: Eagles 27 Falcons 21

Want more Philly Sports Muse? You can find me on Twitter at @sports_muse and on Facebook.


Brandyn Campbell of Philly Sports Muse, for War Room Sports