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Observations from Section 326: Week 1

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I write this in awe; total and complete awe. On Saturday my greatest worry was our defense. Today, my greatest worry wears black and gold. "Who dat?" indeed. After you read the game notes, follow the jump for a fireside story full of Falcons and more Falcons. For now, on to the game notes.

  • So sayeth Dave el Falconer: "We've secretly replaced the Atlanta Falcons defense with a team of powerful cyborgs from the future. Let's see if fans notice." Truer words, my dear Falcoholics, have never been spoken. 4 turnovers. 4 sacks. 2+2, IV, four. In one game. This ain't your daddy's Falcons defense. This isn't even the defense we had last year. What a brilliant, brilliant showing today.
  • If John Abraham is "The Predator" then Kroy Biermann is "Alien." Holy cripes. Two sacks, great spelling work for Abe, and he managed to make special team tackles. The next great Falcon nick name? Beer Man!
  • Either Peterson hits hard or Forsano shall forever be known as "butterfingers." The rationalist in me says "a bit of both" but the fan in me says "Peterson's a brick wall with wheels."
  • Williams has been with the team all of five days. He comes in day one and scoops up a fumble. You have to hand it to our Comrade and Smitty; they can surely pick 'em.
  • Domination is a good word. We kept Miami scoreless for 56:39. Fifty-six minutes and thirty-nine seconds of game time.
  • Matt Ryan was a bit rusty in the first half, over-throwing and making iffy reads. But he settled down...
  • Elam was a relative rust-bucket, ruining my fantasy team's chances with a 2/4 FG mark and a missed extra point. I don't know if he was thinking about the plot of his next book or trying to get rid of a hangover. Whatever it was, I hope it gets fixed.
  • Tony Gonzalez, as we have well established, was a fantastic move. Today, he proved that by grabbing just about everything that came his way. That touchdown catch+run in the third quarter was a lovely piece of work. Here's the formula for those not keeping up: Pro Bowl TE + Franchise QB + Reliable Runner + Stout Defense = Success.
  • The Dolphins had Turner's number all game long, at least until the last drive. Turner could just about smell the endzone. I suppose the Dolphin D had given up or had simply been brutalized so much they couldn't continue to contain the Burner. Regardless...
  • I really wish the team had piled on another score with a minute fifty left, especially considering that, were Elam's kicks all good, we would have been up 26-7 anyway. Maybe I'm just saying that because I desperately wanted my fantasy running back to score today. Or maybe I'm just one of those mean guys in Madden who runs up scores. I guess that's why I'm here and Coach Smith is stalking the sideline and calling the shots.
  • Don't know what was up with the refs, but they missed at least two very obvious pass interference calls. And then they allowed a Dolphin receiver to "catch" a ball with his thighs and butt after the nose of the ball hit the ground. Fabulous work, guys.

Thanks to Falcons New Media Director Dan Levak for making this story happen. Thanks Dan!

MentallyMIA and I arrived at Gate E a tad bit early to pick up pregame sideline passes. Once we had them, Dan led us towards the field. On the way, the following occurred:

"Hey Dan," someone exclaims from behind the three of us. 

Dan looks around. "Hey Thomas!"

MentallyMIA and I turn around.

"Hey! How're you guys doing?" asks the gentleman as he steps in line with us.

"Buh, uh...*silence*" replies MentiallyMIA.

I lose it for a moment, the recognition of the face staring back at me slow to travel from my eyes to my brain. I finally manage a smile and a slightly distant "I'm doing well, Mr. Dimitroff."

And then the Comrade jogged forward and entered the locker room with what seemed to be a knowing smile on his face. Perhaps, even then, two hours before the game, he knew of the upcoming domination of the Fish.

A few moments later, Mental and I were on the field, crossing that mythic yellow-dashed no-zone. Harvey Dahl, standing ten feet tall and just about as wide, shot a wave at me. I cowered for a moment before nodding in his general direction, making sure to quickly break eye contact. As we made our way across the Falcons bench, Dan explained the equipment and how everything on the sideline was done, from the headsets to the play-by-play snapshot maker.

Once settled in our sideline "area," we chewed the fat with Dan a while and started snapping off pictures. I managed to catch this with my camera before actually seeing it:


That, ladies and gentlemen, is Harry Douglas 5 days after having invasive knee surgery. With a very slight favor to the injured leg, HD scooted in front of us. Mental, being the gungho soldier he is, called out "That knee looks fine!" Harry turned around, pointed at James, and nodded. "Just had surgery on it Tuesday! It's feelin' good man! Can't wait to get back out there." I pointed right back at him, "Neither can we, but we want you healthy!"

Once 12:30 rolled around, Mental and I made it back to our seats and enjoyed one heck of a game.