Atlanta Falcons – Michael Turner Keeps Them Undefeated

The only real headlines Michael Turner has gotten this season was after being arrested for a DUI. In their Sunday Night Football win over the Dallas Cowboys (19-13), Turner probably had his second noteworthy moment of the season, rushing for 102 yards and a touchdown, keeping the Atlanta Falcons as the only undefeated team in the NFL.

How do they do it? Simply playing good enough each time. Even they admitted that the win over the sliding Cowboys was far from impressive, but that’s what you have to do to keep winning streaks alive in this league. Just be good enough.

I think at the end of the day it’s a league that’s based on wins and losses and tonight was a solid effort by this team and we did what we needed to do to come out with a win. (Matt Ryan)

Ryan had a season high of 342 yards, but hsi more impressive accomplishments was the game management during the Falcons’ final drive, keeping his offense long enough on the field, setting up Matt Bryant’s fourth field goal of the night with 17 second left, forcing the Cowboys to go for a touchdown. Tony Romo managed another drive that fell too short, as Felix Jones was eventually stopped at the 22.

We have a very good football team. It says a lot about the resolve because there is going to be ebbs and flows in a football game, and there were a lot tonight. We did a nice job staying focused. (Mike Smith)

The Falcons are 30-4 at home under the Ryan-Smith duo. Halfway through the season, no one can really point out anything exceptional about this team. They couldn’t force any turnovers from the usually careless Tony Romo and they only sacked him once, despite the usual offensive line troubles the Cowboys go through. The Falcons just made stops and big tackles at the right time, especially in the second half, limiting the Cowboys, without DeMarco Murray once more, to only 65 yards on 18 carries.

Tonight was not a very good day as far as overall body of work. It was just one of those days where you have to have a short memory and get ready for the next game. (Matt Bryant)

Until Michael Turner’s touchdown in the fourth quarter, the game was mostly a kicking contest. The Cowboys took the lead in the first quarter through Dan Bailey; Matt Bryant made two in the second. But he also missed two field goals, from 43 and 37 yards. Bailey missed once, from 54 yards.

It was a game of going to what you know, and what works. Roddy White caught 7 passes for 118 yards. He’s well on pace for having his sixth consecutive 1000 yards season, and is just short (with 47 receptions so far) of having his third consecutive year of more than 100 receptions. He and Ryan aren’t the most explosive duo in the NFL, but you’ll look hard before you find a more reliable QB-WR tandem that’s been working so well for so long.

Nothing explosive, just dependable, safe, trustworthy. That’s pretty much the story of the Falcons season. Not doing anything out of the ordinary, but just executing well whatever they try. Good enough for a perfect half-season so far. Maybe even better down the road if Michael Turner can keep up with these kind of performances.

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