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Keys to the game: Dolphins versus Falcons

As I said on my NFL Network segment Friday evening, the Falcons promised to be a bangin' team this season. Now, they're mostly a banged up team.

Kroy Biermann is out, Sean Weatherspoon is out, Steven Jackson is out and news came Friday that left tackle Sam Baker is out. Meanwhile, receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones are questionable and although they are expected to play, they clearly are not 100 percent.

So who has the edge?


When the Dolphins pass the football: The Dolphins have shown in the first two games they can put
a diverse passing game on the field. They can beat you with Brian Hartline leading the way. They can beat you with Mike Wallace leading the way. And, increasingly, Charles Clay is becoming a weapon for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The only issue in the passing game so far has been the ability to keep
Tannehill healthy. He’s been sacked nine times in two games and that is no way to have your starting quarterback live. At that rate, Tannehill would be sacked 72 times in 2013. The most sacks the Dolphins have ever allowed in a season is 53 in 1969. Osi Umenyiora is the most accomplished pass rusher for the Falcons but he doesn’t have a sack this season. ADVANTAGE: Dolphins.

When the Dolphins run the football: The Dolphins averaged 3.7 yards per rush last week against
Indianapolis and that was considered an epiphany. That speaks to how far the Dolphins have yet to go before they feel comfortable with their running game. Simply, it is not very good right now and has a long way to go to be merely mediocre. Blocking has to get better. Running has to get better. The Falcons are rated ninth in the NFL in rush defense. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan stresses the importance of stopping the run, but without linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and defensive end Kroy Biermann in the lineup this week due to injuries the challenge grows. ADVANTAGE: Falcons.

When the Falcons run the football: The Falcons didn’t scare anyone running the football the first two games and then they lost starting running back Steven Jackson to injury. Now a team that has gained only 62 yards rushing per game is without the player who was averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Atlanta must rely on Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers, who have 15 rushes between them. The Dolphins will be without defensive tackle Paul Soliai and that hurts because he’s their best interior run stopper. But because Randy Starks and Jared Odrick are on the roster, Miami loses very little in the starting lineup. The issue will show up in the drop in talent when the Dolphins substitute. ADVANTAGE: Dolphins.

When the Falcons pass the football: Julio Jones is one of the NFL’s best and most explosive receivers. He is a matchup nightmare for the Dolphins. It also is troubling for Miami that Roddy White, although slowed by injury, is also talented while Harry Douglas has elite speed and is leading the team with a 17.0 yard per catch average. The problem for the Falcons is they’re having trouble protecting Matt Ryan. Ryan has been sacked five times, but he gets hit a lot more than that. And it gets worse: Starting left tackles Sam Baker is out this game. That means Lamar Holmes, a first-year starter, moves from right tackle to left tackle. Holmes, by the way, was starting at right tackle only because Mike Johnson was injured during training camp. And now he's the left tackle? Anyway, Jeremy Trueblood takes over the right tackle position, which is interesting because he wasn't even on the team three weeks ago and when he was signed it was for depth purposes. Now Trueblood matches up versus Cameron Wake. The Dolphins, meanwhile, rush the passer in waves led by Wake and Derrick Shelby. That’s right, Shelby. He has so far been the second-most productive Dolphins pass rusher. ADVANTAGE: Dolphins.

Special teams: Matt Bryant can make the clutch kick as evidenced by his 49-yard game-winning field goal with 13 seconds to play in last year’s playoffs. But he is 38 years old and his range outdoors in the elements is a question. Matt Bosher, formerly of the University of Miami, leads the NFL in net punt average. The Dolphins have no issue in the kicking and punting department so far but need to get more production out of their returns. The Dolphins are 28th in the NFL in punt returns.

Coaching: Joe Philbin has his team playing at a high level as Miami is 2-0 for the first time since 2010 and this home opener will be a great opportunity to win the home crowd’s trust. The Miami staff must solve their team’s issues containing tight ends and fix the running game but has done a great job improving the passing game and defense against the pass so far this year. Mike Smith became Atlanta’s head coach in 2008 and has become among the most successful coaches since, compiling a 57-25 regular season record. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, no stranger to Dolphins fans, is excellent at resolving problems and hiding deficiencies. ADVANTAGE: Falcons.

Intangibles: Not having Soliai would be a big deal for the Dolphins but not nearly the issue the Falcons seem likely to have with the loss of Baker, Jackson, Weatherspoon, and Biermann. OVERALL ADVANTAGE: Dolphins. 


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I can promise you that the Falcons thank the Dolphins every day for drafting Jake Long instead of Matt Ryan.

Big advantage Dolphins pass rush. Ryan will hit some passes to his stud receivers but the pressure on him should be huge. Dolphins will win by forcing turnovers.

3x Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week winner
AP Offensive Rookie of the Year (2008)
Rookie of the Year by Sporting News[55] (2008)
All-Rookie Team by Sporting News (2008)
NFC Rookie of the Month (October 2008)

ESPY Award: Best Breakthrough Athlete[56] (2009)
NEXT Athlete award (ESPN the Magazine) (2009)
NFC Player of the Month (November 2010)[57]

NFL Records[edit source]
First rookie quarterback to start all 16 regular-season games and make the playoffs (shared with Joe Flacco(2008), done later by Andrew Luck (2012), and Russell Wilson (2012)
First rookie quarterback and rookie coach tandem(w/Mike Smith) to take team to the playoffs (shared with Flacco and [[John Harbaugh]])
Most Regular Season wins by a quarterback in his first five season: 56 (not to be confused with Most Regular Season Wins by a quarterback in his first five seasons as a starting QB, held by Tom Brady at 58)
3rd most touchdowns in NFL history by a quarterback in his first five seasons(Others are Dan Marino and Peyton Manning)
2nd rookie quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards
3rd most consecutive completions in NFL history(22)
One of few quarterbacks to throw a touchdown on first NFL pass

Falcons franchise records
Most 4th Quarter Comeback Wins in a Single Season: 5 (2010)
Most Career Game Winning Drives: 23
Most Game Winning Drives in a Single Season: 6 (2010 and 2012) (tied with Steve Bartkowski)[58]
Fewest Interceptions in a Regular Season by Starting QB — 9 (2010) (16 starts)[58]
Most Wins in a Regular Season by a Starting QB: 13 (2010 and 2012)[58]
Most Passing Touchdowns in a Single Season - 32 (2012)
Most 300+ Yard Passing Games, Career – 17
Most 300+ Yard Passing Games, Season – 7 (2012)
Most 4,000 Passing Yard Seasons, Career – 2
Most 3,000 Passing Yard Seasons, Career – 4
Most Consecutive Seasons, 4,000 yards passing – 2 (2011-2012)
Most Consecutive Seasons, 3,000 Yards Passing – 3 (2010-2012)
Most Passing Yards in a Single Season: 4,719 (2012)[58]
Most Passing Attempts in a Single Season: 615 (2012)
Most Passing Passing Completions in a Single Season: 422 (2012)
Highest Completion Percentage, Career: 62.7
Highest Completion Percentage in a Single Season: 68.6 (2012)
Best Career Quarterback Rating for Starting QB: 90.9[58]
Most Career Wins by Starting QB - 56
Most Wins by Starting QB in his first five seasons: 56
Only Falcons QB to lead the team to a 8-0 start [58]

Who gives a shyt about Matt Ryan??? Hopefully just our defense...why are we putting up stats and talking about the 2008 DRAFT...who gives a shyt??? It's 2013...get over it...move the Fk on...


Your right...It really doesn't matter if we had Henne or Matt Ryan or any other QB walking into the locker room. Sproano (and fat tuna) football philosophy was old school and doesn't work in today's NFL. If we had of drafted Matty Ice, Sporano would of just ruined him like he did to Henne.

Ryan like Henne is a gun slinging QB that has an arm to throw, Sporano thinking of "playing the game not to lose" would been a failure also with Ryan as QB. Watching Sporano doing "fist pumps" on the side lines, would have driven Ryan crazy and he would have asked to be traded.

I LOVED it when Rex Ryan picked up Sporano as their new OC, I'm sure it was so he could get more insight on the FINS organization. But sure enough, it garranted that Sporano would just make their offense even worse and sink Sanchez deeper as a crappy QB.

How long did that last? One freaking year!!!

Loved it...All part of the plan, LOL!

Oh, and the Infamous Sanchez Butt Play...A Sporano designed play...FOR SURE.

Im just saying...it's the 2013/2014 season...we are 2-0 getting ready to open up at home and trying to improve to 3-0...and there are post about Matt Ryan and the 2008 draft and all of his stats and accolades...I mean really??? 2009 called and it wants it's debate back...SMH!!!

Posted by: AtlFin | September 21, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Who gives a crap?

Hey Altfin they can thank us all the way to another playoff loss. Ryan chokes under pressure, you forgot those stats. Interceptions in the endzone anyone?

Agreed. Big mistake not taking Ryan over Long in 2008, but with Ryan, White, Jones, and all the other great players and coach they have, how come they haven't been to a superbowl yet? Anyway, the Falcons are gonna get a heavy dose of the "Brotherhood" this week with big Cam leading the way. Ryan will leave the game early.

38-27 Atlanta. I'm just not buying that Miami stops Ryan/Gonzalez/Jones/White with a banged up secondary. I don't think Miami has an elite pass rush, especially when they insist on throwing O. Vernon out there, and Odrick/Starks won't be as fresh without Soliai in the rotation. They came with heat last game against Indy when it mattered, but Luck was pretty much just standing in the pocket untouched most of the game and waiting for nice scrambling lanes to open up. Indy's o-line was far from elite. Ryan maybe sacked 3 times, pressured a few more, but puts up 350 with 3 TD's and 1 pick. Miami can't run the ball, and a decent performance by Tanny will be wasted. Atlanta knows a thing or two about meaningful games, and Miami still has a ways to before they can knock off arguably the best team in the NFC. But even if Miami takes their lumps against Atl, NO, etc..., they may still sqeak out enough wins this year against the teams they are supposed to beat for a wildcard spot.

We take this one, but will not be an easy catch....pressure, pressure, pressure, on Ryan all day long. Dolphins 27 Falcons 17, book it.

How many Super Bowls has Matt Ryan won? Only stat that matters.

Hey Altfin they can thank us all the way to another playoff loss. Ryan chokes under pressure, you forgot those stats. Interceptions in the endzone anyone?

Posted by: Phins78 | September 21, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Uhh, that was Marino the biggest choker ever.

Picking Jake Long over Matt Ryan was as disasterous a decision as picking Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees. Both set us back 10 years.

How many Super Bowls has Matt Ryan won? Only stat that matters.

Posted by: BTimms23 | September 21, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Sams as Dan Marino. In 13 less years.

Mia 73
Wrong very Wrong.
Tomorrow we just WINNNNN!!!!!!!

Home field advantage, Armando don't forget.

Why are we still debating Long over Ryan??? Get over it already it is a dead subject and has nothing to do with anything other than fans getting butt hurt over a poor personnel decision, why continue to beat a dead horse? Tired of hearing about Marino, that is also a dead horse that has been beat to death for years. Marino never had the tools on either side of the ball to get to the Superbowl again and even when he did make it, we had no defense to keep us in the game. Walsh was a genius period end of story, I was at that game and believe me we had no chance.
Time to stop whining about what could have been and start focusing on what we have now. We have a good team on both sides of the ball for once and I am very excited about what will be this year and it all starts tomorrow with a home win against a very good Falcons squad, but I am sure if we do win everyone and their brother will dis it by claiming we beat a depleted squad, hell we are depleted as well, so no argument there.

Every player, coach, and FO personnel on the Dolphins is great and every player, coach, and FO personnel on the other teams stinks. You get that?

It will be a very, very tough match. Like past game against the Colts, thefe will be two keys: defense and focus. As long as tne Dolphins are focused, there will be no mistakes. As long as the Dolphins defense remains sharp, M. Ryan will have a long afternoon. He doesnt have the same mobility of Luck, so our head hunters can deliver. This way Ryan will have trouble to find Jones and White.
Sturgis can make the difference tomorrow. A 60 yard field goal would be awsome.
If RBs play as goog as last week they should be much more involved. The important point is that the Dolphins have a chance to win against the Falcons, something unthinkable last season.

Best comment...by Marchcool,

"The important point is that the Dolphins have a chance to win against the Falcons, something unthinkable last season."

Yup, Boss Ross wanted a competive exciting team and the OF/HC is delivering! Da system.

Here comes the Brotherhood! Hope Matt Ryan is a good passer on his back....

Jones and Grimes should be an excellent matchup.

Hopefully Wallace plays - but if not Hartline and Gibson will be a decent #1 and #2 - Hartline seems to have stepped up his game a little more each season he's been with us.

Maybe this is the week the O-Line finally starts to gel too.. Need to protect our up and coming QB...

Was MW hurt at Pitt?

There's no reason not to be optimistic going into this game. The team is playing well and if we have to do without some players then guys will have to step up and play like Carroll. Our injury problems are small compared to the Falcons. Advantage Phins. I'm picking the Phins to win by at least 7.

I can promise you that the Falcons thank the Dolphins every day for drafting Jake Long instead of Matt Ryan.

Posted by: AtlFin | September 21, 2013 at 10:58 AM


They may thank MIA every day...until it is time to choke in the Playoffs.


They may thank MIA every day...until it is time to choke in the Playoffs.

Posted by: Ron in Charlotte | September 21, 2013 at 01:29 PM

Speaking of choking,I guess you think drafting Marino was a big mistake....

Here's what you guys can do to feel better. Send Parcells a letter/email about how unhappy you are with him selecting Long and see how that works. Like the fans could have done anything to change it. I don't recall many making a fuss about it at all. SMH..the endless pointless Ryan chatter is mind boggling. I just don't get it.

RT,MW,MP,PS,DP,KM all dinged up,now the homers have a ton of ammo in case the Dolphins lose.LMAO!

The trolls are cranky on here. Hard to crap on the team when they are winning and sound convincing. Lol it's delightful!

AtlFin let the Matt Ryan thing go buddy you sound like that 40 year old guy not over breaking up with his high school sweetheart.

My take is we most likely leave two safeties back most of the game. 7 in the box should stop the run and I doubt we see much of Douglas as they will need two TE sets to stop our pass rush. Can Cam Wake beat Dereick Thomas's single game sack record? A statue o liberty QB behind a MASH unti o-line with guys not even on training camp rosters starting.

The Brotherhood wants to dine on some Matty Ice.

It is delightful around here and winning games makes the trolls miserable. Must be a struggle to try and conjure some new BS everyday for those guys. They are going to have a long year.

RT,MW,MP,PS,DP,KM all dinged up,now the homers have a ton of ammo in case the Dolphins lose.LMAO!
Posted by: Ape Tamer | September 21, 2013 at 01:39 PM

I don't get how that is LMAO funny, wouldn't that be kind of frustrating for a troll like yourself? Wouldn't you rather they man up and admit they got beat by the better team?

I mean the whole reason your here is to try to convince somebody who might read your posts that the Dolphins suck. If they have excuses you aren't getting the job done. Maybe make a convincing argument for why that is not a valid excuse. I doubt many football fans would actually use it as an excuse as we all know that all teams are banged up, it's football.

So what was your point again?

I'm actually hoping for a come from behind victory for us. The trolls will be flooding the live blog and attacking like a fat kid on a Big Mac. And then the turn around and the come back. It'll be glorious!

I'm a proud homer. I admit it...I like almost all of our players, coaches and FO. Sure they could be better but seems like there's a great chemistry with this team now. Actually I feel it's kind of a compliment coming from the trolls to be called a homer. I wonder if they feel it's a compliment to be called a troll?

Some people just get off on pissing other people off for whatever reason. It's kind of childish but to each their own I guess.

I mean "Dolphuns SUCk chortle lmAO!" Kind of makes the person writing it look like an idiot. Not my thing. I've never visited another teams fan site except for Green Bays when Reggie White died to pay my respects.

I wonder if they feel it's a compliment to be called a troll?

Posted by: TruthhurTs | September 21, 2013 at 02:15 PM

Yes troll is a compliment when in reference to the hapless Dolphins.

Yes troll is a compliment when in reference to the hapless Dolphins.
Posted by: Troll | September 21, 2013 at 02:22 PM

That doesn't even make any sense. Is English your first language? I'm asking because if it isn't I can give you a pass on that nonsensical reply.

just put on the pressure. And Dion no pushing, TACKLING!!Clemons, get a can of stick em and soak your hands it! I hope those first 2 games weren't flukes. Cleveland shoulda been a win anyway, but last week iffy. I think the colts feel embarrassed being beat by our lowly Phins that's why they traded for a RB. They still won't respect us. Beat Atlanta and you may even see Miami get mentioned on ESPN! NOT!!

More on the Matt Ryan stuff? YAWN........

geez guys you really know how to bore people. Are we STILL debating that? How mnay Super Bowl do you figure ww would have win ith Ryan? 5 by now? Good QB but i like our guy a lot too.

Tough game tomorrow. I have a bad feeling about this game. Hope I'm proven wrong but I sense collapses in our secondary and big plays from the Atlanta offence. Prove me wrong 'Phins.

Oh it's something to be proud of? Never would have thought that. I wonder if they openly admit "I'm a troll" to their wife or partner, kids, relatives and friends that they post lies, BS and utter garbage on a blog or is it kind of secret thing to be a troll. Hmmm

Criag yee of little faith, their oline is a shambles. Hard to connect when being pressured constantly. Atlanta has already lost a game and are far from their dominant teams of past years.

Does anyone thing Trueblood can handle Wake without help? Anyone? That means TE help. That means two safeties back and man on the wideouts. They'll make plays don't get me wrong but we will make plays on defense.


Matty will throw more than 400 yards in that arrangement.

Mando makes it sund like we're playing Jville I just don't see it being that easy.


Talk it up now fishy fans, ur reality check comes sunday when the ATL puts u back in ur place!

ATL 48

MIA 16

Miami is nowhere near the level of the falcons. Some of u idiots get two carried away with ur all's team success LMAO, we aint the colts or the browns dummies regardless of injuries, ATLANTA still is vastly superior to a very mediocre Miami squad.


Your right Blackbirds we are 2 and 0 not 1 and 1. That's no where near the Falcons level.

Blackbirds @ 2:47

You sound like a real tough guy hiding behnd your keyboard.





ATL will be exposing ur fraud of a team sunday BIATCH



People usually need to bark about superiority to adversaries when they are insecure about their abilities. Lol.

I know u bi-acthes are sh&ttin in ur pants right now trying to figure how bad that @ S S whppin u about to receive tomorrow will be, don't worry tho, we'll be runnin through the afc east the rest of the month tho

so maybe that might make u feel better about it LMAO



ATL 48

MIA 16


If you're so sure that the Dirty Birds win tomorrow why come here and tell us about it? Sounds a bit insecure, want to talk about it?



the only insecure sh&t around here is hyped up sorry @ S S dolphin fans who think they actually had a prayer in this game


You'd be funny to talk to in person, "shtiz dulfuns beet yu lusers" and then you cackling like a drunk with a LMAO after everything you say.....

Are you crazy, is that your problem?

LMAO u's a funny BI-ATCH,

WE still gonna whip that @SS Tho kid!!!

no offensive line, average recievers, no run game, secondary sux, QB cant throw for more than 1 score a game

PLEASE CHILD, its not me who needs a dose of therapy here, its u and ur make believe ego.


Blackbirds, Let us know how to find you Monday morning so we can kiss up. It would be a shame for you guys eo beat us and then we cannot find you eo apoligize.

Hope u like Grimes getting smoked by Julio tomorrow, oh and clabo given up protection breakdowns one after the other as Tannyoverthehill gets blasted every series

Just like Miami to think one teams trash is their treasure

It'll just be your trash when the ATL gets thru with u


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