81 Stalagian, A good game summary from a
knowledgeable Falcon Fan...FalconMike
First, I watched the game at a sports bar in Falls Church, VA with a
friend--no audio available...
I think this was our most satisfying win of the season on many levels. I don't
think anyone expected the final score we saw after the first possession by each
team. CSU's offensive line was creating gaping holes, passing at will, and we
had -15 yard on 3 plays. Our offensive line seemed to be mired in mud and Tim Jefferson (TJ) was making his pitches MUCH too early to have any positive
effect on the Colorado State pursuit. We were getting very little penetration
on defense also. I ordered another beer.
You could tell, though, that the cogs were turning in our coaching staff's
brains as Tim DeRuyter and the defensive coaches experimented with blitz
coverage schemes and Troy Calhoun turned a few pages in the play book and
answered all of our hopes with some key first and second down passes.
On offense, what was predicted all week by the geniuses of AFAFalcons.com
football board came true. A few quick step back passes to freeze the safeties
and OLBs made the corners work on the running game. Once the corners started
giving up yards, the ILBs and DEs for CSU stepped in to support and our
offensive line and FB Todd Newell dominated. Our line surge went from anemic to
TJ and Asher Clark, as well as Kyle Lumpkin and the others made very,
very few mistakes, and Asher's TD on television was a thing of beauty. He
squeezed through an 18" hole created by OL Andrew Pipes and Nick Charles
(pulling) and then just ran through the first hit.
The seam passes were a thing of beauty--as we knew they would be when they
finally came. Give us about 6 more inches (on the pass off the fingertips and
then on the second underthrown seam pass) and TJ throws for 4 TDs on the
night--it was that close. He was money otherwise.
Strategically, our defense was masterful. I thought our tackling was
sound--which prevented the REALLY big play--but what impressed me the most was
the innovation, spirit, and variety of looks we threw at the ultimately confused
Rams. They abandoned the run a little too quickly and didn't really attempt
enough misdirection, draws, and screens to cause us problems. The pass rush
acted like slow torture on the Ram offensive line. You could see that they were
getting tired, even if we weren't sacking the quarterback. We just got closer,
and closer, and closer each time, while our coverage in the secondary made small
improvements with each play. You just knew what was going to happen: blocked
pass, interception, sack, scramble, sack, interception, hurry, panic,
throw-away, etc, etc. Game balls to the whole d-line, plus to DBs Chris Thomas
and Reggie Rembert (for his returns, too).
I'm sure some of you have noticed that we've gone three straight games now
without allowing a point in the second half, and I think that makes at least 5
of our games where that's been the case (Wyo and SUU?). In fact, we've only
allowed 3 total points after the first quarter in the last three games. That's
defensive adjustment my friends.
The game's exclamation point, though, was that fully dominating, crushing,
demoralizing drive that ran out the clock over 8+ minutes. CSU was just
mentally and physically exhausted and we kept throwing Newell (and then Jared Tew) at them--the best line push I've seen by us in maybe a decade. We simply
obliterated any hope, sucking up time so that the parking lots would clear in an
orderly fashion for once. I ordered another beer.
As for CSU, I think they're improving considerably and know that they'll
be tough next year. They're going to relearn how to win and they're headed in
the right direction. I also have to thank them for bringing their "A" game for
at least the first half, forcing us to dig a little deeper, open the play book,
and think more about how to win convincingly. The growth that engenders for our
coaching staff and young players will pay off greatly over the next two weeks,
into the bowl season, and for years to come.
Great win, Birds! Now, let's grab that #2 spot in the conference by the horns
over the next two weeks. It may be mathematically possible for us to win the
conference, but I think we should just take care of our own business. I think
we'd all be happy with 10-2 and Utah at 12-0--and both of us beating BYU to send
them to 5-3 in conference and a 4th place finish!