27 Desember 2010

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Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan stays under radar, but just keeps winning

At the same time, Jaworski conceded, these two NFC South rivals are "kind of the Rodney Dangerfields of the NFL" because neither is getting enough respect for what they've accomplished.
"The Saints are the defending world champions, but it just seems like after that Cleveland-Arizona slump, they kind of fell off the radar," Jaworski said, referring to the Saints' early season losses. "And Atlanta is 12-2, but a team like Dallas gets talked about more than them, a 12-2 team."
The Falcons in particular don't seem to get the recognition one might expect from a team tied for the best record in the NFL and that has the longest winning streak in the league (eight games).
"You know what happens in the NFC South," said former Tampa Bay Coach Jon Gruden, who works with Jaworski in ESPN's broadcast booth. "A 1 o'clock kickoff every Sunday, they don't get a big television market. It's not their fault. But you put the film on, they're pretty darn good."
Led by mature third-year quarterback Matt Ryan, playmakers Roddy White, Michael Turner and Tony Gonzalez, and disruptive pass rusher John Abraham, among others, they're above average on offense, defense and special teams.
And they rank among the NFL leaders in under-the-radar categories that add up to huge results: time of possession, third-down conversions, turnover ratio, lack of penalties, red-zone success on offense and defense.
Saints fans have been quick to point how "lucky" the Falcons have been to win seven games by a touchdown or less, including their 27-24 overtime victory in the Superdome in Week 3 when Saints kicker Garrett Hartley missed a 29-yard field-goal attempt in overtime.