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Old 01-26-2005, 01:30 AM   #51
stkelly52
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Join Date: Dec 2000
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Note:

I will be taking about a week off so that I can take a trip to DC. Check back next month for more updates.

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Old 01-31-2005, 11:02 PM   #52
stkelly52
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OK, I am back from the Nation's capital. Back to Leland Nixon's story

Week 1
Atlanta @ Carolina
The Panthers are coming off of a lousy season, but they are looking to change that trend. They are finally turning to there #1 draft choice from three years ago, who was expected to be the QB of the future. So far he has not developed the way that they hoped he would. He still looks like he might turn into a star, but he is far from there yet. As for the rest of Carolina's team, they look very beatable. They don't have much of a RB to speak of, and their defense is completely designed to defend the pass. They are very undermanned in run stoppers. Nixon should be able to pick up quite a few yards.

Early in the game things got of poorly for Nixon. One play after running for 41 yards, Leland Nixon fumbled the ball and it was returned 76 yards for a TD, and we were down 7-0 in the first. But thanks to some solid runs by Nixon we were able to answer right back an tie the score. Nixon continued to atone for his early game mistake and ran very well the rest of the game. While he was not able to get into the end zone, his runs set up several scoring opportunities for us, particularly in the fourth quarter. We go on to win the game 23-17. Nixon had 123 yards on 28 carries in the win.

Week 2
Houston 1-0 @ Atlanta 1-0
We are four point favorites in this game. Houston looks like they have a mix of very good run defenders, and very poor run defenders. We need to focus on those weak defenders if we are going to have the success that I desire.

This was a fantastic, exciting game. We fell behind by two TDs early, but we refused to give up. In the closing moments of the first quarter we cut the lead down to just 7. Following a Houston field goal, Nixon scored his first TD of the year on a 2 yard dive to cut our deficit to just 3. To open the second half we went on an unbelievable 19 play 80 yard drive that Nixon capped with another 2 yard TD dive. There is no way to track these kinds of stats, but I know that I have never heard of any other 19 play drive.
In the fourth quarter, Houston added a 23 yard field goal to cut our lead to just one. We responded with another TD drive with 2:37 left in the game. We were up by eight, needing to just hold on for a couple more minutes. But we couldn't do it. Houston needed just 47 seconds to go 80 yards and tie the score (with the 2 point conversion).
But there was still 1:50 left. We had the ball 8 yards from the goal line. Our we knew that our kicker needed to get within about 45 yards to make the kick to win the game. With all of our time outs remaining we had no problem getting him 43 yards from the cross bar. The kick went up and just crossed the bar as time expired. We win 31-28.
Nixon had another solid day. He ran for 99 yards on 24 carries, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. And he had those two TDs as well.
The bad news is that we lost our starting LG, Kyle Conklin, for basically the rest of the regular season. The doctors tell me that he might be ready to play for the last game or two, but not to count on it.

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Old 02-02-2005, 02:02 AM   #53
stkelly52
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I just want to thank all of you for nominating this dynasty for a Golden Scribe. It is a great honor to be nominated by you guys, and it is good to know that you have enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
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Old 02-02-2005, 02:03 AM   #54
stkelly52
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Week 3
Atlanta 2-0 vs. Green Bay 2-0
The Packers are led by one of the top QBs in the league, Michael Jordan. The Pack have a poor group of wide outs to help Jordan though, so it remains to be seen how well he will really be able to perform this year. On the defensive side of the ball, they have some very good LBs, but their offensive line looks poor. This should help keep Leland's average up above 4.

Leland was able to do well when given the opportunity. He was only given 20 carries, which is very low for him. In those 20 carries he picked up 89 yards, which is a 4.4 yard average. The reason that Leland didn't get many carries is because our defense had a very hard time keeping Michael Jordan in check. Jordan threw for 300 yards, and used the clock very well, keeping our offence off of the field. There was nearly a 2:1 difference in time of possession and total plays run.

Nevertheless, we kept the score close. With 4:36 left we scored a TD to pull within three 27-24. But our defense was not able to get the ball back for us. They even gave up a 25 yard run on 3rd and 15 from Green Bay's 38. Had we been able to stop them there we would have had one more chance. But it was not to be. Green Bay ran out the clock and we take our first loss of the year, 27-24.

Week 4
Atlanta 2-1 @ Philadelphia 2-1
We are coming to Philly at just the right time. The Eagles have been beaten to a pulp. Seven starters are injured (eight if you count the kicker), and only one of them looks healthy enough to make an appearance. Among the injured is there all-pro QB. With so many players hurt, few people give the Eagles any hope against us.

We fall behind early, and we are only able to put together a last minute field goal as we go into the half down 14-3. But on the second play of the third quarter the Eagles' second string QB (who was having a career day by the way) suffered a serious shoulder injury. He had completed 18 of 19 passes for 177 yards in the game, and was single handedly pulling out a surprise win for the Eagles. But with him out of the picture, the Eagle's offence stalled for the rest of the game. We felt rejuvenated and took over the game. We put up 24 unanswered points to win the game 27-14.

Nixon had a poor game, only running for 66 yards on 23 carries, though he did score 2 TDs on runs of 2 and 3 yards.

1/4 Season Review
With the season 1/4 of the way finished, things are looking very promising for us. At 3-1, we are leading the NFC South, and we're playing far better than any one else in our division. Nixon is right on pace to score 16 TDs this year, with four so far. He is fifth in rushing yards with 377. That puts his total rushing yards below where I would like to see it in order to reach 1642 yards this year. Last week's game greatly hurt his average, which has dropped just below 4 yards per carry. I am hoping that he will have some solid games over the next few weeks to push the average over the 4 yard mark.

I must also point out that since Leland's first quarter fumble in the first game of the season, he has yet to fumble the ball again.
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Old 02-02-2005, 02:47 AM   #55
Neon_Chaos
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Great read. I finally caught up today.
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Old 02-03-2005, 12:24 AM   #56
stkelly52
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Week 5
Washington 3-1 @ Atlanta 3-1
Washington has been playing rather well this season, but many people think that they are not as good as their record indicates. For this reason we are favored to win by 8 points. Washington has a very average run defense, and I am hopeful that we will be able to move the ball against them. If we do fall behind, their pass D is paltry and that means we should be able to stay in the game no matter what. As for Washington's offence, they have some great players, but they do not have the QB or RB to back them up. I think the odds makers were giving us too much credit, making us 8 point favorites, but we should still win this game.

Leland had one of the better game of his career. Nixon carried the ball 38 times for 200 yards (the second 200 yard game of his career), but he was held out of the end zone today, and he fumbled the ball one time.

While our offence did their job today, our defense was not able to pull of their end of the bargain. With 41 seconds left in the game Washington scored a TD to take a 28-27 lead. We were not able to answer in the closing seconds and in spite of Leland's great day, we go home empty handed.

Week 6
Atlanta 3-2 @ Tampa 3-2
Tampa comes in today hoping to take control of the division. We know that we are a better team than they are, but we will need to prove that. We are favored by 6 today.

Nixon did not play as well as I would have liked to have seen him play, and it cost us. We jumped out to a 14 point lead, but by the start of the fourth quarter that had evaporated. We then fell behind by seven thanks to a fumble by Nixon inside the 30 yard line that the Bucs were able to capitalize on with a TD three plays later. But we failed to quit and tied it with 44 seconds left to play. After trading punts a few times in the extra period, Tampa Bay completed a 47 yard pass that set them up for a game winning 30 yard field goal. We fall to 3-3.

Nixon had 94 yards on 29 carries, and the one costly fumble.

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Old 02-04-2005, 12:47 AM   #57
stkelly52
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Week 7
Carolina 1-5 @ Atlanta 3-3
We are still wincing from last week's loss. We know that we should have done a better job holding onto our lead, and holding onto the fumble. At least this week we are playing one of the league's doormats, and we should be able to take care of them and get back into a winning frame of mind.
Not only are the Panther's on of the NFL's worst teams, but they are now missing some of their best players due to injury. There is no reason why we shouldn't be able to cover the 12 point spread.

Well we didn't cover the spread, but that is only because the Panthers were able to complete a 42 yard TD pass as the final gun sounded. It is still a 21-11 win for us, however I am going to have to see if any of my DB's might have been on the take.

As for Leland Nixon, he was able to pick up 126 yards and 1 TD on 26 carries. It would have been a solid day for him, were it not for his two fumbles. At least we were able to recover one of those fumbles.

Week 8
BYE
We have a few injuries that can use this week off, but not too many. Let's hope that it stays that way.

Week 9
Atlanta 4-3 @ Dallas 3-5
Dallas has not been playing very well at all this year. They have the worst running game in the league, and among the worst passing offences. They are the second lowest scoring team. Their one strength has been their ability to stop the run. That could spell trouble for us, but we are still favored by 9.

Leland really came through in the clutch for us. Against a team that was supposed to be able to shut him down, Nixon averaged 7.3 yards per carry. He ran for 168 yards on 23 carries. He was held out of the end zone, but we were able to score other ways to win it 20-12. The down side was that Nixon had another fumble. This is his fourth game in a row with a turnover and it is not helping our cause.

Mid Season review

We are half way through the season and we are right on pace to hit most of our goals. We are currently tied with the Buccaneers for first place in the division. Tampa did win our first meeting, but we will have a chance to avenge that loss at home in week 15. Leland is on pace to easily eclipse his rushing total from last year, and may even top his career best of 1784. He has 965 yards on 211 carries this season. That is an average for 4.57 yards per carry, which is almost a yard per carry better than last year. He has only scored 6 TDs this year, which will make reaching 12 for the season difficult, but very doable. His 6 fumbles so far is just one shy of his total fumbles all last season. He really will need to work on holding that ball if we are going to keep winning this year.

Another area of struggle is our defense. We are allowing 22.3 points per game, which is 23rd in the league. We have been especially weak against the pass which is frustrating because I feel like I have put together a solid group of DBs, but they just keep getting burned. I am not sure what more I can do about it.
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Old 02-05-2005, 12:21 AM   #58
stkelly52
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Week 10
New York Giants 3-5 @ Atlanta 5-3
We come into this game again heavily favored. Most people around the league do not think that the Giants have the defense to slow down our effective running attack, and while we have a poor defense, the Giants are tied for last in scoring in the league.

Leland was held to just 79 yards on 25 carries and he did not score, but he also broke his string of consecutive games with a fumble. As a team we did what needed to be done and pulled off a win in a rather boring game, 17-7. Once again, we gave up a late 39 yard TD pass that caused us to not beat the spread. There are rumors about flying around about gambling, but so far my investigations have failed to uncover any evidence of wrong doing. (Of course I am not looking too hard, after all, I don't know if I would like what I find).

Now for the really bad news. While we did win this game, we were struck a serious blow. Four players were seriously injured in the game, and I don't expect to get any of them back for the rest of the regular season. Among the injured are my two leading tacklers. This will be a serious blow to an already struggling defense.

Week 11
Jonesboro 3-6 @ Carolina 6-3
It seems like every week we are the favorites. Today we are given 12 points, but I am not convinced that we should be favored by that much. This will be our first meeting with last year's QB, Clay Gearhart. He has struggled somewhat this year, but I think that he would like the opportunity to prove to everyone that we made a big mistake in trading him away.

The Saints should be a much better team than they are. They have all the pieces to have a great passing game, but for some reason they like to try to stick to the ground, and it has not served them well. Hopefully we will be able to continue that trend.

Leland Nixon earned his paycheck today. He had a league record 50 carries for 207 yards and scored a touchdown both rushing and receiving.

The game went all our way for almost the whole time. We had a comfortable 24-10 lead with 2:00 left in the game when, once again, we gave up a long TD pass to cut our lead to less than the 12 points that the odds makers had given us. However, this time the Saints recovered the onside kick. They marched down the field and tied the game with 10 seconds left. But even after losing our comfortable lead, we refused to give up. In the extra quarter the Saints got the ball at the 19 and quickly moved it into field goal range. Rather than kick the 40 yard field goal on first down the Saints elected to try to get the ball even closer, but my second string DT knocked the ball loose while making a tackle. We recovered it and had new life.

With the exception of one 12 yard pass, Nixon did all of the work moving the ball down to the two yard line in 10 plays. Everyone expected Nixon would get the 3rd down carry to finish the drive, so with everyone keying on him we gave it to our FB for the winning TD.

For his effort, Leland was named the game's MVP.

Another starter on defense was hurt, and may miss the rest of the year. Our QB also suffered a sprained knee and is questionable. The injuries are piling up. Nine starters are injured, most of them seriously. It may be difficult to keep winning if the situation gets any worse.
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Old 02-07-2005, 11:57 PM   #59
stkelly52
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Week 12
Tennessee 5-5 @ Atlanta 7-3
Coming into this game we are 9 point favorites. But this week we will be starting a new QB. While our offence does mostly rely on the legs of Leland Nixon, it has been very helpful having a solid QB to turn to in times of need. Fisk was supposed to be the QB of the future, but he has not been developing as well as I would have hoped. Today we will give him the chance as our starter is just in too much pain to get the nod today.

The Titans are a pretty average team. They depend on the pass far more than they do the run, but they aren’t very good at it. They are fifth in pass attempts, but only 25th in passing yards. The one area where they are excellent is their running defense. They have the fourth best defense against the run…but I am not sure why. Their line is mediocre at best, and only one of their linebackers has any real skill against the run. Somehow they have just managed to play above their ability. I am counting on my awesome offensive front being able to bully them around today.

Our defense came up strong in this one. The QB that I put in the game played about as poorly as I have ever seen someone play. But thanks to our defense we held strong. Nixon ran pretty well for most of the game, except when he got inside the 20. He had nine carries in the red zone, and only one of them was for more than 2 yards (5 were for losses). His one successful red zone carry was a 9 yard TD run that put us up 10-7. We controlled the rest of the game, even though we weren't able to get the ball in the end zone.

Late in the fourth we were leading 16-7 when Nixon fumbled the ball on our 42 yard line. With under 2 minutes to play, it was frustrating because we were on the verge of being able to run out the clock. The Titans moved the ball the 42 yards to pull within 2 with just 41 seconds left. Naturally they tried and onside kick, and we recovered. That would have been the end of it had Nixon not fumbled AGAIN on the next play when we were just trying to run out the clock. We now had to count on our secondary coming up strong to keep Tennessee from picking up 13 yards and putting themselves in field goal range. The defense held strong forcing three incomplete passes to give us the 16-14 victory.

Leland had 26 carries for 93 yards and one TD. It would have been considered a solid day for him were it not for the two fumbles that were nearly so costly.

More injuries strike this week, knocking out two reserves that were thrust into starting roles. We will now have to go with third sting players at CB and FB.

Week 13
Atlanta 8-3 @ Arizona 5-6
Arizona has been struggling this season. They are using an undrafted rookie QB as their starter (and not because of injury), and he has not been cutting it for them. They have a decent RB who was having a good season, but he is hurt now so they are having to go to a poor backup.

They do have some decent defenders on the left side of their line, but our strength is running the other direction. We should be able to run all over them and stroll to an easy victory. We are again going to be counting on backup QB Fisk leading us, in spite of his horrid performance last week. We also signed 11 year veteran John Lester to be our new starting FB. We are the 10th team that Lester has played for in those 11 seasons.

Leland Nixon had another solid game, even though he did fumble the ball again. He ran for 142 yards on 33 carries. We still struggled though, as once again our QB just couldn't do anything for us. He threw 3 INT (two of them were in the red zone and one of these was returned for the Cards only TD of the game). Fisk is done for the year. An injured Toby Glenn has got to be better than what Tom Fisk has been giving us. It took a late field goal for us to take a 16-13 lead, and that would be the final score.

We suffer more injuries. We lose our best DT, his backup and our superstar FS.

3/4 Review
We are riding high on a 6 game winning streak. Sitting at 9-3 it is highly unlikely that we will not be able to make the playoffs this year. We currently have the top running team in the league, and we are in the top 10 in yards per carry. Our offence is the 9th highest scoring team in the league. As you may recall, my preseason goals were to win the division, have Nixon exceed 1642 yards and to have him score 12 TDs. Baring injury Leland will easily eclipse the rushing yard goal. He is second in rushing yards with 1486. His 4.3 yard average is a bit lower than it was at the midpoint of the season, but it is still a solid number. Nixon has scored 9 TDs (8 rushing, 1 receiving) this year, meaning that he needs three more in the next 4 games. Were it not for his 10 fumbles I would say that he is a lock for a Pro Bowl spot this year. As for my final goal of winning the division we are right there. We are still tied with Tampa Bay for the NFC South title. The bad news is that Tampa does not play another team with a winning record other than our showdown with them in two weeks. We cannot afford to lose another game all season, and our schedule is much more difficult.

Our defense has really stepped up in the last four games. Whereas we were the #23 team in scoring defense, we are now the #12 team in the league. But the injuries that we have been seeing lately does not bode well for us. We have one healthy DT on our roster. Both of our starting safeties are out with injuries. Our QB is still hurt, but will have to play anyway. Basically 20% of the team is hurt. We could really use a break.
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Old 02-09-2005, 02:32 AM   #60
stkelly52
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Week 14
Atlanta 9-3 @ Jacksonville 9-3
Jacksonville has used a high powered offence to overcome their mediocre defense this year. They score more points than any team in the league, largely by throwing the ball long and often. Their QB is considered by many to be the best in the game today. As you may also recall, he was the MVP of last years Super Bowl where we were crushed 27-3. We are longing to avenge our humiliation from last year.

Our offence really played a good game today. Nixon had a 4.8 yard average, picking up 97 yards on 20 carries. With 30 points it was our second highest showing of the year. But it was not enough. Our battered defense was not able to hold the high powered Jaguars in check. We go home defeated 30-39.

Week 15
Tampa Bay 10-3 @ Atlanta 9-4
If we are going to have any chance of winning the division, we need to win this game. We are currently tied in both division record and conference record, so should we win today, we will have the tiebreaker (assuming we win out). Of course the first part of that is finding a way to win. Tampa is having a great season to this point. They are on a 6 game winning streak, and many people think that they can continue to win this way right up until the Super Bowl. However, Tampa just faced a serious blow to their division title hopes last week. Their QB (who has been having a career year) hyperextended his elbow and will have to sit out this game. We will also be helped by the return of three starters to the lineup. Because of these two things we should be able to win this game.

Early in the fourth quarter Leland scored his third TD of the game to put us up 34-7. The game was well in hand and we started putting in our backups to give them playing time. That is when everything fell apart. Atlanta returned a kickoff for a TD, they shut down our offence on our next driven and quickly scored again. We responded with a quick TD drive of our own, but the Bucs scored two TDs in the next 62 seconds to make the score 34-41. They then set up to try to recover their second onside kick of the quarter with 1:11 left. But we came away with the ball. We ran out the clock to hold onto the victory.

Leland Nixon was named MVP with 131 yards and 3 TDs on 25 carries. This was just a great showing by Leland, and our whole offence. It was also a great day for our defense up until the last 13 minutes. But we did get the win and we are now in control of the division. I need to point out that Leland reached his preseason goal of surpassing last year's rushing total. He just needs one more TD to reach his goal of 12 for the year.
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Old 02-10-2005, 12:55 AM   #61
stkelly52
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Week 16
Atlanta (10-4) @ Indianapolis (4-10)
No one has given up more points this year than has the Colts. They are equally bad at covering both the run and the pass. There should be no reason why we don't run all over them and win this game by at least two TDs. Anything less than 150 yards rushing for Leland will be a disappointment.

As I predicted we were able to keep our heads in the game and finish strong against a poor substitute for an NFL team. The Colts scored on their first drive of the game, but they couldn't do anything after that. Our defense shut down everything that they attempted to do. Meanwhile, we were basically able to move the ball at will. Nixon finished the game with 167 yards and two TDs in the game as we coast to victory.

Now for the bad news, QB Glenn is out, and will likely miss the rest of the season. There is some hope that he will be able to return for the Super Bowl. We also lose our starting center. His backup is quite good though, so we should be able to weather his loss, but while I have had high hopes for QB Fisk, they have not panned out to this point. I don't trust him to be the starting QB as we head into the playoffs.

Week 17
Atlanta 11-4 vs. Jonesboro Saints 5-10
As we come into the final week of the season, we know that this final week is crucial to our hopes of returning to the Super Bowl. We know that we are going to be in the playoffs, but we have not yet locked up the division title. Is we don't win this game, and if Tampa wins theirs it will come down to a tiebreaker as to who gets the division title. Also, if we win then we are guaranteed to have the first round bye thanks to our earlier victory against Philly.

As you may recall, in our earlier showdown with the Saints, we barely escaped from Arizona with a win in OT. This time we have the home field advantage, so things should go better for us. Leland is looking to have another monster game against Jonesboro, as last time he exceeded 200 yards. He needs just 119 yards to become just the second player in history to eclipse 2000 yards rushing in a single season.

Perhaps I spoke too soon about Fisk. He played a solid game, completing 16 of 23 passes for 171 yards 3 TDs and no Ints. But the star of today's show was none other than our own Leland Nixon. He had 34 carries for 204 yards and a TD earning himself MVP honors. Our defense really struggled again. We gave up 30 points by the end of the third quarter. Early in the fourth Nixon scored his TD from 5 yards out to give us a 31-30 lead. From there, our defense suddenly awakened and we held them scoreless the rest of the way. We take the win, the division and a first round bye.
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Old 02-11-2005, 01:34 AM   #62
stkelly52
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Regular Season review
Again I exceed all of my preseason goals, most of them easily. Leland Nixon was the league's leading rusher with 2085 yards. This is the third most in league history. He had 463 carries during the season, giving him a solid average of 4.5 yards per carry. He also led the league in rushing TDs with 14. This gives him 59 TDs in his career. He may have been the fastest player to reach 50. He just seams to have a knack for finding the end zone.
Fumbles have always been Nixon's greatest flaw, and this year was no exception. He put the ball on the ground 10 times, but in the last four games of the year he didn't fumble once. There is a strong push from fans here in Atlanta for Nixon to make his first Pro Bowl, but I really don't see it happening. The top RBs in the league are also great receivers. Leland had just 8 catches for 34 yards and 1 TD.
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Old 02-13-2005, 01:50 AM   #63
stkelly52
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NFC Semifinals
Philadelphia (13-4) @ Atlanta (12-4)
We used our bye week to rest up and heal some of our key players. We are looking far healthier than we did just two weeks ago. We now must face a very solid Eagle team that last week crushed the Bears in Philly. Earlier in the year we crushed the Eagles by scoring 24 points in the final 15:02 of the game to win 27-17. But it should be remembered that when we played them, the Eagles were forced to use their second sting QB until he was hurt. Then they needed to go to their #3 QB. This week it will be us without our starting QB and it may hurt us significantly.

Nixon played very well today, picking up another 127 yards a TD on 27 carries, but our lack of any kind of decent play from our QB really hurt our chances. We were killed by the big play as the Eagles scored on a 68 yard run, a 52 yard pass and a 96 yard kickoff return. Once we were trailing in the second half we tried to go to the passing game without any success. We end our seasons with a 27-13 loss.

The Jacksonville Jaguars would go on to win the Super Bowl with in a 23-21 thriller. It is their second year in a row that they celebrate a championship, and they are just the third team in history to win back to back championships. This looks like it may be a new dynasty developing.
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Old 02-13-2005, 02:02 AM   #64
stkelly52
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Awards
As suspected, Leland Nixon was not selected to be an All-Pro. The honors when to players who could also be a threat as a receiver. However people were able to notice the incredible job that our O line was able to do. Two of my guys were named to the first team.


I am very satisfied with how this team did this year. We overcame a lot of pain and adversity to have the second best record in the league, and we had a much tougher schedule than we have had in the past. Naturally I am highly disappointed with how the year ended. I really think that had our QB been able to start it would have made the difference in the game. Well there is always next year.


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Old 02-14-2005, 01:24 AM   #65
stkelly52
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2028
We start another season with a lot of confidence. We have been a solid team for the past two years and I don't see any reason why that should change. With the success that we have been having, we see no reason why we should change our staff. They seem to be doing a great job.

As we head into free agency, we take a look at some of the players who will be free agents at the end of this season. I need to decide if I want to resign any of them or trade/release them. I make a few new contracts, including resigning the best OT in the game today to a 6 year deal. I will need him if Nixon is going to have any success. I also give Leland a new contract to keep him under contract for 4 more years.

Our roster does not have many holes in it as most of last year's team is still under contract. The one big area of weakness is at LG, Kyle Conklin suffered a serious injury last season. We tried to bring him back too soon, and he suffered an even more serious injury. Basically, Conklin's career is over. So we now need to fill that hole with a quality guard, and this may be the perfect year to do it. Vinny Goodwin is an old friend of mine from back in my days with the Chargers. I convinced him to join us in LA, and now, I have convinced him to return to me in Atlanta. Vinny is probably the 4th best guard playing the game today, so we are thrilled to have him join our team. The last two seasons he spent some time out with injuries so this gave us cause for concern, but when it came down to it, there is no one who was even close to Vinny in ability. Even if he only gives us 12 games he would still be better than any other options available. The other down side to Vinny is that he is a 13 year veteran. I don't figure that he has more than 3 good years left, so I will still need to keep my options open for the long term future. But for now he should help Leland Nixon become an even better RB than he already has been.

While I didn't see any areas that really needed improvement, I saw someone that I just could not pass up. I found another player from my days with the Chargers, center Courtney Falk. Even after 12 years in the league, Falk is still the best run blocking center in the game today. He has taken some flack around the league for giving up a lot of sacks, but he is a perfect fit for the Falcons. Naturally, my current center took the news hard, but the simple fact is that Courtney will make Leland a better RB and make us a better team.

We sign a few other FAs to fill in as backups, but no one really worth mentioning. In the draft we don't see any one really worth our pick in the first round, so we trade down into the second round were we pick up a guard who may some day develop into the successor to Vinny Goodwin, if he pans out.

Following training camp we have a couple of surprises. Our 6th and 7th round picks brake out and look like they may develop into solid starters for us in about two or three more years.

Leland makes no real improvement, or decline during the off season. His fumble rating climbed one more notch, Any help that we can get there would be greatly appreciated.

Each season I make a prediction on how well I think we are going to do. This year I am going to have to agree with the sports writers that we are one of the best teams in the NFC. My team goal this year is to at least reach the NFC title game.

My goals for Leland are lofty indeed. Our offensive line is much better than it was last season. We have, without question, the best line in the history of the game. Because of this I am looking to see Leland again eclipse 2000 yards rushing for the year. Secondly, I would like to see Leland score 16 TDs, equaling his career best. And thirdly, I would like to see Nixon average 4 yards per carry. If he can do all of these things, then I think he will be well on his way to making the Hall of Fame.

We make it through the preseason relatively healthy. We lose our starting FL for just a few weeks, but other than that we are good.
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Old 02-15-2005, 01:50 AM   #66
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Week 1
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay
We start off the year with our biggest rival. Since I have taken over the Falcons, we are 4-4 against the Buccaneers. Over the years Tampa has been our division's best team, but this looks like it might be a bit of a down year for them. They are already suffering more injuries than any other team in the league. But rivals always come to play so we can't take this game lightly.

Our improved offensive line did everything that I wanted it to do. They ripped holes in the defensive line that my grand mother could have gone through, walker and all. Leland Nixon finished the day with 29 carries for 176 yards and a TD.

However, our secondary could not stop Tampa's passing game. A late TD gave the Bucs a one point lead that we were unable to surmount. We lose the opener 21-20.

Week 2
Atlanta 0-1 @ LA Chargers 1-0
This will be just the second time that we have faced my old team since I abandoned them. They killed us back in the second game of 2024. But this is a very different team from back then. They were a dynasty that I had created. Now they are a team that consistently has just missed the playoffs, with just five of my former players on the roster. It has been kind of sad to see them decline in my absence over the years.

This week Leland wasn't able to have the same kind of success. But he still did fairly well, finishing with 101 yards rushing and another TD in 26 carries.

We were hurt by mistakes in this game. Three fumbles hurt us, as did a missed PAT. But we came through in the end thanks to our secondary making up for last week's game with 3 interceptions. We hold on to win it 12-9.
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:57 AM   #67
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Week 3
Philadelphia (1-1) @ Atlanta (1-1)
For our home opener we will have a again face the team that ended our season last year. But this is far from the same team that beat us last season. They have completely fallen apart in the off season. Faced with a difficult cap situation they were forced to make tough cuts and were unable to do anything in the free agent market. Only 23 of the current players were part of the team that beat us last year, and 25 of the Eagles are rookies. The reality is that Philadelphia has, in one season, become one of the worst teams in the league. We should win this one easily.

Our defense really seems to struggle in the fourth quarter. We gave up 18 points in the final frame. It wasn't enough to out do what Nixon and our offence was able to accomplish though. Nixon had 182 of the team's 256 yards rushing in the game, and he also had 2 TDs. We took control of the game right from the start and, even with the fourth quarter swoon, it was never in doubt. We win the game 33-25. I should also point out that with his two TDs, Leland surpassed 10 year veteran Keith Poole the #2 spot in career rushing TDs among active players. In his fifth season, he has now scored 62 career TDs.

Week 4
Seattle (0-3) @ Atlanta (2-1)
It has been 10 years since Seattle had a winning season. It looks like that is not about to change anytime soon. The Seahawks have a fair defense, perhaps slightly below average. But they also have the worst starting QB in the NFL, as well as one of the worst RBs in the league. They should not be much of a challenge for us.

Well it counts as a win, but it was not as easy as it should have been. Seattle was able to slow down Leland and that was able to keep them in the game. He was able to run for 125 yards, but it took 38 carries to do so. Leland was also held out of the end zone, including once when he fumbled at the two yard line on first and goal.

It took a 28 yard pass in the final minute for us to tie the score and send the game into OT. We won the toss and won the game on an 11 play 77 yard drive to kick the winning field goal.

1/4 season review
We are now a fourth of the way through the year and, while things got off to a slow start for us we are playing solid ball now. There is no question that I am still struggling with my defensive backs, but by and large I am happy with the way we have been playing.

Leland Nixon is well on pace for all of his goals, with a league high in both rushing yards (584) and TDs (4). He has also been averaging a solid 4.45 yards per carry. In fumbles it is looking like it will shape up to be another standard 10+ year for Nixon. He already has 3.

The team is in solid shape, though our division is shaping up to be one of the best in the league. We are in second place to Tampa at the moment, and tied with Carolina.
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Old 02-17-2005, 12:37 AM   #68
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Week 5
BYE

We have a few minor injuries that could use the week off. We take this opportunity to rest and recuperate. After the week off only one player on our team is too hurt to suit up next week.

Week 6
Atlanta (3-1) @ Arizona (2-3)
Arizona is on of the weaker offensive teams in the league. They do a good job of moving the ball, but they struggle actually scoring. They particularly struggle in the red zone, averaging just 3 points per visit. On defense they are slightly above average, but they have a very good running defense, so that could spell trouble for us. They are also good a causing fumbles, which is not good for Nixon.

This was the game of the kicker. Seven field goals were attempted by the two teams and they accounted for all of the scoring in the game.

With 1:03 left in the game the Cardinals were able to tie the score with a 31 yard field goal. This was a short drive thanks to another Leland Nixon fumble. But the defense held them to just three, preventing us from going down by 4 with a minute left. We were then able to orchestrate a 36 yard drive in the final minute that set up our game winning 47 yard field goal. We win 12-9.

In spite of his costly fumble, Leland played a solid game. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry, and finished the game with 150 yards in 36 attempts.

Week 7
Carolina 4-2 @ Atlanta 4-1
Carolina is playing very well so far this year, and I am not sure why. According to my scout, their RB is below average and they don't have a strong O-line. But nevertheless, they run the ball very well. Their QB should be about average, but his play this year has been pathetic. They only have fair defensive players. They don't do very well scoring, but they have found a way to win this year. At 4-2 they are right in the hunt for the division title, something that they have not done in 11 years.

The Panther's defense showed up and completely shut us down. Leland was held to a career low 32 yards rushing. Once we fell behind, we were forced to go to the air and we did little better there. Leland did add on a TD late in the third that made us think that we might get back into the game, but Carolina just had an answer for everything that we attempted. We fall 21-10.
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Old 02-17-2005, 09:45 PM   #69
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Week 8
Atlanta 4-2 @ San Francisco 3-4
The 49ers are a rather average team. They have a rather average running game and an average passing game. They do pretty well against the pass, not great mind you, but I would rather not have to depend on throwing the ball. Against the run though, they are terrible. Few teams have given up more rushing yards and the 4.8 yard average is among the worst in the league. There is no reason why Leland should not bounce back from last week's awful game with another huge showing.

As I suspected, Leland was able to run right through the weak 49er front. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry, scoring 2 TDs. He ended the day with 137 yards rushing on 23 carries. As for the game itself, we really took control from the beginning. On the final play of the game we did give up a 38 yard TD pass to cut the lead to 24-17, but that just made the game look closer than it really was.

Week 9
Atlanta 5-2 vs. St. Louise 5-3
The Rams are a solid team, but they are hurt by a QB with is injured and out for the next 6 weeks. But they also have the RB with the highest rushing average in the league. This will not be an easy game for us to win.

OK, I was wrong it was an easy game for us to win. Our defense humiliated one of the best RBs in the game today. Our offence played excellent and we coasted to a 40-7 victory.

Leland was a little disappointed in his personal performance, as he was held to a 3.5 yard average. Again, he exceeded 100 yards rushing, but Leland is never satisfied if he doesn't average 4 yards. He was also about the only offensive player to not score in the game. But it is no matter. Personal stats are irrelevant, winning is all that counts.

Now for the bad news. Both of our starting safeties are out, and will likely miss the rest of the regular season. But we are assured that they will be back for the playoffs.

Mid Season Review
Well Leland is having another year like last season. He leads all RBs with 1008 yards, and is 3rd with 7 TDs. His 4.27 yard average is not spectacular by league standards, but for him is it a solid performance. In the last four games, Leland has only put the ball on the ground one time, giving him just 4 on the year.

Within our division, things are not looking good for us. At 6-2 we are in a solid spot in the wild card hunt, but Tampa (who beat us by just one point earlier in the year) is sitting pretty at 8-0. Because both of our losses were to conference foes, we will likely need three losses by Tampa and perfection by us if we want to see another division title.
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:09 AM   #70
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Week 10
Tampa Bay (8-0) @ Atlanta (6-2)
Tampa is playing far better than I, or any of the sportswriters, thought they would be. They are the only unbeaten team left in the league. There is little standing in the way of an unbeaten season for the Buccaneers, if we don't beat them, then no one may.

The key to this game was our stellar defense. We forced two fumbles and had 5 sacks and held the top scoring team in the league to just 13 points. Meanwhile, we our QB had a phenomenal game, completing 17 of 18 passes. Nixon added in 103 more yards to his rushing total as well as another TD. The Atlanta fans were thrilled as we embarrassed Tampa Bay 35-13.

Week 11
Atlanta (7-2) @ Jonesboro Saints(1-8)
The Saints' record speaks for itself. They are a bad team, without much hope of getting better.

In the second quarter our defense fell apart against this terrible team, giving up 2 TDs. In the second half Nixon picked up the pace, scoring the game winning TD with just under 6:30 left in the game. The final score was 17-14. Nixon was named the game MVP for his 29 carry, 146 yard 1 TD performance.
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Old 02-21-2005, 01:10 AM   #71
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Week 12
Atlanta (8-2) @ Oakland (8-2)
Who ever wins this game will have the second best record in the league. Oakland has a great team. They have a young QB who looks like he may become a Hall of Famer. In his 5 year career he already has 2 MVP seasons. His passer rating this year is an insane 120.8. Not only do they have a great QB, but they have two of the best wideouts in the game today. While Oakland is just 14th in the league in pass attempts, they are 2nd in completions and 1st in yards. But they are not a team that depends solely on the pass. They also have the league's all time leading RB. While he may have lost a step from his 1900 yard season last year, he is still one of the best. This is the highest scoring team in the NFL, in fact they are on pace to top my old team, the 2019 Chargers, as the highest scoring team of all time. The one ray of hope for us is that they have a poor defense. One thing that I know, this should be a high scoring game.

Well I was right about the high scoring part. There were only three punts all game, and all of them were by us. Nevertheless we were able to stay right with the Raiders right to the end, thanks to a couple of key interceptions. We were trailing 31-38 with 1:15 left in the game and 66 yards away from sending the game into OT. Leland had run the ball well for us most of the game, but in this situation, we had to go down the field via the pass. Our first three passes fell incomplete leaving us with 4th and 10. We had no choice but to go for it. A 13 yard completion let us live for another set of downs, but we had just 28 seconds and we were at our own 47 yard line. The next pass was blocked at the line. Then Glenn loosed a perfect 46 yard pass to put us at the 7 yard line with 7 seconds left to play. We had no more timeouts so that gave us basically one shot to pick up the 7 yards. Glenn went back to pass, dodged and incoming LB, and then saw his starting flanker break free. He unleashed a perfect pass as the clock hit double zeros. We score the TD to send the game into OT.

Of course we know that this game could easily hinge on the flip of the coin. Punts had been few and far between. Whoever won the toss would stand an excellent chance of winning. We won the toss and elected to receive. On second and 5 Leland broke free for a 47 yard run that put us in field goal range, but it was called back for holding. Two consecutive incomplete passes later we were forced to punt. And that was it. Oakland got the ball and, just as they had done all day, they made short work of our defense, converting three 3rd down conversions on the way to an 18 yard TD run by the league's all time leading rusher. We lose 38-44.

Nixon finished with 117 yards and a TD in 25 carries.

At least Tampa was upset today, keeping us just one game behind them.

Week 13
Atlanta (8-3) @ Green Bay (7-4)
Green Bay is desperately clinging on to the final Wild Card spot. So they have every reason to bring everything to the table. We on the other hand are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Raiders. The feeling that I got from our team all week was one of disappointment and frustration. I am hoping that we will be able to overcome this.

The Packers have few central players suffering from any injuries, so we can not count on much help from their inability to suit up. They are not a particularly good team against the run, so I am hopeful that we will be able to exploit this weakness.

Usually, when a RB runs for 125 yards, you would say that he had a good game. However, that is not always the case. In the last few games, Leland's average has been rather low, and he continued with that today. While he was able to run for 125 yards, it took him 36 carries to do so. He did put up another TD, which is was important, but the thing that made this an absolutely miserable game was his ability to hold onto the ball 4 times he put the ball on the ground. Four times he gave the ball up to Green Bay. Fortunately, our defense really played a spectacular game, even forcing a punt on fourth and goal after one of Leland's ill-timed fumbles. Three sacks pushed the Packers out of field goal range.

In the end we held our ground and won the game 13-10, but the four fumble kind of negates the last 6 games in which he only had one.

3/4 Season Review
We have just 4 games left in the year, and we are in excellent shape as far as making the playoffs. Even if we were to lose the final 4 games, we would still stand an excellent chance of reaching the post season, and looking at our coming games, there is no reason why we should lose those games. But our hopes of winning the division look faint. Tampa is still one game up on us. They would likely have to lose two of those games to lose hold of the NFC South. They might have a tough time in three weeks against Oakland, but that is the only game left that I really think is much of a challenge for them. Perhaps in two weeks at Carolina.

I was going to say what a great year Leland has been having, but his last game where he fumble 4 times really hurts his stats. He is now up to 9 on the year. But he is still the leading rusher in the league with 1499 (just a yard off pace of reaching 2000), and he leads the league in rushing TDs with 11 (just one off of pace to reach 16). Nixon's average has slightly dropped again, but it is still comfortably above 4 (actually it is 4.22). I am still hopeful that we can attain all of our preseason goals.
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Old 02-22-2005, 12:53 AM   #72
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Week 14
Kansas City (7-5) @ Atlanta (9-3)
We are big favorites coming into this game. KC is down to their 3rd string QB and things are not looking good for this team. They have lost the last two games as injuries besiege them at every turn. They still stand a decent chance of healing up in time for the postseason, but at this rate they may not be eligible to play.

No problems for us this week. Leland picked up 126 yards and a TD, as well as a huge 36 yard reception on 3rd and 9. That play set up our other TD. For his play, Leland was named the MVP. We cruised to an easy 17-0 shutout.
In other news, Tampa Bay was stunned by 3-9 Denver to put us in a tie for first place in the NFC South.
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Old 02-24-2005, 01:00 AM   #73
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Week 15
Jonesboro (2-10-1) @ Atlanta (10-3)
The Saints have the worst record in the league, but they are on a 2 week non-losing streak. Now that we have a very real chance of winning the division, we can not afford to take any team lightly.

As the final gun sounded, Jonesboro attempted a 49 yard field goal, and the kick was good. Of course it didn't matter because we were winning the game 33-0 at the time, but it was a bummer not being able to post two shutouts in consecutive weeks. Leland won another MVP award, but this was a much more impressive showing than last week's. He finished the game with 221 yard and 2 TDs in 33 carries. This was a great game by every member of this team, both on offence and defense.

I should point out that Tampa lost again this week. This puts us in the diver's seat of the NFC south with a 1 game lead.

Week 16
Denver (4-10) @ Atlanta (11-3)
Denver is not a good team, but they did just beat Tampa two weeks ago, so we can not afford to take them lightly. Denver's starting QB is hurt, so they have had to turn to the services of free agent Jason Bownes, who is starting for his third team…this year. I don't know that I have ever seen a QB start for three different teams in a single season, but he has done it. Bowens is a 15 year player that may work for a temp agency as often as he has changed teams. Oddly enough, he really has had a fairly decent career. He is never going to be in the Hall of Fame, but he has done quite well for himself.

Leland had another great game. In 40 carries Leland had 176 yards and 2 TDs. Those totals mean that he has now reached his preseason goals as he now has 2022 yards and 16 TDs for the season. In all the excitement of Leland's personal achievement, the Falcons seemed to forget that there was a game to finish. In the fourth quarter we gave up three TDs, but Denver was not able to recover their final onside kick, and we ran out the clock from there. We win the game 28-21.

In other league news, for the third week in a row, Tampa has lost (though this was no upset as they were facing Oakland). Tampa's collapse means that we have now clinched the division title, as well as home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
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Old 02-25-2005, 12:03 AM   #74
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Week 17
Atlanta 12-3 @ Carolina 9-6
In the final week of the season, we know that this game really means nothing. We could use this as an opportunity to give some playing time to some other players who could use the experience. But we are not going to do this. Carolina desperately wants to win this game. If they win today, then their season continues. If they lose then they open the door for Arizona to take the final Wild Card slot.

We have just a couple of players who are injured. We are going to let those guys rest and heal completely for the playoffs, but everyone else who is healthy will play. We have a few things that we want to accomplish. For one, Leland Nixon needs only 125 yards rushing to set a new single season rushing record. He also needs just one more TD to set a new record for rushing TDs in a season (This is the 4th time a player has equaled 16 in a season; Nixon has 3 of those years). Leland would love to have those records all to himself.

But more important than personal records, we want to win this game because Carolina came into Atlanta earlier this year and embarrassed us. Now we want to return the favor.

This game really looked like we were trying to get Leland the record more than we were trying to actually win the game. In the end, Leland did get his 17th TD of the year, but he fell 18 yards shy of the record, in spite of being given 37 attempts to break the record. The Panthers knew what we were trying and they were able to stop it. What the Panthers were not able to do was move the ball well. They had a big 86 yard TD pass in the first quarter, but after that their offence could do nothing. Leland's 4th quarter TD run from 12 yards out was enough to win the game for us 12-7.

Regular Season Review
Leland also set a new record for rushing attempts this year with 502. His 2128 yards rushing is the third highest total in the history of the league, and he became the first player to ever have two 2000 yard seasons. His end of season average of 4.23 yards per carry was comfortably above the 4.0 goal that we set for him. And of course he had the record 17 TDs. For fumbles, no one in the league had more fumble than did Nixon, with 12. Even so, this has been a very successful year for Leland. I really think that this could be the year that Nixon is finally named to be an All-Pro. Of course we will have to wait until the end of the playoff to see.
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Old 02-25-2005, 01:07 AM   #75
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Go Leland!
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Old 02-25-2005, 01:35 AM   #76
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Seriously one of the best dynasties ever I have been following the whole time.
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Old 02-26-2005, 12:35 AM   #77
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I would like to point out to everyone that as of sometime this afternoon we reached 1000 viewers. What an incredible honor it has been to have all of you loyal readers.

Conference Semifinals
Carolina (10-7) @ Atlanta (13-3)
This is the last team that we faced in the regular season. Last week they were able to crush the Cardinals in Arizona. They are hoping to do the same against us. But we beat them two weeks ago without hardly even trying. Surely we can win if we put some effort behind ourselves.
Carolina won the toss and chose to receive. On their first drive, they picked up a first down by going for it on 4th and 2. They were showing right from the start of the game that they were willing to take chances. On the next play we blitzed and sacked the QB. The Panthers would not be able to make up for that loss of 7 yards and were forced to punt 3 plays later.

Our first drive was unimpressive, ending with a three and out. Carolina was able to pick up one more first down, this time on third and long, but they got nowhere on their second set of downs. Their punt was not able to be downed, instead rolling into the end zone giving us the ball at the 20. We then set off on a 17 play drive that took 8:52 off of the clock. During the drive we converted 5 of 5 third down conversions, the last of which was a three yard scramble for a TD. We used an excellent mix of running and passing to move the ball.

Our defense shut down the Panthers on their next drive, forcing a net gain of -1 yard. The Panthers were again forced to punt. Four our ensuing drive, the bulk of the 1st and 2nd down plays were carries by Leland Nixon. He consistently picked up 4-5 yards per carry as we marched down the field again. We capped off the drive with a 9 yard TD pass to put us up 14-0 with 5 and a half minutes left in the 2nd period.

Our defense again stifled Carolina. While they did pick up one first down, they could get no further and were once again forced to punt just after the 2 minute warning.

With 1:52 left, if we could march down and score again, then we knew that the game would be well in hand.
The drive that followed left me scratching my head. Nixon got the bulk of the carries at a time when you would expect to pass the ball. He did very well in the situation and was able to get the ball inside the 30, but it was just to far for our kicker to put it through as the half ended. So we went into the half leading 14-0

In the second half we got the ball first and we came out rolling. We went to the air for 6 of the drive's 8 plays. Five of those six passes were completions and we easily moved the ball down to the 8 yard line. Nixon finished off the drive with an 8 yard run around the left tackle.

From there things really got ugly for the Panthers. The Panthers only had 2 first downs for the rest of the game, while we added on a few field goals and another TD. The final score would be 34-8 in our favor. In the second half Leland picked up his workload trying to burn time off the clock. He did excellently, finishing the game with 184 yards in 45 carries. This is the kind of game that he was hoping for two weeks ago.

Next week we go to the NFC title game.

In other news around the League, 9-8 Miami stunned 14-2 Oakland. Oakland's stud QB was hurt early in the game, and it killed the Raiders. It was a shame for the year to end like this for Oakland. Their QB had set a new record for TD passes (48) and QB rating (124.9), and the team had set a new scoring record (31.7).

All of the road teams (except in our game) won their games this week. This makes our path to a championship much easier for us.
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Old 02-27-2005, 02:25 AM   #78
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Conference Final
Tampa Bay (13-5) @ Atlanta (14-3)
Our biggest rivals come into town again to do battle for the right to go to the Super Bowl. As you may recall, up until our week 10 game against the Buccaneers, they looked to be, far and away, the best team in the NFL. But once we were able to give them their first defeat, this team fell apart. They would go on to lose 5 of 7 games and enter the playoffs looking like a very beatable team. Nevertheless, they still had the second best record in the NFC, so they were not a team that should have been taken lightly. They were fortunate to face the 7-9 Washington Redskins in the Wild Card Round. They just barely beat one of the worst playoff teams of all time 24-27. They then took on the NFC North Champs Detroit. Again it was a close game with Tampa coming out on top 25-20. It is now up to us to show the world that we are the better team. Last time that we played Tampa it was our defense that came up big. We are looking for another similar performance.

Tampa is a relatively healthy team. They have several small injuries, but only one player is expected to sit this game out. Tampa has a fairly average offence, right about in the middle in both rushing and passing. Their strength has been the defense, which is great against both the pass and the run.

We are 5 point favorites.

Tampa Bay won the toss and elected to receive.

It looked like we were going to hold them to three and out on the Bucs' first drive, but on 3rd and 15 we were called for defensive holding, keeping the drive alive. That would come back to bite us. Tampa would pick up a couple more first downs before launching a 54 yard bomb to Darkins for the first TD of the game. Tampa was up 7-0.

We got a great return on the ensuing kickoff, but Nixon could accomplish little on our first set of downs and we were forced to punt without picking up a first down.

Tampa then went on a 10 play drive consisting mostly of little dump passes and 5-7 yard runs. The drive culminated in a 29 yard strike to take a 14-0 lead. Things were quickly beginning to look bad for us.

We had to do something or things would get out of hand. Another good kick return gave us the ball at our 37 yard line. Nixon was given several carries during the drive, and he ran very well. 14 plays later Nixon capped it off with a 4 yard plunge into the end zone to bring us within 7. The drive took the game well into the second quarter.

Tampa could sense that we were gaining our confidence back, and they wanted to strike hard and quick. On the first play following a touchback, their QB threw the ball 30 yards down field. But our CB came up with the huge play the completely swung the momentum our way. He got his right hand in front of the ball and made a phenomenal one handed interception. It was out ball, 52 yards from the end zone. In the six plays that followed we picked up 22 yards on a pass, 15 yards on a personal foul, and 19 yards on 4 runs be Leland Nixon. The final of them was a 2 yard dive that gave him his second TD of the day, and tied the score at 14 each.

Our kick, along with a penalty, pinned Tampa deep in their own territory. They went three and out and punted. We got great field position, with the ball on the 50 yard line. In four plays we moved the ball to the 28 yard line and we were facing a 3rd and 8. We tried to give Nixon the ball, but he was only able to pick up 6 yards. We lined up for the field goal and took a 3 point lead when it cleared the uprights.

On Tampa's next drive they were able to get one first down, but that is all they could muster. They had to punt from their own 34 yard line. With just a minute and 35 seconds left, we worked to move the ball while taking time off of the clock. We were able to get the ball to the 9 yard line with 7 seconds left, but we chose to kick the field goal rather than attempt to get the ball in the end zone again. So as the game went to the half we were up 20-14.

The second quarter had been all us, and the momentum was completely in our favor. Tampa was doing nothing with the ball and we were scoring on each drive. But we only had a 6 point lead, and one play could change everything.

We got the ball to start the second half. We were wanting to eat up a lot of time off of the clock, so we mostly stuck to the ground, with Nixon running excellently. He did have one run of just 2 yards, but everything else was 5 yards or more. We closed out the drive with a 17 yard TD pass to go up 27-14. The drive ate up half of the 3rd quarter.

Again Tampa picked up one first down before needing to punt again.

We followed that up with a drive that ate all but just a few seconds of the third quarter. We capped this drive with a 23 yard field goal. While we were disappointed to not score a TD, we now lead 30-14. Tampa would need two TDs and two 2 point conversions to tie the game. With the way things were going, that seamed highly unlikely.

Tampa was not about to roll over though. They quickly marched themselves down the field and scored a TD of their own. With 11:41 left, there was still time to get back in the game. However, Tampa decided to not go for two, making the score 21-30. Tampa would still need two more scores.

A 12 play drive followed, with 3 third down conversions. This really took the wind out of the Buccaneers as they just kept thinking that they were on the verge of getting the ball back, when we would get that first down. We didn't score a TD, but a 35 yard field goal made it a 33-21 game. Tampa now needed 2 TDs

They would not score on their next drive, and we were then able to run out the clock. Final score 33-21.

MVP: Leland Nixon

Nixon finished the game with 152 yards rushing and 2 TDs in 42 attempts.

We are heading back to the Super Bowl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the AFC 13-6 Jacksonville slipped past 10-9 Miami to return to the championship game for the third time in three years.
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Old 02-28-2005, 12:32 AM   #79
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SUPER BOWL WEEK
Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in Tucson for one reason, to be part of the Super Bowl experience. The hype is all around us. Two years ago we were here and we were not able to hold up under the pressure. Two years ago Jacksonville was here and they showed that they could handle the pressure of the big game. Should the Jags win this week they will have firmly established their dynasty. No team has ever won three consecutive championships. The Chicago Bears of 2011-2013 are the only team that played in three consecutive Super Bowls, but they only won one of those games. Jacksonville has the best QB in the league leading them. In his six years in the league he has established himself as arguably the best QB in the history of the NFL. He already has 2 league MVPs, and is one of the favorites to win this year again.

However, Jacksonville is not the same team as was here the last two years. In each of their previous championship seasons, they had the best record in the NFL. This year there were 8 teams with equal or better records as the Jags. We are one of those teams. But of course the regular season means nothing now. It all comes down to one game. Coming into this game we are actually favored by 4 points.

Much of the talk this week by the sportswriters centers around Atlanta's blockers vs. Jacksonville's front seven. Everyone seems to think that our offensive line is vastly superior to the Jacksonville defense. They really think that Leland Nixon will be able to take advantage of this weakness and have a great game. The Jaguars give up an average of 137 yards rushing a game, and 4.49 yards per carry, which are each fourth worst in the league. Their defense has also struggled with giving up points. They are tied for worst in the league with 26.0 points per game. This should help keep us in the game.

Of course when you are playing against one of the best QBs in the league you need a defense that is ready to step up to the challenge. This will be a struggle for us as our starting safeties will both be out of the game with injuries. We do have some good backups, but it is still going to be a struggle for us. Jacksonville's QB threw for 4196 yards and 31 TDs while only tossing 8 picks. His 97.8 QB rating is second in the league. What makes this even more amazing is that Jacksonville didn't have any great receivers for most of the year. They really only have one stud WR, and he spent most of the year out with injuries. He was able to come back for the playoffs, so he will be 100% today. Jacksonville was the league's second highest scoring team with 26.3 points per game.

Back in Atlanta, everything is abuzz. We can feel the confidence of the city behind us as we head into the biggest game in franchise history.
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Old 03-01-2005, 12:19 AM   #80
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SUPER BOWL SUNDAY
After a week of hype and hoopla, it is finally time to settle things on the field. It is 40 degrees and sunny in the Arizona desert. The coin toss gave us the ball first. A curious event happened on the kickoff. After a touchback, the game got off to an ominous start for us as on our first three plays we had Nixon run for -1 yards, Glenn tossed an incomplete pass, and then Glenn was sacked for a 1 yard loss. We then got off a poor punt that barely crossed the midfield stripe.

On Jacksonville's first offensive play they picked up 4 yards rushing, and 15 more yards courtesy of a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty. This was followed by a 13 yard run and a 6 yard pass, bringing the ball to the 17 yard line. On second down we finally were able to get penetration and made the tackle 2 yards shy of the line of scrimmage. Jacksonville was facing 3rd and 6. They went to the air, but the first two options were well covered. Davidson dumped it off to his slot receiver, but they were only able to pick up 4 yards. Our defense had held the Jaguars to a field goal attempt. Then a curious thing happened. It was not a windy day, but Jacksonville's kicker missed the 32 yard attempt wide right. So far we had not played well, but the score was still knotted at 0.

Our offence suddenly seemed awakened. Nixon ran for 8 yards, then 3 more, followed by a 6 yard run. A 10 yard penalty was immediately wiped out by a 13 yard pass, and a 5 yard run by Nixon. A couple of plays later we were facing 3rd and 4 when Leland pulled off a 12 yard run. There was nothing stopping us…well except for that interception that Glenn would toss on third down. With the runback, the Jags took over at the 39 yard line. That just makes me sick

Jacksonville ran once for 13 yards, and then they went to the air. Our banged and bruised secondary looked dazed and confused trying to stop Davidson's passes. He threw 3 passes, all of them big completions to lead them to the first TD of the game.

A poor kickoff and a solid return gave us the ball at the 41 yard line to start our next drive. The first quarter was drawing to a close, and we did not want to fall any further behind. Everyone knows that Jacksonville is an explosive team, and we would have trouble catching up if we fall very far behind.

Nixon started the drive off right with an 8 yard run, followed by a 3 yarder to pick up the first down. He was then stuffed for a one yard loss, but that play was negated by a penalty. On first and 5 Nixon only picked up one yard. We then tried an end around, but that went nowhere. We tried to throw on 3rd down, but there was no body open. Glenn avoided the sack, tucked the ball under and picked up 2 yards. We would face 4th and 2 to start the second quarter.

We had plenty of time to discuss our options during the break, so we decided to go for it. We needed to score to stay in this game. We were just out of field goal range, so the choice was clear. The fullback dive picked up 4 yards and the first down. We continued to move the ball well. Nixon had several big carries for us as we marched ever closer to scoring. But we struggled with our discipline. Three false starts and a hold (that wiped out a 22 yard Nixon run) made our task much harder. In the end we could get no closer than the 13 yard line. We kicked the field goal to cut the lead to 4, 7-3.

Our defense came out well rested and determined to not let Jacksonville do anything with the ball. They were right. Three plays and then a punt. However our offence could do no better and we punted the ball right back to them.

Jacksonville stared with the ball at their own 35. They did little on first and second down, but a 17 yard pass on third gave them a new set of downs to work with. Then he competed an 8 yard pass to get the ball to the 36 yard line. They were coming far too close to field goal range to make me comfortable. On second and 2 they tried a HB dive, but fumbled the ball in the process. We were unable to recover, but we kept them from picking up the first down. On 3rd and 1 the Jags went to a play action pass and we totally bit. We left their receiver completely uncovered. No one was within 10 yards of him… and he dropped the ball. Jacksonville would again have to settle for a field goal attempt. This would be a much more difficult attempt than he missed earlier, but earlier this year he had hit from 58 so this 52 yarder was in range. The kick was up, and it came down just shy of the goal posts. Yes it was a long kick, but everyone would remember that Kinney had attempted and missed two field goals in the Super Bowl.

We took over still trailing 3-7 with 3:30 left in the game, and in excellent field position. A couple of reverses and a couple of solid runs be Nixon gave us 24 more yards. We were down to 1:19. At this point I began to question the clock management. We should have been able to get off more plays than that, but we just weren't kicking it into two minute mode. An incomplete pass followed by a 6 yard scramble gave us 3rd and 4 with 46 seconds left and the ball on the 28. Nixon picked up the first with a 12 yard run. We finally called our first timeout. On first down, we give it to Nixon again, and he picks up 6 more yards. We use our second timeout. There is still 29 seconds left and it is 2nd an 4 from the 10. We again give the ball to Leland, but he is only able to pick up 2 yards. We use our final timeout. There are 17 seconds left in the half, and it is 3rd down. Plenty of time for one shot to the end zone. But no, we send out the kicking unit. The kick is good, and we now trail 7-6. That is the score as we go into the half.

While I know that things could be a lot worse for us at this point, I am still upset. I know that we could have taken the lead had we just used better clock management. But alas it was not to be.

To start off the second half, Jacksonville quickly advanced the ball from their 20 to our 28 yard line. They had little problem doing so as the shortest gain in their 5 plays was a 7 yard run. Facing 2nd and 3 from the 28, our defense finally got their act together. We stuffed an end around, and then my LCB broke up a pass play to force fourth down. Jacksonville sent our their kicker for the third time today. This time the kick went up and sailed wide right again. For the third time today Kinney missed his kick.

This gave us the ball at the 35 yard line. On first and second down, we picked up short yardage, but on third we picked up enough yards for the first down. Just repeat that last sentence 3 times and you will have the story of this drive. Four times we faced 3rd and 5+ yards. Four times we converted and kept the drive alive. The final play of the drive was a 3rd and 6 pass into the end zone to give us a 13-7 lead. It was our first lead of the game. The question was would we be able to hold onto that lead.

Clearly the Jags were not happy about falling behind, especially considering that many of them felt that they should have had nine more points were it not for their kicker.

The Jags next drive started at their own 37. A 13 yard run on first down pushed them to midfield. It looked like our defense might put a stop to the drive, forcing a 3rd and 16. But The Jaguars were able to complete an 18 yard pass for a first down. A 25 yard pass a couple of plays later gave them first and goal from the 8 yard line. I could tell that the Jacksonville players did not want to leave the drive in the foot of their kicker again. On second and goal they tossed a 7 yard TD pass to retake the lead, that is if Kinney could make the PAT. After missing three field goals, many wondered if he could even make a short kick like this one. But his PAT attempt was good giving the Jags a 14-13 lead.

Our next drive started at the 20. On second down we completed a 35 yard pass to move to the Jacksonville 43. It was a good way to end the 3rd quarter. We continued the drive with an 18 yard pass to move the ball into field goal range. Nixon picked up 9 yards rushing, but that play was negated by a holding penalty. This pushed us out of field goal range. We would regret that three plays later when we attempted a long field goal and missed short of the cross bar.

Jacksonville was able to move just 4 yards in their next 3 plays, and were forced to punt the ball away.
We reciprocated by punting the ball right back to them, but at least we pinned them deep in their own territory thanks to a 66 yard punt that was not returned.

Jacksonville shook off the long field before them though and put together a spectacular 12 play 90 yard drive. They only faced a third down one time during the game. That third down was 3rd and goal from the 6. Their QB went back for the pass, looked to his WRs, but they were covered. He then tossed the ball over to his RB at the 2 yard line. From there he jaunted into the end zone to expand the Jags' lead to 8. With just 3:17 left in the game time was running out for us.

The ensuing kickoff was short, and another solid return put the ball at our 41 yard line. We needed to score a TD on this drive if we were going to have any hope of coming back. We now had just under 3:00 left in the game. The real question is time management. Should we score a TD and 2 point conversion, we don't want to allow enough time for Jacksonville to mount another drive. But at the same time, should we not be successful with the 2 point conversion, we will need enough time to recover an onside kick and then try for another long field goal.

On first down we go for the whole ball of wax. Glenn let loose a beautiful pass right on the money for a big 43 yard gain, that put the ball on the Jacksonville 21 yard line. This dropped the time down to 2:37. My thought at this point, was that we needed to run off about at least another minute or minute and a half. Instead though, we go to the air on two consecutive plays. One was a 10 yard pass, the second was a perfect strike into the end zone. The score was now 19-21. This was a no brainer, we had go for two. For the conversion we handed the ball off to Leland Nixon. Nixon dove strait up the middle, following right behind our stud center and left guard. The two linemen cleared the path and Leland waltzed in to tie the game. However, more questionable time management decisions give Jacksonville plenty of time to mount one last drive.

We kicked off the ball, and it sailed all the way through the end zone. Jacksonville had 2:11 and 3 timeouts left to try to win the game. On first down, our hearts sank as Davidson completed a 36 yard pass. This moved the ball down to our 44 yard line. We went to the two minute warning knowing that we could not afford to give up 15 more yards or all would likely be lost. Jacksonville tried to run the ball, but they were stuffed for no gain. A false start gave us more hope as they lost 5 yards. On third and 15 Davidson threw the ball for 16 yards and another first down at the 33 yard line. They were in field goal range, but it would be a long kick. Following a incomplete pass, Davidson completed a 9 yard pass to the 24 yard line. But they were not able to run for the first down on 3rd and 1. With under 30 seconds left Jacksonville lined up for the game winning field goal. Kinney had tried and missed 3 field goals today. But all that would be forgotten if he could just connect on this 41 yard attempt. For the season he was an 81% kicker, one of the better kickers in the league. Every kickers dream is to kick the game winning kick in the Super Bowl. This would a nightmare of a game into the ultimate dream for him. Of course if he fails to make this kick, I don't know if he would be welcome back in the state of Florida again.

The snap. It was a perfect hold. Our attempt the block the kick is thwarted as we make no penetration. The kick is up.

To be continued...
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Old 03-01-2005, 01:06 AM   #81
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Wide right! Wide right!!!
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Old 03-01-2005, 07:48 PM   #82
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I'm wearing out my F5 key refreshing this page...
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Old 03-02-2005, 12:24 AM   #83
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OK OK, I have kept you in suspence long enough.

Grid Iron, you must be psychic
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Old 03-02-2005, 12:24 AM   #84
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WIDE RIGHT, WIDE RIGHT, WIDE RIGHT!

Ladies and gentlemen, we are heading to overtime!

The coin toss, and Jacksonville wins and naturally elects to receive.

The kick was caught at the 3 yard line and returned an incredible 57 yards down to our 40 yard line. Fortunately our speedy backup CB was able to catch up with the kick returner from behind and take him down. This was not the way that we were hoping overtime would go. But we still had a chance. The two sacks on first an third down made up for the errors by our return team and force Jacksonville to punt the ball. The punt went into the end zone giving us the ball at the 20.

We take over with our first possession of the extra period starting at the 20 yard line. Nixon handles our first three plays and picked up 28 yards in doing so. We were facing a third and 2 from the Jacksonville 46. Nixon ran around the left tackle for 6 more yards and another first down. We were rapidly approaching field goal range. Then, on second and 10, Nixon ran for 4 yards, setting up a 3rd and 6. We completed a pass for 12 more yards and another first down. This put the ball on the 24, and easily in field goal range. Another 4 yard run for Leland was followed by a 5 yard run by him. We tried a fullback dive on third down, but that was stuffed for no yards, setting up a fourth and 1 from the 15. From this place on the field we knew that we could make the field goal from here.

We lined up for the 32 yard kick. The hold was good the kick goes up…

It goes right down the middle.

WE WIN, WE WIN, WE WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!
Introducing the 2028 Super Bowl Champions, the Atlanta Falcons.
The cannons go off. Atlanta goes into a frenzy. Jubilation rules throughout the streets.

Oddly enough, the MVP award was giving to Howie Davidson. No doubt, he had a very good game, but HE LOST! Frankly, I think Leland was robbed. He finished with 36 carries for 165 yards. He didn't score a TD, but he did come up with that critical 2 point conversion late in the game. Or I suppose that you could say that our most valuable player we Jacksonville's kicker, Kinney. His 0 of 4 day was huge in our winning this game. I almost feel sorry for Kinney, he really was considered on of the top 5 kickers in the league, but he will forever be remembered for today's performance.
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Old 03-02-2005, 12:40 AM   #85
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Talk about cliff hangers! For the first time I read this thread, I get to a to be continued... I'm kind of hoping for a Jax victory, so you have to keep writing.

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Old 03-02-2005, 01:28 AM   #86
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Sorry about the cliff hanger, but the game turned out to be such an exciting game, I felt like this was the only way to truely make people have the right level of excitment
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Old 03-03-2005, 12:47 AM   #87
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Season Awards

Our Center and Right Tackle are both named to the 1st team All-Pro. Our Right Guard is second team All-Pro (it is his fourth consecutive year as an All-Pro). We also have a DT who make the All-Pro team as well. And, for the first time in his career, Leland Nixon is named an All-Pro, as the second team RB.
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Old 03-05-2005, 12:51 AM   #88
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2029
We took a couple of weeks to bask in the exhilarating of our championship, but that is all the time that we can afford to take. We need to get back to work getting the team ready for next season, and there is much that needs to be done. There are major shake ups going on in Atlanta. Last season everything came together perfectly for one magical year; but things are going to be more difficult for us this year. Our entire staff is at the conclusion of their contracts, and it is unlikely that we will be able to reacquire their services. The Falcons have been loosing money hand over fist. We have not had a profitable season since 2010. Since I have taken over the team we have lost over $230 million. That is a lot of money and our owner just is not able to keep putting that kind of money into the team. My owner has contacted me to let me know that we will no longer be allowed to spend this way. We are going to have many limits on what we are allowed to spend our money on. We are not likely going to be able to pay any large signing bonuses this year.

While I really want to keep my entire staff, there is just no way to pull off the deal. I do manage to resign my DC for a very low price. My offensive coordinator may well be the best OC in the game today. He agreed to a pay cut, but he is still the highest paid OC in the league. My coach received several other bids that I was just not able to compete with. I had no choice but to wish him the best and look in another direction. I pick up a new young coach with no professional experience. He is the lowest paid head coach in the game. For my scout, there is just no way to keep my old scout. He is eventually signed to a deal that makes him the highest paid scout. Instead I find a bargain, picking up an above average scout for a below average price.

I was paying 17 million a year in salary to my coaches, but that figure is down to about 10 million
I was paying 740,000 for my lead scout, but I will now pay just 250,000.
All told this should save us about 21 million a year. This is not quite enough to get us back in the black again, but it will greatly help.

Now I take a look at my roster to see if there are any players that I want to franchise. I have three starters from last year that are available for free agency, a WR, a TE and a LT. There is no way that I will franchise an average WR or TE. The LT is a bit on the older side, and he is starting to begin his decline. I am not sure that I want to pay 8 million in this time of financial hardship for a player like this. But at the same time, I don't have anyone ready to jump in and take his place. I decide that I will franchise him, and if I can't make a reasonable renegotiated deal with him, then I will have to trade him away.

I go through free agency attempting to be as frugal as possible. I don't pick up any major new players for my roster. However, I do lose several players that I just can't afford to pay. This will particularly hurt on defense.

During the draft, I don't have a first round pick, and my second round pick is late in the draft. By the time that I get around to my pick, there really isn't much to choose from. I pick the best players that I can find, but only one looks like he will become a future starter. In the 6th round I picked up a FB that looked like he might develop into a decent backup. After training camp, he really broke out and now looks like he could be our starter as soon as next year. Right now I have a great FB on my roster, but in his 4 years in the league, he has missed 21 games, and 16 games in the last two seasons. I don't have a lot of patience for players who are injury prone, so I don't expect to resign him.
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Old 03-08-2005, 01:00 AM   #89
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Preseason
In the preseason, we go 2-2, but as usual, most of my regular starters sit our most of these games. These are not a very good test of how well my team will do. While I did lose about 4 starters to free agency, I really don't think that this will hurt my team too badly. I had a couple of good breakout players who really look like they are ready to step in and make an impact. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't be right near the top of the pack again this year. So my goals for this season are:
To win 13 games and the division
To reach the NFC title game
To have Leland Nixon set a new single season rushing record (2146 yards)
To have Leland Nixon score 17 TDs
To have Leland Nixon average 4.3 yards per carry

So far, I have reached every goal that I have ever set for this team and for Nixon. This year I really think that I am stretching myself, particularly regarding Leland. Reaching 2147 yards will not be an easy task. 17 TDs has only ever been accomplished once in league history (granted he was the guy that did it), and Leland has only had one season in which he has run for over 4.3 yards per carry.

Injuries
After the preseason ends I take a look at my injuries and I am not happy with what I see. Two starters will not be available for our opening game, and one of them is 5 time All-Pro RG Sammy Delgado. Sammy is the best offensive lineman in the game, bar none. One of the biggest reasons why this dynasty has gone so well is that we have Sammy on our team. We cannot afford to have him out for long.
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Old 03-09-2005, 01:26 AM   #90
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Week 1
Atlanta @ Jonesboro Saints
We kick off the season with what should be an easy game. Jonesboro is starting their #2 overall pick at QB, and he just doesn't seem to be ready for the challenge of a real game. They are also already beat up badly. Eight players (5 of them starters) are listed as out, and several more are questionable. Ever since the Saints packed up and left New Orleans, they have been a terrible team. Now they just don't have the fan base to really support the team. They currently have a stadium that holds 76,300 people. The city's population is 80,000. I suppose that one should be impressed that 25% of the population came to each game last year, but a team can not be effectively run like this.

Leland capped off the first drive of the game with a 38 yard TD run. He finished the game with a game winning 6 yard TD run. In between he had 37 carries for 115 more yards. It was a solid performance for him, even though he did not average 4.3 yards. We struggled defensively, allowing the game to go into OT, but in the end we walk away with the victory, 28-22.

We suffer two more injuries on our offensive line. Now our LT and RT and RG will all miss next week's game.

Week 2
Monroe Jets 0-1 @ Atlanta 1-0
If there is a team in worse financial conditions than Jonesboro, it is the Jets. Ever since they made the inexplicable decision to move to Louisiana, the team has been pathetic. We are heavily favored in this game, but the injuries to our line could spell disaster for us.

Nixon has 31 carries for 163 yards, but he was held out of the end zone, and he coughed up his first fumble of the year.

This game ended in a flurry of field goals. In four of our final s possessions during regulation we ended the drive with field goals. The Jets kicked field goals on both of their first possessions of the fourth quarter. Our last drive of the fourth quarter tied the score with just 56 seconds left in the game. Monroe put together an amazing drive in those final 56 seconds, but they missed the 43 yard field goal as time expired in regulation, which put the game into OT.

We won the toss, and went on a 14 play, 8 minute drive that ended with a 31 yard field goal to win the game, 19-16.
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Old 03-10-2005, 08:21 PM   #91
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Week 3
Atlanta 2-0 @ Washington 0-2
Our offensive line is back together again, and looking like they should be in good shape from now on. Leland has been running quite well considering we have been missing the cornerstone of our offence, so I am looking for him to do even better this week.

We are again heavily favored, as there are few positions on our teams where the 'Skins match up with us. We should be able to win this game.

I thought that Leland would be able to have a good game, but this was just insane. Leland averaged 5.2 yards per carry as he ran for 196 yards and 2 TDs. This was easily enough to name him the game's MVP as we crushed Washington 29-10.

Week 4 Tampa Bay 2-1 @ Atlanta 3-0
Our biggest rival comes into town, and there is no team that we would rather beat than the Bucs. Tampa has won two games so far this year, but they really don't look like a particularly good team. I doubt that they will win more than 7 this season, which is a shame because this has been such an exciting and heated rivalry since I took over the team. We are favored to win by 9 points.

No problem here as we roll all over the Buccaneers 35- 6. Our defense was the key, forcing three turnovers which we were able to convert into 17 points. Leland finished with a solid 4.1 yard average. He had 26 carries for 108 yards and one TD, as well as 2 catches for 22 yards and another TD.

1/4 Season Report.
We are a quarter of the way through the year, and right now we are playing great. Of course that needs to be tempered with the fact that the teams that we have played have a combined record of 5-11. Certainly we have benefited from having an easy start to the year.

We are right on track to reach all of our goals for the year. Leland has 139 carries for 602 yards and 5 TDs. If he is able to keep up this pace he would finish the year with over 2400 yards and 20 TDs. Granted that is not likely, but now is the time to dream. He is also just above my goal average of 4.3 yards per carry. Leland also has just one fumble for the year.

Our offence is doing very well to this point of the season. We are fifth in the league in scoring with 27.7 ppg. We are right in the middle of the pack in average yards per carry, but when we do throw, we do so better than all but 2 teams. On third downs we convert over 60% of the time, which is 3rd in the league.

As well as our offence is doing, our defense is looking even better. We have the #2 rushing defense in the NFL, and the #2 passing defense in the NFL. On 3rd down teams only convert 34% of the time. We only give up 8.7 ppg, which, if it holds up, would make us the best defense in the history of the league.

We have a lot of season left to play, but after four games, the fans in Atlanta are getting excited.

At the moment, we have just one player on our squad that is injured, and he is listed as probable with just one more week before being 100%.
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Old 03-12-2005, 01:53 AM   #92
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Week 5
Atlanta 4-0 @ Carolina 0-4
So far this season, we have only played one game in which the opponent had any wins at the time we played them. That is not going to change today as we face the collapsing Panthers. We shouldn't have any trouble topping this team and covering the 14 point spread.

Leland had nothing less than a terrible day. Fortunately it came against such a bad team that the rest of my guys were able to pick up the slack to ensure that we would win the game 23-14. Nixon finished with 81 yards rushing 1 TD and 1 fumble. It took him 29 carries to do so, giving him an average of 2.7 yards per carry for the game. That will not help him reach his goal for the year.

One significant note: Late in the third quarter, on a 2 yard dive, Leland Nixon surpassed 10,000 yards rushing for his career. Early in the fourth quarter he was tackled for a 3 yard loss, dropping him below 10,000 yards. Then on the next drive he crossed over 10,000 yards again. How many players get to surpass 10,000 yards rushing twice?

Another significant note: With this win today, the team's all time record is now 209-209-3. The team no longer has a losing record!

Week 6
Minnesota 3-2 @ Atlanta 5-0
So far, we have yet to play a team with a winning record this season. Each team that we have faced looks to be competing for who will be last in their division at this point. This week that changes as we face a decent team for the first time this year.

We are still heavily favored in this one, but I don't think that it will be so easy for us. Minnesota has some great players on their roster, starting with their QB. He looks to be a star in the making with the ability to single-handedly will his team to victory.

Leland ran the ball well between the 20s, but re really struggled trying to score from the red zone. Instead we were forced to settle for field goals, which nearly cost us the game. But in the end we did what had to be done to overcome our adversity. We kicked a late field goal to take a 16-14 lead, and our defense did the rest to assure us of another victory.

Nixon finished the game with 143 yards rushing, but no TDs and 1 fumble in 34 carries.
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Old 03-14-2005, 01:42 AM   #93
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Week 5
Atlanta 4-0 @ Carolina 0-4
So far this season, we have only played one game in which the opponent had any wins at the time we played them. That is not going to change today as we face the collapsing Panthers. We shouldn't have any trouble topping this team and covering the 14 point spread.

Leland had nothing less than a terrible day. Fortunately it came against such a bad team that the rest of my guys were able to pick up the slack to ensure that we would win the game 23-14. Nixon finished with 81 yards rushing 1 TD and 1 fumble. It took him 29 carries to do so, giving him an average of 2.7 yards per carry for the game. That will not help him reach his goal for the year.

One significant note: Late in the third quarter, on a 2 yard dive, Leland Nixon surpassed 10,000 yards rushing for his career. Early in the fourth quarter he was tackled for a 3 yard loss, dropping him below 10,000 yards. Then on the next drive he crossed over 10,000 yards again. How many players get to surpass 10,000 yards rushing twice?

Another significant note: With this win today, the team's all time record is now 209-209-3. The team no longer has a losing record!

Week 6
Minnesota 3-2 @ Atlanta 5-0
So far, we have yet to play a team with a winning record this season. Each team that we have faced looks to be competing for who will be last in their division at this point. This week that changes as we face a decent team for the first time this year.

We are still heavily favored in this one, but I don't think that it will be so easy for us. Minnesota has some great players on their roster, starting with their QB. He looks to be a star in the making with the ability to single-handedly will his team to victory.

Leland ran the ball well between the 20s, but re really struggled trying to score from the red zone. Instead we were forced to settle for field goals, which nearly cost us the game. But in the end we did what had to be done to overcome our adversity. We kicked a late field goal to take a 16-14 lead, and our defense did the rest to assure us of another victory.

Nixon finished the game with 143 yards rushing, but no TDs and 1 fumble in 34 carries.
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Old 03-15-2005, 01:06 AM   #94
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Week 7
Atlanta 6-0 @ Green Bay 6-0
This is our first big challenge of the year. The Packers are a great team and this should be a great game to watch. The Packers have a great QB, and a solid group of receivers. This has served them well, but the real strength of the team is their defense. They only allow 10.1 points per game, which is second in the league, and they force more turnovers than any team in the league, which does not bode well for my fumble prone RB.

Everyone thought that this would be an exciting game, and we did not disappoint. Going into the fourth quarter we were trailing 14-21. But we had just intercepted the ball and we were only 32 yards from the end zone. A holding call pushed us back, but Leland picked up the entire 42 yards, including a career long 37 yard reception. He finished the drive with a 1 yard plunge for his third TD of the day. The PAT tied the score at 21.

The Packers responded with a 7 play drive that quickly gave them another 7 point lead 28-21.

We were held to a three and out and had to punt. Green Bay took over, and on 3rd and 1 they tried a dive that was foiled when our MLB knocked the ball loose. We recovered and took over at the 42 yard line. We couldn't do anything with our drive (thanks to an unsportsmanlike penalty), but the play was exciting.

After trading 3 and outs several times we took over with just 2:06 left at our 28. With time running out we had to go exclusively to the air, and our plan worked. Glen completed 4 of 4 passes during the drive, and scrambled for another 10 yards. His 12 yard pass tied it up with 1:10 left.

Green Bay tried to mount one last drive, starting from their 16. They completed a pass to get the ball to the 30 and called a timeout. An incomplete pass meant that there was just 19 seconds left before OT. The Packers would try to throw long and move the ball into field goal range, but our defense came up with the play of the game. My DE came up and put a monster hit on the QB before he could release the ball. The ball popped out and was recovered by us. It was our ball at the 21 with 14 seconds left.

We ran Nixon one time to better position the ball and then kicked the game winning field goal as time expired.

Leland's stats for the game were 37 carries for 174 yards and 3 TDs and the 37 yard reception. For this he was named the games MVP.

Week 8
Detroit 4-2 @ Atlanta 7-0
We are set to face off against another solid competitor. Detroit has a terrible running game, but they make up for it with a great passing attack. We will need our defense backs to really step up today to win this. One thing that really looks good for us is the fact that Detroit does very poorly against the run. There should be no reason why Leland doesn't pick up huge yardage, so long as he can hold onto the ball. No one has forced more fumbles than have the Lions, so that could be a potential problem.

Early in the season our defense was playing like one of the best D's in history. But it turns out that those results were just the product of playing against weak teams. Today Detroit had an easy time moving the ball, particularly on 3rd down. We wound up giving up a season high 31 points. Fortunately, our offence was even better. By the end of the first half Leland Nixon already had 137 yards rushing and 2 TDs. By the end of the game he had and NFL record 250 yards, and 3 TDs. He also set another record with 51 carries. Leland did fumble twice, but we fell on the ball both times, so no harm was done.

Now for the bad news. We lost 5 starters, including our LG (who is lost for the season) to injuries.

Mid season review

This year is going far better than I could have ever imagined. With an 8-0 record we currently have a 5 game lead in the division. There is just about no way that we are going to lose the NFC South. We are one of three teams in the league that are still undefeated. Our offence averages 29 points per game, which is second in the league. We also have done a great job avoiding turnovers. We are fifth in the league in both turnovers and turn over margin.

Our defense statistically looks good, but they have struggled in the last two weeks. We have the best rushing defense in the league, but our pass defenders leave room for improvement.

Leland has been having the best year of his career. There is no question that he has been phenomenal. He has 1249 yards rushing and 12 TDs. His average of 4.3 yards per carry is exactly what our preseason goal for Leland was. It is by no means a given that he will reach his preseason goals though. We lost our starting guard, Vinny Goodwin for the year, and our center is a little banged up as well. Leland will have some trouble running as well as he has been with the line banged up like it is.
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Old 03-16-2005, 01:17 AM   #95
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Week 9
Atlanta 8-0 @ Chicago 3-4
We are heavily favored against the Bears. We will have to see how much of a difference having our starting LG out will make.
We should still be able to run the ball though as the Bears run defense is just mediocre.

I guess I spoke too soon. Chicago came out and did something that no one has been able to do all season, shut down Leland Nixon. They forced a couple of fumbles, but even beyond that, they just would not let Leland pick up more than a couple of yards here and there. He finished the game with just 58 yards in 23 carries and one TD. This time the rest of our team was not able to step in and fill in the gaps left my our lax running game. We lose our first game of the year, 24-16.

Week 10
Jonesboro 2-7 @ Atlanta 8-1
We have won 8 consecutive games against the Saints, and I don't see any signs of that changing today. The Saints are a bad team and they show few signs of having any desire to win a game.

Leland bounced back from his poor game last week with a 169 yard game that included one rushing TD and a second receiving TD. It was a solid game for our offence, but our defense were the true heroes as they just found ways to make huge play a crucial moments. A 79 yard TD pass as the final gun sounds makes this final score look close but it never really was. We win 23-17.
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Old 03-19-2005, 12:35 AM   #96
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Week 11
BYE

We have a few starters that are out, so we are looking forward to the week of rest and recuperation. The rest does us well and we now have just two starters whose injuries are significant enough for them to miss next week's game.

Week 12
New England 10-0 @ Atlanta 9-1
Today we square off against the league's all time greatest QB. Before I came over to Atlanta, this is the guy who led my LA dynasty. He is the all time leader in passing yards, and he has 99 more TD passes than anyone else ever has. Most people thought that his years of greatness were behind him when he signed on to start for the Patriots this year, but he is looking as good as he ever has. Just one INT compared to 17 TD passes (along with a 65.5 completion %) has given him a 105.9 QB rating, second best in the league.

New England is a well rounded team that will not be easy to top. They have a great RB, solid WRs, very good linemen, and a spectacular defense. Put all of this together and what do you get. The best record in the NFL. Due to injuries, they do have some weaknesses on their offensive line, so I am hopeful that Nixon will be able to take advantage of their weakness.

Nixon didn't just take advantage of the weakness of the line, he exposed them for the frauds that they were. Leland went wild with 38 carries for 203 yards and a TD earning himself another MVP award. Our defense also really stepped up today holding one of the top scoring teams in the league to just 3 points, and picking off a pass, which has only been done by one other Patriot opponent this season. We triumph, 24-3. With that win, we are the first team to win our division

The bad news is that another starter on our line goes out. He should not be out long, but no length of time is good for us in this most critical of positions. Because of this we are forced to go out and sign a new LT. ED Gunn was just released from the Rams, and the biggest knock on him is that he gives up way too many sacks. That is OK with me, I just need a run blocker.

Week 13
Arizona 4-7 @ Atlanta 10-1
We are heavy favorites as the Cardinals come into town. But we need to be careful to not allow ourselves to get down after such an emotional win last week.

Our offence came out today and they just looked dead. I am not sure what hit them, but we just didn't seem ready to play this week. Leland did not gain 100 yards and he only averaged 3.2 yards per carry. He also had just his 3rd game this season without a TD. Our RBs were fumbling the ball left and right It was a good thing for us that our defense showed up today pumped and ready to shut down Arizona's offence. We held the cardinals out of the end zone, and of the 4 field goals that they did kick, only one was on a drive of longer than 20 yards. The crowning moment was when, midway through the fourth we shut them down after a fumble on our own 3 yard line. We gave up 3, but it could have been much worse. We escaped with a 17-12 win.

We lose another starter on the line for the next 3 weeks. This guy started the season as the #2 LG, but was pressed into the starting role when injuries struck. We now will have to go with our #3 guy, and that does not bode well for us and Leland.

3/4 season review
With 12 games under our belt, I am stunned at how well we are doing. I see little likelihood that we will not attain most of our preseason goals. As a reminder, those goals were:

To win 13 games and the division
To reach the NFC title game
To have Leland Nixon set a new single season rushing record (2146 yards)
To have Leland Nixon score 17 TDs
To have Leland Nixon average 4.3 yards per carry

With 11 wins already, we need just two more to reach 13. The NFC title game will not be easy as there are 3 NFC teams at 11-1 now. Only two will make it. Nixon should be able to break the single season rushing record. He just needs 370 yards, and the way that he has been running he might be able to break it in two games. He also just needs two more TDs to reach 17 for the year. If he gets three in the final 3 games then he will break his own NFL record.

The only goal that I think we may not reach is to have Leland average 4.3 yards per carry. He is at 4.19 at the moment, and it would take quite a showing over the next four weeks to bump that figure .11 yards. I don't know that he is up to it.
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Old 03-21-2005, 01:15 AM   #97
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Atlanta 11-1 @ Miami 9-3
This should be one of the best games this week. Miami has a great passing attack that is led by a QB playing far better than anyone ever expected him to, as well as a tandem of running backs who have been running phenomenally well. They also have a solid running defense that may greatly limit our ability to move the ball this week. Miami is favored by 1.

Miami did find a way to shut down Leland for most of the game, but our QB really stepped up and made things happen, completing 15 of 19 passes for 255 yards and 2 TDs to lead us to a 21-17 victory. Nixon scored one TD, but he only averaged 2.8 yards per carry for 76 yards.

Injuries: Last week I signed a new guard to start for us. In his first game he was injured and will miss the rest of the year.

Week 15
Carolina 3-10 @ Atlanta 12-1
I have only lost one game to the Panthers in the time that I have been managing the Falcons. I don't want to see that change this week. However in spite of Carolina's poor performance this year this will not be an easy game for us. Carolina actually has a decent running defense and our line is battered and patched together. I am just hoping for them to hold their ground for the rest of the regular season.

Our strategy was to give the ball to Nixon a lot, and by and count on our defense to shut down the Panther's defense. The plan worked well, even if Leland didn't pick up many yards each carry. It seemed to always be just enough. He finished the game with 133 yards on 36 carries. It was not a great game, and with just two games left it is almost impossible for him to reach his 4.3 yard average that we had hoped for. By my rough calculations, Leland would need to average 5.8 yards per carry over the next two games to get close to his 4.3 yard goal. He was held out of the end zone as well. We easily won the game 24-10.
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Old 03-23-2005, 11:55 PM   #98
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Week 16
Atlanta 13-1 @ Buffalo 7-7
Buffalo is desperately struggling to hold onto the slim hopes that they have of reaching the postseason. They have dropped their last two games, and another loss will make their playoff dreams go away. The Bills are led by a great QB, having the best season of his career. But they are hampered by a defense that has given up a lot of games. They are particularly poor against running, so Leland should boost his stats today.

On the fifth play of the game, Leland Nixon ran inside the left tackle for 7 yards to break the 2000 yard mark for the third consecutive year. But Leland did not have the kind of game that I hoped he would have. He was again held under 4 yards a carry. In 31 carries he only ran for 119 yards. Our defense struggled as well giving up 20 points. Late in the game we were trailing 12-20 when Nixon was able plunge into the end zone for his 17th TD of the season. But his 2 point attempt to tie the game came up shy of the end zone, and we lost our second game of the year. This really hurts because it may cost us a first round bye in the playoffs.

Week 17
Atlanta 13-2 @ Tampa Bay 6-9
It is the last week of the regular season, but this game is doubly critical to us. For one, Tampa Bay is our most heated rival. Secondly we are tied with the Eagles and Packers for the best record in the NFC. There are only two teams that get a first round bye in the playoffs and I am not sure which of us holds the tiebreakers. But if we lose, then it will not be us.

Leland easily reached a new single season high in rushing yards, and he added another TD to set a new single season record for TDs. But our defense decided to skip today's game. We lose 30-20. Now we can only hope that the Packers or the Eagles also lose. We have a good number of players who were injured in the game, and we could really use the week off. Should the Packers lose, we would have the bye.

Nixon finished the game with 33 carries, 146 yards, 1 TD and 1 fumble.
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Old 03-28-2005, 01:59 AM   #99
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Regular season review
At the end of week 17 we are third in the NFC, meaning we will have to play this week in the wild card round. While it is frustrating because we really had a great season it is also disturbing considering that we closed out the season so poorly. As I have said before, most of my goals for this season were reached. We won 13 games, we won our division, Leland set a new record for rushing yards with 2250 and rushing TDs with 18. The big area that Leland let us down was in rushing average, were he only managed 4.09. I should also point out that Leland broke the record for rushing attempts with 550 (48 more than the previous record and 155 more than anyone else this year). Leland also had 9 fumbles this year, which isn't great, but not bad for him.

Wild Card Round
Minnesota 9-7 @ Atlanta 13-3
We are favored by four as we square off against the Vikings. The Vikes are in a tough situation as their starting QB was injured in the final game of the season and will not be available for today's game. This is good for us, but we will still have to contend with a RB who averaged 5.26 yards per carry this year. That will not be an easy feat for us. They are a little below average in run defense as well as scoring defense. Considering that they will be starting an undrafted rookie free agent at QB, I think that our chances are better than good.

The game got off to an ominous start for us. After we both missed field goals on our first possessions, Minnesota had a great drive that quickly moved the ball down to our 8 yard line for first and goal. Without a solid QB, the Vikings were largely relying on the run, and it was serving them well. From the 8 yard line, they ran one time and easily ran around the RT to put the ball in the end zone.

Trailing 7-0 we started our next drive with a first and 10 from our 15. Leland tried to run a counterplay, but the ball was knocked out of his hands. The SS scooped it up and sprinted 15 yards to the end zone. It was only the first quarter and we were down 14-0. This was not good, especially considering how we ended the year.

When we couldn't do anything with our next drive I began to grow very worried. But our defense stepped up and forced a 3 and out. In response we went to the air. We really do have a good passing game, even though we don't often use it. On this drive that paid off as all but 18 yards of the drive came on passes. We capped the drive off with a reverse that scored from 3 yards out. We now just trailed by 7.

Minnesota had some success moving the ball on their next drive, but the drive stalled just inside our 40. It was to far to kick the field goal, and facing 4th and 10 it was too far to go for it. They instead punted, and the corner kick failed. We took over at the 20

On our next drive Leland ran very well, but a penalty killed it. We were forced to punt the ball back. But that was OK as the Vikings gave us the ball back on the very next play courtesy of an interception by our SS. We took over at their 29 yard line. We tired to go back to the air again, but we failed miserable, and settled for the long field goal to cut our deficit to 4.

Time was closing in the half, so the Vikings just ran out the clock. We went into half time trailing 10-14.

To start off the second half we gave the ball to Leland and let him and our offensive line do its things. During the course of the drive we had one play that was not a first down play. Leland had carries of 11, 13, and 41, yards before he capped it all off with a 4 yard TD run. The one play were we didn't get a first down was the play when we tried to give the ball to someone else. We took the lead 17-14, and we could feel that momentum was truly swinging in our favor.

We traded punts for the rest of the third quarter. We were usually picking up on or two first downs, mostly thanks to Nixon, but we just never seemed to get anything sustained. This carried well into the fourth quarter as well. We had the lead, but it was just 3 points and we knew that another TD would just about seal the game. That is exactly what we got. We used a good number of short passes to move the ball in the drive, but the bulk of the yardage in today's game came from Leland Nixon. He scored his second TD of the game with a 4 yard dive, which gave us a 24-14 lead with 2:56 left to play. Two plays later the game was iced when our safety picked off his second pass of the day. We let Leland carry the ball several times to eat all of Minnesota's timeouts, and most of the clock before tacking on an additional field goal. And thus the final score of 27-14.

Leland had a spectacular day, picking up 205 yards, 2 TDs and the MVP award. Two big interceptions by my FS helped out in a big way as well. This was exactly the kind of game that we like to see in our first round of the playoffs. No new injuries and just a great team effort led us to a 27-10 win.
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Old 03-30-2005, 12:22 AM   #100
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Conference Semifinal
Atlanta 14-3 @ Philadelphia 14-2
From here on it will be a rough road to the Super Bowl. There is only one team left in the playoffs with a worse record than we have. The Eagles are in good health, so we will not get any help that way. We will just have to out play them. Philly is led by a solid QB who has been having another good season. They also have a great WR, who has helped their QB look better. We will have to double team him throughout the game to try to slow down their pass attack. But we cannot forget about one of the league's top running back this year. He is averaging 5.53 yards per carry.

Our defense will have to play very well, because we cannot count on our offence scoring a lot of points. The Eagles only give up 16 points per game. That is second best in the league. The only team that has allowed fewer points is us. This could be a very close, low scoring game.

We got the ball to start the game.
We used a fairly even mix of passes and Nixon runs to move the ball form the 17 yard line to move the ball all the way down to the Philadelphia 2 yard line. On second and goal from the one Leland ran around the left end and waltzed into the end zone. But the celebration was short lived. A holding penalty on the play erased the points off of the board. Two false starts on the next snaps moved us 10 yards further back. Then a huge sack sent us all the way back to the 34 yard line. It was 3rd and goal from the 34. We managed to pick up 11 yards which allowed us to at least put 3 points on the board, but it was still disappointing after having been so close.

Philly went 3 and out and gave us the ball at our 45 yard line. We handed the ball to Leland four times and he picked up good yardage on each play. This got us to their 25 yard line as the first quarter came to a close. On the first play of the second quarter, QB Glenn threw a perfect strike into the end zone to give us a 10-0 lead.

We had great coverage on the kickoff, forcing the eagles to start from the 14 yard line. They tried to go to the air, but my safety (the same one who had 2 interceptions last week) picked off the pass at the 22. Two Nixon carries brought the ball to the 9 yard line for first and goal. On first down Leland ran inside the right guard and picked up 3 yards, but as he was hit the ball popped out. A pile of Philadelphia defenders piled on the ball. But somehow my rookie FB was able to come up with the ball. I don't know if he had the ball when he went into the pile, but he had it when the pile was cleared. On second down we again gave the ball to Nixon, and he was able to get the ball to the 2 yard line. We tried one more time from the 2 yard line, but Leland was stuffed right at the line. We had to settle for a field goal. It was a good way into the second quarter and we were leading 13-0.

Philly knew that they had to get some points on the board or they would be in trouble. They went to the air three times for gains of 35, 19 and 14 yards. The last one was into the end zone to cut our lead to just 6, 13-7.

We did nothing on our next drive, and punted away to them. Philly had a chance and they were able to move the ball very well until they got into the red zone. Once they were inside the 20 our defense was finally able to stop them, but Philly was able to add 3 more points to their score. It was now 13-10. Our lead was fading and we had lost our momentum. The half was in it's closing minutes. We worked the 2 minute drill fairly well, moving the ball to the 8 yard line in 7 plays. It was a good drive, but we were out of timeouts and time was closing quickly. We had to make sure that we at least got some points, so we kicked the field goal with under 10 seconds left in the half. The score was now 16-10.

We had a lead, but three times in the game we had had a first and goal and had to settle for a field goal. Had we been able to put the ball in the end zone one or two of those times, we would have been in a much better situation.

Philadelphia started out the second half by moving the ball very well, particularly when they were facing 3rd down. Three times they faced third and long and were able to pick up the required yards. It looked like nothing would be able to stop the Eagles' drive, but a big hit on first down at the 16 yard line jarred the ball loose. We recovered the loose ball ending the Eagles' threat. Or at lease it ended it for a moment. Three plays later the Eagles picked one of our passes off and returned it to the 11 yard line. Three plays later they were doing a TD celebration. We had lost our lead, 17-16.

Our kick return was a convoluted play. We returned the ball to the 31 yard line, fumbled it, and then recovered the ball advancing it 15 more yards. The net result was that we were starting our drive at our 46. On first down, we gave the ball to Nixon who ran around the right end for 45 yards to give us first and goal from the 9. We gave it to Leland again on the next two plays, getting the ball down to the 2 yard line again, but our 3rd down pass was dropped. Again we had to settle for three points. But we had retaken the lead. 19-17

The Eagles responded with a long slow drive that put the ball inside our 30. But a sack on 3rd and 3 pushed them back to the 36 yard line. They tried for the 53 yard field goal, but they missed short of the cross bar.

The game went into the fourth quarter with us clinging to a slight lead.

Another penalty killed our drive and forced us to punt, but at least we pinned them inside the 5 yard line. That would have been really good had we just been able to force a stop. The Eagles drove 95 yards on 15 plays to take a 24-19 lead. This left us with just under 6 minutes to try to score a TD to win the game. A field goal would not help us out, we needed a TD. We mostly put the game in the arm of Glenn at this point, we didn't have time to be running the ball much. But Leland did have a couple of big runs during the drive. The drive was 15 plays long and took 5 minutes off of the clock. On third and goal we went to the air to try to retake our lead. The pass was caught in the back of the end zone. That tied the score and the PAT gave us a 25-24 lead with just 55 seconds left in the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, everything fell apart as the Eagles were able to return the ball 58 yards. But the flag gave new hope. Holding on the return wiped out the return and put the ball on the 19 yard line. The eagles now had 40 seconds to get into field goal range, but they still had all three timeouts. On first down they threw for 20 yards to get the ball to their 39 yard line. An 18 yard pass moved it to our 43 yard line. The crowd went wild and my heart sunk as a 16 yard pass was completed at the 27 yard line. Philly used their last time out before lining up for the 44 yard attempt. The snap, the hold looked good the kick was up….
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