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(From AJC.COM Brant Sanderlin)

Fired up, Coach?

The second worst thing that could be happening to the Bulldawgs right now is happening, with a record of  1-2, 0-2 SEC, 0-1 SEC EAST, the finger pointing will begin for this week will be a true test of how the Dawgs will fair for the rest of the season.

And my predictions are WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY off to begin with…but it happens.

Not that I am one for the dramatics, but the way that two weekends ago Georgia couldn’t tackle against South Carolina for a loss on the road, the Bulldawgs had no protection up front for Freshman Aaron Murray to run around the pocket to make plays. The defense, while stopping Arkansas some, for the most part allowed Ryan Mallet and the Arkansas defense look like Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts offense, especially in their first and last plays. Georgia, when they got the ball with 2:16 left in the 4th quarter, really showed how much they practice a two-minute drill offense in practice. Now, they can practice what they can do for defensive strategies for the same stretch of time. For the second week in a row, a Georgia opponent has been an SEC Offensive Player of the Week (the first was USC RB Lattimore, you know, the guy we couldn’t tackle). Aaron Murray is a top quarterback in the making, and this Georgia team has too much talent to have a 1-2 record and to have played the way they have. In a 31-24 loss at home to Arkansas what I saw was the 1) CMR needs to start calling his own plays again. He can do it! He’s done it before. Let’s ALLOW Bobo to make sure Murray and his back ups are conditioned well as the quarterbacks coach or something. Or CMR’s clipboard holder. 2)When will the offensive line begin to act as if they have a quarterback worth protecting. What I have seen are shameful performances from an experienced offensive line that should know better than to lay down allow their QB to get taken advantage of. We will never be able to see how well Murray can play unhindered if our offensive line doesn’t take their own play into their hands and begin playing like they understand how to dig in and play for protection. (See play from last game where Aaron Murray got his clock cleaned. Main example. He was getting rushed all day.)

Obviously, we have talent, now we will go to Starksville and play Mississippi State, who are 1-2 and in the same position that we are in after blowing out Memphis in their home opener, then losing two straight SEC games, both in region, to Auburn (at home) and away at LSU. They are currently a 2-point favorite at home and even if it IS Starksville, it is an away game in the SEC in a different time zone, and I BELIEVE it’s a mid afternoon/night game. Concerns for each side as this is a pivotal season changing game for both programs. Expect this to be a close game.

FALCONS ROLL CARDINALS FOR 1ST HOME VICTORY OF SEASON, 41-7

               Matt Ryan (2) getting away from a Cardinals defender (Curtis Compton AJC.COM)

The Atlanta Falcons improved to 1-1 in Week 2 of the NFL in a 41-7 whomping of the Arizona Cardinals in the Falcons first home game. Impressive did the offense AND defense look against a weak opponent in Arizona, where turnovers and missed opportunities allowed the Falcons to take advantage. Even with a groin injury to Michael Turner and an injury to Jerious Norwood, Jason Snelling picked up where they left off and ran for 129 yards for 24 carries and caught 5 passes for 57 yards in an offensive assault quarterbacked by Matt Ryan.

It shows how stifling the Steelers defense was just a week ago, as Atlanta’s offense exploded at home and all over an Arizona 3-4 defense created by their head coach, Ken Wizenhunt. The Atlanta Falcons defense looks stellar and sharp, allowing Derek Anderson and Larry Fitzgerald to get nothing going on offense, getting Anderson to fumble with 3 interceptions and no touchdowns, and held Fitzgerald to 7 catches for 83 yards and no touchdowns.

Now, this week they will prepare to the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints with Drew Brees and a TOUGH Saints Defense. A tough division game on the road. The Falcons will prove to the league whether they are worth the hype. The Saints play tonight on Monday Night Football against the 49ers to cap off Week 2.Hopefully, with Turner’s injury not being significant (the team elected not to allow him to return to play on Sunday, perhaps to save him for this Sunday’s game) will allow the Falcons offense to stay high flying.

TOP PERFORMERS:

QUARTERBACK:MATT RYAN –  21/33, 225 YARDS, 3 TDS 0 INTs
 RUNNING BACK: JASON SNELLING – 24 CARRIES, 129 YARDS, 2 TDS
 WIDE RECEIVER: RODDY WHITE 7 CATCHES, 78 YARDS, 1 TOUCHDOWN

Sunday Night Football capped off the exciting Week 2 play with Manning Bowl II on NBC. Another whopping by a team who feeds off home play, the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning crushed Eli Manning and the New York Giants 38-14. The 2009 NFL MVP Manning went 20-26 for 255 yards and three touchdowns as the running game, led by Joseph Addi, ran rough-shot all over the Giants Defense. The Colts defense, much maligned for the past couple of years and missing Bob Sanders who will be out for the next 6-8 weeks after recovering from surgery, kept the Giants offense frustrated and off the field, with several of their first drives in the first half resulting in 3-and-outs. Eli Manning’s final stats were 13/24, 161 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis combined for 4 sacks, rushing Eli all night. Peyton is 2-0 in two contests in this “Manning Bowl”.

SEC RANKINGS 

SEC EAST
1. Florida ( 3-0, 1-0 SEC)
2. South Carolina (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
3. Vanderbilt (1-2, 1-1 SEC)
4. Kentucky (3-0, 0-0 SEC)
5. Tennessee (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
6. Georgia (1-2, 0-2 SEC)

SEC WEST
1. LSU (3-0, 2-0 SEC)
2. Arkansas (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
3. Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC)
4. Alabama (3-0, 0-0 SEC)
5. Ole Miss (1-2, 0-1 SEC)
6. Mississippi State (1-2, 0-2 SEC)

NFC SOUTH STANDINGS
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0, 1-0 division)
2. New Orleans Saints (1-0, 0-0 division)
3. Atlanta Falcons ( 1-1, 0-0 division)
4. Carolina Panthers ( 0-2, 0-1 division)

(STATS FROM AJC.COM, ESPN.COM, NFL.COM, SECSPORTS.COM, GEORGIADOGS.COM MSSTATEATHLETICS.COM)

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