Coach Dan Quinn said Thursday that he wanted to see Jones “explode pain-free” before green-lighting him for Sunday. That obviously didn’t happen, leaving Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel to operate as the team’s top two receivers against the Niners.
If there’s a week to sit Jones, this would be it. The 49ers are allowing more points per game than any team in the league while the versatile Falcons are scoring more per tilt than anyone else. With Jones out of the lineup last week, the Falcons still dropped 42 points on the Rams.
DENVER — The Atlanta Falcons knew the question was coming. They expected it before they ever finished celebrating their 23-16 win over the Denver Broncos, when the sweet taste of beating the defending Super Bowl champions hadn’t even settled in. It was Atlanta’s most impressive accomplishment in a season that already had begun quite impressively. The issue now is whether these Falcons are as good as they look, if they actually are built to last.
That has to be the topic of discussion today, with Atlanta (4-1) fresh off its fourth straight victory. There is going to be plenty of hype surrounding this team after Sunday’s performance, but let’s also not forget the memory of last season. The Falcons opened 2015 with five straight wins and cheap jerseys china and inspired just as much optimism about their long-term potential. They wound up losing eight of their last 11 games while watching the Carolina Panthers run away with the NFC South.
He insisted in public that this team was not like last year’s, the one that started 6-1 and then collapsed to finish 8-8, but he was looking for something beyond what showed up in the statistics, the better speed on defense, or Vic Beasley’s mounting sack total.
Those were promising signs for the future, but they hadn’t averted the disasters of the prior two weeks, the losses to Seattle and San Diego in closely contested games that Atlanta had led late. There had been late interceptions in each of them, but those could be explained away by a quarterback pressing to make a play to save his team — his sometimes undisciplined team that got mind-numbing penalties at the worst moments, that could not stop an opposing offense.
The seven-time Pro Bowler visited both teams in May, while holding out hope that the Cardinals would reciprocate his interest in a reunion.
Signed off the street in mid-October last season, Freeney was a revelation in Arizona, using his trademark spin move to rack up a team-leading eight sacks in just 11 games. That campaign brought his total numbers to 119.5 sacks in 194 games over 14 seasons.
After getting off to a rocky 2-3 start, the Giants won six consecutive games to rise back to near the top of the conference. They’re the only team this season to have beaten the Cowboys, who claimed the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed with the Giants’ loss Thursday.
New York closes out the regular season against the Washington Redskins on Jan. 1. If they win, they’ll post their first 11-win season since 2008.
“Oh, I’m certainly struggling with it, just because I’m a competitor,” Freeman said. “I just want to be around the ball as much as I can, to help the team win. Now we’re in the Super Bowl, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I don’t know how many carries or touches I’m gonna get going into this game, but I’m gonna try to make the most of every opportunity I get.”
After Super Sunday, Freeman’s focus will be on landing a new deal that makes him one of the league’s highest-paid backs. Campbell said she has already reached out to the Falcons without receiving a response and plans to press the matter in February.