Last night’s Monday night game between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos had more story lines than most games, most of them being for negative reasons. The Falcons took advantage of early turnovers by the Broncos (headlined by Manning’s INTs) and came out with the victory 27-21 in an overall sloppy game. It wasn’t a great game to being with, all you saw during the first half were flags and interceptions being thrown while the Falcons weathered the storm to put points on the board. There was a sense after the third interception thrown by Manning that the game was over but that wasn’t the case, Denver actually played better after being down by 20 points but it was too little too late. It was too hard to for Manning to recover completely after being so terrible in the 1st quarter (i’m sure his fantasy owners felt the pain) and the Broncos relied on their running game to carry the offense in the second half. Broncos RB Willis McGahee had and excellent game (22 car, 113 yds, 2 TDs) but it’s not the style of play that’s going to get you out of such a deep and early deficit. The Falcons on the other hand weren’t great but they were effective, taking advantage of turnovers and getting 3rd downs when they needed even though it got a bit uneasy during the 4th quarter as Denver was rallying. Matt Ryan had a crisp game (24-36, 219 ys, 2TDs) and he actually set a career milestone, throwing his 100th touchdown. This was an important win for the Falcons mostly because they needed a win to take hold as the leader of the NFC South. Both Denver and Atlanta have good tests this weekend so we’ll see how they continue.
Now, on to the issue that’s been so prevalent among NFL teams, analysts and of course us fans. As the first couple of weeks have progressed in the NFL, the replacement officials have been getting worse and worse. Players and coaches have complained but they’ve also taken advantage of the situation so the end result is that every game is filled with controversial calls that leave everyone wondering just what the league is doing. I can point to certain examples but anyone that has seen a games this season knows that there is a problem. Replacement officials have been inconsistent, ineffective and sometimes they’re just downright confused during games. Ok, i’ll give one glaring example from last night. After a scuffle, the referee was announcing the penalty as “personal foul, 93 red” and everyone was confused. The replacement referees can’t even remember what the name of the teamis. I don’t know what else to say but c’mon Mr. Goodell, it’s time to get a deal done. For everyone’s sake here.