Friday, September 19, 2014

Hester Helps Atlanta Beat Tampa and His Old Coach Lovie Smith

Early in the 2nd quarter last night, the Atlanta Falcons pushed way ahead of the Tamp Bay Buccaneers when Devin Hester scored on an end around.  After the extra point the Falcons led,  28-0.  Later in the quarter, Devin Hester ran a punt back 44 yards for his 20th return touchdown that eclipsed Deon Sanders mark in the record books.  In typical Hester fashion, he found the end zone by with extraordinary vision and  Road-runner quickness and speed.

Hester Brought the Fire Works

Although Hester brought the fireworks to the 2nd quarter, the game was essentially won when Matt Ryan settled into another superb passing game that featured Julio Jones.  Ryan connected for 286 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Jones had 9 catches for 161 yards.  And Eric Weems had 4 receptions for 61 yards.  In the end, you can point to many contributors in the Falcons, 56-14 drubbing of the Buccaneers.

The Falcons looked superb, but the Buccaneers were nothing but bad last night.  Coach Lovie Smith's formerly sure-handed quarterback Josh McCown was 5-of-12 for 58 yards.  He also tossed an interception that Falcons defensive back Kemal Ishmael ran back 23 yards for a touchdown.  McCown has been slumping in Atlanta and has 4 interceptions on the year after having thrown only 1 last year on 224 pass attempts when he backed up Jay Cutler.  The Buccaneers also have a long list of injuries.

Hester in "Falcon Devin"

Ex-Chicago Bears return man Devin Hester  signed with the Atlanta Falcons in the off season.  He played a key role in Atlanta's game one victory over the New Orleans Saints as a receiver--5 receptions for 99 yards.  But when the Falcons faced the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend, Falcon quarterback Matt Ryan and his passing attack found himself in a hornets nest.   Ryan had 24 completions on 44 attempts for 231 yards, but he had only 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions.  The Bengals defense played Ryan and his Falcons very tough.  Hester's receiving numbers were tiny; he caught 1 pass for 2 yards. but he turned on the juice on kick returns with 4 returns that yielded 118 yards. He also had 1 punt return for 7 yards.

Hester had made huge money with the Bears and last year his kick return numbers bounced back.  Hester had about 1,700 all purpose yards in 2013.   But the Bears gobbled up free agents to fill in the gaps that they needed in the every-down category.  They took a chance unloading Hester, but he looked like a guy who needed to move on.