Ga. Dome struggles worry Dunn, Brooking

Ga. Dome struggles worry Dunn, Brooking
December 18th, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: Ga. Dome struggles worry Dunn, Brooking

Ga. Dome struggles worry Dunn, Brooking


Associated Press

ATLANTA - Warrick Dunn and Keith Brooking don't need anyone to remind them of Atlanta's poor record at the Georgia Dome during the final two months of each of the last two seasons.
If the Falcons lose this weekend to Carolina, they will be a combined 1-7 at home during November and December the last two years.
Dunn, a 10th-year running back in his fifth season with the Falcons, and Brooking, whose career as an NFL linebacker began when Atlanta drafted him 12th overall in 1998, know the team hurt its playoff chances with a 38-28 loss to Dallas on Saturday night.
"If you look at all the teams that have won Super Bowls and played in Super Bowls, guys have excelled in November and December," Dunn said. "And if you can do that, you put yourself in a real good situation. We just haven't done that."
Brooking had difficulty describing why the defense allowed the Cowboys to convert three of five third-down chances in the second half and seven of 12 overall.
The Falcons were equally deficient on offense, going three-and-out on the three possessions that followed Justin Griffith's 5-yard touchdown reception, which gave Atlanta a 28-21 lead early in the third quarter.
"We're executing in September and October and not doing it in November and December," Brooking said. "That's the bottom line. I couldn't tell you, man. I don't know what it is. I don't have an answer for you."
Atlanta (7-7) enters Week 16 even with the New York Giants (7-7) and one game back of the Philadelphia Eagles (8-6) in the race for the NFC's two wild-card spots.
The Falcons, who lost to Giants in Week 6, end the regular season at Philadelphia, where they dropped the 2004 conference title game and a 2002 divisional playoff matchup.
New Orleans, despite losing to Washington, clinched the NFC South after the Panthers lost to Pittsburgh.
Chicago has secured homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, with the Cowboys, who lead the East by one game, guaranteed one of the six postseason spots, and Seattle close to earning its third straight title in the West.
Carolina, San Francisco and Minnesota are outside the playoff picture, but not eliminated, with 6-8 records.
The Panthers will bring a four-game losing streak to the Dome, where they ended the '05 regular season with a 44-11 victory.
Brooking puts little stock in Atlanta's win over the Panthers in September. After all, Carolina was without leading receiver Steve Smith, who missed the game with a strained hamstring.
"This game is really simple, man," Brooking said. "You can sit here and make all kinds of excuses, but the bottom line is when we're out there in crucial situations in a game defensively we get in a position where we're not executing. It's not the play-calling. It's not the coaching, so you can't point your finger at any of that. It's the players - all 11 guys out there - we're not getting it done."
Regarding the bizarre comments Mora made to a Seattle radio station on Friday, Dunn credited his coach with addressing players before the game and diffusing potential resentments in the locker room.
Mora essentially told the show's hosts that he would leave the Falcons for the head coaching job at the University of Washington. Though Tyrone Willingham holds the job, Mora subsequently apologized to him, Atlanta owner Arthur Blank and the team's fans.
Dunn, who considered the pregame remarks appropriate, discounted any effect that Mora's radio interview had on the players' performance against Dallas.
"The coaches are preparing us, I feel, the right way, and I've been around a long time," Dunn said. "Sometimes it comes down, at the end of the season and in the second half, champions rise up in November and December."