Archive for October, 2015

A Great Weekend for the Men in Crimson

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

There are similarities in my two sports teams other than they both wear red shirts. The Atlanta Falcons were coming off a 4-12 season and I didn’t believe they made sufficient moves to strengthen the team. Wales lost two of their star players, Leigh Halfpenny and Rhys Webb, to injury and I didn’t believe they would qualify from the group stage let alone win the World Cup.

Both teams came from behind  on the weekend to win against the odds. Wales had the unenviable task of trying to defeat England in their own back yard. They did so miraculously 28-25, but unfortunately lost yet another key player, Scott Williams, to injury. There was much to savor if like me, you’re a Welshman. The English media devoted columns to analyzing England’s chances while The Western Mail was the only national (albeit in the Principality) newspaper to give a detailed perspective on Wales’s chances.

The National media in England is so myopic that they still believe England can qualify for the quarter finals. They would have to beat Australia in order to progress which is asking for a near miracle. Ask Welsh fans, miracles do sometimes occur at Twickenham.

The Atlanta Falcons were playing the Dallas Cowboys away which is always a daunting task. However, the Cowboys had several players missing through injury and suspension, none more so than their quarter back Tony Romo which gave the Falcons a slight edge. Nine minutes into the game the Falcons were 0-14 down and the Cowboys running back, Randell, was running amok. He scored 3 touch downs in the first quarter. Atlanta managed two touchdowns of their own, but went into the locker room at halftime trailing 17-28.

The Falcons came out for the second half resembling a different team and won comfortably 39-28. There were two stellar performances from Devanta Freeman and Julio Jones. Freeman produced the best rushing performance since 2012 with 30 carries, 141 yards and 2 TDs. Julio Jones continued his demolition of NFL teams’ defenses with 164 yards, 12 receptions and 2 TDs.

Obviously, Tom Jones not only inspired the Welsh team on the weekend, but he got the message across to Julio Jones who must be a relative, or a kindred spirit. The Falcons are 3-0 on the season, one of only 7 teams left undefeated in the NFL. They are looking forward to two home games against Houston and Washington and on current form neither should present much of a challenge.

Similarly Wales have a trap game against Fiji tomorrow (Thursday) which shouldn’t present too much of a problem following their heroics on Saturday. But if my memory serves me correctly, Wales have lost to Fiji in a previous World Cup. Despite their run of injuries, the pack remains in tact. The Falcons need to wrap Julio Jones in cotton wool during the week and only let him loose on Sunday because he is the difference maker.

Speaking of dog soldiers, the unsung heroes of the pack, Falcons Head Coach was not satisfied with the Offensive Line during pre-season games and a week before the regular season signed 3 or 4 journeymen to protect the quarter back, Matt Ryan. Ignoring a few hiccups they have done a good job impressing Atlanta cynics; including myself.

I would still not place a bet on Wales winning the World Cup or the Atlanta Falcons winning the Super Bowl. But that doesn’t diminish the excitement and exhilaration they created for me and thousands of other fans last weekend. Go Falcons; Cymru am Byth!