“Throwing it deep … for Ridley … he’s got it! Breaks a tackle — and it’s going all the way!” — the part of last Sunday’s Falcons game meant to build up fans’ hopes, in order to worsen the pain of an eventual loss to the Saints
Your Atlanta Falcons might be resting at 1-2, they might have only beaten the Carolina Panthers and they might have just lost starting safety Ricardo Allen for the season, but this loss could propel them to a division title and the opportunity to avenge their postseason defeats at the hands of — well — just about everyone.
For Georgia sports fans, Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley has certainly made up for his role in UGA’s defeat at Alabama’s hands in last year’s College Football Playoff National Championship. After all, Ridley wasn’t responsible for catching Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s game-winning touchdown pass. And after yesterday’s three-touchdown performance, Ridley’s probably passed the Falcons’ other Alabama wideout, Julio Jones, on offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s depth chart.
Speaking of the devil, the much-maligned play-caller’s real test this season won’t be finding a new way to fumble the Falcons’ playoff hopes — or, for that matter, to find a way to one-up his drug-fueled departure from USC’s football program. And it won’t be finding a way to keep Jones from scoring more than three touchdowns all season, because he already did that last year. No, the pressure is really on Sarkisian to craft some way of letting Atlanta sports fans down more than the Braves are fixing to.
And the man’s certainly got momentum on his side. He already lost a $30 million lawsuit during the offseason.
But back to the Braves. They’re headed to their first MLB playoff appearance since 2013, when an eighth-inning home run by then-Dodgers infielder Juan Uribe brought in two runs — and sent the Peach Clobbers home. And barring Atlanta-esque late-season collapses by either the Dodgers or the Cubs, it looks like the Braves are headed to another National League Division Series against pitcher Clayton Kershaw’s Blue Crew. The potential for a playoff matchup between ex-Baltimore Orioles, now-Dodgers third baseman and shortstop Manny Machado and ex-Orioles, now-Braves right fielder Nick Markakis should certainly give Baltimore sports fans a thrill. Or, at least, another reason to seethe over Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette’s job security.Regardless, your merciful On Fire correspondent hopes that the Braves’ season ends better than Uribe’s career, which was cut short by a ground-ball-induced unfortunate event. At least his sacrifice probably reminded some that cups are for more than just holding beer and catching home runs.