The Norman Transcript

National Sports

October 13, 2012

Atlanta’s Gonzalez is thriving in his 16th NFL season

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Five games into his 16th NFL season, Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez feels reborn on the football field.

It’s not so much that Gonzalez leads the league with 39 catches. When the year began, Gonzalez was already the NFL’s No. 2-career leading receiver.

What’s making this season special for Gonzalez is the versatility of Atlanta’s offense. With quarterback Matt Ryan thriving in his fifth year, Gonzalez said he can’t imagine how tough it is for opponents to contain the unbeaten Falcons.

“When you play against us, what are you going to do?” he said. “It just adds to the choose-your-poison offense that we want to be, that we strive to be.”

Last week at Washington, Gonzalez caught 13 passes — the second-best game of his career — for 123 yards and one touchdown while the Redskins struggled to cover him while also accounting for Roddy White, Julio Jones and Michael Turner.

That’s not to say the Falcons (5-0) don’t have some issues to work out offensively when Oakland (1-3) visits the Georgia Dome on Sunday.

Atlanta started sluggishly against Carolina and couldn’t solve protection problems that led to seven sacks of Ryan.

Against the Redskins, Ryan underthrew several short routes in the first half. But after Washington took a touchdown lead on Ryan Kerrigan’s interception return early in the second quarter, the Falcons settled down as their quarterback and tight end began to work in concert.

Ryan targeted Gonzalez 14 times. Only one pass fell incomplete.

“It does teach us some resiliency,” Gonzalez said. “It also teaches us that, as we go on — and if we get to where we want to go, especially playoff time — you’re going up against some real good teams. It’s not always going to go the way that you want. It shows good character from our team up to this point, and we’ve got to build off of it.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • NASCAR Brickyard 400 Auto Racing Jeff Gordon wins at Indianapolis for record fifth time

    INDIANAPOLIS — With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again. Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to Tour victory

    PARIS — Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees....

    July 28, 2014

  • Scott says he will coach Lakers

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they’re apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days....

    July 28, 2014

  • BoSox snap Rays’ streak

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, and the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 3-2 Sunday to end a five-game losing streak and stop the Rays’ longest winning streak in 10 years at nine games....

    July 28, 2014

  • The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline Hall of Fame class

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats....

    July 28, 2014

  • Telling The Boss, sorry

    COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Before he answered a question at the press conference following the Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on Sunday, Joe Torre wanted to address someone he regrettably omitted from his speech....

    July 28, 2014

  • Wainwright bounces back to beat Cubs

    CHICAGO — When St. Louis Cardinals Mike Matheny visited the mound with two out and two on in the seventh inning on Sunday, he had no idea whether he was going to replace starter Adam Wainwright....

    July 28, 2014

  • A’s rout Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — John Jaso drove in three runs, helping Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 9-3 Sunday night....

    July 28, 2014

  • Clark rallies in Montreal

    MONTREAL — Tim Clark rallied to win the Canadian Open on Sunday, birdieing five of the last eight holes for a one-stroke victory over Jim Furyk....

    July 28, 2014

  • Isner wins another Atlanta final

    ATLANTA — Top-seeded John Isner overpowered Dudi Sela on Sunday to successfully defend his Atlanta Open title, blowing serve after serve past the 5-foot-9 Israeli player in a 6-3, 6-4 victory....

    July 28, 2014