Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Live from the Dome: Falcons must fly without Julio Jones

Here's Julio, flying for some of those 259 yards. (Matt Ludtke/AP photo)

The weekly active/inactive announcements aren't often of great interest to me, for one reason: I don't play fantasy football. (I see enough of the real kind, thanks very much.) Today it seems prudent to note that Julio Jones will not play for the Atlanta Falcons against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and this is important because, duh, he'd become the hottest receiver in the NFL.

Even before official word came, a Falcons official pointed to midfield and said: "There's Julio. He's standing there talking to the quarterback. He's not running patterns. Does that tell you anything?"

I'm not saying the Falcons can't win without Jones. The Steelers have wobbled all over creation this season. They're 8-5, but they're one of two teams to have lost to Tampa Bay. They're also one of two teams to have lost to the Jets. They can be really good. Or they can stink on ice.

The early guess is that 30,000 Steelers fans will grace the Dome by kickoff. (At the moment, there are many more folks here wearing black and gold than red.) But there were a bunch of Bears fans on hand in October and how'd that turn out?

(OK. Bad example. The Falcons lost by two touchdowns. Let's move on.)

The only reason the Falcons were competitive in Lambeau Field on Monday night was because of Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. One of those isn't playing. This never looked to be an easy game -- for these Falcons, there's no such thing -- but it just got harder.

With that, the figurative floor is open. I'll be here until somebody wins, and I invite your company. And I thank you, as ever, in advance.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.