Mark Bradley

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

Therezie to Mettenberger: I'll melt with you

The man at the bottom of that scrum is Robenson Therezie. He has the ball. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

NASHVILLE -- These short takes are presented in conjunction with the Falcons-Titans game column. The Falcons won 10-7. This was not the greatest display of football in NFL annals.

1. Robenson Therezie, undrafted rookie free agent, played the game's biggest snap like a 10-year pro. "I'll go through the whole play for you," said Therezie, who was playing on a bad defense at Auburn this time a year ago. As promised, off he went. He had what's known as the "No. 2" receiver, which could have been a tight end or a back, neither came his way and he settled into zone coverage. But he didn't actually settle. He "melted." That's what the Falcons teach their safeties to do -- they "melt" toward the area in which they believe the quarterback will throw. Therezie, who didn't start this week at free safety after being undressed by Saints tight end Benjamin Watson two Thursdays ago, was nonetheless in the absolute right spot to grab Zack Mettenberger's final pass. "Under pressure, I knew he was going to throw the ball," Therezie said, and he based his assumption on the knowledge that the Falcons' were blitzing off the right side. The interception saved an exceedingly shaky day.

2. Therezie got so technical in his breakdown that a teammate said, "You're giving away our whole defense." Therezie shook his head in defiance. "We play the way we play," he averred, and sometimes that way is a beautiful thing. There's force and precision, and there's not much left to chance but there's room enough for instincts to be rewarded. It's no wonder this stuff worked at the highest level in Seattle. It's no wonder these Falcons love playing it now.

3. The offense, however, is another matter. The Falcons have scored six offensive touchdowns in their past three games, one of those being a fumble recovery in the end zone. They have managed one touchdown in the first half of those three games. They failed on third- and fourth-and-goal from the Titans' 1 in the fourth quarter. Matt Bryant missed a 47-yard field goal try minutes later. Said Matt Ryan, who was intercepted on that fourth-and-goal and who had an even worse interception in the first half: "We've got to clean it up." He included himself in that "we", and he said of his first interception: "I made a poor play."

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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.