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September 29, 2010
Falcons calm about emotional end to last year's game

When Mike Singletary called timeout to run one final play in Sunday's blowout loss to the Chiefs, eyebrows were raised, especially after receiver Josh Morgan came up hobbling on the play. But it wasn't the first time Singletary kept swinging long after the game was decided.

Singletary used all three timeouts at the end of last year's 45-10 loss to Atlanta, using the first of them after the Falcons had kneeled down to close out the game. The ending also featured an unnecessary roughness call against linebacker Takeo Spikes. Said Singletary after that game: "To me, we may lose the game, but if I got three timeouts, I'm going to take every hit I can get - every one of them. Even though we didn't hit the way I would like for us to hit during the game, I'm going to finish the game. That was basically the mindset. Whether it's right or wrong, I don't know about that, but I had them up there and if I could take one more time to hit somebody, I'm going to take that."

Asked about last year's ending on a conference call this morning, Falcons coach Mike Smith sounded unconcerned. "I know what the final score was, and everybody's going to play the game to the final snap and the final whistle," he said. "And we would expect that from any team."

Singletary also lost his cool during the game when he got into a shouting match with Falcons guard Harvey Dahl. It was "something that shouldn't have happened," Singletary said after the game. Smith said he had no problem with Dahl's behavior: "There's of things that take place during a ball game that are said with regard to emotion. It's an emotional game on Sundays."

After all, Smith said it is far more important that his players keep their emotions in check in the six days prior to their games. In fact, it's become a Falcons mantra this season. "The message is that it's a long season and you have to stay on an even keel," Smith said. "It's a very emotional game. It's a roller coaster ride during the game ... but the time that you have to be even-keeled is between Sunday and Sunday. You can't get up or down based on the outcome of the previous game. It really has no bearing."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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