Sunday, October 5, 2003
Whitfield now part of the ``badness'' of the Falcons
ATLANTA -- Atlanta Falcons tackle Bob Whitfield, in his 12th
season, has more tenure than any of his teammates. And for the
majority of his career, he's been a standout on a losing team.
Now, for the first time, Whitfield feels he's a part of the
The former Pro Bowler certainly had an off day Sunday against
the Minnesota Vikings, getting called for two holding penalties --
including one in the end zone that led to safety -- and giving up a
The Vikings rallied for 27 straight points in the second half to
beat Atlanta 39-26.
"I think about it, and the years I played here, and the team
was bad and I was the bright spot," Whitfield said. "Now I'm part
of the badness."
The sack by Kenny Mixon led to a fumble, but Atlanta's Todd
McClure recovered. Then, early in the fourth quarter, Whitfield was
called for holding in the end zone after he literally tackled Lance
"I used to pride myself on pass blocking and now that's the
worst part of my ... game," Whitfield said. "So I guess,
mentally, I've got to get out of that slump."
The Falcons were called for a safety in the second quarter, when
Doug Johnson got nabbed for intentional grounding in the end zone.
^PRICE PAYS OFF:@ Atlanta wide receiver Peerless Price finally
had a breakout game, even though it came in a loss. Price set
season highs with 12 catches for 168 yards, including his first
touchdown of the season.
"I'll take away any catch I ever had if I could get a win,"
Price said. "I would do that from Day 1. If we're winning,
everybody keeps their job and it's a happy place."
Johnson looked for Price early, connecting for 47 yards on the
first play of the second possession. On the final drive of the
half, with the Falcons leading 13-12, Price caught three passes,
including a 23-yarder on third-and-5.
With 13 seconds left, Johnson threw a 6-yard TD to Price to give
Atlanta a 20-12 lead at the half.
"That's a positive, but it really doesn't mean much when you
lose," Price said. "We did some good things but the bottom line
is we still lost. We didn't do enough good things."
With their fourth straight loss, the Falcons fell further out of
playoff contention, and Michael Vick isn't expected back for
another two games.
"I think we were on the bring after we lost two," Price said.
"We need to get a win and we need to get a win in a hurry. This is
bad, four games in a row. Now, you're just trying to get a win,
forget everything else."
^CLAIBORNE GETS BUSY:@ Minnesota linebacker Chris Claiborne had
a big day, recovering a fumble and intercepting a pass -- both in
the fourth quarter.
For his efforts, Claiborne got a game ball, and he quickly gave
credit to fellow linebackers Greg Biekert and Henri Crockett.
Claiborne spent the previous four seasons with the Detroit Lions.
"First of all, it starts with the other two linebackers,
Biekert and Crockett," Claiborne said. "I'm just learning this
defense, and they've taken me under their wings."
In the fourth quarter, with Minnesota leading 34-20, Claiborne
picked off a pass intended for T.J. Duckett and returned the
interception 3 yards to the Falcons' 25-yard line.
Later, with Atlanta driving, Claiborne fell on a fumble by
Warrick Dunn in the end zone. Dunn caught a swing pass from Johnson
and ran all the way to the 2, where he was hit by Ken Irvin. The
ball popped loose, and after a couple of players fought for it,
Claiborne was there for the recovery.
^MOSS'S REDEMPTION:@ Minnesota wide receiver Randy Moss got
called for a pass interference in the end zone, negating one
touchdown. On the next play, Moss got revenge.
He leaped over cornerback Kevin Mathis -- almost grabbing the
ball off Mathis' helmet -- then barely got both feet inbounds. It
was his second TD of the game.
On the previous play, Moss pushed cornerback Ray Buchanan to the
"I was kind of mad," Moss said of the interference call.
"Each week, I get pass interferences against me and they don't
But he knew he shoved Buchanan.
"When I push off, I know I pushed off," Moss said. "It's hard
to get your hands up to make a catch when a guy's bumping you.
"It felt good that my quarterback had enough faith in me to
come back to me."