Mark Bradley blog 

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Bucs stomped here: The Falcons romp 56-14

  • 11:47 pm Thursday, September 18th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
A record dash: Devin Hester does the Deion. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

These short takes are presented as a companion to the Falcons-Buccaneers print column, which can be found here.

1. This offense is really something, and we don’t mean Tampa Bay’s. After a blah performance at Cincinnati, the Atlanta Falcons needed 177 seconds to score a touchdown. By halftime they would lead 35-0. After three quarters it was 56-0. Through those three quarters, the Falcons had outgained the visitors 457 yards to 151 and had mustered 24 first downs to the Bucs’ six. Julio Jones caught nine passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Devin Hester scored on a reverse and [More]

Who’s at fault for this September’s Braves flop?

  • 10:20 am Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Somebody got to celebrate at Turner Field. (David Tulis/AP)

I’m on record as saying I believe Fredi Gonzalez to be a good manager. He passes the test every successful manager must pass: His men play hard. (That’s the weird part about what’s happening now; the Atlanta Braves still, at least to these eyes, appear to be playing hard. Just not well, at least when it comes to hitting the ball.) If you ask me today if I’d be comfortable with Gonzalez managing this team the next five years, I’d say yes almost without hesitation.

Here, however, is where the “almost” arises: For the second time in four years, the Braves [More]

The .500 Braves are facing change. But how much?

  • 9:24 am Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"I find this ejection unacceptable." (Curtis Compton/AJC)

On the night of Sept. 15, the Atlanta Braves completed their downward journey to break-even. After 150 games, they’re where they were on April Fools’ Day. Then they were 1-1. They’re now 75-75. They’re no longer a winning team.

It was altogether fitting and proper that this inglorious moment came against the Washington Nationals, the one opponent they’d been able to handle, and Stephen Strasburg, the pitcher they’d come to own. Alas, these Braves have fallen so far that even those Old Reliables have been rendered moot. Strasburg pitched seven shutout innings. The Nats won 4-2 to pare their magic number [More]

Was Bobo so wrong for not giving the ball to Gurley?

  • 7:16 am Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
"What the heck did we just do?" (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

If a good decision yields a bad result, can it have been a good decision? Mike Bobo, Georgia’s offensive coordinator, made what seemed a terrible choice — terrible in hindsight, we emphasize — by opting not to let Todd Gurley, the nation’s best tailback, run on first-and-goal from the South Carolina 4 with the Bulldogs trailing by a field goal. (Perhaps you’ve heard a bit about this.)

Georgia’s failure to score on that series — Marshall Morgan pushed what would have been the tying field goal wide right — has led to much criticism, some of it from this sector. [More]

Yes, Georgia was outplayed. But Georgia also blew it

  • 9:24 pm Saturday, September 13th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
A scene Georgia fans are sick of seeing. (Rainier Erhardt/AP)

Columbia, S.C. – These short takes are presented as a companion to the Georgia-South Carolina game column, which can be found on myajc.com.

1. Georgia botched a better chance than it probably deserved. Having been on the back foot all night, the Bulldogs finally had the game in their hands after Damian Swann flashed in front of Dylan Thompson’s third-down pass and gave the Bulldogs possession at the South Carolina 4 with 5:24 remaining. A touchdown might have won it. The first-down call was a bootleg pass off a play-action fake to Todd Gurley, the nation’s best tailback. If it [More]

Live from Columbia: Will Georgia reign in the rain?

  • 1:49 pm Saturday, September 13th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Pollack for six on a rainy day. (AP photo)

Columbia, S.C. – It’s not raining yet — the sun’s out now and it’s unbelievably humid — but, according to the Weather Channel, it’s coming. There’s a 60 percent chance of storms at 4 p.m., an 80 percent chance at 5 and a 50 percent chance at 6. Conventional wisdom holds that rain favors a running team, which both Georgia and South Carolina have been, at least to date, but rain also slows fast teams, and the Bulldogs are the faster side.

The famous David Pollack game here in 2002 featured a first-half thunderstorm so wicked that play was stopped for [More]

A rough week ends with two positive steps for Ferry

  • 5:02 pm Friday, September 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
By taking a leave, Danny Ferry might not be leaving. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Over the long week, I’ve written a time or two that I think it will be very hard for Danny Ferry to remain the Atlanta Hawks’ general manager. I now think he has given himself a fighting chance. Esteemed colleague Chris Vivlamore’s unearthing of the “background report” on Luol Deng indicates that Ferry — as the Hawks have claimed all along and I frankly had doubted — was indeed reading the incendiary words.

And then, to cap another dizzying day, the Hawks announced that Ferry is taking a leave of absence.

The latter is a needed step backward that, for [More]

It sure didn’t sound as if Danny Ferry was reading

  • 8:50 pm Thursday, September 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
It sure didn't sound as if Danny Ferry was reading. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Maybe you believe that Michael Gearon Jr., one of the Atlanta Hawks’ many owners, is waging a campaign to oust Danny Ferry as general manager. Even if we concede that point, we’re left with this:

Ferry spoke insensitive words in a business setting about Luol Deng, whom the Hawks were considering for employment. The audio tape obtained by esteemed colleague Chris Vivlamore underscores what Adrian Wojnarowski’s review for Yahoo! Sports of a written transcript of the June conference call suggested: It doesn’t sound as if Ferry was, as the Hawks have maintained, reading from a background report.

If that was [More]

Your Heisman Trophy frontrunner? UGA’s Gurley

  • 4:28 pm Thursday, September 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Todd Gurley ascendant. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

According to Jimmy Shapiro of Props PR, Georgia’s Todd Gurley is now the Heisman Trophy betting favorite, at least according to Bovada. Perhaps this should be taken with a pound of salt, seeing as how Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill, who has played two collegiate games, ranks third, one spot ahead of Florida State’s Jameis Winston, who already has a Heisman.

From Kenny Bradley, manager of Bovada’s sports book:

An influx of money on (last week’s) second favorite Todd Gurley has catapulted him to the top of list all alone now at 5-1. While we are more likely to move off money and [More]

Meanwhile, back at the Braves: Is all hope gone?

  • 8:19 am Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Kind of says it all, doesn't it? (Alex Brandon/AP)

Can’t you just see it? Fifteen days from now, the Atlanta Braves will have swept four games from Pittsburgh to clinch the second wild card and the champagne will be flowing in the home clubhouse at Turner Field — yes, teams celebrate being the runner-up of runners-up — and the soggy Braves will turn to the cameras and proclaim,” Nobody believed in us! Everybody counted us out! Everybody said this wasn’t possible!”

And that last part will be true. Look around today. Nobody believes in the Braves. Everybody has counted them out. Everybody is saying even a second wild card isn’t [More]

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