Mark Bradley blog 

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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If any place can handle the Gurley tempest, it’s UGA

  • 1:22 pm Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
He's so cool he even has a cool hat. (Steven Colquitt/AJC file photo)

If any team was equipped to lose its best player, Georgia is that team. And not because the the Bulldogs have Nick Chubb to emulate Todd Gurley — this isn’t about personnel. This is about temperament.

Not to go all Phil Jackson Zen Master on you, but something is a distraction only if you allow yourself to be distracted. Even in a perfect storm, Mark Richt is the ideal skipper. (Now I’m taking the nautical route. Somebody stop me before I indulge in any more imagery.) Richt never gets rattled. He never punches walls or lockers. He is what you see [More]

The Falcons: Outplayed, outclassed and out of ideas

  • 9:06 pm Sunday, October 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Caught in a Bear hug: That's Matt Ryan. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

These short takes off Falcons-Bears are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. The Falcons came within 15 points of winning, if you hadn’t heard.

1. It’s hard to believe now, but the Falcons were favored. By a field goal, which is the standard home-field allowance. They lost 27-13. They scored one touchdown. They yielded 478 yards. There were long moments when it seemed the Bears could name the score, and they essentially did. There have been more lopsided losses under Mike Smith, but there has never been one in which the Falcons appeared [More]

Live from the Dome: Will Falcons find a Bear market?

  • 3:46 pm Sunday, October 12th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Here's the touchdown that made the Birds 2-3. (Seth Wenig/AP photo)

Not to belabor the blatantly obvious, but the Atlanta Falcons need to win today. They’ve lost two in a row. This will be their last home game until Nov. 23 against Cleveland. (Unless we count the London date with Detroit as a “home” game, which the NFL does but I’m sure Mike Smith does not.)

Lose today and the Falcons could go a while longer without winning. Next up are the Ravens in Baltimore, and then the Lions at Wembley, and then Tampa Bay and Carolina on the road. Lose today and the wondering about Smitty’s job — and Thomas [More]

Tech-nically speaking, it wasn’t much of a showing

  • 7:06 pm Saturday, October 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Sub Tim Byerly led a rather inspired rally, you'd have to say. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

These short takes off Georgia Tech-Duke are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. Tech lost 31-25.

1. Justin Thomas has had some splendid days in his first season as Tech’s quarterback, but this wasn’t one. He ran the ball quite well — 119 yards on 19 rushes — and he kept plays going longer than they should have. Trouble was, his improvisations masked the inherent problem Tech was having: Its running game wasn’t overwhelming Duke, which entered the game ranked last among ACC teams in rushing defense. The Jackets were moving — they [More]

Live from Georgia Tech: Will the Jackets deck Duke?

  • 11:38 am Saturday, October 11th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
It was cloudy early at BDS/HGF, but it's clearing. (M. Bradley)

The only good team Georgia Tech beat last season was Duke, and that game carried an asterisk: Blue Devils quarterback Anthony Boone didn’t play. The Jackets won 38-14 in Durham behind Durham’s own Vad Lee, who won’t play quarterback for Tech today, seeing as how he transferred to James Madison over the winter.

Tech is 5-0; Duke is 4-1. This is a big game regarding the ACC Coastal, a division that has been flipped on its head. Georgia Tech and Virginia — which were picked to finish fifth and last, respectively, in the seven-team division by the ACC media — are [More]

The notion of a gone Gurley is sad beyond measure

  • 5:01 pm Friday, October 10th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Herschel ran over a Vol; Gurley jumped over one. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

If Todd Gurley has indeed played his last game for Georgia — quoting a source, the AJC is reporting that he might not be allowed to return this season — the sensation would be the same sadness as in February 1983, when the greatest collegiate player ever jumped to the USFL with a year of eligibility remaining.

With this difference: Herschel Walker had already lifted the Bulldogs to a national championship and three SEC titles. Todd Gurley, the greatest Bulldog since the matchless Herschel, hadn’t done any of the above. Gurley had come close to the SEC part in 2012, [More]

Sans Gurley, is all UGA hope lost? Not just yet

  • 6:39 pm Thursday, October 9th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Todd Gurley was a difference-maker against Georgia Tech last year. (Jason Getz/AJC photo)

Let’s look on the bright side. If Georgia wanted to prove it’s not a one-man team, here’s the chance.

OK, enough cheer. When a one-man team is without its one man, it’s not a good thing. When a one-man team is without its one man going into the biggest game on its remaining schedule, it’s not a good thing. If Georgia loses Saturday at Missouri — and Georgia is, or at least was, favored — it won’t be a good thing.

But if Georgia can ride Nick Chubb and Hutson Mason (or Brice Ramsey, maybe) to a one-point victory in Columbia West, [More]

What do Giants and Cards have that the Braves lack?

  • 9:07 am Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
These guys do this all the time, don't they? (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP photo)

Not to belabor a point, but over the past five seasons the Atlanta Braves have won 449 regular-season games. The San Francisco Giants have won 436; the St. Louis Cardinals have won 451. (From Opening Day 2010 through Sept. 18 of this year, the Braves and Cards had won the same number of games.)

Over that span, the Braves have won no playoff series — we count the wild card play-in as a series — and are 2-7 in postseason games. The Giants have won eight consecutive series and are 26-10 in postseason; the Cardinals have won eight of 10 series [More]

The Braves as a nostalgia act? Not necessarily

  • 10:53 am Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
John, John and Bobby announce their Reunion Tour. (Curtis Compton/AJC photo)

It might seem as if the Atlanta Braves are, as has been suggested, interested more in getting the band back together and playing the old hits than in moving forward. I think it’s more accurate to say the Braves are determined to go back to The Braves’ Way of doing things, which we now know to mean the way the Braves did things before Frank Wren took over and ticked everybody off. We call the roll:

John Schuerholz: Off the golf course, back in the game.

Bobby Cox: No longer a man of leisure, again a man with a plan.

Fredi Gonzalez: Still [More]

If Matty Ice isn’t on fire, the Falcons are doomed

  • 6:47 pm Sunday, October 5th, 2014 by Mark Bradley
Antone Smith makes another play. (Bill Kostroun/AP photo)

East Rutherford, N.J.

These short takes off the Falcons-Giants game are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. The Falcons lost 30-20, in case you haven’t heard.

1. The Atlanta Falcons cannot win if Matt Ryan is only pretty good. For a while, this seemed another those vintage Matty Ice games in a season that has already yielded two (the overtime victory over New Orleans and the blowout of Tampa Bay). He completed 17 of his first 21 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown. He would complete 12 of his final 24 for 150 [More]

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