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Possession is the law for Falcons' Roddy White

The Atlanta receiver had eight catches for a club-record 210 yards against San Francisco last week, proving that he's still a dangerous deep threat.

October 18, 2009|Sam Farmer

Turns out, Atlanta's Roddy White is a possession receiver after all.

When the ball's in the air, he comes down with the possession.

What's more, as opposing defensive backs might attest, he plays like a man possessed.

That was the case last Sunday, when White shook off a slow start this season with a phenomenal performance against a tough San Francisco defense. He made eight catches for a club-record 210 yards, stretching the field the way he did last season, instead of the nickel-and-diming he did over the first three games when he averaged 7.9 yards per catch.

"Me and Coach [Mike] Smith had a talk," White said after the 45-10 blowout of the 49ers. "He was like, 'You've got to get back to being yourself again. You've got to go back out there and be the old Roddy. No pressure.' After we had that talk, I kind of came to practice with a new mentality. Kind of got back to just doing what I do."

White is a key factor in the Falcons' game plan tonight when they play host to Chicago in a battle of 3-1 NFC up-and-coming teams.

Both teams will try to establish their ground attacks, with the Falcons running Michael Turner and the Bears putting the ball in the hands of Matt Forte. But teams that run most effectively are the ones that can balance it with a passing game, and vice versa.

The Falcons, led by second-year quarterback Matt Ryan, have plenty of receiving options -- among them tight end Tony Gonzalez -- and White is the most dangerous downfield threat.

The Bears have been especially susceptible in third-and-long situations, where White can be a nightmare for the opposition.

Chicago Coach Lovie Smith told reporters this week that his team "did not win our share" of those situations in the first quarter of the season, adding, "We will win our share in the second quarter. It's as simple as that."

-- Sam Farmer

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