Falcons: 7 fun facts to digest during training camp

BY foxsports • July 25, 2013

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Here are seven fun factoids to ponder, as the Atlanta Falcons open training camp amid reasonably high expectations of Super Bowl Or Bust.

1. Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, only 12 teams have reached the Super Bowl after losing a conference championship game the season prior (1976 Raiders, 1984 49ers, 1985 Bears, '87 Redskins, '94 49ers, '95 Steelers, '96 Packers, '04 Eagles, '05 Steelers, '07 Patriots and 2012 Ravens and 49ers).

Of that group, only four clubs — '95 Steelers, '04 Eagles, '05 Steelers, '12 49ers — rallied for a Super Bowl berth the year after dropping a conference title game at home.

2. Steven Jackson (turned 30 on July 22) may be 17 months younger than Michael Turner, but he has also logged 756 more professional carries than Turner, whose numbers decline in 2012 sparked his offseason exile from the Falcons.

Also, Jackson notched 20 total touchdowns for the Rams from 2009-12 — a figure that was easily dwarfed by Turner (44 TDs with Atlanta) in that span.

3. In 2012, Matt Ryan (4,719 yards passing, 33 total TDs) was one of only three NFL quarterbacks to post double-digit outings of 300 yards passing and/or three TD passes. Drew Brees crossed that threshold 14 times ... and Ryan and Peyton Manning accomplished the feat 12 times.

4. Here's an apples-to-apples breakdown worth mentioning:

Cris Carter, the Eagles/Vikings star receiver who'll be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next weekend, posted the best four-year run of his career from 1994-97 — 429 catches, 4,859 yards and 47 touchdowns with Minnesota.

By comparison, Falcons wideout Roddy White has the following numbers from the previous four campaigns (2009-12) — 392 receptions, 5,189 yards and 36 TDs.

5. Of the seven teams to register 100 or more pass deflections last season, the Falcons were the only one of that sub-group to notch less than 30 sacks.

6. Since 2008, the Falcons, Bears, Packers and Giants are tied for the second-best record for games immediately before AND after bye weeks (8-2) — among NFC clubs.

The top spot in that category belongs to the Saints (9-1).

And last, but not least ...

7. Check this out: Since the NFC South realigned to four teams in 2002, the Falcons have enjoyed a block of three straight home games during the regular season a whopping six times (2002, '06, '08, '09, '10, '11).

By comparison, the Panthers (twice), Saints (twice) and Buccaneers (thrice) have only had that distinction seven times since 2002 — combined.

And of the NFC South clubs ... only one has three consecutive home games on the 2013 docket: The Falcons!

In case you're wondering, here are the Falcons' various records when hosting three straight games since 2002: 1-2, 2-1, 2-1, 1-2, 3-0, 2-1.