Vikings need to account for Abraham

While the Vikings have Jared Allen, the Falcons have the league's current sack leader from the defensive end position. John Abraham has been displaying a variety of moves from different sides lately.

Falcons defensive end John Abraham is playing strong down the stretch.

His three sacks against Tampa Bay lifted him to 15.5 this season, topping his previous best single-season mark of 13.

That 13-sack season was followed by Abraham's first trip to the Pro Bowl. However, he wasn't selected Tuesday for this year's postseason all-star game.

"He's a great player, particularly on this surface in that noise," Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden said. "We sent help there several times, but there are some situations in which you have got to let some people out. He made some big plays in some tough situations. That's a credit to him."

The Falcons have cut Abraham's playing time all season, with the hopes of keeping him fresh at the end of games and hopefully at the end of the season.

Coach Mike Smith's "less is more" Abraham plan appears to be paying dividends.

Abraham, who rushes primarily from the right end but will also flip over to the left side, used an assortment of moves to get his three sacks against the Bucs.

In recent weeks, Abraham was using his speed rush outside almost exclusively and was coming up a little short.

Against the Bucs, he used a bull rush, where he just took Tampa Bay tackle Donald Penn back and threw him into quarterback Brian Griese for his first sack. On his second sack, Abraham used an up-and-under move, where he got underneath Penn's arm and ended up crawling to Griese and dropping him for an 11-yard loss.

"When he swiped the guy's hands and then crawled, I don't know of an offensive technique to block that move," Falcons tackle Tyson Clabo said. "I've never seen that move before. I'm glad he's a Falcon."

In overtime, he moved over to left end and just scooted on by Jeremy Trueblood and walloped Griese for a 13-yard loss.

The showing illustrated that Abraham is capable of dominating a game from his end position.

"I was so beat up before the game, I was like, ‘I probably won't play well,'" Abraham said. "I've got so many bumps and bruises just from the season. The more I played, the more passion that came out."

One more sack and Abraham will have the season record for the Falcons, passing Joel Williams and his 16 sacks in 1980.


  • RB Michael Turner had his seventh 100-yard game this season and the 10th of his career after finishing with 152 yards on 32 rushes against Tampa Bay. He also caught two passes for 30 yards, both of which went for his first two receiving first downs this season.

  • DT Grady Jackson got his second sack of the season in the third quarter on a Tampa Bay third-down play to force a punt.

  • CB Domonique Foxworth got his first interception as a Falcon in the third quarter. It was the fourth of his career. The INT was the first for the Falcons in four weeks, since they had three interceptions against New Orleans.

  • SS Lawyer Milloy topped the 100-tackle mark for the sixth consecutive season and the 11th time in his 13-year career.

  • PK Jason Elam's game-winning kick was his 27th field goal of the season. Elam had seven points on the day, giving him 116 points on the season, which ranks fourth in the team's history.

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