|Bobby Petrino in early 0-3 hole as Falcons coach|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 26 September 2007 01:14|
Petrino said he has never before lost his first three games.
``If I have I don't remember it,'' Petrino said. ``It's been a long, long time if that's something that's happened. It is something that's obviously new, yes.''
Petrino's first home game as an NFL head coach was marred when cornerback DeAngelo Hall drew three costly penalties for 67 yards to practically hand Carolina its tying touchdown drive Sunday. Hall then came to the sideline and, as TV cameras watched, stood and yelled at Petrino until teammates intervened.
Petrino on Monday promised unspecified ``substantial'' discipline for Hall but said it would be kept in-house unless the fourth-year player is suspended.
Vick already is suspended indefinitely by the league and is facing a Dec. 10 sentencing for his guilty plea to a federal dogfighting charge. More state charges in Virginia were added on Tuesday.
Petrino was hired from Louisville with a reputation for offensive excellence, but the Falcons averaged only 5 points in their first two losses.
For an added bitter twist, the Texans will come to Atlanta this weekend with quarterback Matt Schaub, who could be Petrino's starter had he not been traded only weeks before Vick's legal troubles began.
It has not been an easy opening month for Petrino, but he says he has cause for optimism.
For one thing, the Falcons played well enough to lead in the fourth quarter of their 13-7 loss to Jacksonville on Sept. 16 and in the third quarter of the 27-20 loss to Carolina.
And for another, quarterback Joey Harrington passed for 361 yards against Carolina - the ninth-best passing total in team history, more than Vick ever managed and the high mark since Jeff George threw for 386 yards against New Orleans in 1995.
Harrington threw two touchdown passes with no interceptions and only one sack against the Panthers.
Harrington, who completed 31 of 44 passes Sunday, drew criticism from Petrino and others after he was sacked seven times in the first two games. The Falcons then signed Byron Leftwich last week, leading to widespread speculation that Harrington soon would lose his starting job.
``You've got to respect how he handled the national and the media criticism from a week ago,'' Petrino said. ``He completed a lot of passes for a lot of yards. He got us in the end zone,'' Petrino said. ``He got the ball out of his hand and stood in there and took some shots and completed passes. That's really what a quarterback has to do, be able to complete passes when you're getting hit and he certainly did that.''
Notes: DE John Abraham already has three sacks, including two against Carolina. ... WR Roddy White finally is playing like a first-round pick. He caught seven passes for 127 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown, against the Panthers and has 15 catches in three games. ... Hall played one of his best games before the meltdown, holding Steve Smith without a catch through the first half and only one catch for 10 yards in the game.