By: Barry Barnes, Founder/Senior
After nine seasons in St. Louis, Falcons’ running back Steven Jackson was fired up as he help led Atlanta down the field on the opening drive for a touchdown, capped with an eight-yard touchdown pass. Jackson injured his hip on the touchdown play and left the game.
After being up by as many as 21 points, the Rams (1-1) rallied to get within seven behind a pair of touchdowns by rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin.
“I thought the start was very efficient, we moved the ball well, and made a big play on defense, scored on defense,” said Falcons’ head coach Mike Smith. “Our third quarter performance was not up to speed. We have to do a number of things better. We did not run the ball efficiently and put ourselves in some situations we don’t typically like to be in.”
But Falcons’ wide receiver Julio Jones was the different maker as he hauled in 11 receptions for 182 with a touchdown, which was a career long catch and run for 81 yards.
“I thought they had a very good game,” said Smith. “Matt was (QB rating) 116 and I believe Julio had over 180 yards. They made a couple of very good football plays. Matt and Julio had a good game.”
Game Notes by Courtesy of the Atlanta Falcons
-The Falcons improved to 21-3 following a loss under Head Coach Mike Smith, including 13 straight wins after a loss with a 31-24 win over the St. Louis Rams at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons have not lost back-to-back games in the same season since falling to Philadelphia and New Orleans in consecutive weeks in 2009.
-Atlanta improved to 34-7 at the Georgia Dome under Smith and the Falcons’ .829 winning percentage at the Dome is the best mark in the NFC and tied for the second-best home record in the NFL.
-Jackson scored his first touchdown as a Falcon when he caught a short pass and punched it into the endzone for an eight-yard touchdown on Atlanta’s opening drive. Jackson has nine career receiving touchdowns and tied Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte for fifth among all active running backs.
-Since 2008, the Falcons have scored 231 points on their first offensive possessions, including a touchdown on the opening drive of Sunday’s game. Atlanta’s 231 points on opening drives are the most in the NFL over the last six seasons.
-Jones scored his second touchdown of the season, pulling in a career-long 81-yard touchdown pass from QB Matt Ryan. The score was Jones’ fifth touchdown reception of 60+ yards and his seventh touchdown of 40-or-more yards.
-Jones has totaled six touchdowns in his last six games dating back to the 2012 season, including touchdowns in back-to-back games to start the 2013 season. Jones has notched touchdowns in back-to-back games six times in his career, including a stretch of five games between the end of his rookie season in 2011 and the beginning of the 2012 season.
-Jones finished the game with a regular season career-high 11 catches and 182 yards with one touchdown, while averaging 16.5 yards per reception. Jones has now posted nine 100-yard games and three games with 10-or-more catches in his career. Jones also caught 11 passes for 182 yards in last season’s NFC Championship Game against San Francisco.
-Ryan’s 81-yard touchdown pass to Jones was the second-longest completion of his career, trailing the 90-yard touchdown pass he threw to WR Roddy White at San Francisco in 2009. Ryan has thrown six touchdown passes of 70+ yards during his career.
-Sunday marked Ryan’s 40th career multi-touchdown game. During his career, the Falcons own a 33-8 record when he throws two-or-more touchdown passes. Additionally, Ryan has thrown multiple touchdowns in five of his last six games.
-Ryan finished the game with 374 yards on 33 of 43 passing (76.7 completion percentage) with two touchdowns and a 117.8 passer rating. His 374 passing yards were the second-highest total of his career and Sunday marked the 10th time in his career that Ryan has completed better than 75 percent of his passes.
-Defensive end Osi Umenyiora had a memorable debut at the Georgia Dome as he intercepted quarterback Sam Bradford on a tipped pass and returned the pick 68 yards for a touchdown. Umenyiora’s pick-six came on his first career interception and the score was his first touchdown since scoring on a 37-yard fumble recovery in 2009 as a member of the New York Giants.
-Since 2010, the Falcons have scored 321 points off of turnovers, which is the second-highest total in the NFL during that time span behind the New England Patriots (403).
-Running back Jason Snelling battled his way to an 11-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to extend the Falcons lead to 31-17 after the Rams made it a one possession game. Snelling found the endzone on the ground for the first time since running for two scores against the Arizona Cardinals in 2009. Snelling’s last touchdown came in a 2012 game at Philadelphia when he caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Ryan.
-Snelling totaled 41 yards on four receptions while adding 19 yards on two carries. He finished the game with 60 yards on six touches, averaging 10 yards per touch.-K Matt Bryant moved into third on the Falcons all-time scoring list posting six points against the Rams with three extra points and a 38-yard field goal. Bryant has totaled 439 points since joining the Falcons in 2009. He passed K Jay Feely who amassed 436 points during his Falcons career.
-Tight end Tony Gonzalez and wide receiver Roddy White each extended their streaks for consecutive games with a reception. Gonzalez has now caught a pass in 197 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the NFL, while White has pulled down at least one reception in 102 consecutive games. With a catch in next week’s game at Miami, White would tie wide receiver Alfred Jenkins (103 games) for the longest such streak in Falcons history.
-Defensively, the Falcons were led by cornerback Robert McClain who totaled nine tackles (nine solo) with one quarterback hit and one pass defense.
-Safety William Moore posed seven tackles (seven solo), including a big hit on Bradford as he tried to scramble for a score in the fourth quarter.
-Rookie linebacker Joplo Bartu saw extensive action for the first time in his career and delivered with six tackles (six solo), two tackles for loss, and one quarterback hit. He was signed by the Falcons as a college free agent out of Texas State after the 2013 NFL Draft and is one of seven players originally signed as CFAs by the Falcons on the active roster in 2013. Bartu Earned All-WAC second team honors after posting 95 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks in 2012.
-Punter Matt Bosher punted six times for 318 total yards with a 52.0 net average and two punts downed inside the Rams 20-yard line. Bosher also tied his career long with a 63-yard punt.
-The Falcons punt coverage unit limited explosive return man wide receiver Tavon Austin to just six yards on four punt returns while averaging 1.5 yards per return. This season, the Falcons have held Austin and Saints running back Darren Sproles to a total of 13 yards on eight punt returns and the Falcons have allowed just 1.6 yards per return in two games.
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