Well the Atlanta Falcons helped Los Angeles Ram’s head coach Jeff Fisher celebrate his contract extension by thoroughly embarrassing the home team and number one overall draft pick Jared Goff 42-14.
Smarting after losing the week before on a “pick-2” when a two-point conversion try was intercepted and returned costing Atlanta the game, they showed no signs of a proverbial hangover. Instead they seemed to take their frustrations out on the lowly Rams,
After playing hot potato with the opening kickoff the Falcons recovered the fumble and only ten seconds into the game Matt Ryan threw his first of three touchdowns on the day hitting Justin Hardy from three yards out to take the lead – something that was never in jeopardy.
Of Atlanta’s six touchdowns three came by air, one on the ground and defense scored the other two. It was a continued brutal introduction to the NFL for Goff who did not see action until six weeks into the season as the fan base grew impatient with Fisher’s so-called grooming of the number one overall pick. Trailing 14-0 with just under nine minutes to play in the half he was intercepted by Deion Jones who took the errant pick 33 yards for the score. Later in the third quarter he was strip sacked by Vic Beasley Jr. who picked up the loose ball and ran 21 yards for the score. “That was impressive. I just had a good rush and I turned around and saw him do a split in the air. It was just an amazing play by him. He was able to get in the end zone. I think our defense is making great strides,” Beasley said about Jones’ interception.
Ryan’s day was called early because of the big lead the Falcons had. The leading MVP candidate started the second half almost as quickly as he did the first hitting Taylor Gabriel for 64 yards and a score less than two minutes into the second half. “We’ve been working on that all week. Coming out of half, we were thinking we were going to get the coverage and we did. (QB) Matt (Ryan) threw a great ball and all I had to do was catch the ball. That’s what a wide receiver is supposed to do. I only have to compliment from Kyle (Shanahan) to the offensive line and to the quarterback. I feel like it’s not just my play, it’s everybody’s play,” he said about his catch.
Tevin Coleman scored on a 6-yard scamper with just under four minutes to go in the third to extend the lead to 35-0. Less than to minutes after Coleman’s score was when Beasley took the Goff fumble to the house to make the score 42-0 with just under three minutes to go in the third quarter.
Not long into the fourth quarter starter Ryan took a seat and let the other Matt take his place under center – Matt Schaub. “We knew coming into it, from an offensive standpoint, I think LA has one of the best defenses in the league, specifically the front four. It’s tough to go against and they made it difficult for us all day. I mean, we made some plays offensively, but we really benefited from some turnovers and some great field position. We were opportunistic. When we got our chances, we capitalized. But again, I was proud of the way we competed,” said Ryan.
Atlanta gave up two garbage touchdowns to the Rams in the fourth quarter. Coming into the game the Rams were known to have one of the toughest defenses in the league and yardage-wise they lived up to it giving up less than 300 total yards to the high flying Falcons offense. But the Falcons didn’t need that many yards on offense to put up 42 points as three turnovers led to three touchdowns – two scored by the defense and one leaving the offense only three yards to go for another, well, the offensive machine could take part of the day off. “The defense did their thing today, the turnovers and things like that. When a defense makes turnovers like that, it makes our jobs easier. I feel like if those guys keep playing like that and getting turnovers like that, the sky’s the limit,” said Gabriel about the defense.
“Regardless of who you play, and they’re if not the top offensively, anytime you spot someone three touchdowns, one basically on special teams and give up two defensive touchdowns on offense, it’s hard to overcome. Then you add to that drops and penalties at the wrong time, it doesn’t happen,” said Ram’s coach Jeff Fisher about the loss as his team has spiraled out of control after beginning the season winning their first three of four.
“We knew coming into it, from an offensive standpoint, I think LA has one of the best defenses in the league, specifically the front four. It’s tough to go against and they made it difficult for us all day. I mean, we made some plays offensively, but we really benefited from some turnovers and some great field position. We were opportunistic. When we got our chances, we capitalized. But again, I was proud of the way we competed,” said Ryan.
The Falcons return home this weekend as they host the San Francisco 49ers. The Falcons remain tied with Tampa Bay for first place in the division holding the tie-breaker. Two out of Atlanta’s three final games are at home with the last two being against NFC South opponents. Kickoff for the 49ers game at the Georgia Dome is scheduled for 4:05pm and will be aired of Fox.
– Dave Weinthal
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