Friday, December 24, 2010

Falcons Look Sharp In NFL Preseason Victory Over Rams

By Ross Everett

The Atlanta Falcons are making a statement that they'll be a factor in the NFC. The Falcons starters behind QB Matt Ryan were almost flawless, and left the reserves with a 14-0 lead before eventually beating the St. Louis Rams 20-13 at the Edward Jones Dome on Friday night.

Running back Michael Turner was unstoppable in his limited playing time, churning out 65 yards in the Falcons opening drive. After the game,he spoke of his team's impressive offensive showing:

"We wanted to come out and execute. They were preaching that all week and we wanted to show that on game day. We're way better than we were last year at this time."

Tony Gonzalez caught QB Matt Ryans TD pass and after the game praised the young team leader:

"He's a great quarterback. It's obvious he's figuring things out. He has a great arm, talent, and knows how to play with poise."

It was a disappointing home debut for new Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, who saw his team blown away from the opening whistle before a half empty stadium. Still, he tried to frame the loss as a learning experience:

"Just like I said to the team, we'd have liked to have started out a little better. You've got to come out and take it to them."

Rams safety O.J. Atogwe echoed his coach's sentiments:

"This was a fabulous game for us. That's the reason you play the preseason. Going against a team like Atlanta, a top-caliber team, it allows us to reassess what we've been doing."

Falcons coach Mike Smith was most excited about the improved play of his rushing defense:

"We were much improved against the run. It's something we have to continue to get better at. We still had some missteps."

The Falcons will continue NFL preseason play next Friday night as they host the San Diego Chargers at the Georgia Dome. The Rams will play the Bengals at Cincinnati next Thursday night. Atlanta will get the NFL regular season underway on Sunday, September 13th as they host the Miami Dolphins while the Rams will head to the Pacific Northwest for a game against the Seahawks in Seattle.

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