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.”
Quarterback Matt Ryan was 7 of 8 for 81 yards and a touchdown pass before he called it a night. Tony Gonzalez caught Ryans TD pass and after the game was effusive in his praise for the young signal caller:
“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:
“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 concurred:
“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, meanwhile, was enthused 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.
Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and respected authority on football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Northern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former interior secretary James Watt.