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CORE 360, Issue 18 Find out more on MagCloud)

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Falcons Hold On as Injuries Mount

Julio Jones runs with the ball after the catch.
Julio Jones runs with the ball after the catch. The third year receiver
caught 11 passes for 182 yards and 1 TD.

Jason Snelling scored the Falcons only touchdown of the second half from 11 yards out to give Atlanta a 31-24 win over the St. Louis Rams at the Georgia Dome.

Snelling had two pass receptions earlier in the 80 yard, 9-play drive before bolting through the line for the game deciding score.

St. Louis had been relatively stagnant scoring just 3 points in the first half thanks to a Greg Zuerlein 29 yard field goal.

Atlanta’s offense and defense were clicking on all cylinders in the first half. Matt Ryan marched the offense 11 plays on the Falcons first possession of the game for one score. He followed that up two possessions later with a big play to Julio Jones for a second score.

Former Rams tailback Stephen Jackson capped the first drive diving the last 2 of the 8 yard run for his first score as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. The big back was led out to the locker room soon after returning to the sideline and did not re-enter the game.

Ryan found Julio Jones as the receiver slipped behind Rams CB Janoris Jenkins at the 41 yard line. Jones hauled in the pass and stepped on the gas out racing the Rams pursuit to the endzone. “I seen the safety roll late so I just kept it up the numbers and Matt did a good job of finding me,” said Jones of the play.

It was touchdown day for new Falcons players. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora entered the scoring fray taking an interception off a tipped Sam Bradford pass 68 yards for Atlanta’s third score of the half. “It was the first interception of my life,” admitted Umenyiora. The play also happened to give the 10-year pro his first touchdown of his career as well.

Neither offense was able to move the ball much early in the third quarter as players on both sides headed down the tunnel with unspecified injuries. Atlanta defensive end Kroy Biermann and Rams tackle Rodger Saffold both left the field with injuries.

Late in the quarter, the Rams offense found the consistency that had escaped them in the first half. Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer decided it was time to change the tempo with the ‘no-huddle’ offensive set. “I thought it was a great idea to just change it up,” said Bradford. “Obviously we were struggling in what we were trying to do at that point. Put them on their heels a little bit got us going.”

The ‘no-huddle’ indeed got the Rams offense moving as Bradford orchestrated a 74 yard scoring drive in just 6 plays. Tavon Austin capped the drive with a spectacular grab just inside the cone.

St. Louis scored again on their very next possession. This time Bradford and company needed 8 plays to cover 75 yards. Austin Pettis did the honors on the drive with a 3 yard catch and dive.

Down a touchdown, Snelling’s score pushed the Falcons lead back to 14 with 6 minutes to play. It was a good thing too, as the Rams came right back with an 80 yard scoring drive. Austin scored his second touchdown of the game on a 10 yard pass from Bradford.

Atlanta ran off the last two minutes thanks again to –guess who – Jason Snelling. The 7-year pro picked up 22 yards on third and 1 to keep the final drive alive.

Atlanta moves to 1-1 and heads to South Florida for a 4 pm kick-off with Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins (2-0). St. Louis will travel to Arlington for a game against the Dallas Cowboys (1-1).

St. Louis Rams 24 - Atlanta Falcons 31

Photos - Jake McDonald, CORE 360 Magazine

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