Atlanta avoided the pitfalls of overlooking a winless team to dispatch the Indianapolis Colts 31-7 in the Falcons first visit to Lucas Oil Stadium. With a divisional match-up with explosive rival New Orleans looming on the horizon, the Falcons defense held the Colts offense scoreless.
Falcons rookie wide receiver Julio Jones outscored the Colts by himself. Coming off a two-game absence after suffering a hamstring injury against Green Bay, Jones made the most of his first game back burning the Colts secondary for two huge touchdown receptions and 131 yards.
Atlanta's offense rang up 21 unanswered points before 2 minutes could run off the 2nd quarter.
It was the Colts defense that finally responded to the Falcons challenge. Pat McAfee pinned the visitors down at the 1 with a 53 yard punt. After a 1 yard run by RB Jason Snelling, Colts DB Jerraud Powers picked off Matt Ryan's pass intended for Roddy White and took it in for six. "Whenever they go backside trips and backside X individual, I usually know the ball is probably coming to my side", said Powers. "Knowing Dwight (Freeney) and those guys on the front four get to the quarterback kinda fast I knew it was probably gonna be something quick. So I looked back there to Antoine (Bethea) and told him if I see something I'm gonna jump it, get me over top."
Powers pick six was the lone highlight for the home team. Dan Orlovsky replaced Painter on the Colts first possession of the 4th quarter. "We just wanted to see if we could change the pace a little bit," said Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell.
If there was a highlight for the home team it would have to be how few points Atlanta scored in the second half. The Falcons scored just 10 points on five second half possessions.
The Falcons welcome the New Orleans Saints to the Georgia Dome in a week. Indianapolis will try again to win their first game of the season when the (2-6) Jacksonville Jaguars roll into town.
Pittsburgh and Baltimore managed to raise the pain bar several notches Monday night at Heinz Field. Both defenses limited the opposing offenses to field goals for the entire first half of play. Baltimore's Ray Rice capped a 71 yard drive started by a Terrell Suggs interception. Pittsburgh battled back to score twice and take a 20-16 lead before the bizarre happened. After forcing the Ravens to a 3 and out, the Steelers began milking the clock pushing the ball deep into Baltimore territory. With just about 30 seconds before the two minute warning Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlinson opted to rely on his defense by punting the ball instead of attempting what would have been about a 51 yard field goal. The strategy backfired as Joe Flacco led the Ravens on a 13-play game winning scoring drive. Flacco found WR Torrey Smith for a 26 yard strike to give Baltimore a season sweeping 23-20 win.
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