ATLANTA, GA. — The Atlanta Falcons and St. Louis Rams last met in week 2 when both teams were still getting a feel on the season. The Falcons escaped that one at home with a 48-42 win. Fast forward 16 weeks and the Falcons and Rams found themselves as two of the hottest teams in football. Something had to give.
St. Louis received the kickoff and marched down the field thanks in part to a 34 yard WR screen to Austin Pettis. The drive fizzed however in the red-zone and the Rams were forced to settle for a field goal. This was one of the lowest scoring quarters played between these two teams as only three points were scored. The Falcons managed to keep their driving going in the second quarter where they scored on a 3rd and goal touchdown to WR Julio Jones with 7:50 left. The Rams answered however as they marched right down the field as HB Jawan Jamison ran it in from 14 yards out to give the Rams back the lead. The Rams defense forced a punt but the offense was unable to get anything going and the Falcons were handed the ball again. Rookie HB Michael Smith out of Utah State made them pay as he broke off a 93 yard touchdown run with only 1:52 left in the half. Not to be outdone the Rams countered with a big play of their own as WR Chris Givens took a slant route 80 yards to the house. A 1:30 was more than enough time as Matt Ryan led his team down the field and connected with Julio Jones on a five yard touchdown pass, Julio’s second touchdown of the day.
The action moved to the third quarter with the Falcons up 21-17. The halftime rest aided the Rams defense as they held the Falcons offense in check and forced a punt. Sam Bradford hit pass after pass but once again the Rams saw another drive fall apart in the red-zone and they were forced to settle for a field goal. HB Michael Smith broke off another big run for the Falcons as he broke tackle after tackle on his way to picking up 50 yards. Julio Jones was targeted again a few plays later as Matt Ryan completed a deep ball to him for 30 yards and a touchdown. The very next play Sam Bradford was picked off by CB William Moore as it seemed like the Falcons were ready to take control of the game. Matt Ryan seized the moment completing a 10 yard touchdown to TE Tony Gonzalez giving the Falcons a commanding 15 point lead to start the 4th quarter. Sam Bradford never hung his head though and no huddled his team down the field to score with 5:47 to play. A failed two point conversion attempt kept the distance at 9. The Rams’ defense however at no answer once again for the Falcons high powered offense as a quick 22 yard WR screen to Julio followed by a 10 yard curl to Roddy White who took it another 23 yards was capped off with a 23 yard touchdown pass to White on an out route with 3:00 remaining in the game. The Rams, in desperation mode, moved down the field once again via no huddle was a lot of time was coming off the clock. With 32 seconds left the Rams finally punched it in followed by a successful two point conversion attempt. Down 8 the Rams had no choice but to try the onside kick. The kick went long right into the hands of a Falcons player ending the ballgame.
Coach McDowell after it was over said, “Tough loss, especially after the late comeback. I wish the Eagles the best of luck in the rest of the post-season. Time to look forward to next season!”