For the second week in a row the Rams fell behind early. This game was much anticipated as it would be the reunion of Steven Jackson and his former team, however Jackson left the game after an 8 yard touchdown reception and did not return with what was said to be a thigh injury. On their third drive the Falcons scored on an 80 yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones to make it 14-0, then a tipped Sam Bradford pass off of Daryl Richardson was returned for a touchdown to make it 21-0. The Rams came within seven points on two different occasions at, but the Falcons did enough to deny the comeback, winning 31-24.
Penalties and young player mistakes killed the Rams early on. Throughout the entire first half Bradford and his receivers didnt seem to be on the same page, and due to special teams penalties the offense was continuously starting inside their own 15 yard line. The defense was stopping the run as the Falcons at one point had 7 carries for -3 yards, but Matt Ryan was torching the defense through the air due to a lack of pressure and short routes that didnt require a lot of time to develop.Everything that could go wrong was going wring and everything the Rams needed to do to win the game in the first half they weren’t doing and it cost them as they were down 24-3 going into the half.
The Rams got back to work in the second half. For the majority of the half, the Rams defense didnt allow the Falcons high powered offense across midfield which in turn, helped out the offense tremendously. Tavon Austin scored one of his two touchdown on the day to pull the Rams within two scores as Sam Bradford rolled outside the pocket to find Austin who made a fantastic catch in the corner of the end zone. On the next Rams possession Bradford found Pettis who scored the touchdown to make it a one score game.
The Rams were down 24-17 and the defense needed to make a stop. Unfortunately, the Falcons upped their game and dinked and dunked their way down the field to score a touchdown to grab a 14 point lead once again. On the next Rams possession they went 80 yards in 18 plays and converted two fourth downs on their way to scoring a touchdown on a pass from Bradford to Austin.
Fisher with two time outs and the two-minute warning decided not to go for the onside kick and kick it deep. On third and one the Falcons converted on 3rd and 1 to seal the game and stop the comeback. The Falcons would avoid going 0-2 and win this game 31-24.
After going down 21-0 the Rams outscored the Falcons 24-10. If it’s one thing the Rams learned it’s that they cannot go down early and big, especially on the road. The Rams had the heart and fight to get back within striking distance, but just came up short.
Sam Bradford continues to impress in 2013 with all of his new weapons. Technically speaking Bradford has yet to throw an interception. Both of his interceptions have been tipped balls. Bradford finished 32/55 for 352 yards. Bradford also has yet to be sacked this season, which means the offensive line is doing their job.
Daryl Richardson only had 10 carries for 35 yards, but due to the fact that the Rams were down all game, they were forced to throw the ball for the majority of the game. Givens came up with one of many 100 yard games to come as he had 5 receptions for 105 yards. Pettis also had a good day having 8 receptions for 78 yards and the touchdown. Tavon Austin had 6 receptions that went for only 47 yards and as for Jared Cook, the Falcons kept him in check for the entire game as he only had one reception for 10 yards. The Rams offense out-gained the Falcons 421-393.
Matt Ryan had a really good day through the air going 33/43 for 374 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Rams defense only got to Ryan on two different occasions. Jason, Snelling, Jacquizz Rogers, and Steven Jackson all combined for 16 carries for 36 yards. Julio Jones was the difference in the game for the Falcons coming up with big catch after big catch. Jones finished with 11 catches for a career high 182 yards and one touchdown.
Alec Ogletree led the Rams in tackles with 8 and Rodney McLeod was right behind him with 7. Robert Quinn and Eugene Sims came up with the only sacks on the day. Quinn now has 4 sacks this season.
Robert McClain led the Falcons with 9 tackles and William Moore was right behind him with 7. Osi Uminyiora came up with the interception that went for a touchdown.
On the injury side of things for the Rams. Roger Saffold left the game in the first half and did not return, his status is uncertain. Matt Daniels fractured his ankle and will require surgery. Other than that the Rams came out ok.
This was a winnable game for the Rams, and had they not fallen behind early you have to think they could have came out with a win. However, young teams will have their growing pains, the bright side is that they did fight all the way back, and almost tied it up. Next week the Rams will play the Cowboys who are also 1-1 and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-16. Both teams will be fighting for a playoff spot later on in the season, so next week’s game could be a must win on the road in Dallas. For now the Rams are 1-1 and will take away the positives from this game and move on. This week try to fix the things they did wrong in preparation for next Sunday.