2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Rams' comeback falls short, Falcons hold on 31-24

By PAUL NEWBERRY - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-15 17:55

ATLANTA (AP) - The St. Louis Rams were really rolling by the second half.

If only the hole before halftime wasn't so deep.

Sam Bradford threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, but the Rams came up short in their bid to start a season 2-0 for the first time in a dozen years, falling to the Atlanta Falcons 31-24 on Sunday.

The Rams (1-1) fell behind 21-0 by early in the second quarter, and they were down 24-3 at the break.

``No one gave up,'' Bradford said. ``We kept fighting, made a game out of it.''

Bradford hooked up with Tavon Austin on a 6-yard scoring pass late in the third, then went to Austin Pettis on a 3-yard TD that brought the Rams to 24-17 and left plenty of time - just under 12 minutes - to complete the improbable comeback.

But the Falcons (1-1) put together the drive they had to have, throwing on eight straight plays before Jason Snelling ripped off an 11-yard touchdown run - Atlanta's longest play of the day on the ground.

Julio Jones had a huge game for the Falcons, catching 11 passes and matching his career-best with 182 yards. Matt Ryan threw for 374 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including an 81-yarder to Jones.

The Rams still had a chance when Bradford found Austin for another TD, this one covering 10 yards, with 2:09 left. But the Falcons ran out the clock after Snelling caught a short pass from Ryan and rumbled for 22 yards on third-and-1.

``Atlanta is a very good football team,'' Bradford said. ``When you play a team like that on the road, you really have to limit your mistakes.''

The biggest miscue for the Rams came early in the second quarter. Trailing 14-0 but driving, Bradford swung a short pass to Daryl Richardson coming out of the backfield. The ball deflected off the running back's hands - and right into the arms of defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who lumbered all the way to the end zone for a 68-yard interception return.

``I kind of took my eyes off the ball looking to run,'' Richardson said. ``I've got to make sure I eyeball that ball in and catch it.''

There were plenty of flaws in the Falcons' performance - hardly any running game, another shaky performance by the offensive line, not much pressure on Bradford - but they'll take it considering all the players who went down.

Five starters were done by halftime: running back Steven Jackson (thigh), linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (foot), defensive end Kroy Biermann (right ankle), cornerback Asante Samuel (thigh) and fullback Bradie Ewing (shoulder).

The Rams also had a couple of significant injuries. Backup safety Matt Daniels broke his ankle blocking on a kickoff return and will need surgery. Starting right tackle Rodger Saffold was hit on the side of his left knee and didn't return.

Jones equaled the 182-yard performance he had in last season's NFC championship game.

``Julio and Matt seemed to be in sync,'' Falcons coach Mike Smith said. ``They were seeing the defense the same way.''

Jackson, facing the team he played with the last nine years, capped Atlanta's opening drive with an 8-yard touchdown catch, but the celebration was short-lived. Apparently injured when he stretched for the goal line, he walked slowly to the locker room and didn't return.

Then it was Jones beating Janoris Jenkins in man-to-man coverage, breaking free down the middle for the longest reception of his career to make it 14-0. After Umenyiora's return, it looked like a blowout.

Instead, the Rams rallied.

``We never believe we're out of the game until the clock says zero,'' defensive end Robert Quinn said. ``We just fell a play or two short.''

NOTES: The Rams held Atlanta to 1 yard rushing in the first half and 36 yards overall. ... WR Chris Givens led St. Louis with five catches for 105 yards. ... Atlanta P Matt Bosher made a huge play at the end of the third quarter, leaping up to grab a high snap in his own end zone. He then got off a wobbly punt that rolled for 63 yards. ... The Falcons avoided their first losing streak since 2009. They have now won 13 straight coming off a loss. ... Rams TE Mike McNeill took a huge hit from Falcons safety William Moore after a catch. Moore lifted the 240-pound McNeill off the turf and slammed him down on his back in a move fit for wrestling.

---

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

Roddy WhiteJul 24 08:33a

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White signed a four-year extension with the team that will keep him under team control for the next five years, according to sources.

Donald ThomasJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) and OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps, biceps) have been cleared to practice.

Josh GordonJul 24 08:23a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will have his appeal hearing for his one-year suspension Aug. 1.

Greg OlsenJul 24 01:43a

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen said he is tired of hearing criticism about Carolina's new receiving corps, which is largely made up of journeymen and unproven commodities. Olsen added [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 24 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is expected to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the near future, which likely would lead to a decision on any discipline for Smith.

Anthony BarrJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr was with the team for just a few days during offseason workouts due to NFL rules. Head coach Mike Zimmer is eager to see [ More ]

Sharrif FloydJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd had a good offseason, but head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the defensive tackle is trying to be too fine. 'Sharrif has a lot of [ More ]

C. PattersonJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson will remain on kickoff returns despite an expanded role in the offense this season. 'We want our best players to get their hands on [ More ]

Montell OwensJul 23 11:23p

Detroit Lions FB Montell Owens has company, as the team will employ a more traditional fullback in the offense. They signed FB Jed Collins for the role. Owens is [ More ]

Harrison SmithJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings safeties Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo will be battling during training camp and the preseason for the starting job opposite FS Harrison Smith. 'That will be interesting, [ More ]

Matt CasselJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel saw a majority of the snaps during spring workouts, but QB Christian Ponder has a chance to start, and head coach [ More ]

Chad GreenwayJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway could be used as the starting middle linebacker, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 'It's a possibility. We keep working him in there. We're [ More ]

Troy NiklasJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (hand) has been cleared to participate in training camp, and was working Wednesday, July 23.

Dan WilliamsJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams will open training camp as the team's starting nose tackle with NT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.

Johnny ManzielJul 23 10:23p

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine thinks QB Johnny Manziel needs to increase dedication to earn the starting job. 'I think he knows that in order to compete well, [ More ]

Theo RiddickJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick has the chance to break into the rotation at tailback, and he has drawn considerable praise from his teammates and coaches for his development [ More ]

Joique BellJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (nee) missed most of the offseason due to a knee injury, although he has said his condition is minor and he expects to be [ More ]

Jed CollinsJul 23 10:23p

The Detroit Lions are re-incorporating the traditional fullback into their new offensive scheme this season, and that's why they went out and signed FB Jed Collins.

Cheta OzougwuJul 23 07:23p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was transferred to the Saints' Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, July 23.

Billy WinnJul 23 06:53p

The Cleveland Browns placed OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed), DE Billy Winn (undisclosed) and LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) on the non-football injury list Wednesday, July 23.

Kyle OrtonJul 23 06:33p

Free-agent QB Kyle Orton (Cowboys) does not want to retire and wants to play in 2014, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Conner VernonJul 23 06:23p

The Cleveland Browns placed CB Royce Adams, LB Brandon Magee and WR Conner Vernon on the no-recall waivers list Wednesday, July 23.

Terrance WestJul 23 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed) said on his Twitter page that he passed his conditioning test and people need to 'stop making up your [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group