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

Zach MettenbergerOct 21 04:18p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) will start at quarterback when he's healthy, according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt. QB Charlie Whitehurst has filled in for Locker twice this [ More ]

Bene BenwikereOct 21 04:13p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle) will return as the starting nickel cornerback when he's back from his injury, according to head coach Ron Rivera. If Benwikere can't play [ More ]

Martavis BryantOct 21 04:06p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant cut into WR Markus Wheaton's workload in Week 7 against the Houston Texans, and QB Ben Roethlisberger took three 'shot' plays down the field [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 21 04:03p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington had 88 yards rushing and 72 yards receiving in Week 7, and only four players in franchise history since 1960 to have more yards [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 21 03:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21, and is not expected to play Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos.

Donald BrownOct 21 03:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21, and is not expected to play Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos.

Michael SamOct 21 03:33p

The Dallas Cowboys cut DE Michael Sam from the team's practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Charles GodfreyOct 21 03:13p

The Carolina Panthers released CB Charles Godfrey Tuesday, Oct 21.

LaRon ByrdOct 21 02:33p

The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent WR LaRon Byrd (Cowboys) and re-signed DT Deandre Coleman Tuesday, Oct. 21.

R. Griffin IIIOct 21 02:13p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will not be ruled out for Week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys, but he has a long way to go in order [ More ]

Brian HoyerOct 21 02:13p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could see some action in Week 8 against the Oakland Raiders, according to head coach Mike Pettine. However, Pettine said Monday, Oct. 20, that [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 21 02:13p

The Buffalo Bills placed RB C.J. Spiller (collarbone) on short-term Reserve/Injured Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Ray RiceOct 21 01:33p

Free-agent RB Ray Rice (Ravens) will have the appeal of his indefinite suspension from the NFL heard Nov. 5-6, according to media reports. A decision on whether commissioner Roger [ More ]

Jason KelceOct 21 01:23p

Philadelphia Eagles C David Molk will remain the center for now, with C Jason Kelce (hernia) nearing a return from his injury.

Shamarko ThomasOct 21 01:23p

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Ryan Shazier (knee) and SS Shamarko Thomas (hamstring) 'have a pretty good chance' of returning in Week 8 against the Indianapolis Colts, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.

Darren SprolesOct 21 01:23p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles (knee) returned to practice Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Phillip TannerOct 21 01:13p

The Buffalo Bills are signing free-agent RB Phillip Tanner (Cowboys) Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Calvin JohnsonOct 21 01:13p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) said he is back to running Tuesday, Oct. 21. Johnson sat out in Week 7 against the New Orleans Saints and appears to [ More ]

Terrelle PryorOct 21 01:13p

Free-agent QB Terrelle Pryor (Seahawks) is working out for the New York Giants Tuesday, Oct. 21, according to a person familiar with the workouts. It appears as though Pryor [ More ]

Reggie WayneOct 21 12:53p

Updating previous reports, Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne's (elbow) injury isn't believed to be serious, but it could cause him to miss a game or two, according to a [ More ]

Phil TaylorOct 21 12:23p

Cleveland Browns DE Phil Taylor (knee) is expected to miss his third straight game in Week 8 after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery Oct. 8.

A.J. GreenOct 21 12:12p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said his return from a toe injury is 'still up in the air' heading into Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. However, Green [ More ]

Le'Veon BellOct 21 12:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell became the first running back in team history to start the year with seven straight games of 100 yards of total offense. Bell ran [ More ]

Antonio AndrewsOct 21 11:03a

Tennessee Titans RB Antonio Andrews was promoted to the 53-man roster Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Dwayne AllenOct 21 10:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) said he is still working his way back to pre-injury form, but he looks a lot better than he did in training camp, [ More ]

Reggie WayneOct 21 10:33a

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) could miss time with his elbow injury. Beat writer Stephen Holder tweeted that he isn't receiving good vibes from the situation, but it [ More ]

Terrance WestOct 21 09:43a

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West was benched Sunday, Oct. 19, after failing to pick up a first down in two short-yardage situations. He had room to run on both [ More ]

Ben TateOct 21 09:43a

Cleveland Browns RBs Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West were held to 69 yards on 33 carries in Week 7, and head coach Mike Pettine suggested a change [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 21 08:53a

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks due to a shoulder injury, according to sources.

Trindon HollidayOct 21 08:23a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed free-agent WR Trindon Holliday (Giants) to an undisclosed deal Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Tharold SimonOct 20 11:04p

Seattle Seahawks CB Tharold Simon (ankle) and CB Byron Maxwell (calf) may be able to play in Week 7, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

A.J. GreenOct 20 10:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) said he will play Sunday, Oct. 26, against the Baltimore Ravens, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

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