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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Rams snap skid by beating Falcons 37-10 as Ryan hurts ankle

Sun Oct 20 4:23pm ET
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer

Players: Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Julio Jones, Kenjon Barner, Mohamed Sanu, Blake Bortles, Devonta Freeman, Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Austin Hooper, Brian Hill, Ito Smith, Gerald Everett

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan reacts as medical personel attend to him after injury against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) leaves the field after injury against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan reacts as medical personel attend to him after injury against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)


Los Angeles Rams defensive back Nick Scott (33) hits Atlanta Falcons defensive back Jordan Miller (28) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) misses the catch against Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) hits Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) causing a fumble during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) works in the pocket as Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley (44) pursues during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17) makes the catch against Atlanta Falcons defensive back Kendall Sheffield (20) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)


ATLANTA (AP) Jared Goff threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and the Los Angeles Rams returned to the site of last season's Super Bowl loss to beat the reeling Atlanta Falcons 37-10 on Sunday.

The Rams (4-3) snapped a three-game losing streak in the debut of cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

The Falcons (1-6) suffered their fifth straight loss and had quarterback Matt Ryan leave the game with an ankle injury. Ryan's right leg bent awkwardly as he was sacked by Aaron Donald and fumbled early in the fourth quarter.

Ryan limped off the field and was escorted to the medical tent on the sideline. He walked to the locker room, still favoring the ankle, with 7:36 remaining in the game.

There was no immediate update on the severity of the injury.

Donald was credited with a sack, forced fumble and recovery on the play. It was the Rams' fifth sack of Ryan, matching the five sacks by Atlanta's defense this season - none in the last four games.

Matt Schaub replaced Ryan and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper with less than three minutes remaining.

The final insult for Atlanta came with only 11 seconds remaining when Kenjon Barner fumbled a punt return when hit by Troy Reeder and Darious Williams recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.

Ryan's injury was the latest and perhaps most damaging dose of bad news for the woeful Falcons. Coach Dan Quinn's job security appears shaky at best as he quickly runs out of time to avoid a second straight losing season.

Atlanta's frustrations showed in a third-quarter fight between running back Devonta Freeman and Donald that led to Freeman's ejection. The two locked up after Ryan's pass off Mohamed Sanu's hands was intercepted by Cory Littleton deep in Atlanta territory with the Rams leading 20-3.

Freeman had his hands on Donald's facemask before throwing a punch at the much bigger Donald, which appeared to make little if any contact. Umpire Terry Killens finally pulled Freeman away from Donald, taking Freeman to the ground in an apparent unintentional body slam before quickly helping Freeman to his feet.

Each player drew unnecessary roughness penalties, and Freeman was tossed for throwing the punch.

The turnover left the Rams at the Atlanta 16 for a short drive capped by Goff's 1-yard scoring run.

With running back Ito Smith already out with an injury, Freeman's ejection left Brian Hill and return specialist Kenjon Barner as the options at running back.

Goff completed 22 of 37 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Blake Bortles took over on the Rams' final possession.

Atlanta's offense struggled even before Freeman's exit. The Falcons were limited to 224 yards.

Ramsey, the former All-Pro cornerback, was acquired by Los Angeles from Jacksonville on Tuesday for three draft picks, including two first-rounders.

As expected, Ramsey shadowed Falcons standout Julio Jones much of the game. Jones had six catches for 93 yards in his first matchup with Ramsey.

Ramsey moved into a revamped secondary. The Rams placed cornerback Aqib Talib and safety John Johnson on injured reserve this week and traded cornerback Marcus Peters to Baltimore. That left safety Eric Weddle as the only holdover starter.

The new mix held up well. Ryan completed 16 of 27 passes for only 159 yards with an interception.

Goff threw a perfectly placed 13-yard touchdown pass to Todd Gurley early in the second quarter. He added an 8-yard scoring pass to Gerald Everett in the third quarter.

Everett, an Atlanta native, celebrated by doing the ''Dirty Bird'' dance made famous in the Falcons' 1998 Super Bowl season.

INJURY REPORT

Smith was carted off the field late in the first quarter with head and neck injuries following a helmet-to-helmet hit from Rams linebacker Cory Littleton. There was no flag. Smith did not return.

UP NEXT

The Rams will remain in Atlanta to practice at Georgia Tech for a few days before flying to London for next Sunday's game against Cincinnati.

The Falcons will play the Seahawks in another home game next Sunday. Seattle leads the series 10-8, including two playoff games won by Atlanta.

Player Notes
A.J. Green Apr 8 4:10pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said that wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) is "fully healthy" and has been working out in Atlanta. It's good news after Green missed the entire 2019 season. He's scheduled to make around $18 million in 2020 on the franchise tag, but we may not get to see him until later this summer due to restrictions amid the coronavirus. Green will turn 32 in July and has played in just nine games in the last two seasons due to injuries. But he was a Pro Bowler each of his first seven seasons in the league from 2011 to 2017, surpassing the 1,000-yard receiving mark six times. He'll likely have rookie quarterback Joe Burrow throwing him passes in 2020, which could make fantasy owners even more hesitant to draft Green as even a WR2.

From RotoBaller

Justin Jackson Apr 8 2:50pm ET

The Los Angeles Chargers remain "very high on" running back Justin Jackson. Melvin Gordon is now playing for the Broncos, so there will be more opportunity for Jackson behind Austin Ekeler moving forward. Jackson, a seventh-round pick by the Bolts in 2018, has rushed 79 times for 406 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in his 20 games (one start) in two seasons for the Chargers. The soon-to-be 25-year-old also has 24 catches for 157 yards in his two years in the league. Ekeler should take over workhorse duties in this backfield with Gordon gone, but Jackson will have a role as a change-of-pace back and could be a great value pick late in fantasy drafts this fall.

From RotoBaller

Casey Hayward Apr 8 2:50pm ET

There's a chance that the Los Angeles Chargers look to trade cornerback Desmond King. King is seemingly a man without a position now that the Bolts signed Chris Harris Jr. to defend the slot in the middle of the field in 2020. Casey Hayward and Michael Davis can work on the outside, so it remains to be seen what the team will do with King if they hold onto him. The 25-year-old fifth-round pick in 2017 was a first-team All-Pro in 2018 when he had a career-high three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown). King had 51 tackles (40 solo) and two passes defensed without an interception in 15 games (eight starts) in 2019. He could be part of a draft-day trade if the Chargers indeed move him.

From RotoBaller

Nyheim Hines Apr 8 12:50pm ET

Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines is expected to get "plenty more action" in the offense this season, in the opinion of The Athletic's Zak Keefer. And that could translate into much more fantasy success with new quarterback Philip Rivers under center, a veteran signal-caller who isn't afraid to dump the ball off to his pass-catching backs. Hines, 23, ran the ball just 52 times for 199 yards and two touchdowns behind Marlon Mack in 2019, adding 44 receptions for 320 yards. Both his rushing and receiving marks were down from his rookie season in 2018 when he was playing with Andrew Luck. With an offense that should attack more under Rivers, Hines could be a nice PPR sleeper late in drafts.

From RotoBaller

Drew Sample Apr 8 12:50pm ET

The Cincinnati Bengals have high expectations for tight end Drew Sample to take a "significant jump" in his second year with the team, especially with Tyler Eifert no longer in town. Sample caught just five passes on six targets for 30 yards in nine games (two starts) in his rookie season and he was drafted as mostly a blocking tight end. C.J. Uzomah will be the team's primary pass-catcher at the position, but Sample will inevitably see more snaps on offense and should see his offensive numbers take a sizeable rise over his rookie season. The soon-to-be 24-year-old former second-round pick could become interesting in dynasty/keeper leagues with the Bengals expected to take LSU QB Joe Burrow with the first overall pick later this month.

From RotoBaller

Austin Ekeler Apr 8 10:53am ET

Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler had an 85.2 percent catch percentage last season, which was the best rate of anyone with 45 receptions.

Fantasy Spin: Ekeler had just one drop and 92 grabs for 993 yards. He rushed 132 times for 557 yards (4.2 yards per carry) as well, and with Melvin Gordon gone, he should remain one of the top five backs in PPR.

From TheHuddle

Derek Carr Apr 7 11:43pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr has seen his teammates drop 216 passes over the course of his six-year career - the most drops a quarterback has witnessed over that span.

From TheHuddle

Michael Gallup Apr 7 11:33pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup was charged with 11 drops in 2019 - the second-highest total in the league.

From TheHuddle

Latavius Murray Apr 7 11:13pm ET

New Orleans Saints RB Latavius Murray averaged 2.7 yards before contact per rushing attempt in 2019 - tied for the sixth-best average among qualified rushers last season.

From TheHuddle

George Kittle Apr 7 10:03pm ET

San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle was charged with only two drops on 107 targets in 2019. He was one of only five players in the league with at least 100 targets - regardless of position - to finish with a drop rate below two percent.

From TheHuddle

Darren Waller Apr 7 10:03pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders TE Darren Waller was credited with eight broken tackles on his 90 catches in 2019 - tied with George Kittle for the second-highest total among tight ends.

From TheHuddle

Von Miller Apr 7 5:13pm ET

Denver Broncos LB Von Miller has forced 640 quarterback pressures over the past decade, which are 40 more than any other player within that time.

From TheHuddle

Cody Latimer Apr 7 4:53pm ET

Updating a previous story, free-agent WR Cody Latimer (Giants) officially signed an undisclosed contract with the Washington Redskins Tuesday, April 7.

Fantasy Spin: Latimer set career-highs with 24 receptions and 300 yards with the New York Giants in 2019. He has a viable path to a notable role within the Washington offense and could become a streaming option by mid-season.

From TheHuddle

P.J. Williams Apr 7 4:53pm ET

Updating a previous story, free-agent DB P.J. Williams (Saints) officially signed an undisclosed contract with the New Orleans Saints Tuesday, April 7.

From TheHuddle

Blake Bell Apr 7 4:43pm ET

Updating a previous story, Dallas Cowboys TE Blake Bell officially signed Tuesday, April 7. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Damarious Randall Apr 7 4:43pm ET

Updating a previous story, free-agent DB Damarious Randall (Browns) officially signed with the Las Vegas Tuesday, April 7. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Reggie Ragland Apr 7 4:43pm ET

Updating a previous story, free-agent LB Reggie Ragland (Chiefs) officially signed with the Detroit Lions Tuesday, April 7. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Apr 7 4:43pm ET

Updating a previous story, free-agent DB Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Bears) officially signed with the Dallas Cowboys Tuesday, April 7. Official terms of the deal were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

DeAndre Hopkins Apr 7 4:23pm ET

Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins has yet to take his physical with the team, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday, April 7, he has 'no doubt' the deal will get done before the 2020 NFL Draft (April 23).

Fantasy Spin: If the deal were to somehow fall through within the next two weeks, the Cardinals would be likely to target one of Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs with their No. 8 overall pick. Of course, Hopkins would fill the Cards' need for a No. 1 receiver once the trade is finalized once and for all.

From TheHuddle

Jadeveon Clowney Apr 7 4:13pm ET

Free-agent LB Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) isn't like to re-sign with the Seattle Seahawks, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network Tuesday, April 7. 'I don't know if he's going to be back in Seattle. The chances are slim to none,' Garafolo said.

From TheHuddle