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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Offseason

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
Jameis Winston Feb 28 11:00pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are strongly considering using the franchise tag on defensive end Shaquil Barrett if the two sides can't work out a long-term deal, according to a league source. If the Bucs use the tag on Barrett, they wouldn't be able to use one on quarterback Jameis Winston. Barrett had 14 sacks in his first four seasons with Denver before exploding for 19.5 sacks in his first year in Tampa in 2019. Was last year an outlier for the 27-year-old or will it become the norm? That's what Tampa must figure out, as well as fantasy owners in IDP leagues considering using a high pick on him for the 2020 season.

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Amari Cooper Feb 28 10:50pm ET

The Dallas Cowboys are meeting with the representatives of cornerback Byron Jones on Friday, according to the Dallas Morning News' Calvin Watkins. Owner Jerry Jones said it's "not a given" that Jones has priced himself off the roster, but it'll be tough for Dallas to keep him from hitting the market as they try to retain both quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper. A first-round pick in 2015, Jones has two interceptions in 79 career starts and none in his last 40 starts, but he should get around $15 million per season on the open market. It might be inevitable at this point that Jones leaves the Cowboys, which will be a blow to a Dallas secondary that is already nothing special.

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Kenyan Drake Feb 28 10:40pm ET

Arizona Cardinals impending free-agent running back Kenyan Drake is seeking a deal that will pay him $8-10 million per season if he reaches the open market, according to sources. Drake excelled after being traded from the Dolphins to the Cardinals last year, running the ball 123 times for 643 yards (5.2 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns. The eight scores were a career high in just eight games to close out the season. He's looking to cash in on that small sample size. The Cardinals would certainly like him back, especially with David Johnson's health now a question, but he may prove too expensive for their taste. If Drake is playing somewhere that he is the unquestioned lead back, he proved in 2019 that he can have RB1 upside.

From RotoBaller

Jason Witten Feb 28 10:40pm ET

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it clear that he wants to re-sign tight end Jason Witten. I feel strongly he wants to play and I think he can play, Jones said. I would hope that he would not ever be anything but a Cowboy. Its meaningful. Hes in the tops right there. I do think he can play. As I sit here right now I think he can make a real contribution to the Cowboys. Witten played 75 percent of the offensive snaps last year and had 63 catches for 529 yards and four touchdowns. But Witten is slow on the field and is getting in the way of Blake Jarwin, who is expected to have a bigger role in 2020. If Witten returns, he'll have to accept a lesser role. Even if he lands somewhere else, the aging veteran is nothing more than a low-upside, touchdown-dependent TE2.

From RotoBaller

Eric Berry Feb 28 3:30pm ET

The Indianapolis Colts are a likely landing spot for free-agent safety Eric Berry, who sat out all of last season. Berry is a former All-Pro with the Chiefs, but he's played in just four games in the last three years, including the playoffs. The veteran safety tore his Achilles in the first game of the 2017 season. Berry was released by the Chiefs last offseason. He "did have offers" to play last year, but he wanted to ensure he was fully healthy. "I've seen tape of him, and he looks great," Trotter said. At this point in his career with all of his injuries, Berry is no sure thing for any team. He probably won't be an every-down player anymore either.

From RotoBaller

Jameis Winston Feb 28 3:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (knee) played through a torn meniscus in his knee last season, which he recently had trimmed. Winston also played through a broken thumb in 2019 but didn't miss a single game, throwing for an NFL-high 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns. But he also had a league-high 30 interceptions and has struggled with turnovers his entire career. The 26-year-old former first overall pick in 2015 will be a free agent next month, but there's a chance the Bucs keep him around on a short-term deal. If he stays in Tampa with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as his top two receivers, Winston will be a high-end QB1 in 2020. You'll just have to live with the turnovers.

From RotoBaller

Mohamed Sanu Feb 28 1:40pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (ankle) will need to undergo surgery on a high ankle sprain that plagued him throughout last season, according to a source. Sanu was hoping to avoid surgery, but his injury failed to heal in the offseason. It also helps explain why his production tailed off late last year with the Patriots. After coming over to the Patriots from the Falcons in a trade, the 30-year-old had 26 catches for 207 yards and only one touchdown in eight games in New England. He wasn't the solution for an underwhelming Patriots receiving group outside of Julian Edelman. With quarterback Tom Brady's future with the Pats in question, Sanu probably will go undrafted in most standard-size leagues this fall.

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Austin Hooper Feb 28 1:30pm ET

The Chicago Bears are planning to pursue Atlanta Falcons impending free-agent tight end Austin Hooper, according to a source. The two-time Pro Bowler will not receive the franchise tag from the Falcons and will hit the free-agent market next month. Spotrac projects Hooper's value at $50 million for five years, which would make him the league's highest-paid tight end in 2020. However, the Bears are a long shot for Hooper with $26 million in salary cap space and other needs to address. The Bears have Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen, but neither were able to stay healthy last year and Hooper would be a significant upgrade over them both. Hooper set career highs across the board in 2019, but his high-end upside would be in question with quarterback Mitch Trubisky throwing him the football.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Feb 28 1:20pm ET

The Green Bay Packers are scheduled to meet with running back Aaron Jones' agent, who is interested in starting talks on a new deal for his client. Jones is heading into the final year of his contract and was the third-highest scoring running back in fantasy in 2019, behind only Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry. He ran for 1,084 yards and scored 16 rushing touchdowns, tied for the most with Henry. Whether Jones receives a new deal this summer or not, he'll be a first-round running back in fantasy drafts this fall.

From RotoBaller

Austin Hooper Feb 28 1:20pm ET

The Green Bay Packers, who are intent on adding a pass-catcher in both free agency and the draft, plan to make a run at Atlanta Falcons impending free-agent tight end Austin Hooper. Hooper won't come cheap and is likely to reset the tight end market when he reaches free agency next month. The 25-year-old missed three games last season and still managed to post career highs in catches (75), receiving yards (787) and touchdowns (six). The Packers are expected to move on from the aging Jimmy Graham, and Hooper would be a really nice fit with quarterback Aaron Rodgers throwing him the pigskin. Hooper should be a high-end TE1 wherever he winds up.

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Jordan Reed Feb 28 1:50am ET

The Los Angeles Rams have spoken with free-agent tight end Jordan Reed, according to a source. Reed is training in Miami and wants to continue playing despite missing all of the 2019 season with a concussion he suffered in the preseason. The former third-round pick in 2013 just recently was cleared from the concussion protocol and has had seven documented concussions in the NFL. He's never played in a full season because of a long list of injuries, but his talent has never been in question when he's been on the field. With Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett already in the mix in LA, Reed would have a tough path to playing time if he chose the Rams. His main concern will be staying healthy wherever he goes.

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Philip Rivers Feb 28 1:40am ET

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Derek Carr Feb 27 11:50pm ET

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Rhett Ellison Feb 27 11:40pm ET

New York Giants tight end Rhett Ellison (head) is considering retirement after missing the last six games of the 2019 season because of a concussion, according to three NFL sources. The 31-year-old has 67 catches for 674 yards and four touchdowns in 40 games with the Giants and also spent five years with the Vikings. He has a $7.18 million salary cap hit in 2020 with $5 million in savings and only $2.18 million in dead money if he's released or retires. Ellison's contract will need to be reworked if he decides to continue playing. A blocking-first tight end, Ellison is unlikely to have much fantasy appeal next season if he decides against hanging up his cleats.

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Leighton Vander Esch Feb 27 11:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (neck) is "100 percent in my eyes." Vander Esch is expected to be a full participant by the start of training camp this summer after having his 2019 season cut short due to neck issues that required surgery. It's great news that LVE is progressing nicely, but we'll keep an eye on his progress this spring. If healthy, he's a game-changer in the middle of the defense for the Cowboys, as he proved in his rookie year in 2018. Vander Esch will come at a discount in IDP leagues this fall and could be a nice value pick if he stays on the field.

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Evan Engram Feb 27 11:30pm ET

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (foot) remains in a walking boot after having surgery in late December. The Giants must decide by May whether to pick up Engram's fifth-year option for the 2021 season. He's expected to be sidelined until training camp and has missed 14 games due to injury in his three seasons in the league. The 25-year-old played in just eight games in 2019 and had a career-low 44 catches for 467 yards and three touchdowns. He has high-end tight end potential when he's healthy, but his injuries make him a high-risk, high-reward fantasy selection moving forward.

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Amari Cooper Feb 27 11:20pm ET

The Dallas Cowboys met with wide receiver Amari Cooper's representatives on Thursday night, according to a source. The Cowboys want to reach long-term deals with both Cooper and quarterback Dak Prescott. Talks with Cooper should intensify before the start of free agency on March 18, but the transition tag is likely off the table. If the Cowboys use the franchise tag on Prescott, who is the bigger priority, there's a good chance that Cooper reaches the open market. He was a top-10 fantasy wideout in 2019 despite fighting through nagging injuries for much of the season. If he stays with Prescott in Dallas, Cooper will remain a strong WR1.

From RotoBaller

Amari Cooper Feb 27 11:20pm ET

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that defensive end Robert Quinn is "the real deal" and is "hopeful that we can do something to keep him." Quinn's contract is set to expire on March 18. The 29-year-old had 11.5 sacks in his first year in Dallas, but there's a good chance he'll reach the open market. He was a Pro Bowler in 2013-14 and was a first-team All-Pro for the Rams in 2013 when he recorded a career-high 19 sacks. The Cowboys have other pressing business in trying to re-sign both quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper to long-term extensions.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Feb 27 11:10pm ET

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots impending free-agent quarterback Tom Brady doesn't have an offer from the Patriots, but it's not a huge surprise without a new collective bargaining agreement at this time. However, Brady is in the Patriots plans for the 2020 season. Brady's agent is in Indianapolis this week and is talking with other teams, too. If the Patriots don't work something out with the future Hall of Famer, the Chargers and Raiders are expected to make a run at him, with the Titans also a potential landing spot. Where Brady lands will be the biggest storyline of the offseason. He looked his age in 2019 with a mediocre supporting cast on offense, and fantasy owners can't count on him as a surefire QB1 moving forward, regardless of whether he leaves New England.

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Dwayne Haskins Feb 27 3:40pm ET

The Washington Redskins have had good conversations with left tackle Trent Williams, but the team's attempt to bring him back in 2020 is an ongoing process, according to head coach Ron Rivera. Williams is heading into the last year of his contract and has told the team that he either wants his contract redone or to be traded, according to sources familiar with the situation. The 'Skins have pushed the situation to the backburner with the draft and free agency approaching, so it's still possible that Williams won't be back with Washington in 2020 and beyond. The 31-year-old seven-time Pro Bowler would be a huge asset on the blind side for developing quarterback Dwayne Haskins, but it remains to be seen if the two sides can work something out.

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