Final

Falcons 20

(1-1, 1-1 away)

Rams 13

(1-1, 0-1 home)

8:00 PM ET, August 21, 2009

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO 

1 2 3 4 T
ATL 14 0 3 320
STL 0 3 7 313

Falcons 20, Rams 13

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Atlanta Falcons starters were flawless. St. Louis Rams starters had no answer, even against the second-stringers.

Michael Turner accounted for all but 12 yards on the opening 77-yard drive and Matt Ryan was 7 for 8 for 81 yards with a touchdown pass in two series before he, too, called it a day in a 20-13 preseason victory Friday night. The Falcons had a 14-point cushion before the end of the first quarter.

"We wanted to come out and execute," Turner said. "They were preaching that all week and we wanted to show that on game day. We're way better than we were last year at this time."

Steven Jackson had three carries for 10 yards in one series for the Rams (1-1), a bust in new coach Steve Spagnuolo's first home game as head coach in a half-empty Edward Jones Dome. Announced attendance was 46,958 in an arena that holds 66,000.

"Just like I said to the team, we'd have liked to have started out a little better," Spagnuolo said. "You've got to come out and take it to them."

St. Louis, 5-27 the last two years, had approached the game with confidence after beating the Jets on the road in their preseason opener. Besides getting steamrolled early on defense, the Rams struggled to move the ball minus two offensive line starters and quarterback Marc Bulger.

"This was a fabulous game for us," safety O.J. Atogwe said. "That's the reason you play the preseason. Going against a team like Atlanta, a top-caliber team, it allows us to reassess what we've been doing."

The Falcons gave up 191 yards against Detroit in its preseason opener.

"We were much improved against the run," coach Mike Smith said. "It's something we have to continue to get better at. We still had some missteps."

Offensive tackle Jason Smith, the second pick of the draft, got his first start for St. Louis after Alex Barron was scratched due to knee soreness. The Rams totaled 79 yards on 30 carries after totaling 193 yards rushing against the Jets.

"There's a lot of things I need to do better to help the team," Smith said. "As the offensive line goes, so goes the offense."

Turner had seven carries for 65 yards on the opening drive against a defense he burned for 208 yards in last year's regular-season finale in Atlanta. He busted a 43-yard gain on the second play and finished the drive, scoring untouched on a 1-yard run over the left side, before spending the rest of the game on the sideline.

The Falcons (1-1) were good enough to overcome three turnovers that resulted in all 13 points for St. Louis. Atlanta's defense has allowed three points in the first half of both preseason games.

Atlanta faced one third down each of the first two drives, with Tony Gonzalez capping the second possession with a 14-yard reception for a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Gonzalez had two receptions for 25 yards and Roddy White had back-to-back catches for 33 yards.

Gonzalez attributed the Falcons' lightning start to Ryan's play.

"He's a great quarterback," Gonzalez said. "It's obvious he's figuring things out. He has a great arm, talent, and knows how to play with poise."

The Rams trailed 14-3 at the half and mustered 109 yards behind second-string quarterback Kyle Boller, the lone score coming after they failed to capitalize on rookie linebacker James Laurinaitis' interception of a tipped pass by third-string quarterback D.J. Shockley. St. Louis gained no yards in three plays before settling for a 43-yard field goal by Josh Brown.

Brock Berlin, fighting for the Rams' third-string quarterback job, hit Derek Stanley on a slant for a 20-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. That score came two plays after Shockley fumbled after Larry Grant's sack.

The Rams drove to the 13 late in the game before Eric Brock intercepted Keith Null in the end zone on 4th-and-6 in the end zone.

Game notes


Falcons rookie S William Moore, who starred at Missouri, has a knee injury and did not dress. ... The Rams' 14-year-old stadium has undergone $30 million in improvements with some features not completed until Thursday. The team touts its high definition video board above the north end zone as the NFL's second largest. The lighting was noticeably brighter. ... Falcons rookie DE Lawrence Sidbury, a fourth-round pick, had two sacks and played some with the first string.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ATL
STL
1st Downs2017
Passing 1st downs
1113
Rushing 1st downs
84
1st downs from Penalties
10
3rd down efficiency
5-104-13
4th down efficiency
0-01-2
Total Plays5665
Total Yards331283
Yards per play5.94.4
Total Drives1110
Passing169204
Comp - Att
15-2520-33
Yards per pass
6.86.2
Interceptions thrown
21
Sacks - Yards Lost
2-82-14
Rushing16279
Rushing Attempts
2930
Yards per rush
5.62.6
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-40-3
Penalties3-205-49
Turnovers32
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
21
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession30:2229:38

Passing Leaders

ATLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ryan7/88110.1100-0
Shockley5/12635.3022-8
STLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Boller9/16915.7001-8
Berlin5/8718.9101-6

Rushing Leaders

ATLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Turner7659.3143
Snelling12615.1023
STLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Darby7304.3021
Pittman5153.0012

Receiving Leaders

ATLRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
White33812.70184
Haynes23417.00232
STLRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Robinson56513.00258
Bajema34214.00174

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERATLSTL
atlTD09:50Michael Turner 1 Yd Run (Jason Elam Kick) 70
atlTD03:27Tony Gonzalez 14 Yd Pass From Matt Ryan (Jason Elam Kick) 140
SECOND QUARTERATLSTL
stlFG13:04Josh Brown 43 Yd 143
THIRD QUARTERATLSTL
stlTD09:25Derek Stanley 20 Yd Pass From Brock Berlin (Josh Brown Kick) 1410
atlFG04:23Jason Elam 34 Yd 1710
FOURTH QUARTERATLSTL
stlFG10:01Josh Brown 24 Yd 1713
atlFG03:20Jason Elam 27 Yd 2013