Found September 16, 2013 on Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS -- Should you be more encouraged or discouraged by the Rams' 31-24 loss at Atlanta on Sunday afternoon? Going on the road to face an NFC finalist that was coming off a season-opening loss, a double-digit defeat would not have been surprising. That the Rams rallied to make the fourth quarter worth watching says a lot about their resolve. On the other hand, as much as was stacked in Atlanta's favor, the Falcons turned out to be susceptible. They lost numerous players to injury, including Steven Jackson after his opening-drive TD. The Rams knew that without Jackson the Falcons wouldn't be able to rush effectively, but they still allowed Matt Ryan to pass for 374 yards and two touchdowns. Overall, the Rams finished with more negatives than positives -- in my checklist, anyway. POSITIVES Sam Bradford's 352 yards passing. Yes, that total is inflated because the Rams' rushing game went away when they fell behind by three touchdowns and, as Bradford admitted, the Falcons' defense turned soft. Still, to finish with almost as many passing yards as Atlanta -- not to mention more overall yards -- is an indication that the Rams' offense has improved. No sacks. Even with right tackle Rodger Saffold missing most of the game, the Rams extended their streak of not allowing a sack to four games. Saffold told me last week that his line mates are not counting the two games at the end of last season because this is a different line and a new year. Why quibble? Either way, it's a much better streak than the one that preceded it -- a sack allowed in 30 consecutive games. Two touchdowns by Tavon Austin. The rookie showed some nimble footwork and a nose for the end zone in scoring his first two TDs. You have to like how the Rams got him involved, too. He rushed twice and was targeted on 12 passes, finishing with eight receptions. His day should have been better, though. Austin missed at least two passes he should have caught and he did little with his four punt returns. No fumbles by Isaiah Pead. Of course, his chances were limited. He rushed only once for one yard and made two receptions for 18 yards. Johnny Hekker's punting. A 49-yard net average is impressive, but it's also about what we've come to expect. NEGATIVES Falling behind 21-0. At least they left themselves plenty of time to rally. They rallied nicely, too, but the Rams never had possession with a chance to tie the score. Too many short pass attempts in the early going. Was this play-calling or Bradford's decision-making? Either way, it was too reminiscent of last season. That's not supposed to happen after the off-season influx of speed at the skill positions. Seven more penalties. Whoever said preseason problems tend to carry over into the regular season was right on. The Rams continued to hurt themselves with undisciplined mistakes. Four penalties were committed by return teams that left the Rams starting drives inside their own 15. "It was frustrating," coach Jeff Fisher said in his postgame comments. "When you get backed up 10 yards, we have to start with bad field position and it makes it hard, especially when you are behind." An offsides on Chris Long also was costly. On Atlanta's opening possession, the Falcons faced third-and-12 from their 18-yard-line but that turned into third-and-seven when Long was penalized. Instead of going three-and-out, Atlanta turned the third-and-seven into a first down and, from there, marched to a touchdown. Bradford had an interception returned for a TD, again. While Daryl Richardson should have caught the swing pass -- the ball bounced off his hands -- at least half of the blame goes to Bradford. It was an ill-advised attempt with a defender waiting to slam Richardson and Bradford could have showed more touch on the throw. Knee injury to Saffold. Unlike the opener, when Saffold returned after a few missed plays, he did not come back Sunday. That he was seen on crutches after the game does not bode well for a quick return, either. One catch by Jared Cook. After his big opening week, the Falcons were determined not to let Cook get the best of them. The Rams didn't adjust properly. I also wonder if Cook moved as freely after he fell while making a somewhat awkward dive on an attempt to catch an overthrown pass. Burned secondary. They gave up only one play longer than 25 yards, an 81-yard touchdown to Julio Jones. Though cornerback Janoris Jenkins was beat on the play, he didn't get the help he was supposed to from safety Rodney McLeod. Even though the Falcons threw 43 times, the Rams did not come up with an interception. To allow 33 catches even when the Rams knew the Falcons weren't going to run the ball was the difference in the game. It seemed like when the Falcons needed to make a play, the Rams could not stop them. You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Rams can't control WR Julio Jones, lose 31-24

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones was the best player on the field, catching 11 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown. Atlanta turned in the drive it needed to clinch it, throwing on eight straight plays before Snelling's TD run.

Falcons Lose DE Kroy Biermann & FB Bradie Ewing For The Season

The Atlanta Falcons were forced to place DE Kroy Biermann and FB Bradie Ewing on season-ending injured reserve. Biermann suffered a torn Achilles tendon while Ewing has a separated shoulder. This is terrible news for the Falcons as Biermann’s versatility made him an important part of their defense. Heading into the season there were concerns regarding the Falcons ability to...

Falcons’ William Moore Displays Tackle Of The Year Candidate

This is exactly how you win the best tackle of the year award. The Falcons’ William Moore saw that the Rams’ Mike McNeill had some space ahead of him and decided to put a tackle on him which he will never forget. Boom. [Tim Burke] Article found on: Next Impulse Sports

Steven Jackson: The Atlanta Falcons’ battering ram

Steven Jackson is a proverbial battering ram at his position as halfback in the NFL.  After playing professional football for nearly an entire decade, there are more than enough defenders to confirm that fact. Drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2004, he never witnessed a winning season. Although, he did have a good amount of individual success, for he is the most productive active...

Steven Jackson ruled out for week three

Falcons head coach Mike Smith has already ruled out running back Steven Jackson for this week’s game against the Dolphins. #Falcons coach Mike Smith ruled out Steven Jackson this week. He said, "It's short term. Don't know if that's two or three weeks." — D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) September 17, 2013 Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling will share...

Steven Jackson Could Be Out 2-4 Weeks

According to Ian Rapoprt of NFL.com, Falcons running back Steven Jackson (thigh injury) could miss 2-4 weeks.Fantasy Spin:It's a tough break for Jackson. He missed about a month in 2011 with a similar quad injury. The Falcons have Jacquizz Rodgers (15 touches last week) and Jason Snelling (six touches) to replace him. Rodgers has the higher fantasy value while Jackson is sidelined.

Asante Samuel Leaves with Thigh Injury

Falcons corner Asante Samuel is headed to the locker room after aggravating his thigh injury in the first quarter Sunday against the Rams.Fantasy Spin:The Falcons have built a 21-0 cushion already and with the way Matt Ryan is throwing the ball right now, they're unlikely to relinquish it. The size of Atlanta's lead could dictate whether or not Samuel returns.

This animated Gif of William Moore stopping TE Mike McNeill is hypnotic

Atlanta Falcons' safety William Moore stopping TE Mike McNeill. Stopping. [Deadspin] **Follow us on Twitter, View via Our Mobile Site, or Return to BobsBlitz.comFollow us on Twitter. Subscribe or Return to Bob's Blitz.

St. Louis Rams loss to Atlanta reactions and opinions with Ryan Van Bibber of TurfShowTimes.com

Following the St. Louis Rams 31-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, St. Louis sports fans were looking for answers to several questions. The guys from Fan Interference on CBS Sports 920 AM were looking for answers too when they were joined by Ryan Van Bibber of TurfShowTimes.com on Monday night. Several questions were asked. Several answers were given. Hosts Corey Rudd (@CoreyRudd...

Report: Steven Jackson May Miss Up to Four Weeks With Thigh Injury, Could Be Out for Patriots Game

The Atlanta Falcons went out and added a legitimate running game to their offense this offseason, but they may be without it for at least a few weeks. Steven Jackson, who signed a three-year deal with the Falcons during the offseason, may miss two to four weeks with a thigh injury he suffered on Sunday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Jackson suffered the injury early...

Atlanta Falcons player: 'Our linemen are punks'

The Atlanta Falcons have issues along the offensive line and it's not just NFL analysts who have taken notice. Following a season-opening loss to the New Orleans Saints Falcons coach Mike Smith called out his front five for failing to come to the aid of quarterback Matt Ryan after a late hit by Saints rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro. By contrast when 49ers passer Colin Kaepernick...

Dolphins Facing Wounded Birds

The Dolphins were presented with a tough challenge for their home opener with a visit from the Atlanta Falcons. But the Atlanta team that will come to Sun Life Stadium on Sunday will be a depleted version.
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.