Falcons 34, Rams 17

Not too many big plays for the Atlanta Falcons. An avalanche of
little plays did the trick.

Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes and directed an offense so
dominant that three St. Louis Rams defenders left with cramps in a
34-17 victory Sunday. All those chip-shot field goals added up,
too.

”We’d like to score more touchdowns,” Ryan said. ”All in all,
three points is good offensively.”

Sam Bradford had a pair of touchdown passes for the Rams and set
an NFL rookie record with 169 consecutive passes without an
interception. The streak ended when William Moore picked off a
shovel pass at the 2 with 3:24 to go, snuffing a drive that could
have made it a one-score game.

”I wish it would have gone 98 (yards),” Moore said. ”But
overall it was just a huge play.”

Moore returned the ball only 12 yards. Still, it was the
clincher as the Falcons (8-2) won their fourth in a row and ended
the Rams’ four-game home winning streak.

”I’ve got to make sure it’s there,” Bradford said. ”I can’t
pitch it in there blind.”

Bradford had a big start with 99 yards passing and a touchdown
in the first quarter. The Rams (4-6) had six first downs in the
first quarter, but only nine the rest of the way, and Bradford
finished 27 for 42 for 233 yards.

”We knew time of possession was going to be a big part of this
game,” Bradford said. ”We knew if we wanted a chance to win we
had to be on the field just as much as they were, and that wasn’t
the case.”

Ryan was 26 of 39 for 253 yards with touchdown passes to Brian
Finneran and Justin Peelle, and Roddy White set up scores with nine
catches for 83 yards. Ryan has five touchdown passes without an
interception the last two games and threw for gains of 10 yards or
better to seven receivers.

”We’ve been efficient offensively the past four or five
weeks,” Ryan said. ”Going forward, that’s kind of a recipe for
success. You become difficult to beat.”

The St. Louis defense forced three short field goals, but
couldn’t get off the field quickly enough against an Atlanta
offense that had a pair of drives that lasted 6:39 and 7:06 and
held the ball for nearly 36 minutes. The Rams were so gassed that
safety Oshiomoghe Atogwe and cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Justin
King all missed time with cramps.

Atlanta ran 70 plays, most of it in the no-huddle. St. Louis ran
54 plays.

”When you’re out there and trying to cover, it catches up to
you,” Bartell said. ”We have to do a better job, obviously, as
far as making sure we hydrate properly before the game.”

Michael Turner was untouched on a 39-yard run the first play
after the two-minute warning and White caught a 2-point conversion
pass. Turner had 131 yards on 28 carries for his fourth 100-yard
game.

The Rams allowed no more than 17 points their first five home
games.

St. Louis led 10-3 early in the second quarter after Josh Brown
hit a season-best 53-yard field goal, and again at 17-16 early in
the third after Bradford and Brandon Gibson hooked up on a 13-yard
fade pattern.

The interception was the first in five games for Bradford, the
No. 1 pick, who thrived despite a set of undistinguished pass
catchers.

Bradford showed off his strong arm on his first touchdown pass,
rolling out to the right and throwing against the grain on a
25-yard completion to rookie tight end Mike Hoomanawanui.

Eric Weems had a 55-yard kickoff return in the second quarter
before a helmet-less Jerome Murphy finally ran him down at the Rams
47, setting up the Finneran score.

Notes: The Falcons are 7-0 in domed stadiums this season, five
of the wins at home, and 21-6 the last three seasons. … Boeing
distributed 1,000 tickets to veterans. … Danny Amendola had a
33-yard punt return for St. Louis, but also fumbled a kickoff
return in the end zone, recovering but leaving St. Louis starting
at its 6. … Rams rookie Rodger Saffold injured his shoulder and
will have an MRI exam. … Falcons DE John Abraham was inactive
with a groin injury after he struggled in a pre-game workout. …
Bradford set franchise rookie records for attempts (228) and
completions (376), breaking marks set by Tony Banks in 1996 and
Dieter Brock in 1985.