Ryan throws for 3 TDs, Falcons thrash faltering Rams 42-14
LOS ANGELES (AP) Matt Ryan passed for 237 yards and three touchdowns and the Atlanta Falcons forced five turnovers in a 42-14 victory over the spiraling Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Deion Jones returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown, and Vic Beasley forced a fumble by Jared Goff and returned it for another TD during Atlanta's comprehensive pummeling of the Rams (4-9), who have lost four straight and eight of nine in their increasingly miserable homecoming season.
Tevin Coleman caught a TD pass and rushed for another score for the Falcons (8-5), who opened up a 42-point lead in the third quarter and stayed atop the NFC South with their fourth win in six games.
Even without injured receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta had little trouble from the opening kickoff, which was fumbled by Rams rookie Michael Thomas and recovered at the Los Angeles 3.
Justin Hardy then caught a TD pass on Atlanta's first snap, and the day never got better for the Rams and embattled coach Jeff Fisher, who tied Dan Reeves' NFL record with his 165th career coaching loss.
Goff went 24 of 41 for 235 yards with two interceptions and a fumble. The No. 1 overall draft pick fell to 0-4 as a starter.
Todd Gurley scored the Rams' first points early in the fourth quarter of the team's ugliest performance in its homecoming season.
Fisher was booed heavily in the Coliseum, where the Rams haven't won since their home opener Sept. 18. The Rams have scored only six touchdowns in five games at the Coliseum - one fewer than the Falcons managed on Sunday.
BREAKING IT OPEN
Coleman scored on a short screen pass on Atlanta's first snap of the second quarter, but the Rams' defense hung in early against Ryan and the high-scoring Falcons.
The rout began moments later when Jones made an exceptional leaping interception and returned it down the Atlanta sideline for a score. Ryan hit a wide-open Taylor Gabriel for a 64-yard TD pass on the Falcons' opening drive of the second half.
Atlanta, the NFL's highest-scoring team, needed just 286 yards of offense to post its fourth 40-point game of the season. The turnovers helped, too.
Atlanta went up 7-0 just 10 seconds in after Thomas allowed the opening kickoff to ricochet off his chest and arms and then failed to recover his own fumble. Thomas was filling in for regular kickoff returner Benny Cunningham, who missed the game with a neck injury. Ryan hit Hardy with a TD pass on the first snap. Thomas fielded the next kickoff cleanly, drawing a Bronx cheer from Coliseum fans.
Falcons: Jones couldn't play due to turf toe, and Sanu is out with a groin injury. Jones began the weekend leading the NFL in yards receiving.
Rams: Cunningham is also their backup running back, and his replacement at that spot, Malcolm Brown, also fumbled in the third quarter. ... S Maurice Alexander stayed down for a long time after a hard hit in the third quarter. He eventually stood and sat on a cart to leave the field. He was ruled out with a concussion. ... DE Robert Quinn missed his second straight game with a concussion.
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