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Falcons Team Report


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Falcons Team Report

Yahoo! Sports 1 hour, 58 minutes ago

INSIDE SLANT

The Falcons didn’t even want to think about heading to New Orleans as an 0-2 team.

They played them close last season, but had to face the eventual Super Bowl champs one time with backup quarterback Chris Redman(notes) at the controls.

They split with the Saints in 2008 and clearly won’t be mesmerized by the newfound Super Bowl jewelry.

“Playing at home, that thought never crossed my mind about going 0-2,” middle linebacker Curtis Lofton(notes) said. “We are a solid team at home.”

The Falcons will go to New Orleans with some major momentum after throttling Arizona 41-7 and finding their offensive attack, which had struggled in the preseason and was kept out of the end zone in the opener at Pittsburgh.

They scored on four of their first five possessions against the Cardinals and opened a 24-7 lead.

The re-discovered their power ground game as they rushed for 221 yards on 45 carries.

However, Michael Turner(notes) left with a groin injury and Jerious Norwood(notes) left with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. Reserve Jason Snelling(notes) carried most of the load and finished 186 total yards.

“We definitely made a statement,” Snelling said. “We just got back to the little things like holding on to our blocks, blocking down field and protecting our quarterback. We put everything together. It just shows that when we do that, we can be an explosive offense.”

Snelling stepped in last season when Turner and Norwood were out with other injuries. Turner missed action last season with a high right ankle sprain and Norwood had concussion and hip flexor issues.

But with Snelling, the Falcons were able to still stick to their running game.

“We take pride in being a physical running team,” Snelling said. “When we can run the ball, we can do a lot great things. We can put up points when we get the running game going.

Falcons coach Mike Smith(notes) was pleased with the thumping of the Cardinals and believes his team re-discovered its identity.

“We talk all the time about starting fast, sustaining our level of intensity and our level of play for 60 minutes,” Smith said.

He was impressed with Snelling and elected not to let Turner play even though he had been medically cleared to return.

“Over 180 total yards and three touchdowns,” Smith said. “Just says a lot about the depth of this team and the personnel staff that they have put together over the three years.”

They’ll have to continue to power the ball when they see the champs down in the Big Easy.

NOTES, QUOTES

Trending: Atlanta’s defense focused on improving on third downs after yielding first downs 45 percent of the time last season. They allowed the Steelers to convert on 4 of 14 third downs (29 percent) and did not allow the Cardinals to convert on eight third downs. For the season, they are 4 of 22 (18 percent) in third-down defense.

Lineup Watch: William Moore(notes) made his debut at strong safety and had two tackles and an interception. He was the team’s second-round pick in the 2009 draft and could be evaluated as a starter.

Erik Coleman(notes) is out with a left knee injury, but if Moore grades out well he could push for the starting role.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

Player Notes

• WR Brian Finneran(notes) caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to put the Falcons ahead, 31-7. It was his first touchdown catch since late in the 2008 season.

• TE Tony Gonzalez(notes) was honored with a pre-game ceremony for making his 1,000th career catch in the season opener at Pittsburgh. “I almost started crying,” Gonzalez said. “It was just a great moment.”

• LT Sam Baker(notes), who had two holding penalties against Pittsburgh, was called for holding twice in the fourth quarter against Arizona. He also was called for lining up in the backfield, but the Cardinals declined the penalty.

• WR Roddy White(notes) has 20 catches in the first two games, the best two-game total in his career.

• LB Sean Weatherspoon(notes) had his first career sack in the second quarter.

• SS William Moore made his first career start and came with an interception.

• CB Christopher Owens(notes) suffered a back injury and did not return to the game. Brian Williams(notes) played in the nickel defense as a replacement for Owens.

• DT Jonathan Babineaux(notes), who missed the opener while serving a one-game suspension for his drug-related arrest last December, made his debut. He finished with two tackles, had a sack and forced a fumble.

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any other info yet on Owens?

CB Chris Owens injured his back during Atlanta's 41-7 win and did not return. Following the contest Owens said he was fine. Falcons RapidReports

Coach Mike Smith said he didn't know the extent of RB Jerious Norwood's (knee) injury, just that it looked like "something around his lower leg." Falcons RapidReports

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CB Chris Owens injured his back during Atlanta's 41-7 win and did not return. Following the contest Owens said he was fine. Falcons RapidReports

Coach Mike Smith said he didn't know the extent of RB Jerious Norwood's (knee) injury, just that it looked like "something around his lower leg." Falcons RapidReports

thanks

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