By Matthew Asher
With Week 1 in the books, the Falcons return to the Georgia Dome looking for their first win of the season as they take on Stephen Jackson's former team the St. Louis Rams. While Atlanta lost a close game to the Saints, St. Louis was able to squeak by the Cardinals with a 27-24 win.
Since only one game has been played this season by either team, it's tough to gauge if the stats put up in Week 1 are the norm or if they are anomalies. Case in point: no sane person would think Peyton Manning is going to throw for 112 touchdown passes and no interceptions by the end of the season. Still, a Week 1 stat line is more reliable than the preseason stat line.
Offensively against the Cardinals, the Rams didn't do anything amazing, but didn't look terrible either. The Rams scored 27 points and threw for 299 passing yards. Without Jackson in their backfield this season, it isn't a surprise that the running numbers weren't spectacular. St. Louis gained just 67 yards on the ground. The Rams netted 366 yards of total offense against the Cardinals.
While Atlanta's defensive stats may not appear promising, remember that the Falcons faced Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints who last year had the second best offense in the league. No offense, but Carson Palmer is no Drew Brees.
Atlanta surrendered 23 points to the Saints. New Orleans gained 419 yards of total offense and Brees was amazing through the air. Of the 419 yards of offense given up, 341 were passing yards with New Orleans only gaining 78 rushing yards.
Defensively the Rams did not do as well when it came to their statistics and rankings, giving up 24 points to the Cards. Arizona was able to throw for 304 passing yards and 390 total yards against the Rams. The Cardinals picked up an additional 86 yards on the ground.
Note: All statistics below were given before the two Monday night games.
For the Falcons on offense, all of their major statistics – except for scoring – were in the top half of the league. The 367 total yards and 88 rushing yards were both the 12th most gained in Week 1. Atlanta's 279 passing yards were the 11th most and the 17 points Atlanta scored was tied for the seventh least.
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Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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