Rapid Reaction: Falcons 31, Rams 24

ATLANTA -- A few thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 31-24 loss against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome:

What it means: The Rams looked out of their league in the first half but hung tough with an impressive second-half performance. Much like last week, though, they continued to pile up silly mistakes, the type you can get away with against Arizona but not against a legitimate contender.

The Falcons made a strong statement in bouncing back from last week’s loss, though they were far from perfect. They continued their trend of winning coming off a loss by jumping on the Rams early. The victory moved Atlanta to 21-3 since 2008 in games after a defeat.

Stock watch: Up: Falcons WR Julio Jones -- Jones was on Atlanta’s injury report all week because of a knee injury but you wouldn’t know it from watching him Sunday. He showed why he’s one of the league’s elite wideouts with 11 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown.

Rams LB Alec Ogletree -- Ogletree was active, particularly against the run, and led the team in total tackles for the second week in a row with eight, according to unofficial press box statistics.

Down: The Falcons’ running game -- Running back Steven Jackson departed with a thigh injury after scoring an early touchdown, but he wasn’t having much success on the ground even when he was in the game. Atlanta finished with just 36 yards on 16 carries.

The Rams in the first half -- The defense struggled to get off the field on third down and gave up big plays, and the offense generated just three points and coughed up a pick-six for the second consecutive week in putting the Rams in a 21-point halftime hole they never erased.

Penalty problems redux: The Rams were the league’s most-penalized team a year ago and then again this preseason, and had seven penalties for 59 yards last week against Arizona. Each time the team has vowed to clean it up but it has yet to happen. The Rams were flagged seven times for 53 yards on Sunday.

What’s next: The Rams head to Dallas before returning home to face San Francisco in a tough three-game stretch.

Atlanta kicks off a three-game stretch against AFC East opponents with a trip to Miami before two games here against New England and the New York Jets.