ATLANTA (AP) -- Standing in his end zone, looking for a receiver,
Marc Bulger had big plans.
"I was going for a home run," Bulger said.
After the Rams rallied from a 14-0 deficit to tie the game at 17
in the third quarter, the Falcons outscored St. Louis 17-0 in the
"That's one of my favorite takeaways of all time," Falcons
defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said.
Bulger said: "I was a half-second away from letting the ball
go. ... It could have been a touchdown the other way."
Instead, Smith beat Rams left tackle Orlando Pace and then
reached with his left hand for Bulger, knocking the ball loose
before Bulger began to bring his arm forward in a passing motion.
"I wish they were all that easy," said Smith, who was credited
with a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery in addition to what
he said was his first touchdown since high school.
"It's a dream play for a defensive lineman because usually you
have to run 80 yards to get in the end zone. It was just right
Led by quarterback Michael Vick's 109 yards running, the Falcons
(2-0) outgained the Rams (1-1) on the ground 242-30.
Warrick Dunn rushed for 43 yards and two touchdowns before
leaving with a sprained left knee in the fourth quarter. His status
for the Falcons' home game against Arizona next Sunday wasn't
Following Smith's touchdown, the Falcons' defense delivered
another big play when Aaron Beasley ended the next drive with an
Vick recorded the third 100-yard rushing game of his career, and
the Falcons ended a seven-game losing streak in the series with the
Rams, their former NFC West rival.
"He did some things today, we were on the sideline with our
mouths open," said Falcons fullback Justin Griffith, who caught
four passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. "He's an awesome
athlete. It's fun to play with him."
Rams defensive end Leonard Little said the team wanted to
contain Vick and make him throw.
"Real clear we weren't able to do that," Little said.
Vick was 14-of-19 for 179 yards and a touchdown in his second
start in the team's new West Coast offense.
"Every Sunday I think I'll continue to get better," Vick said.
Vick ran for 91 yards on seven carries in the first half to help
the Falcons build leads of 14-0 and 17-7.
The Falcons opened their second possession with Vick dumping a
62-yard screen pass to fullback Griffith, who later caught a 3-yard
touchdown pass on a play he said was designed for tight end Alge Crumpler.
Vick started the Falcons' second touchdown drive with a 12-yard
run. He took off later in the drive from the Rams 16, running left
and then flipping through the air to the 2 when hit low by Rams
cornerback Jerametrius Butler.
"I was just trying to score a touchdown," Vick said. "It's
been a long time since I crossed the plane, but it's just the
excitement, the adrenaline rush."
Dunn ran behind Todd Weiner for the 2-yard touchdown run and a
Jay Feely's 35-yard field goal gave Atlanta a 17-7 lead at
halftime. The Rams pulled even with 10 points in the third quarter.
Holt jumped in front of Falcons cornerback Jason Webster to catch a
33-yard touchdown pass from Bulger midway through the quarter. Jeff
Wilkins' 46-yard field goal tied the game at 17.
Vick (7 of 9) and Bulger (14 of 15) combined for only three
incompletions in the first half. ... Former Atlanta standouts Tommy
Nobis, Steve Bartkowski, William Andrews and Jessie Tuggle were
honored at halftime as the first four members of the Falcons' Ring
of Honor. ... The 242 yards rushing is the Falcons' highest total
since rushing for 260 yards on Oct. 27, 2002, against New Orleans.
... The Falcons are 2-0 for the first time since 1998, also the
last year they beat the Rams.
Mike Macdonald returns to Baltimore Ravens as defensive coordinator
In a statement, Ravens coach John Harbaugh touted new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald as "a Raven through and through" after spending seven seasons in Baltimore before joining the Michigan staff in 2021.
Will the Bengals be able to top the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game?
Ryan Clark looks back at the Bengals-Chiefs game from earlier this season and is eager to see their rematch in the playoffs.
Source: Dallas Cowboys' Mike McCarthy told he will return as head coach in 2022
Mike McCarthy has been told he will return as the Cowboys' head coach in 2022, a source confirmed to ESPN.
Grading NFL head-coach hires in 2022: What to make of Nathaniel Hackett to the Broncos, Matt Eberflus to the Bears
How did the Bears and Broncos fare with their head-coach hirings? Here's what our experts think of the moves. Plus, what next for the coaching carousel?
New Minnesota Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah focused on finding coach as first major task
New Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said the conversations he has had regarding head-coaching candidates are only in the beginning stages but that the direction the franchise wants to go in is clear.
Jeff Fisher, Larry Fedora fill final two USFL head-coaching job openings
Jeff Fisher and Larry Fedora will coach the Michigan Panthers and New Orleans Breakers, respectively, filling the final two vacancies in the rebooted USFL.