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Game Notes: Falcons at Chiefs

Posted Sep 9, 2012

The Falcons scored on their first eight possessions to open the season with a win for the first time since 2009.

    •  The 40 points the Falcons scored on Sunday were the most points scored in a season opener by a Mike Smith coached team. Atlanta’s 40-point output marked the Falcons highest point total in a season opener since 9/9/90 when the Birds beat the Houston Oilers 47-27 at Fulton County Stadium. Atlanta’s previous high under Smith came in 2008 when the Falcons scored 34 against Detroit in the season opener.

    • Atlanta’s 40-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday marked the franchise’s 300th victory.

    • Atlanta scored on its first eight possessions and racked up 376 yards of total offense in Sunday’s win over the Chiefs. The Falcons put together four drives of 70-plus yards with three of those drives resulting in touchdowns.

    • Atlanta opened the 2012 season with a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that ate up 6:09 on the game clock. QB Matt Ryan connected with WR Julio Jones for an eight-yard score, marking Ryan’s 96th career touchdown pass.Ryan has thrown at least one TD in 16 straight regular season games dating back to 2011. He has thrown for at least one score in 31 of his last 32 games.

    • Since 2008, the Falcons are 35-9 when they score first. During that span, Atlanta has scored 180 points on its first offensive possessions, including seven points in Sunday’s season opener at Kansas City.

    • Ryan and Jones connected for a second score in the second quarter, as Jones took a screen pass 14 yards for his second receiving touchdown of the game. The score was Jones’ 10th career touchdown catch and marked the fourth time that he has caught two touchdown passes in a single game.

    • Jones has posted two receiving touchdowns in back-to-back games after pulling in two scores in the 2011 season finale against Tampa Bay and two in Sunday’s tilt against the Chiefs.

    • Jones finished the game with six receptions for 108 yards with two touchdowns. He has now recorded six 100-yard games as a Falcon. Jones averaged 18.0 yards per reception, posting three catches for 19-or-more yards. Last season, Jones averaged 17.8 yards per catch, which ranked seventh in the NFL.

    • Ryan added a third touchdown when he hit TE Tony Gonzalez for a seven-yard score in the third quarter. The Falcons are now 25-5 when he throws two-or-more touchdowns. Sunday marked the 10th time in his career that he has thrown three-or-more touchdowns, the first since 12/15/11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since 2008, Ryan ranks fourth among NFC quarterbacks with 98 touchdowns.

    • The fifth year signal caller also added a rushing touchdown, scrambling into the endzone from five yards out. Ryan has scored five career rushing touchdowns with his last coming on 10/23/11 at Detroit when he punched in a one-yard quarterback sneak.

    • Ryan finished the game completing 23 of 31 pass attempts for 299 yards with three touchdowns and a 136.4 passer rating. Dating back to last season, he has thrown 197 pass attempts without an interception which ties the Falcons franchise record set by QB Steve Bartkowski between 1982 and 1983.
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    • Ryan’s 136.4 quarterback rating was the fifth highest of his career and marked the 24th time he has posted a rating over 100. The Falcons own a 24-0 record when he posts a passer rating of 100-or-better.

    • Gonzalez, who spent the first of his 12 NFL seasons with the Chiefs, caught five passes for 53 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown in his homecoming game at Arrowhead Stadium. Gonzalez was named to the Pro Bowl 10 times as a member of the Chiefs. He owns the Chiefs franchise records for career receptions (916), career receiving yards (10,940), career receiving touchdowns (76), most 1,000 yards receiving seasons (4), most receptions in a single game (14), consecutive games with a reception (131) and most 100-yard receiving games (26). Gonzalez also owns the top four marks for receptions in a single season (102, 99, 96, 93).

    • RB Jacquizz Rodgers set up Atlanta’s second score with a 77-yard kickoff return that gave the offense possession at the Chief’s 24-yard line. K Matt Bryant put the Falcons up 10-3 in the first quarter with a 34-yard field goal five plays later.

    • Rodgers 77-yard return was the longest by a Falcon since 12/5/10 when WR Eric Weems returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown at Tampa Bay. It was also his first career kickoff return.

    • Bryant made all four of his field goal attempts, including a 41-yard kick in the fourth quarter that moved him into seventh place on the Falcons all-time scoring list with 301 career points. He moved past RB Michael Turner, who has totaled 300 points during his time in Atlanta. Bryant is the eighth player in team history to score 300-or-more career points. His 34-yard field goal in the first quarter moved him past RB Gerald Riggs (288).

    • The Falcons struggled in the third quarter of games last season, surrendering 127 points while only scoring 74. In the third quarter of the season opener at Kansas City, Atlanta outscored Kansas City 14-0 in the third quarter to take a 34-17 lead and break the game open.

    • Atlanta forced three turnovers in the win, all of which came in the second half and on consecutive Chiefs’ possessions. DE John Abraham strip-sacked Chiefs QB Matt Cassel at the Kansas City six-yard line and LB Stephen Nicholas recovered the loose ball to help set up Ryan’s seven-yard touchdown pass to Gonzalez.

    • The sack gave Abraham 59.5 sacks since joining the Falcons in 2006. He took sole possession of second place on the Falcons all-time sacks list, breaking a tie with Chuck Smith (58.5). The Predator has now recorded 113.0 career sacks, which ranks tied for 15th in NFL history and leads all active players.

    • On the Chiefs next possession, LB Sean Weatherspoon tipped a Cassel pass and S William Moore intercepted the floating ball. The interception was Moore’s eighth career pick and his first since 12/11/11 against the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons’ defense once again gave the offense good field position and Bryant connected on a 30-yard field goal to put Atlanta on top 37-17.

  • Atlanta’s third takeaway of the game came on the ensuing Chiefs’ drive as Nicholas intercepted a pass after Cassel was forced out of the pocket. The Falcons capitalized on the turnover with another field goal. The Falcons posted 13 points off of turnovers in Sunday’s win. Last season, Atlanta ranked seventh in the NFL with 103 takeaway points.

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