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Game Notes: Falcons vs. Raiders

Posted Oct 14, 2012

QB Matt Ryan led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter for the third straight week as the Falcons improved to an NFC-best 6-0

  • Head coach Mike Smith has compiled a 49-21 (.700) record in four-plus seasons in Atlanta, tying Dan Reeves for the most coaching wins in team history. Reeves went 49-59-1 (.454) in seven seasons from 1997-03.
  • The Falcons improved to 6-0 for the first time in franchise history with their 23-20 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
  • K Matt Bryant kicked the Falcons to victory for the second time this season, when he hit a 55-yard field goal with just one second remaining. The kick was the second longest of his career and his longest as a Falcon.
  • Bryant’s 55-yard game-winning field goal was the 14th of his career and his fifth as a member of the Falcons. Since joining the Falcons in 2009, Bryant has connected on 21 of 28 field goal attempts from 40 yards-or-deeper, including all five of his game winners.
  • Including Sunday’s game winner, Bryant has connected on eight field goals of 50-plus yards in his NFL career and his teams are 7-1 when he is good from that distance.
  • For the third consecutive week, QB Matt Ryan led the Falcons on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Ryan drove the offense 43 yards in seven plays, completing five of six pass attempts to set up Bryant’s eventual game-winning kick.
  • Ryan has engineered 19 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in his career which is the most in the NFL since 2008 and most by a quarterback in his first five seasons since 1966.
  • CB Asante Samuel recorded his first interception as a Falcon in the fourth quarter. Samuel intercepted QB Carson Palmer at the Atlanta 21-yard line and returned the pick 79 yards for a touchdown. His 46 career interceptions rank fourth among active players and his six interception returns for touchdowns are tied for the 16th most in League annals. Including playoffs, Samuel has 10 interception returns for touchdowns which rank fifth in NFL history.
  • Samuel’s teams are 37-7 (.841) when he records an interception (20-2 with NE, 16-5 with Phi. & 1-0 with Atl.), including a 27-1 record at home (14-0 with NE, 12-1 with Phi. & 1-0 with Atl.).
  • Additionally, Samuel has picked off nine passes in the fourth quarter of close games, in which his team is winning or losing by seven points-or-less.
  • DE John Abraham turned in an impressive performance on Sunday, sacking Palmer three times for a loss of 28 yards. Abraham notched his second strip-sack of the season in the third quarter, hitting Palmer and forcing a fumble. DE Ray Edwards picked up the loose ball and returned it 26-yards to set up a 20-yard Bryant field goal.
  • This season, the Falcons have scored 53 points off of 17 takeaways, which ranks among the NFL leaders. Under Smith, the Falcons have forced 123 turnovers, resulting in 398 points since 2008.
  • Abraham doubled his season sack total on Sunday and has now posted six quarterback takedowns in 2012. His 118.0 career sacks lead all active players. He has recorded 64.5 sacks since joining the Falcons in 2006, which rank second in franchise history behind DE Claude Humphrey who posted 94.5 sacks in 11 seasons with the club between 1968 and 1978.
  • Trailing 3-0 in the second quarter, Ryan hit WR Roddy White in the back of the endzone for a five-yard touchdown. Ryan has now thrown for at least one score in 21 straight games, which is the third longest active streak in the NFL trailing QB Drew Brees (48) and QB Tom Brady (38).
  • The score was White’s fourth touchdown reception of the season and the 49th of his career. He currently ranks third on the club’s all-time receiving touchdowns list behind WR Terance Mathis (57) and WR Andre Rison (56). White’s 49 total touchdowns are the fourth most in club annals.
  • In his last 13 games against AFC opponents, White has 99 catches for 1,415 yards (108.8 per game) with 12 touchdowns. Additionally, he has caught seven touchdown passes in his last seven home games.
  • Atlanta recorded three takeaways in Sunday’s game giving the Falcons 17 turnovers forced on the season, which ranks among the NFL leaders. The Birds have recorded at least one takeaway in 39 of their last 41 games, including all six games this season. Additionally, Atlanta has forced two-or-more turnovers in five of six games in 2012.
  • The Falcons first takeaway came when DT Jonathan Babineaux stripped Raiders RB Darren McFadden on Oakland’s opening possession. CB Robert McClain scooped up the loose ball to give the Falcons possession.
  • McClain’s fumble recovery came on the Raiders second play from scrimmage and Abraham’s strip sack came on the second play of an Oakland drive. This season, the Falcons have forced a turnover on a drive lasting four or fewer plays 11 times and have been among the NFL’s best in terms of creating quick turnovers.
  • The Falcons swept their AFC West opponents this season, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders. Atlanta averaged 29.3 points per game while allowing just 17.0 and posting a 10 turnover differential against AFC West teams.

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