San Diego Charges Back:Despite falling behind in the first half, the Chargers sent the matchup to overtime by outscoring Atlanta 13-3 in the second. The Falcons got the ball first in the extra frame, but after they were unable to convert on a fourth-and-1 near midfield, San Diego moved 19 yards on five plays to set up Josh Lambo for the game-winning field goal.
"It was definitely frustrating, but sometimes that's how the game goes," Desmond Trufant said about the defense's inability to shut the door. "But we still had opportunities to put them away. That's what kind of hurts, because we had multiple chances to end the game. … We'll watch the film, and we'll be ready next week."
Ryan Makes History: Ryan threw for over 200 yards for the 46th-straight regular season game, marking the longest streak in NFL history. The veteran quarterback passed Dan Fouts to reach the milestone.
In total, Ryan connected on 22 of 34 passes for 273 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Nine of those completions were thrown to Julio Jones, who finished with a remarkable 174 receiving yards.
While Ryan expressed pride in breaking the aforementioned record, he made it clear that the final outcome was more important.
"It doesn't mean much when you lose, that's for sure," he said. "But obviously, anytime you're mentioned with someone as great as Dan Fouts, and you have a streak like that, consistency like that, it's very nice to be a part of it. But there were a lot of people who made that possible for a long time, a lot of really good players. It's nice, but at the end of the day, it's still a sour taste in our mouth today."
Defense Creates Big Turnovers, Sacks: During Thursday's press conference, Quinn noted that Atlanta had recovered zero of the six fumbled they forced in Denver and Seattle. Changing that was a priority against the Chargers, and thanks to Vic Beasley Jr. and Adrian Clayborn, the Falcons made that happen.
With 4:31 left in the second quarter, Beasley strip-sacked Philip Rivers deep in San Diego territory; Clayborn — who added a sack of his own — scooped up the loose ball and rumbled into the end zone, giving Atlanta six crucial points.
Beasley now has 10.5 sacks in his career — the fourth-most a Falcon has ever racked up in their first two NFL seasons, according to Pro Football Reference.
"He's been looking great. He's been getting off on the ball, getting the ball out, looking like a Pro Bowl player," Trufant said about Beasley. "He can do that every play. So I'm happy for him."
Rookies Shine: Atlanta's Rookie Club had a strong afternoon, as Deion Jones, De'Vondre Campbell, Keanu Neal and Brian Poole made significant contributions on defense. Campbell posted a team-high 10 tackles (six solo) and a tackle for loss. Neal managed nine tackles (seven solo), a tackle for loss of his own and made a number of plays in coverage.
Poole was solid in coverage when Rivers threw his way, and Jones made his second interception of the year, which he ran back 42 yards to San Diego's 10. The Falcons tacked on a field goal on the ensuing drive.
RBs Create Offensive Balance: San Diego entered Sunday fifth in rushing yards allowed per game, but that didn't stop Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman from being productive. Freeman tallied 58 rushing yards on 15 carries; before departing with a hamstring injury, Coleman notched 64 rushing yards on eight attempts, one of which he ran 30 yards for a touchdown.
Thanks to 52 receiving yards — 42 from Freeman, 10 via Coleman — the two combined for 150-plus yards from scrimmage for the fifth time in 2016.