The Falcons are back on the West Coast for a match up against the Los Angeles Rams. Take a look at these photos from the game.
It would have been understandable if the Falcons' offense wasn't dominant on Sunday. They were without their top two wide receivers, after all, and the Rams defense, led by All-Pro DT Aaron Donald, is among the world's best.
And yet, neither of these obstacles prevented Atlanta from crushing Los Angeles for one of the most decisive win in recent memory. The Falcons scored six touchdowns – four on offense – and left LA with a 42-14 triumph, marking the fourth time this season they've notched 40-plus points.
By doing so, Atlanta widened its lead in scoring with 428 points – 70 more than anyone else in the league. This success only becomes more impressive when placed in a broader context: Since 1940, just 15 NFL teams have scored more points through 13 games than the 2016 Falcons, according to Pro Football Reference.
"I had no doubt in my mind that those guys would do what they need to do and step up," Taylor Gabriel, who tallied a 64-yard touchdown, said following Sunday's contest. "Just throughout the week, those guys grind like we do and grind like everybody else. I don't think it was surprising the guys doing what they did. Me actually having to step up, just things that we did today, (offensive coordinator) Kyle Shanahan just made it easy on us and all we had to do was just execute. So, I'm very happy about this win."
Dan Quinn's club has reached these heights by putting together a balanced, deep offense, one that Shanahan has brilliantly molded to fit his personnel.
The depth is evident when looking at the way Atlanta has been scoring. So far, 13 offensive players have earned a touchdown this year. RBs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman lead the way with nine apiece; Gabriel has six, Julio Jones has five and six others have at least two.
The myriad of options at Matt Ryan's disposal has helped him thrive when Jones and other key players are injured. It's also helped him put together an MVP-caliber season. Atlanta's franchise quarterback has completed 302 of 442 passes for 4,050 yards, 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions, giving him a 113.2 passer rating – which, if it held up, would be the best of his career.
"I thought those guys did a great job and we have a lot of belief and confidence in everybody in our building," Ryan said at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. "But you talk about what Justin Hardy did today, first play in the game, catching a touchdown pass for us in one-on-one coverage with a great catch. Taylor Gabriel creating explosive plays, Aldrick Robinson coming out with some big catches for us and then Nick Williams. Nick with his first week active, coming in and creating great separation on third downs, converting big third downs for us. I am just really proud about how those guys competed, but we have a lot of confidence in them, they are good players and they played the way they are capable of playing."
Atlanta's defense has also played a role in its scoring prowess. On Sunday, Deion Jones (pick-six) and Vic Beasley Jr. (strip-sack, fumble recovery) found the end zone for the Falcons' fourth and fifth defensive TDs of 2016, tying them with Kansas City for the most in the NFL.
The defense has also done a good job putting the offense in good field position. In addition to Jones' interception and Beasley's score, Atlanta created three other turnovers against the Rams. Ricardo Allen snagged a pick of his own, and two fumble recoveries – one by Paul Worrilow, one by Courtney Upshaw – led to touchdowns on the ensuing drives.
"We said this game was going to come down to the ball, and it did," Quinn said. "So, for us to be plus-five in the turnover margin, that was clearly the key to this game and having the points off of those."