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Game Notes: Falcons at Chargers

  •  The Falcons 27-3 win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday marks the first time Atlanta has started a season 3-0 since 2004 when the Birds opened that campaign 4-0. Only the Falcons, the Arizona Cardinals, and the Houston Texans remain undefeated after three games.
  • Head Coach Mike Smith has compiled a 46-21 record in four-plus seasons as Falcons head coach. Sunday's win against the Chargers tied him with Leeman Bennett who posted a 46-41 record between 1977 and 1982. Smith trails only Dan Reeves who went 49-59-1 from 1997-03.
  • Atlanta opened the game with a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive as QB Matt Ryan hit RB Jacquizz Rodgers for an eight-yard score. Ryan completed seven of eight passes for 75 yards on the Falcons opening drive and the touchdown toss marked the 33rd time in the last 34 games that he has thrown at least one touchdown, including 18 straight games dating back to last season.
  • Atlanta is the only team in the NFL to score a touchdown on its opening possession in each of its first three games of 2012. Since 2008, the Falcons lead the NFL in points scored on their first offensive possession, with 193 points.
  • The Falcons defense once again started strong, holding the Chargers to just 27 yards in the first quarter while not allowing a third down conversion.
  • In the second quarter, with the Chargers holding the ball on the Falcons seven-yard line, LB Sean Weatherspoon forced RB Ryan Mathews to fumble. The loose ball was recovered by S Thomas DeCoud, marking the Falcons eighth takeaway of the season.
  • The Falcons have recorded at least one takeaway in 36 of their last 38 games and own a 31-2 record when they win the turnover battle.
  • Ryan hit TE Tony Gonzalez for a seven-yard touchdown just before the two minute warning to give the Falcons a 14-0 lead. The score marked the 32nd multi-touchdown game of Ryan's career and Gonzalez's 98th career touchdown catch.
  • Gonzalez finished the game with nine catches for 91 yards and one touchdown. His nine receptions tied his best mark as a Falcon and were the most he's posted in a game since 11/27/11 against the Minnesota Vikings when he caught nine passes for 69 yards.
  • Dating back to 2011, Ryan has thrown two-or-more touchdowns in five of his last six games. The Falcons own a 27-5 record when he throws multiple TDs.
  • On the Chargers next possession, DeCoud intercepted Chargers QB Philip Rivers, the Falcons sixth interception of the season. The pick marked the third straight game that Atlanta has forced multiple turnovers.
  • Atlanta's second take-away of the game set up another score as Ryan hit WR Julio Jones in the back of the endzone for his third touchdown toss of the day. The score gave the Falcons 14 points off of turnovers on Sunday.
  • Ryan finished the game completing 30 of 40 pass attempts (75 percent) for 275 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. It was the 13th time in his career that the signal caller has thrown three-or-more touchdowns and the Falcons are 13-0 when he accomplishes that feat.
  • Ryan was intercepted by CB Antoine Cason at the Chargers three-yard line, which snapped franchise record streak of 272 pass attempts without an interception.
  • Ryan posted a 107.8 passer rating on Sunday, marking the third straight game that he has broken the century mark this season. The Falcons are 26-0 when Ryan notches a quarterback rating of 100 or better.
  • With Atlanta leading 20-3 in the third quarter, DeCoud intercepted Rivers for the second time. The fifth-year safety out of California had a hand in three of Atlanta's four takeaways, with two interceptions and one fumble recovery. He has recorded three interceptions in 2012 and has run his career total to 11 INTs.
  • DeCoud notched two interceptions and one fumble recovery in Sunday's win at San Diego. He is the second player to post one interception and one fumble recovery in a single game this season. LB Stephen Nicholas also accomplished that feat in the 2012 season opener at Kansas City.
  • The Falcons have posted at least three turnovers in each game this season, including four in each of the last two games. Under Head Coach Mike Smith, Atlanta has posted a 20-1 record when they record three-or-more takeaways in a game.
  • Atlanta held Rivers to a 45.2 quarterback rating as he completed 21 of 38 pass attempts for 173 yards with two interceptions. Rivers entered Sunday's contest as one of the hottest quarterbacks in the League, completing 74 percent of his passes (48 of 65) for 515 yards with four touchdowns, one interception and a 110.7 passer rating.
  • The Birds defense held the Chargers to 280 total yards and did not allow San Diego to score in two trips inside the red zone.
  • DE John Abraham sacked Rivers on the final play of the first half, giving him 114.0 career sacks and sole possession of 15th place on the NFL's all-time sacks list. He is the League's active sack leader and his 60.5 sacks as a Falcon rank second in team history behind Claude Humphries, who posted 94.5 sacks between1968-78.
  • RB Michael Turner wore down the Chargers defense, posting his best game of the season with 80 yards on 14 carries, including a 25-yard long run and a seven-yard touchdown scamper. The score was Turner's 52nd as a Falcon, which is a franchise record.
  • Atlanta forced three turnovers vs. Kansas City in the season-opener, four on Monday Night vs. Denver, and four on Sunday at San Diego. The club's plus-10 ratio on the NFL's giveaway/takeaway chart leads the NFL.
  • Atlanta's 40 points generated off of turnovers also leads the NFL.
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