With the NFC South race against the Buccaneers heading into the homestretch, the Falcons' defense put together their best showing of the year against the LA Rams. It was a game headlined by five Falcons takeaways, including two defensive scores. Atlanta sprinted to a 42-0 lead before third quarter was over, and left the LA Coliseum with a 42-14 victory.
The Buccaneers beat the Saints in Tampa today, so Tampa and the Falcons both move to 8-5 with three games remaining. Both teams are now 3-1 in the division, and split the season series against each other.
After a six-game stretch in which the Falcons allowed their opponents to score on their opening drive, Atlanta's defense not only ended the streak, but turned in their most dominant performance of the year.
Outside linebacker Vic Beasley led the way with three sacks, and a forced fumble that he returned for a touchdown. Sunday's game marked the first time Beasley has scored as a Falcon.
Rookie linebacker Deion Jones also put together a strong showing, tallying his second pick-six of the year.
Of Atlanta's 42 points, 28 of them came off of turnovers.
The offensive play of the game came when quarterback Matt Ryan found wide receiver Taylor Gabriel wide open for a 64-yard touchdown pass. Ryan threw for 237 yards and three touchdowns, before getting pulled with the game in hand.
Tevin Coleman found the end zone twice, giving the second-year running back nine touchdowns on the season.
Atlanta now heads home to play the 1-11 San Francisco 49ers. Tampa Bay travels to Dallas to take on the 11-1 Cowboys on Sunday Night Football next weekend.