Instant replay: What stood out in Falcons Week 2 contest vs. Rams

Atlanta comeback comes up just short as Falcons fall to Rams

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- The Falcons and Rams entered their Week 2 clash in foul moods.

The defending Super Bowl champs got beat handily by the Buffalo Bills, on national television, in the season's opening game. The Falcons let a fourth-quarter lead slip to the arch-rival New Orleans Saints and lost a heartbreaker at home.

Both teams entered Sunday's game at SoFi Stadium looking for a better result. Only one team got it.

The Rams were able to secure an outlook-brightening 31-27 win in Week 2. Let's take a look at what stood out for the Falcons in a contest with a crazy ending:

Comeback falls just short

The Rams were seemingly cruising to an easy victory on Sunday. The home team was up 21 point in the second half, with the Falcons seemingly set for an 0-2 start.

Then the tide started to turn. The Falcons started connecting on things, with Drake London's first NFL touchdown getting positive momentum going. Then the Falcons scored again on an 11-yard pass to Olamide Zaccheaus.

Then came a massive special teams play, where Tory Andersen blocked a punt that Lorenzo Carter scooped up and scored. Then the Falcons hit on a two-point conversion.

Then Darren Hall punched the ball free Cooper Kupp after a seemingly vital third-down conversion, that the second-year cornerback recovered himself. The Falcons drive started on the 37-yard line, just inside the three-minute mark.

A valiant comeback ended a few plays later, when Marcus Mariota was intercepted by Jalen Ramsey, who went over the top covering Bryan Edwards and picked it. That put an end to a promising comeback attempt, where the Falcons were down just six points and could've won it with a touchdown. It wasn't necessarily over, though.

After the Rams couldn't get a first down took a safety over risking another blocked punt they sent a free kick out of bounds to the Falcons. The play was flagged as a kickoff out of bounds, setting Mariota up for one last heave. It never got off, with him unable to evade pressure before sending the ball down the field, which sealed this defeat.

Drake London proving to be a real find

Drake London scored his first NFL touchdown on Sunday at SoFi Stadium, a short drive from to his Moorpark hometown and an even quicker jaunt to USC, where he starred as a collegian.

It came from four yards out, in the third quarter, on a quick slant in while Kyle Pitts was running similar route behind him.

It was a moment he won't forget, likely the first of many for a player who has made a solid first impression on the franchise that drafted him No. 8 overall. London hasn't skipped a beat despite missing latter stages of training camp with a knee injury.

He led the team in receiving last week and had a solid sum in this one, though his first scoring contribution came with the Falcons well behind. He's a big body who plays like one, a rare combination of possession guy, deep threat and catch-and-run artist capable of creating yards after the catch. We've seen a bit of all that to this point.

Red-zone issues at issue

The Falcons weren't efficient inside the red zone against the Saints, settling for field goal attempts in a game resulting in a close loss. That trend continued against the Rams, with the Falcons failing to reach paydirt (with possession) in two key first-half drives, Younghoe Koo made one field goal and missed another on those sequences, not good enough against a Rams offense moving efficiently early on.

The Falcons hurt themselves in both instances. Chris Lindstrom false started on third-and-6, turning a medium distance into a long one that halted a promising drive. Drew Dalman held on second-and-goal from the 6, pushing another medium conversion distance to a long one that couldn't be overcome.

The Rams had no such issues while building a three-score halftime lead that expanded to large levels in the third quarter. While it was close early on, Falcons miscues prevented them from keeping it that way.

Before they had a chance to remedy those red zone issues -- they scored in the red zone on London's TD -- the game was out of hand and the result all but sealed. If they do better on those two drives, the game certainly would've played out (at minimum) in a less lopsided way. The early red-zone mistakes loomed larger as the score got close late. Had they done better with earlier opportunities, it's at least possible the game turns out different.

Call for questions

Submit your questions right here for inclusion in Monday's Bair Mail. And now, a PSA: While I don't for a second mind your comments, that makes it harder to add to the mailbag itself. Asking about this game, a specific player or what needs to happen next has the best chance of getting in.

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams in the second game of 2022.

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