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Notes and Milestones: Falcons vs. Steelers


Milestones from the Falcons-Steelers game included Gonzalez's 1,000th catch and a career high in catches for WR Roddy White.

Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez became the first tight end in NFL history to record 1,000 career catches when he hauled in a 20-yard pass from Matt Ryan on the opening drive of the second half. The catch set up a 39-yard Matt Bryant field goal to give Atlanta a three-point lead. He finished the game with two catches for 35 yards, averaging 17.5 yards per catch. Gonzalez's 1,001 receptions rank seventh all-time among all players. Gonzalez holds a number NFL records at the tight end position including, most career receiving yards, most career receptions, most receptions in a single season, most touchdown catches, most 100-yard receiving games and most 1,000 yard seasons.

C Todd McClure made his 129 consecutive start for the Falcons, breaking the franchise record of 128 previously held by LB Keith Brooking (2000-08).

WR Roddy White posted a career high 13 catches, totaling 111 yards and recording double-digit receptions for the fourth time in his career. The performance was also the best of his career on opening day. White's previous best season opening game was in 2009, when he caught five passes for 42 yards.

WR Eric Weems posted a career high four catches for 36 yards. His previous best was 33 yards on two catches against the Cowboys in Dallas on 10/25/09.

With a six-yard sack of Steelers QB Dixon in the third quarter, DE John Abraham recorded the 37th sack as a Falcon. Since coming to Atlanta in 2006, his 37.0 sacks rank seventh on the Falcons all-time sacks list. He needs just 1.5 sacks to tie Don Smith for sixth in franchise annals.

The Falcons defense brought down Dixon three times for a loss of 25 yards. In addition to Abraham's sack, LB Curtis Lofton and DE Kroy Biermann sacked Dixon on back to back plays in the second half.

Lofton also recorded double digit tackles for the 12th time in his career with 11 tackles (8 solo) against the Steelers. The third year middle linebacker added a pair of tackles for loss.

With the Steelers driving into Falcon territory, LB Mike Peterson intercepted a Dixon pass intended for TE Heath Miller. Peterson has recorded an interception on opening day in each of his two seasons in Atlanta.

QB Matt Ryan finished the game with 252 passing yards and completed 27 of 44 passes, including a 23-yard long to WR Harry Douglas.

In a defensive struggle the battle for field position is a crucial part of the game. P Michael Koenen helped keep the Steelers backed up deep in their own territory by dropping four punts inside the 20 yard line, including three inside the 10 yard line. In total, Koenen kicked seven punts for 281 yards and a 39.1 yard net average.

Atlanta's defense has focused on improving on third downs after struggling in those situations in 2009. The Falcons allowed the Steelers to convert just four of 14 third downs (29 percent) in the season opener.

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