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Special Teams Shining


Few players have gotten the heat that rookie Matt Bosher has received this seaosn.

The punter from Miami has seen his share of struggles this year as he tries to replace a highly successful punter and kickoff specialist in the departed-to-Tampa Bay Michael Koenen.

Whatever the reason, Bosher has seen some punts not go the way he or his coaches expected this season, but on Sunday night the light switch began to come on.

"I thought our punter didn't punt like a rookie," head coach Mike Smith said on Monday. "He actually punted extremely well, did some good things for us and that's a positive. We felt like the arrow was going up with Matt and it continues to go that way."

Heading into Sunday night, Bosher's 19 punts this season had netted a 31.4 yard average with a long of of 49 and six punts inside the 20. On Sunday, the rookie's five punts netted 37 yards and averaged 37.8, pinning one inside the 20 and falling just shy of his season long with a 47-yard punt.

Bosher's effort matched his Green Bay counterpart closely. The Packers' Tim Masthay netted 41 yards on two punts, landing one inside the 20 and a long punt of 43 yards.

The rookie punter wasn't the only bright spot on special teams. The entire coverage units were excellent, drawing considerable praise from Smith.

"It was probably the best effort that we've had all year long in terms of our special teams," Smith said. "The drive starts were outstanding. That's a great returner that they have in Randall Cobb and our guys did a very good job covering kicks."

Entering Sunday, Cobb already had one kickoff return for a touchdown and he's flashed such explosion this season on kickoff and punt returns that he's already regarded as one of the most dangerous return men in the league. The Falcons limited Cobb's two punt returns to an impressive four yards with three punts called for a fair catch.

On kickoff returns Cobb fielded three, with an average return of 22.3 yards.

Atlanta's own return man, Eric Weems, led the team with two special teams tackles. Veteran Mike Peterson chipped in one and one of the newer players to special teams has got in on the action with one takedown.

Third-year defensive end Lawrence Sidbury was inactive for 10 games last season. This season, Sidbury is showing up on special teams and his tackle Sunday night was his first of the season.

While the Falcons dropped to 2-3 on the season, the play of the special teams showed dramatic improvement and it's yet another area the team will need to continue to source for big plays this season as the offense and defense work to put an entire four quarters of strong play together.

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