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Time Machine: Falcons Have History of West Coast Success

If you haven't already heard, head coach Mike Smith and his crew have found plenty of success when traveling to the West Coast since he's taken the helm.

The Falcons are a perfect 5-0 when traveling West since 2008. This streak includes the Birds outscoring opponents 155-72 in dominant fashion.  

The overall numbers against the Chargers are equally as impressive as Atlanta is 7-1 all-time in the series and have captured five straight contests against San Diego, including a 22-16 win in 2008.

In that last successful trip in Coach Smith's first campaign in Week 13, the Falcons used a strong running game behind ex-Bolt RB Michael Turner, who was playing his old team for the first time, and a proficient passing effort by rookie QB Matt Ryan.

Turner rumbled for 120 yards on the ground on 31 carries, which forced the Chargers defense to crowd the line and dare a first-year quarterback to beat them.

Ryan delivered by only misfiring on six pass attempts all day, completing 17 of his 23 tosses for 207 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. WR Roddy White was one of the benefactors, hauling in six catches for 112 yards.

Ryan's first score came on 18-yard pass to TE Justin Peele in the second quarter to take the lead for the first time at 13-7. The Boston College product then threw a short 5-yard touchdown to WR Harry Douglas to begin the fourth quarter to increase the margin to 22-13.

Atlanta's defense held tough down the stretch and allowed only a field goal the rest of way to help claim a 22-16 victory. For the Birds, it was win number eight on the season en route to an 11-5 record and playoff berth for the first time in four seasons. Smith garnered Coach of the Year accolades and Ryan was named Rookie of the Year.

After a strong 2-0 start this season, including a big win on Monday Night Football against Peyton Manning and the Broncos, the confidence in the locker room is sky-high. When they step on the plane to head out West on Friday, Atlanta's confidence is bolstered even more due to the past success against the Chargers on the road in this series.

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