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Time Machine: Falcons Remember Rams as Rivals


The Falcons have faced the Rams the second most times in their history with 75 games being played between the two clubs since 1966. Of course, most of those contests were against the Rams of Los Angeles, who were in the same NFC West division as the Falcons.

In their first season in St. Louis in 1995, the Birds hosted the Rams in a Week 12 divisional rematch at the Georgia Dome after dropping an earlier close 21-19 decision on the road.

The "Red Gun" offense was still humming along in '95 under the direction of second-year head coach June Jones with prolific wideouts such as Terance Mathis, Eric Metcalf and Bert Emanuel teaming alongside bruising running back Craig Heyward. 

Mathis enjoyed one of the best days of his career that day, tying a franchise record with three touchdown receptions on 10 overall catches for 184 yards.  The offense rolled up 440 total yards on the impressive afternoon.

Mathis started out the scoring with a pair of touchdowns, covering 18 and 17 yards, respectively, in the first and second quarters for a 14-6 halftime advantage.

The Birds blew open a close game early in the second half as Metcalf, a converted wide receiver, hauled in a 41-yard scoring pass and kicker Morten Andersen booted a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter. Mathis' last touchdown came from 39-yards out in the fourth quarter to supply the final points in a 31-6 victory. Heyward rumbled for 117 yards on just 20 carries for a 5.9 per carry average to lead the running attack.

Not only did the Falcons stalwart defense limit the Rams to just six points, they also stopped an NFL streak. St. Louis WR Isaac Bruce came into the game with a League record seven consecutive games with 100-yards receiving and Atlanta's stingy effort held him nine yards short of that mark with 91 yards on seven receptions.

The victory was number seven on the season for the Birds as they continued their playoff push, which would eventually lead to a Wild Card berth with a 9-7 record (and first postseason appearance in four seasons). Atlanta would also establish a new NFL record during the 1995 campaign as Mathis (1,039), Metcalf (1,189), Emanuel (1,039) and Heyward (1,083) each gained more than 1,000 yards on the season for the first time in league history. 

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