The Atlanta Falcons improve to 3-0 after defeating the San Diego Chargers (2-1) in Qualcomm Stadium, They are now 6-0 when heading to the West Coast under head coach Mike Smith and 8-1 all-time versus the Chargers.
On the first play of the game, Matt Ryan delivered a 19-yard strike to Julio Jones. However, Jones was injured after taking a big hit from Eric Weddle and would sit out for a couple of drives with a hand injury. The drive was capped off with an eight-yard touchdown reception for Jacquizz Rodgers.
Ryan tossed two more touchdowns – a seven-yarder to Tony Gonzalez and a nine-yarder to Jones – to bring his total to three in the first half. In the first half alone, Ryan was 22/29 for 208 yards and three touchdowns.
Atlanta ended the half with a 20-0 lead (the first extra point attempt was botched).
Ryan threw his first interception after 272 consecutive pass attempts dating back to last year’s regular season. Prior to this game, the last time Ryan threw a pick was in Reliant Stadium against the Houston Texans. Needless to say, that is a Falcons franchise record.
The Chargers came into the game was the top ranked rushing defense, limiting opponents to just 41.5 yards per game. However, the Falcons managed to rush for 119 yards after averaging just 75.5 entering the game.
To add to the surprise, Michael Turner showed more than he’s shown in the first two games combined: he rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, including a long rush of 25. To mark his second visit to San Diego, Turner celebrated his seven-yard touchdown run by mocking long-time Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
The Falcons defense was impressive throughout. They held the Chargers offense to just 27 yards in the first quarter and 107 yards in the first half. The Chargers ended with 281 total yards and three points – a 41-yard field goal from Nate Kaeding in the third quarter.
Thomas DeCoud was the star of the defense. Not to be outdone by William Moore’s performance last week, DeCoud had two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Sean Weatherspoon and Moore both forced fumbles. John Abraham also pitched in with a sack.
Ryan went 30/40 for 275 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a 107.8 passer rating – his third straight passer rating over 100. He completed passes to eight different receivers. The Falcons leading receiver was Gonzalez, who brought in nine balls for 91 yards and a touchdown. Second in line was Jones with five receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons head back home to host the Carolina Panthers next Sunday.