Colts stuff Falcons on Thanksgiving

Getty Images/Chris Graythen Despite a fast start, the Falcons eventually fell to the Indianapolis Colts 31-13 in their second ever Thanksgiving Day game. The Falcons got off to a quick 10-0 lead in the first quarter, but struggled in the second quarter as they were down 21-13 at the half.

Joey Harrington led the team passing for 155 yards while completing 14 of 30 attempts with a touchdown and two interceptions. On the ground, Warrick Dunn rushed for 70 yards on 17 carries (4.1 avg). Dunn became the 22nd NFL running back to surpass 10,000 career rushing yards as well on the day. Jerious Norwood added 33 yards on 6 carries (5.5 avg). Roddy White led receivers with 6 catches for 104 yards (17.3 avg) and the team’s only touchdown. Alge Crumpler added 3 grabs for 14 yards. The offense was able to maintain possession of the ball for over 11 minutes in the first quarter and converted 3 of 7 third down attempts. But for the rest of the game, they were unable to sustain drives and converted just 2 of 8 third down attempts.

Defensively, the Falcons had a strong start forcing the Colts potent offense to stall and punt on its first two drives. But poor field position and a porous pass defense hindered their success in the second quarter. Michael Boley led defenders with 9 tackles, including 3 sacks, and forced a fumble. Demorrio Williams (6 tackles), Keith Brooking (6 tackles, 1 sack), DeAngelo Hall (5 tackles, 1 interception), Chris Houston (4 tackles, 2 passes defended), Jamaal Anderson (4 tackles), and Chris Crocker (3 tackles, 2 passes defended) had noteworthy performances.

Morten Andersen connected on his two field goal tries of 34 and 30 yards in the first half. Michael Koenen had 4 punts averaging 50 yards and put 1 inside the Colts 20-yard line. Jerious Norwood returned 6 kickoffs for an average of 26.3 yards, while on punt returns Adam Jennings was forced to fair catch both his attempts.

The Falcons will travel to St. Louis next week to take on the Rams, hoping that the extra few days of rest will allow them some time to regroup and get another victory. The Falcons have won 2 of 3 games against the Rams since leaving the NFC West, including most recently a playoff victory in 2004. However, the Falcons have not won in St. Louis since 1998, losing four straight in that venue.

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Aaron Freeman
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