Falcons dominate Raiders in shutout

AP/J.Jacobsohn The Falcons earned their first shutout victory in five years by beating the Oakland Raiders 24-0 on the road. The Falcons move their record to 5-3 and presumably are still in the thick of the NFC playoff race with half of their games remaining.

Matt Ryan led the Falcons with 220 yards passing and 2 touchdowns, completing 17 of 22 passes. Michael Turner led the Falcosn on the ground with 139 yards on 31 carries. Jerious Norwood added 63 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown, while Jason Snelling cleaned up with 47 yards on 8 carries. Roddy White led Falcon receivers with 5 catches for 54 yards, but Michael Jenkins caught both of Ryan’s touchdown passes finishing the day with 2 grabs and 64 yards.

Defensively, it came almost too easily for the Falcons facing the inept Raiders offense. The Falcons allowed -2 total yards in the first half. The Raiders finished the game with 77 total yards. The Raiders were only 1 of 9 on third downs and earned only 3 first downs in the entire game. John Abraham and Curtis Lofton tied for the team lead each with 5 tackles. Abraham added 3 sacks and a forced fumble. Jonathan Babineaux (2 tackles, 1 fumble recovery), Erik Coleman (2 tackles, 1 interception), Lawyer Milloy (1 tackle), and Chevis Jackson (1 tackle) had notable performances.

Special teams might have been the only area where there was obvious need for improvement. Jason Elam connected on 1 of 2 field goal attempts, making a 48-yarder but missing one wide right from 51 yards. Michael Koenen had 1 punt for 33 yards, but had another punt blocked. Jerious Norwood returned 1 kickoff for 26 yards, and Harry Douglas had 2 punt returns for 13 yards.

The Falcons will host the New Orleans Saints next week in the first of three straight home games. It will be the team’s first matchup with the Saints this season and hopefully their first NFC South division win. The Falcons have lost their last 4 against the Saints and have only won 3 of their last 10 against the Saints. The Falcons have split their last 10 against the Saints at home.

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Aaron Freeman
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