Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Falcons Again Roll over Packers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Falcons Again Roll over Packers

Article excerpt

ATLANTA * New season.

New stadium.

Same ol' result.

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons picked up where they left off against the Green Bay Packers, building a big halftime lead on the way to a dominating 34-23 victory Sunday night. The rematch of last season's NFC championship game was essentially a repeat: Ryan threw for 252 yards and a touchdown, Devonta Freeman had a couple scoring runs, and Desmond Trufant darted to the end zone off an attempted pass by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers that was ruled a fumble.

"We came out aggressive," said Julio Jones, who had five catches for 108 yards. "We did a great job and got after them."

Back in January at the Georgia Dome, Atlanta earned a trip to the Super Bowl by racing to a 31-0 edge early in the third quarter on the way to a 44-21 blowout of the Packers.

This time, in the first regular-season NFL game at $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the first sporting event in which the facility's camera lens-like roof was open the Falcons put on quite a show to mark the occasion.

They were ahead 24-7 at halftime and 31-7 less than a minute into the third period.

Unlike the Super Bowl, in which the Falcons squandered a 25-point lead and lost the Patriots, Atlanta made sure this lead stood up.

Ryan threw for 201 yards in the first half, getting Jones involved in the offense. Freeman rushed for 84 yards, and Tevin Coleman chipped in with 42 on the ground plus a touchdown catch.

Trufant not only scored a defensive touchdown, he came up with a crucial interception near the end of the first half.

"That's when we really come to light," coach Dan Quinn said. "Different weapons. You never know who's going to be the one."

After struggling a bit offensively in a season-opening victory in Chicago that was preserved with a goal-line stand in the closing seconds, the Falcons (2-0) dominated right from the start in an early showdown for conference supremacy.

"If we get down to a tie-breaker (for playoff positioning), this game could be a big one," Rodgers said, already looking far down the road. …

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