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(Sunday, November 6th)
Final Score: Atlanta 31, Indianapolis 7
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Matt Ryan threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns, including two long strikes to Julio Jones, leading the Atlanta Falcons to a 31-7 thumping of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Ryan was 14-for-24 with an interception, but had touchdown passes of 50 and 80 yards to Jones that gave the Falcons a 21-0 lead in the first half.
"That was a good win for our football team," Ryan said. "I thought all three phases played well today. We did it for 60 minutes, which is something that we have been trying to do throughout the year."
Jones, who had missed the previous two games with a hamstring injury, caught three passes for 131 yards and scored the first two touchdowns of his NFL career.
"Julio has been chomping at the bit to get back," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said. "We made a decision that we weren't going to rush him back. I think that was good for him. We know the skill-set he had and we got some match-ups we liked on that long ball. Matt was able to deliver it. You can see that he's going to be and is an integral part of what we're trying to do offensively."
Michael Turner rushed for 71 yards and a TD on 19 carries and veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez caught a touchdown pass for the Falcons (5-3), who have won three straight games.
The only points for the Colts (0-9) came on Jerraud Powers' six-yard interception return for a touchdown. They are the only team in the NFL still without a win.
Curtis Painter struggled under center for the Colts, throwing for 98 yards on 13-of-27 passing and one interception, while Dan Orlovsky was 4-for-6 for 20 yards in relief.
Donald Brown ran for 70 yards on 16 carries and Austin Collie hauled in four passes for 32 yards.
The Colts got the ball to begin the game, but turned it over when Delone Carter fumbled on the second play from scrimmage, giving possession to the Falcons at the 26-yard line.
They took advantage of excellent field position and went 26 yards in five plays before Turner pushed his way into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead.
"We did the things that you just can't do against a team that certainly does have some firepower on offense in particular," Colts head coach Jim Caldwell said. "We gave them the short field, turned the ball over twice and they got 14 points off those. You just can't do it. The defense started picking up the pace a little bit and the Powers play certainly gave us a lift, but we just couldn't tack on good play consistently from that point forward."
Late in the opening quarter, Atlanta extended its lead to 14-0 when Ryan hooked up with Jones deep down the middle for a 50-yard touchdown pass. The play was called incomplete, but the Falcons challenged and won.
Early in the second quarter, Atlanta made it 21-0 when Ryan connected with Jones on a quick slant to the right and the receiver out-ran the defense 80 yards to the end zone.
The Colts finally got on the board midway through the second quarter after Ryan took a quick drop and fired a slant pass to the left that was undercut and picked off by Powers, who took it back to make it 21-7.
"Whenever they go trips, I usually know the ball is coming to my side," Powers said of his interception. "Knowing Dwight [Freeney] and those guys on the front four are going to get to the quarterback kind of fast, I knew it would be something quick. It was just good communication all around the board and just executed it well."
The Falcons added to their lead late in the third quarter. Ryan led a 12-play, 73-yard drive that ate up 7 1/2 minutes of game time and found Gonzalez wide open in the end zone for a one-yard touchdown strike and a 28-7 lead.
Matt Bryant kicked a 20-yard field goal to account for the final margin with just under five minutes gone in the fourth quarter.
It was Atlanta's 27th consecutive game forcing at least one turnover...Ryan's 80-yard TD pass in the second quarter was the second-longest completion of his career...Powers' interception was the Colts' first takeaway since Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers...Indianapolis leads the all-time series, 13-2...Ryan is 10-3 in his career against the AFC and is 27-6 in games played indoors...Atlanta was 6-for-14 on third down, while Indy converted four of its 14 third down opportunities.
11/06 18:48:57 ET