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Falcons vs. Rams Notebook: Drake London Stars in Los Angeles

The Atlanta Falcons buried themselves an irrecoverable hole - but somehow nearly dug themselves out of it. Breaking down what went right and wrong on both sides of the ball, including the breakout performance of rookie receiver Drake London.

The score that's haunted the Atlanta Falcons for so many years reappeared once again, but with the Dirty Birds on the wrong side of it.

Trailing 28-3 to the Los Angeles Rams in the second half, the Falcons came storming back, pulling within six points and having a chance to tie and take the lead with under two minutes to go.

In the end, the Hollywood comeback wasn't meant to be, but the way the game unfolded was just that: out of a movie.

Here are three takeaways from Atlanta's cinematic 31-27 loss to the Rams.

MARIOTA, OFFENSE RIDES ROCKY WAVES

The second start of Marcus Mariota's tenure as Falcons quarterback wasn't as flashy or efficient as his first. The eighth-year pro finished 17 of 26 for 196 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He mustered just 16 yards on six carries and was sacked three times.

The two interceptions couldn't have come at worse times. The first, a near pick-six by Rams corner Decobie Durant, resulted in a potential 10-point swing, as the Falcons were driving into field goal range to end the half and ended up allowing a touchdown instead. The second, a fateful 3rd and 13 heave with 70 seconds left to Bryan Edwards that Jalen Ramsey simply out-jumped and out-reached in order to make the play, essentially sealing the contest.

It's not all on Mariota. Atlanta's offensive line wasn't as good as it was against the New Orleans Saints last week, and the run game subsequently struggled. Cordarrelle Patterson managed just 41 yards on 10 carries, while Tyler Allgeier added 30 on the same number of handoffs.

The biggest brightspot for Atlanta's offense was rookie receiver Drake London, who starred in his return to his hometown. Kyle Pitts, meanwhile, had just two receptions for 19 yards on three targets. KhaDarel Hodge was Atlanta's second-leading receiver with two receptions for 57 yards.

In all, the offense, which mustered just three points in the first half, can't afford to dig themselves as deep of a hole, and there will be questions surrounding Pitts' usage. The Falcons proved they could move the ball, but once again struggled finishing drives - and that will be the story until they prove otherwise.

DEFENSE MAKES PLAYS AT THE END AFTER ROUGH START

For three quarters, the Falcons defense showed no signs of the group that dominated for the same time frame last week. No pressure on Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, frequent miscommunications and/or breakdowns in coverage and constantly stuck one play behind.

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But when Atlanta's offense began generating momentum, the defense stood tall, forcing a quick punt (which was blocked by rookie linebacker Troy Andersen and returned for a touchdown by outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter) and forced fumble (recovered by Atlanta) to create points and another prime scoring opportunity.

The Falcons ultimately didn't record a clean sack on Stafford but did manage to intercept him twice. Forcing three turnovers and adding in a blocked punt should give teams a chance to win just about every time. Despite allowing Los Angeles to do whatever it wanted for three quarters, the Falcons' defense did just that: gave Atlanta a chance to win.

ROOKIE REPORT: LONDON SHINES RETURN HOME

When the Falcons needed a play, they went to London, who led the team in receiving for the second straight week and recorded his first career touchdown reception. Whether it be screen passes, crossing routes or slants, London was a versatile option for Mariota and the rest of the offense, logging 12 targets.

The Falcons drafted London No. 8 overall looking for a top-tier receiver, and he's more than showed he's capable of fitting the bill.

Moving on, Allgeier and outside linebacker DeAngelo Malone both made their NFL debuts after being inactive last week. The former carried a significant load in the backfield while the latter recorded two tackles.

Outside linebacker Arnold Ebiketie recorded four tackles, seeing a solid number of snaps on Atlanta's defense. Andersen had a pair of tackles on top of the blocked punt; the numbers served as his first career professional statistics.

The Falcons will be back at it next Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks at 4:25 p.m., still searching to reach the win column for the first time this season.


You can follow Daniel Flick on Twitter @DFlickDraft

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