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Falcons Fly High to 3-0 After 27-3 Pounding of the Chargers

Matt Ryan threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns as the Atlanta Falcons dominated the San Diego Chargers, 27-3, at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday.

Ryan completed 30-of-40 passes with one interception, and Michael Turner carried the ball 14 times for 80 yards and a touchdown.

“I feel as confident as I ever have,” Ryan said.”Now realizing now that I can do it, I can make the plays we need to make for us to win.”

Tony Gonzalez had a big day through the air with nine catches for 91 yards and a touchdown for the Falcons, who improved to 3-0 for the first time since the 2004 season. Defensively, Thomas DeCoud recovered a fumble and recorded two interceptions in the victory.

Philip Rivers threw for 173 yards on 21-of-38 passing with two interceptions, while Jackie Battle ran for 55 yards on just three carries for the Chargers (2-1), who thumped Tennessee last week.

Ryan Mathews saw his first action of the season since suffering a broken collar bone in the preseason and ran for 44 yards on 10 carries in the losing effort. Malcom Floyd led the receiving corps with three catches for 52 yards.

Nate Kaeding accounted for the lone Chargers points with a 41-yard field goal.

“The Atlanta Falcons are an outstanding football team,” Chargers coach Norv Turner said. “Obviously we didn’t play the way we’re capable of playing. It shows me how much work we have to do.”

Atlanta began the contest with possession at its own 20. On the first play of the drive, Ryan hit Julio Jones for 19 yards, and followed it with an eight- yard completion to Gonzalez before finishing the 10-play, 80-yard march with an 8-yard touchdown strike to Jacquizz Rodgers for an early 6-0 lead.

The two-point conversion attempt failed.

Starting deep in their own territory at the four early in the second quarter, Ryan led a massive 17-play drive down to the San Diego 7-yard line.

The Boston College product completed eight passes on the trek, including a seven-yard strike to Gonzalez, giving Atlanta a 13-0 lead with 2:32 left before halftime.

On the Chargers’ ensuing possession, the Falcons defense came up with a big play. Facing 3rd-and-5 from the San Diego 25, Rivers threw a short pass intended for Antonio Gates that DeCloud got his hands on, but the officials ruled it an incompletion.

Upon review, the play was reversed and DeCoud was credited with an interception, giving the Falcons possession at the 29.

From that spot, the Falcons needed just four plays before Ryan connected with Jones on a 9-yard touchdown strike to make it 20-0 at the break.

San Diego got the ball to begin the second half and Rivers led an extensive 13-play, 41-yard drive to the Atlanta 23 before Kaeding nailed a 41-yard field goal for a 20-3 game.

After forcing a three-and-out early in the final quarter, Atlanta got the ball back at the San Diego 32 with 10:26 to go thanks to a poor punt by Mike Scifres.

Three plays later, Turner went off right guard for a 7-yard touchdown sprint, finishing off a dominant effort by his team.

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