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Falcons...34 Lions...21

September 08, 2008|From the Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Matt Ryan threw for a touchdown with his very first NFL pass, Michael Turner set a team rushing record in his Atlanta debut, and the Falcons were off and running.

Michael Vick who?

Having put No. 7 in their rearview mirror, the Falcons got off to a rousing start in their first game with Ryan and Turner. The rookie quarterback electrified the crowd with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins before many fans had settled in their seats, while Turner rumbled for 220 yards and two touchdowns after coming to Atlanta from San Diego in the off-season.

The result was a 34-21 victory over the Detroit Lions, who bickered among themselves on the sideline and showed again that a perfect record in exhibition games is meaningless when the games actually count.

The Falcons scored on their first three possessions for a 21-0 lead. Ryan, the third overall selection in the draft, completed his first five passes and finished nine for 13 for 161 yards.

The running game did most of the damage, with Turner handling the bulk of the load. Atlanta's big free-agent signee ran 22 times -- averaging 10 yards per carry -- to break the team record of 202 yards set by Gerald Riggs in 1984.

Quoteworthy: "He didn't seem like a rookie. . . . He was a real drill sergeant out there." -- Michael Turner, Falcons running back, on Matt Ryan

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