The video of Falcons safety William Moore’s bone-rattling tackles against the Rams is likely to go viral.
In the second quarter, Moore covered Rams tight end Mike McNeill in the flat. With a textbook form tackle, Moore picked him up and slammed him to the ground.
“It was just one of those plays,” Moore said after Sunday’s 31-24 victory. “It was an attitude thing. When you go up there to make a tackle, you have to have the attitude that I’m going to win this battle.”
Moore thought McNeill was going to try to hurdle him, so he didn’t want approach too low.
“He was trying to jump over me a little bit, but I don’t think that’s going to happen too often,” said Moore.
Later in the fourth quarter, with the Rams attempting a comeback, quarterback Sam Bradford escaped the pocket and headed for the end zone. Moore leveled him at the 3-yard line.
“I thought he turned into a running back at one point,” Moore said. “I don’t know what he was thinking. He was a live player so I had to run through him like any other player.”
Moore’s big hits fired up the defense.
“It just sets the tone,” free safety Thomas DeCoud said. “There are certain plays that just send out the intimidation factor.”
Moore was the second-leading tackler with seven. Cornerback Robert McClain finished with nine tackles. Rookie Joplo Bartu finished with six.
The defense couldn’t slow down the Rams in the second half, but never relinquished the lead after blowing double-digit leads of 20, 17 and 10 in their past three games dating back to last season.
“As far as the defense, we held our own,” Moore said. “They fought back, but we held our own. … We didn’t lay down. This is the NFL. They came out and sped up the game up a little bit.”
Umenyiora’s big run: Defensive end/linebacker Osi Umenyiora scored his first career touchdown on his first career interception in the third quarter.
“I think he was all right,” DeCoud said. “He’s a heck of athlete. You wouldn’t think a guy that big could outrun everybody for 75 yards (actually 68) to the end zone. It was great.”
After getting two sacks against the Saints, the Falcons were held sack-less against the Rams. They did get six quarterback hits on Bradford.
Umenyiora, who was signed to replace defensive end John Abraham, has yet to record a sack.
Streak stops at one: With the victory, the Falcons improved to 21-3 (.875) after regular-season losses under Falcons coach Mike Smith.
Shortly after losing the opener to New Orleans last Sunday, Smith was already embedding the notion into his team’s psyche. Several players were robotically reciting the “streak stops at one” mantra.
The last time the Falcons dropped back-to-back regular-season games came in 2009 against the Eagles (34-7) on Dec. 6 and the Saints (26-19) on Dec. 13.
The Falcons have now recorded wins after their last 13 losses and improved their record at the Georgia Dome to 34-7 under Smith.
White as decoy: Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, who made his 130th consecutive start, was used mostly as a decoy. He caught three passes for 21 yards.
White suffered a high ankle sprain on Aug. 15 and was very limited in practice last week.
“It felt better this week, no doubt about it,” White said. “I think every week, it will keep getting better and it won’t be too long from now (and) I will be full speed.”
White said didn’t mind serving as a decoy, much as he did last week against New Orleans.
“I still think I can catch the ball when it’s thrown to me,” White said. “Anything I can do to help my team out, whatever that might be, I’ve got to go out there and try to do it. Today was a good day for us. I caught a couple passes to move the chains, so that was good.”
Etc: After going 3-for-11 on third downs in the opener against the Saints, the Falcons converted on 7-of-13 (54 percent) against the Rams. … Quarterback Matt Ryan’s 374 yards passing was the second-highest total of his career. He passed for 411 yards in a 31-27 loss to New Orleans on Nov. 11, 2011. … Kicker Matt Bryant moved into third place on the Falcons all-time scoring list with six points. He now has totaled 439 points since joining the Falcons in 2009, passing Jay Feely who amassed 436 points during his Falcons career. … Punter Matt Bosher punted six times for 318 total yards with a 52-yard net average. Two punts were downed inside the Rams 20-yard line. Bosher also tied his career long with a 63-yard punt. … The Falcons punt coverage unit limited explosive Rams returner Tavon Austin to just six yards on four returns while averaging 1.5 yards per return. This season, the Falcons have held Austin and Saints returner Darren Sproles to a total of 13 yards on eight punt returns.