You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

Falcons ready to face hard-luck Chargers


After donning their road-warrior capes to open the season, the Falcons must guard against a letdown against the dangerous San Diego Chargers.

After playing four of six games on the road, including a 10-day road trip to Denver and Seattle, the Falcons (4-2) are set to face the hard-luck Chargers (2-4) at 4:05 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons are early 6.5-point favorites is their first meeting with the Chargers since they steamrolled them 27-3 in San Diego in 2012.

The players had a few days off and are set to return to practice Wednesday.

“We’ll go back into the process of re-setting and getting ready for San Diego,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said.

The Chargers, who are more-rested after beating Denver on Thursday, have been in all of their games. Their losses have been come by one-score games. They’ve been edged out by Kansas City (six), Indianapolis (four points), New Orleans (one point) and Oakland (three points).

“It’s always nice to have an extra day of preparation for an opponent,” San Diego coach Mike McCoy said. “We don’t have an opportunity to play Atlanta very often. It’s a very talented football team. Very explosive on offense. Sound on defense.”

There are some connections between the teams. McCoy and Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith were on the Denver staff in 2011 and 2012. Also, Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney played for the Chargers in 2013 and 2014.

“Having worked with Richard Smith before, their coordinator and knowing what their defensive staff likes to do will be a challenge for our team,” McCoy said.

The Chargers, who snapped Denver’s 15-game road winning streak against AFC West teams, are led by veteran quarterback Philip Rivers and running back Melvin Gordon.

Rivers has completed 135 of 231 passes (67.2 percent) for 1,647 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. Gordon has rushed 116 times for 393 yards and six touchdowns.

There’s a changing of the guard at tight end for the Chargers. Eight-time Pro Bowler Antonio Gates is making way for rookie Hunter Henry, who’s off to a solid start in his NFL career.

Gates, 36, is battling back from a hamstring injury. He missed two games after suffering the injury against Jacksonville on Sept. 18. He played against Oakland and had two key third-down catches in the Chargers win over Denver.

Henry, who played at Arkansas, has 19 catches for 310 yards and leads the team with three receiving touchdowns. He’s one of four Chargers with a reception of 50 yards or more.

The Chargers are led in receiving by wide receiver Travis Benjamin, who has 31 catches for 411 yards and two touchdowns. Tyrell Williams has 24 catches for 386 yards and two touchdowns.

But it’s the play of rookie defensive end Joey Bosa, who had a long holdout, that has the Chargers feeling optimistic about their defense.

The Chargers drafted Bosa third overall in the NFL draft. He missed all of training camp while his contract was being negotiated and a suffered a hamstring injury shortly after he reported Aug. 28.

He had two sacks in his debut against Oakland. He was solid at the point of attack and had two quarterback hits against Denver.

San Diego cornerback Casey Hayward, who played at Vanderbilt and is from Perry, likely will cover Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, with some help from the safety. Jones leads the NFL with a 21.2 yards per catch average.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Falcons

Freeney to become unrestricted free agent
Freeney to become unrestricted free agent

Former Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney is set to enter free agency again. Freeney, 37, wants to play a 16th season in the NFL, according to a USA Today sports report, which cites an unnamed source. Freeney played 415 defensive snaps (37.4 percent) for the Falcons last season and had three sacks in the season and one in the playoffs. He was credited...
Watson must win over critics at scouting combine
Watson must win over critics at scouting combine

Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, the pride of Gainesville, will be one of the most scrutinized players at the NFL scouting combine, which starts Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Despite his big-time pedigree and his leading the Tigers to the national championship, there are several scouting questions about Watson and his ability...
Falcons head for scouting combine
Falcons head for scouting combine

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and general manger Thomas Dimitroff will lead the team’s coaching and scouting entourage to the NFL Scouting Combine which starts on Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. This has been fertile ground lately for the franchise. It was at last year’s combine that the Falcons laid the ground work for the...
Police: Raven’s safety Matt Elam arrested with drugs, cash, jewels in Miami Beach
Police: Raven’s safety Matt Elam arrested with drugs, cash, jewels in Miami Beach

Baltimore Raven’s safety Matt Elam was arrested on drug charges Saturday night in Miami Beach, Miami-Dade police said. The 2013 first-round draft pick is facing a series of drug possession charges, including possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana, possession with intent to sell and possession of a controlled substance. Elam, 25 and a native...
Vote: Who stays or goes on Falcons’ offense
Vote: Who stays or goes on Falcons’ offense

The Atlanta Falcons reached the 2017 Super Bowl with a roster that included an offensive line that remained intact through the entire regular season. With free agency and the NFL Draft approaching the team has decisions to make on a number of free agents and underperforming players. Look through the 2016 Super Bowl Atlanta Falcons' offensive roster...
More Stories