Falcons run over Raiders

The Atlanta Falcons ran over, under, through and around the Oakland Raiders Sunday in a 35-10 NFC South division-clinching romp at the Georgia Dome.

That title marked just the third in the history of the franchise. The Oakland Raiders meanwhile drop to 4-9, ensuring their second consecutive losing season for the first time since 1996-1997.

The Atlanta Falcons brought into Sunday the NFL's top-rated rushing attack and it showed on Sunday as they amassed 219 yards of rushing. That rushing total was not inflated because of quarterback Michael Vick's scrambles. Vick had 31 yards running on two attempts. Warrick Dunn spearheaded the attack with 103 yards on 25 carries while T.J. Duckett ran for four touchdowns.

The Raiders scored first when Sebastian Janikowski boomed a 52-yard field goal to put Oakland in front 3-0 with 4:59 left in the first quarter.

Atlanta got on the board with 8:47 left in the second period while T.J. Duckett scored on a 28-yard run, breaking a Stuart Schweigert tackle in the process. That score was set up by a 49-yard Allen Rossum punt return. The Falcons led 7-3.

Atlanta's lead swelled to 14-3 with 2:11 left in the second quarter while Duckett scored on a 2-yard run. That score was set up when the Falcons recovered at J.R. Redmond fumble at their own 35.

The Falcons widened the lead to 21-3 with 1:14 left in the second quarter when former Raider defensive tackle Rod Coleman batted a Kerry Collins pass into the air and returned an interception 39-yards to paydirt.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Falcons kept the ball for what seemed like an eternity. Duckett capped off a 17-play, 67-yard drive with a 4-yard run to give Atlanta a 28-3 lead with 5:31 left in the third period.

The Falcons next drive was a heavy workload as well. Duckett finished a 14-play, 90-yard drive with a 2-yard run on third-and-goal, making it 35-3 Falcons with 9:00 left in the game.

The Raiders finally got into the end zone with 3:27 left in the game when Zack Crockett plowed into the end zone from 1-yard out for his first touchdown of the season.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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