A rivalry renewed between two teams from the old NFC West.
Following their Week 1 defeat against a current division rival, the Atlanta Falcons go into a Week 2 road matchup against a team that used to be a division rival, back in the days of the old NFC West. The Falcons have faced the Rams 80 times in team history, and they currently trail the all time series 48-30-2.
While there were no divisions when the Falcons first entered the league in 1966, they still played the Rams in their first ever game as an NFL franchise, losing 19-14.
One year later, in 1967, divisions were introduced and the Falcons found themselves in the NFC West along with the Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts. That gave the Rams a chance to repeatedly beat up on the newly minted Atlanta franchise, going 9-0-2 in the head to head matchup between 1966-1971.
Before the Joe Montana-led 49ers became a dynasty in the ‘80s, it was the Rams who were the class of the West, winning the division seven consecutive times between 1973-1979. In that time period they went 11-3 against a Falcons team that made the playoffs for the first time in its history in 1978 (helped by a big win against the Rams at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium that year).
While the Rams continued to own the Birds throughout the 1980s, the pendulum swung in Atlanta’s favor for the first time in this matchup in the ‘90s, as they went 13-5 from 1990-1998, including a string of eight wins in nine games in the first half of the decade.
However, immediately following Atlanta’s Super Bowl appearance in ‘98, they lost seven straight games against the now St. Louis Rams — led by the Greatest Show on Turf — between 1999-2003. That was the longest string of consecutive success the Rams have had in this matchup since the ‘60s.
In separate divisions following realignment, Atlanta proceeded to win seven of the next eight matchups in the Mike Vick and Matt Ryan eras, between 2004-2018, while the Rams lost their footing and fell from the ranks of an NFC powerhouse. This included a victory in the only ever playoff matchup between the two teams, when the Falcons went into the Los Angeles Memorial Colosseum and came away with a victory on Wildcard weekend in the 2017 post season (Atlanta’s last ever playoff win as of this writing).
The Atlanta Falcons were positively reeling at 1-5 going into a 2019 matchup against the defending NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams, who had lost three straight games after winning their first three of the season. It turns out that playing the Falcons was exactly the remedy they needed.
Following a dead even first quarter where each team exchanged field goals, the Rams absolutely ran away with this matchup.
Despite the Falcons holding 2018 First-Team All-Pro Todd Gurley in check, Los Angeles had enough firepower to score the next 27 points to make this a laugher by the fourth quarter. To make matters worse, Matt Ryan left the game with a second half injury that would break his iron man streak when he missed Atlanta’s next start. Matt Schaub went 6-6 with a touchdown in garbage time, and Devonta Freeman was picked up off the ground by Aaron Donald in a scrum.
Adding insult to injury, the Rams capped the game off with a forced fumble on an Atlanta punt return, which was brought back for a touchdown with 11 seconds remaining.
The Falcons continued their downward spiral while the Rams finished that season at 9-7, also on the outside of the playoffs.