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Falcons Vs. Texans Highlights: Running Game? What Running Game?

That title would be referring to the Falcons' rushing attack, which netted only 70 yards on the day. The top-ranked Texans defense came as advertised, holding Michael Turner to a paltry 3.1 yards per carry in the Falcons' 17-10 loss in Houston.

That was really all the Texans needed. They were very impressive on defense, and made very few mistakes on offense, mostly relying on their workhorse back Arian Foster, who became the first back to manage 100 rushing yards against the Falcons all year.

Beyond that? There's really not much else to say. The Falcons killed themselves with penalties (seven on the day) at inopportune times, along with two Matt Ryan interceptions (neither of which was entirely his fault). We'll get to that in a bit. On to the highlights, of which there aren't many:

ESPN highlights:

Matt Ryan's lone touchdown pass to Roddy White came at a one of the few points in the game where the Falcons offense seemed to click. The Falcons only had to drive about 50 yards, but thanks to a nice 26-yard pass to Julio Jones on a fade route the offense covered that ground quickly. Then Ryan found White wide open in the end zone for the score.

Mike Mularkey had dialed up some aggressive play calls at the beginning of the game, but Ryan overshot both White and Jones when they were open deep. And then on the ensuing drive, a bad toss by Turner on a flea-flicker led to Ryan not having a great grip on the ball when he threw it. Ryan had White in single coverage, but was nevertheless picked off by a waiting Kareem Jackson. Later, another interception by Ryan was caused by Jones running the wrong route, leaving no one but the defender near the ball.

And then there were the penalties. Most notably perhaps was the delay of game penalty that negated a would-be fourth-down conversion with just over two minutes left in the ball game. Perhaps worse, however, was the defensive holding called on Dunta Robinson on a play where Mike Peterson had intercepted T.J. Yates and ran it back 31 yards for the touchdown.

But despite all of this, the Falcons remained within a touchdown of tying the Texans for the entire length of the game. Ultimately, with one second left on the clock Ryan would chuck it deep into triple coverage and hit Julio in the hands, but the rookie wideout couldn't hang on.

All in all, it was a day of self-inflicted wounds for the Falcons as they lost by seven and dropped to 7-5. I'm not sure what Mike Smith has done with the "mistake-free" team of 2010, but I'd like them back please.

For more on the Falcons, check out The Falcoholic; for the Texans, head over to Red Battle Blog.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.