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Atlanta Falcons Bye Week: Asante Samuel finally makes his mark

Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel's first interception with the team couldn't have come at a better time.

Kevin C. Cox

The swagger that cornerback Asante Samuel has brought to the Atlanta Falcons defense has been tangible. Through five weeks, though, the stats weren't there to back up the hype. That all changed in Week 6, when Samuel's interception return for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders saved the Falcons from their first loss of the season, writes the Associated Press.

It was the first interception for Samuel in a Falcons uniform. His teammates have publicly praised Samuel for what he's brought to the team after being acquired in an offseason trade from the Philadelphia Eagles, even if there was some prodding as to when he was finally going to get on the board with a pick. "That's what we expect him to do every game," defensive end John Abraham said. "I told him before the game, 'It's about time for you to get a pick, right?'"

That first pick came at a good time, as the Raiders were poised to take a late lead over Atlanta and end their undefeated start before Samuel's pick-six put Atlanta in command. Falcons coach Mike Smith knows the skill set Samuel brings:

"He's a ball hawk. He's got great skills once the ball is in his hands. Not only does he know how to jump routes and play the coverages, but when he gets it in his hands, he can do a lot of things."

The Falcons (6-0) are on bye in Week 7. They return to the field in Week 8 next Sunday, Oct. 28 against the Samuel's former team, the Philadelphia Eagles.

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