Jalen Ramsey trade pays dividends as Rams' defense shuts down Falcons

ATLANTA -- Five days after the Los Angeles Rams completed a blockbuster trade for Jalen Ramsey, the All-Pro cornerback kept Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones in check in a 37-10 victory over the Falcons at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

The defense smothered quarterback Matt Ryan, sacking him five times, and held the Falcons to 38 rushing yards and 224 total yards. The Falcons were averaging 22.5 points per game before Sunday.

The win snaps a Rams three-game losing streak and keeps them in the hunt for a third consecutive NFC West title. The Rams will remain in Atlanta before they travel Thursday to London, where they will play the winless Cincinnati Bengals.

Ramsey arrives: It was uncertain how significant a role Ramsey would play after he sat out his last three games with the Jaguars because of a back injury and practiced only twice with the Rams before the Week 7 matchup. Ramsey came off the bench on third down in the opening series and maintained a constant presence defending Jones, who finished with six catches on nine targets and 93 yards. (Jones caught a 19-yard pass in the fourth quarter, after Ramsey and several starters were pulled with the win secured.) Ramsey finished with four tackles and a forced fumble in his Rams debut.

Gurley tracker: Todd Gurley returned after he was inactive in Week 6 because of a left thigh contusion. Gurley rushed for 41 yards on 18 carries and caught a 13-yard pass for a touchdown while sharing the workload with rookie backup Darrell Henderson. Henderson rushed for 31 yards on 11 carries and caught an 8-yard pass. Rams coach Sean McVay attempted to get the running game moving early, using Gurley and Henderson on the ground through the first five plays on the opening possession. In the second quarter, on third-and-goal, Gurley made an incredible over-the-shoulder catch -- behind two defenders -- in the back corner of the end zone to give the Rams a 10-3 lead. It was Gurley’s first touchdown reception since Week 8 of last season.

Promising trend: Outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., playing on a one-year, $12 million contract, tallied a single-game career-best three sacks, and he forced a fumble and deflected a pass. Fowler has five sacks this season and is on pace to top his season high of eight, a mark that he set in 2017.

Pivotal play: On fourth-and-3 from the Falcons’ 46-yard line, punter Johnny Hekker lined up in punt formation before the former high school quarterback completed a 23-yard pass to safety Nick Scott. The Rams converted the play into a 25-yard field goal and a 13-3 lead in the second quarter. Hekker is 12-of-20 in his career passing, and 11 of his 12 completions have gone for a first down, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.