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There's no shame in calling for a fair catch. B.J. Sams nearly lost his head when he hauled in a punt without signaling for a fair catch after the Falcons' first offensive series of the game. Falcons fullback Corey McIntyre decked Sams at the Ravens' 16-yard line to the oohs and aahs of the fans. Not sure if this has any meaning, but rookie Yamon Figurs handled the rest of the return duties for the first half. Other notes:

1. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata got a rude welcome from Falcons right guard Darrell Shropshire, who pushed Ngata down to the turf during the Falcons' second offensive series.

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2. The Ravens' defensive tackles have been knifing through the interior of the Falcons offensive line. On the Falcons' third series, Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannan were in the backfield about a milli-second after running back Jerious Norwood took the handoff. Edwards collapsed the pocket on another play, but could not bring quarterback Chris Redman down for the sack.

3. The touchdown pass from Redman to Norwood reminded me of a similar play between Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young and tight end Bo Scaife on Nov. 12. Both featured the quarterbacks avoiding a collapsing pocket and buying time with their feet before dumping off passes to a blocker who ran into the end zone with little resistance.

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4. Figurs is fast, but he may not have the bulk to be a gunner on the punt coverage unit. In the midst of the Ravens' first punt of the second quarter, Figurs was literally pushed into the Falcons bench and taken entirely out of the play.

5. Cornerback Derrick Martin is listed at 5 feet, 10 inches and 202 pounds, but he plays like he's much bigger. He made a nice open-field tackle of Falcons punt returner Otis Amey to prevent a 13-yard return from doing any more damage. Later in the second quarter, Martin blasted wide receiver Vincent Marshall with a hit along the left sidelines that drew howls of protest from the Falcons bench, which sought an unnecessary roughness call. One official waited a long time before appeasing Atlanta, but after a conference among the officiating crew, the flag was repealed and no penalty was assessed.

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