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After slow start, Falcons tighten up run defense

In the first two weeks of this season, the Atlanta Falcons surrendered 100 yards to both the Pittsburgh Steelers' Rashard Mendenhall and the Arizona Cardinals' Tim Hightower.

Since then, no opposing running back has broken the 100-yard barrier against the Falcons, who rank sixth in the NFL against the run.Ravens running back Ray Rice was impressed with what he saw on film of Atlanta's defense.

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"I think they're very fast and instinctive," he said after Tuesday's practice. "They play the 4-3 front. Watching them on film, they are very fast. They will hit you, and that's a challenge for us. Whenever you're running straight at them, they do a great job of stopping the run. So we've just got to do a great job of giving them different looks and going out there and trying to mix up things with them."

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