Originally created 12/13/04

Atlanta's Coleman buries former team

ATLANTA - Rod Coleman made quite an impression on his former team.

Coleman, who signed with the Falcons after spending five seasons in Oakland, scored his first career touchdown on a 39-yard interception return against the Raiders.

The play gave Atlanta a commanding halftime lead, on the way to a 35-10 victory Sunday that clinched the NFC South.

"There was a little something extra" playing the Raiders, Coleman said. "In between plays, I was talking with them, messing with them."

Coleman nearly scored in the first quarter, knocking down a pass from Kerry Collins inside the Oakland 10. Then, in the waning minutes of the first half, Coleman got another ball in his hands, This time, he didn't drop it.

Travis Hall set things up by getting his hand in the way of a Collins pass. The ball went right to Coleman, who shook off a feeble attempt at a tackle by the Oakland quarterback and rumbled the rest of way to the end zone.

"One of my goals coming into this year was to get a touchdown," Coleman said. "I've been close a couple of times. I finally got across."

After a nondescript career in Oakland, Coleman got out. He didn't want to play in the 3-4 scheme, and he was impressed by the direction of the Falcons under new coach Jim Mora.

"It was time to go," Coleman said. "I was out there for five years. There wasn't much left for me to do. I had fun while I was out there. But it was time to move on."


RAY'S RETURN: Ray Buchanan hoped for a better homecoming.

A cornerback in Atlanta for seven seasons, Buchanan now plays safety for the Oakland Raiders. He was booed every time his name was announced or he was shown on the video board.

Even more of a downer: Buchanan was called for an illegal use of hands penalty that allowed the Falcons to go for a touchdown in the third quarter, rather than settle for a field goal.

"It was not a very good homecoming," Buchanan said.

His play deteriorated toward the end of his Atlanta tenure, and he lost his starting job midway through the 2003 season. After Jim Mora took over as coach, Buchanan was released by the Falcons.

He caught on with the Raiders and moved to safety, but he's stuck on a losing team that already is looking ahead to next season.

"We just need to get better each week," Buchanan said. "Right now, we win, we lose, we play without consistency."


DYNAMIC DUO: Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett have found a way to co-exist in the Falcons backfield.

Dunn led Atlanta with 103 yards on 25 carries - his second 100-yard game of the season - while Duckett set a team record by scoring four touchdowns.

Dunn is the guy who gets the bulk of the carries, but Duckett is usually on the field when the Falcons get close to the end zone. Virtually impossible to bring down behind the line, the 254-pound back scored on runs of 2, 4 and 1 yards.

Duckett also broke loose for a 28-yard TD, the longest of his career.

"We both feed off of each other," Duckett said. "We have two different styles and the defense has to prepare for both of us.... And we like to see each other do well."

It's working out just fine for the Falcons, who are the NFL's top-ranked running team. They gained 219 yards against Oakland - reaching 200 yards for the fourth time this season and third time in the last five games.


EXTRA POINTS: Michael Vick is 13-4 as the Falcons' starting quarterback since coming back from his broken leg.... Matt Schaub finished up at quarterback for the Falcons, throwing one incomplete pass and handing off the rest of the time to run out the clock.... WR Peerless Price had another frustrating day, catching only two passes for 18 yards. His longest reception of the day was wiped out by offensive interference.... Oakland's Shane Lechler got off a booming 67-yard punt in the second quarter, but wound up with only 17-yard net. Allen Rossum got loose down the left sideline for a 50-yard return that set up the Falcons' first touchdown.


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