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Ryan's 3 TD passes lead Falcons past Bills, 31-3

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CHARLES ODUM | December 27, 2009 04:19 PM EST | AP

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ATLANTA — Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes, including a 42-yarder to Roddy White on Atlanta's first play from scrimmage, and the Falcons were never challenged in their 31-3 win over Terrell Owens and the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Owens became the sixth player in NFL history with 1,000 career receptions. He reached the milestone with an 8-yard pass from Brian Brohm in the second quarter.

It was a rare highlight for the Bills (5-10), who were held to 178 total yards, including a season-low 40 yards rushing.

The Falcons (8-7) led 10-0 before adding two third-quarter touchdowns. Ryan completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Marty Booker before defensive end Lawrence Sidbury returned a fumble recovery 11 yards for a 24-0 lead.

Ryan added a 5-yard scoring pass to White in the fourth quarter.

Ryan was 18 of 35 passing for 250 yards. He is 13-1 as the starter at the Georgia Dome in his two seasons.

The victory left the Falcons in position to post back-to-back winning records for the first time in franchise history. The Falcons, in their 44th season and eliminated from the playoff chase last week, close at Tampa Bay next week.

Brohm was 17 of 29 for 146 yards with two interceptions in his NFL debut. The second-year quarterback started when Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards were inactive with ankle injuries.

Brohm was signed off Green Bay's practice squad on Nov. 19.

Atlanta led 24-0 before Rian Lindell kicked a 42-yard field goal late in the third quarter for Buffalo's only points.

Owens had four catches for 39 yards. He entered the game needing two catches to reach 1,000 for his career, which began in 1996. He reached the milestone in 203 games; only Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice reached 1,000 career receptions in fewer games.

Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez began the day six catches from 1,000. He left with a right calf injury after making two catches for 17 yards.

The Falcons lost punter Michael Koenen to a head injury in the third quarter and kicker Matt Bryant was limited by a hamstring injury.

Defensive end Kroy Biermann had two kickoffs, filling in for Bryant, in the third quarter.

Ryan filled in for Koenen as the holder on an extra point in the third quarter. Biermann was on the field prepared to attempt the extra point until Bryant joined the huddle and made the kick.

Backup quarterback Chris Redman is also the backup punter. He stretched his kicking leg on the sideline, but wasn't called on to punt as the Falcons kept the offense on the field for fourth-down plays.

Falcons running back Michael Turner was inactive for the fourth time in six games with an ankle injury.