Falcons start 2009 season strong with 19-7 win

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ATLANTA (AP) -- Tony Gonzalez hauled in a touchdown pass and became the 21st player in NFL history with 11,000 yards receiving, while Mike Peterson forced a fumble with a vicious hit and picked off a pass, leading the Atlanta Falcons past the mistake-prone Miami Dolphins 19-7 on Sunday.

The matchup between the two most surprising teams of 2008 wasn't much of a game. The Falcons defense, highly suspect after letting go five starters and looking shaky during the preseason, came up with four turnovers and thoroughly shut down a team that won the AFC East after going 1-15 two years ago.

Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes for the Falcons, who surprisingly made the playoffs with a quick rebuilding job after the Michael Vick debacle.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)