Much of Atlanta's success over the past two seasons can be attributed to an ability to stop the run, as the Falcons did in limiting the 49ers' Garrison Hearst (above) to 56 yards on Sunday. The year before coach Dan Reeves and defensive coordinator Rich Brooks arrived, the Falcons ranked 26th in the NFL in rushing defense. This season they're second in that department and tied for first in fewest rushing first downs allowed. Only the Jets' Curtis Martin, who ran for 101 yards in a 28-3 New York win on Oct. 25, has gained as many as 60 yards against Atlanta. Here's how the Falcons have improved against the rush.
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