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Falcons' revamped OL loses Baker (knee) for year

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — The Falcons' revamped offensive line took a major setback Sunday when left tackle Sam Baker was ruled out for the season after injuring his right knee in a preseason game.

The Falcons said Baker sustained a torn patellar tendon in Saturday's 32-7 loss to Houston.

Rookie first-round pick Jake Matthews will move from right to left tackle to replace Baker, reported, with Lamar Holmes likely to take over at right tackle.

The injury is a huge blow to Atlanta's efforts to bolster a line that was one of the league's worst a year ago. The Falcons ranked last in the league in yards rushing and quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked a career-high 44 times.

Baker played just four games because of a left knee injury that required surgery in November. The Falcons were counting on improvement with Baker's return, the drafting of Matthews sixth overall, and the signing of free-agent guard Jon Asamoah.

"Sam had worked extremely hard to get back on the field after missing most of last season, and he was having a good camp," coach Mike Smith said in a statement.

49ers routed in debut at Levi's Stadium

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Peyton Manning threw a 17-yard touchdown to Julius Thomas and dominated in his two series, leading the Broncos past the 49ers 34-0 to spoil the NFL debut at sparkling $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium.

Manning, 38, completed 12 of 14 passes for 102 yards and a 120.8 rating. He was 8-for-8 on Denver's second drive, then backup Brock Osweiler took over and threw for a score.

Colin Kaepernick went 5-for-9 for 39 yards in two series before a sellout crowd at the team's new digs in the heart of Silicon Valley. Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes beat the Seattle Sounders in the stadium's first sporting event Aug. 2.

49ers safety Antoine Bethea left with a concussion after a block by receiver Cody Latimer.

Eagles: Wide receiver Riley Cooper, a former Florida and Clearwater Central Catholic standout, returned to practice after missing two weeks with an apparent ankle injury, reported.

Jaguars: Receiver Cecil Shorts practiced for the first time since straining his right hamstring July 25 and could play in Friday's preseason game at Detroit.

Panthers: Cam Newton was 4-for-9 for 65 yards and led two touchdown drives in his return from ankle surgery in a 28-16 victory over the visiting Chiefs.

Saints: Quarterback Drew Brees fully participated in practice for the first time since straining his left oblique muscle two weeks ago and said he plans to play Saturday against Indianapolis. … Tight end Jimmy Graham says he's done dunking the ball over the goal post, his trademark touchdown celebration for which he was flagged twice on Friday against the Titans. "For four years and however many touchdowns I always dunked it," Graham told the New Orleans Time-Picayune. "I just got to stop doing that now."

Rams: Coach Jeff Fisher said left tackle Jake Long (knee) and right guard Rodger Saffold (neck) could both play this week after sitting out the first two games of the preseason.

Falcons' revamped OL loses Baker (knee) for year 08/17/14 [Last modified: Sunday, August 17, 2014 11:53pm]
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