In what may prove to be a costly victory because of injury the Falcons defeated the St. Louis Rams 31-24 before an announced crowd of 70056 fans Sunday at a raucous Georgia Dome.

The Falcons came out and jumped on the not-ready-for-prime time Rams and then held on with five starters out as massive injuries mounted.

Fullback Bradie Ewing (shoulder) running back Steven Jackson (thigh) defensive end Cliff Matthews (neck) cornerback Asante Samuel (thigh) linebacker Kroy Biermann (ankle) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (foot) all left the game in the first half.

Matthews a special teamer was the only player from the group who returned to the game.

Under head coach Mike Smith the Falcons now have a 21-3 record (.875) after regular-season losses.

Shortly after losing to the opener to New Orleans last Sunday Smith was already embedding the notion into his team’s psyche. Several players were robotically reciting the corny “streak stops at one” mantra after that loss.

The last time the Falcons dropped back-to-back regular-season games was in 2009 against the Eagles (34-7) on Dec. 6 and the Saints (26-19) on Dec. 13.

The Falcons have now won after their last 13 losses and improved their record at the Georgia Dome to 34-7 under Smith.