Cardinals fly past Falcons

Matt Ryan has had a good start to the 2013 season. Despite the Falcons’ 2-4 record before facing the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon, Ryan was in the Top 10 in every major passing category. So in order for a win against the Cardinals, Ryan had to be on top of his game. That was not the case as he threw four interceptions in the 27-13 loss to Arizona.

The Falcons got on the board first when Matt Bryant kicked a 24-yard field goal late in the first quarter. That scoring drive was possible when Asante Samuel picked off a Carson Palmer pass at the Cardinals 31-yard line.

Arizona would answer on the ensuing series when they put together a 6-play, 80-yard drive which resulted in a Palmer 10-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald at the start of the second quarter.

After another field goal by Bryant to put the Cardinals ahead by one, Arizona increased the lead to eight one play later when Andrew Ellington scored on an 80-yard touchdown run. After a three-and-out by the Falcons, the Cardinals added more insurance when Palmer threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Michael Floyd late in the second quarter.

The Cardinals would add to their lead early in the third quarter when Jay Feely kicked a 39-yard field goal. That scoring drive was possible when Ryan threw an interception to Daryl Washington. That was the first interception Ryan has thrown in 115 pass attempts.

On the ensuing series, the Falcons had a drive going that lasted seven minutes and went 40 yards. However, it resulted in another Ryan pick and this time it was to Rashad Johnson. The Falcons got the ball back after forcing the Cardinals to punt, but Ryan threw another pick which went to Tryann Mathieu. That led to a Feely field goal to increase the lead to 21.

The Falcons were able to cut the lead late in the fourth quarter when Ryan threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Drew Davis. They got the ball right back after Matt Bosher recovered his own onside kick. They could not capitalize because Ryan threw his final pick to Johnson which iced the game.

Ryan’s final numbers were 33-of-59 for 294 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. The last two times Ryan has faced the Cardinals he has thrown one touchdown and nine interceptions.

But the offensive line did not do any favors for Ryan as he was sacked four times. Steven Jackson, who was playing in his first game since Week 2 against the St. Louis Rams, could not find any running room, rushing for six yards on 11 carries.

The one bright spot for the Falcons was the play of the receivers. Harry Douglas had another strong performance, leading all receivers with 12 catches for 121 yards. Davis was right behind Douglas him with five catches for 77 yards.

With the loss, the Falcons are 2-5 but they are 2-2 in conference play. They will look to bounce back with a win against the Carolina Panthers next Sunday in Charlotte.

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