Falcons soar past Cardinals


Falcons head coach Mike Smith has said that by the end of the week, he wants his team to be 1-0. In fact, there were shirts made up for the entire team before the game against the Cleveland Browns.

It didn’t work for them last week, but when the Falcons took on the Arizona Cardinals at the Georgia Dome on Sunday (the team that has the best record in the NFC), they reached their goal of being 1-0 with a 29-18 win.

“Today I thought we had a very good performance in all three phases of the game,” Smith said. “There were some excellent plays made, and when you make those types of plays you’re going to get the outcome that you want.”

Smith was a right to say that his team had good performances in all three phases. On offense, the Falcons tallied 500 total yards and converted 44 percent on third downs. On defense, they only allowed one third down conversion and caused three turnovers. And Matt Bryant was huge in the win with five field goals.

The Falcons got on the board first on the opening series of the game when they put together an 8-play, 71-yard drive which ended with a Matt Ryan 1-yard touchdown pass to Levine Toilolo. Ryan had one of his better games this season, throwing for 361 yards and two touchdowns.

“When you get rolling like that early and you get a little bit of a cushion, it makes a big difference,” Ryan said. “We continued to keep foot on the petal too, which is key when you face a really good football team.”

They Falcons added three to their lead later in the quarter with a Bryant field goal, and that play was possible because of a Devin Hester return that originally went for a 70-yard score, but was called back due to a penalty on Hester.

The defense got into the picture on the ensuing series when Dwight Lowery picked off Drew Stanton at the Falcons 47-yard line and that set up a Ryan 32-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones. The receiver from Alabama had a career day, racking up 189 yards on 10 catches and one touchdown.

“Julio had a great game today,” Ryan said. “He made some really good catches for us. He stepped up when he needed to.”

The only mistake the offense made was at the beginning of the second quarter when Ryan threw an interception to Rashad Johnson and it was returned 88 yards for the score. The Cardinals cut the lead to seven later in the quarter when Catanzaro kicked a 44-ayrd field goal. However, the Falcons ended the first half with a 12-play drive that ended with a Bryant 23-yard field goal to get it back to a 10-point lead.

For the second half, the Falcons continued to sustain drive on offense and play good defense.  The Cardinals failed to convert two third downs in the third quarter and the Falcons kicked another field goal to add to their lead. The Falcons added three more to their lead at the start of the fourth quarter with a Matt Bryant 45-yard field goal and the defense got stronger On the first series the defense forced a three-and-out, and on their next series Josh Wilson picked off Stanton, and that play was able to ice the game for the Falcons as they tacked on another field goal to go up by 19 with 2:30 left.

This was the first time this season the Falcons had a 300-yard passer, two 100-yard receivers (Jones and Harry Douglas) and a 100-yard rusher in a single game this season. This was also Steven Jackson’s first time to rush for 100 yards since he became a Falcon last season.

“Just another day at the office,” Jackson said about his 100-yard game. “It’s something that I wanted, but they didn’t bring me here for one. I need to be more consistent and that what I strive to do.”

The defense got a boost with the return of William Moore who has missed the last eight weeks with a shoulder injury. He did not miss a step as he recorded four tackles and one fumble recovery.

“This is my job and I love playing and competing and it was I was itching to get back on the field,” Moore said. “ I have to day it was very tempting to get out there sooner before this week’s game.”

The Falcons improve to 5-7 and still are tied with the New Orleans Saints for the NFC South lead. However, the Falcons hold the tiebreaker because they defeated the Saints to start the season. They will look to improve to 6-7 next Monday night when they face the Green Bay Packers.

But just like the end of this week, Smith had one goal in mind by the end of next week.

“Our goal this week was to be 1-0 at the end of the week,” Smith said. “We’ll be having the same goal next week.”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply