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Arizona at Atlanta

Falcons manage W over Cards despite Ryan's five picks

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ATLANTA -- Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons can forget about any style points.

This one was downright ugly.

That's OK with them. It's still a victory.

Bouncing back from their first loss of the season and overcoming Ryan's career-worst five interceptions, the Falcons rallied past the Arizona Cardinals 23-19 on Sunday. Michael Turner scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 6:40 remaining, and Larry Fitzgerald couldn't hang on to a fourth-down pass that would've given the feeble Cardinals a chance to pull it out.

"You can't worry about it," said Ryan, who had never thrown more than three picks in a game. "Part of playing this position is knowing there are going to be times when you make mistakes, when you fall flat on your face. You've got to get up and keep playing, keep throwing it. In those kind of situations, I'm just worried about the next play."

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Ryan became the first quarterback since Green Bay's Bart Starr in 1967 to win a game despite throwing five interceptions with no touchdowns, according to STATS LLC.

"That's good company to be in," Ryan said with a chuckle.

The Falcons (9-1) turned it over a total of six times, but Ryan set up Turner's winning run with four completions for 64 yards, including a 9-yarder to Tony Gonzalez that was just short of the end zone. Turner scored on the next play.

Coming off a bye, Arizona (4-6) lost its sixth straight game. The Cardinals tried to bolster their anemic offense by switching quarterbacks, replacing John Skelton with rookie Ryan Lindley, but they had only 178 yards.

"We said during the bye week we were going to make changes that we thought necessary, and that's what we're going to do going forward," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We have to make more plays."

Both teams struggled offensively in the second half. The Cardinals had the only points -- going ahead 19-16 on Jay Feely's fourth field goal of the game, set up by Ryan's fourth interception -- before the Falcons finally came alive on a 70-yard drive.

With Julio Jones sidelined by an ankle injury, Ryan completed an 11-yard pass to third receiver Harry Douglas, then a 26-yarder to Douglas into Arizona territory. Roddy White hauled in an 18-yard pass before Ryan, on third-and-5 at the Arizona 10, went to ol' reliable. Gonzalez grabbed the pass and stretched for the goal line, getting his helmet knocked off in the process.

The officials ruled him down about a foot short. Turner carried it in from there, standing defiantly in the end zone in front of the cheering Atlanta fans who had booed him earlier for the Falcons' continuing problems running the ball.

Arizona had one more chance, after Ryan had a pass deflected at the line, the ball wobbling into the arms of Cardinals linebacker Sam Acho at the Falcons 32.

On fourth-and-2 with just over 3 minutes remaining, Lindley threw a pass that Fitzgerald appeared to haul in at the 5 before tumbling out of bounds. But as he took a hit from William Moore, Fitzgerald rolled over and the ball came loose. The Falcons took over and ran out the clock.

Ryan completed 28 of 48 for 301 yards.

LaRod Stephens-Howling accounted for most of Arizona's yards, carrying 22 times for 127 yards. Lindley was 9 of 20 for 64 yards. Skelton was benched in the second quarter after going 2 of 7 for 6 yards.

"It's extremely frustrating," Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein said. "If you would have told us yesterday we'd get the ball four or five times on their side of the 50, I'd have said, 'Yeah, we're going to beat them, and beat them by a large margin.'"

The turnover tone was set on the very first snap.

Ryan threw a little behind White, the ball bouncing off his hands and right into the arms of Arizona safety Rashad Johnson for the interception. He returned it to the Atlanta 9, and the Cardinals punched it in two plays later on a 3-yard run by Stephens-Howling.

On Arizona's next possession, Stephens-Howling broke off a 40-yard run to set up Feely's 48-yard field goal. The Falcons were down 10-0 before they even gained a yard.

Ryan threw two more interceptions before the first quarter was done, the second of which led to another field goal by Feely to make it 13-0. But the Falcons rallied to tie it up by halftime, coming up with a huge defensive play after the Cardinals brought in Lindley.

As the rookie dropped back to pass on third down, John Abraham came in from the blind side and got his hand on the ball a split-second before Lindley's arm came forward. While both teams mostly stood around, thinking it was an incomplete pass, Abraham motioned for Jonathan Babineaux to pick up it up. The 300-pound tackle did just that, running 15 yards for a stunning touchdown.

"Multiple players told me they heard a whistle," Whisenhunt insisted.

With a nod to Gonzalez, Babineaux feigned like was going to dunk the ball over the crossbar, but just flipped it over instead.

Call it a celebratory layup.

"We're always taught to finish play," Babineaux said. "I looked at the ref. I saw him running, so I figured the play was still going."

Notes

  • Stephens-Howling had only 184 yards rushing coming into the game.
  • The Falcons lost CB Asante Samuel (right shoulder) in the first half, and Jones (right ankle) hobbled off in the fourth quarter.
  • Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson was slowed by a hamstring injury.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Sun. Nov. 18Final
Arizona
(4-6)
1330319
Atlanta
(9-1)
0160723
CardinalsFalcons
Pass: R. Lindley (9-20, 64) M. Ryan (28-46, 301)
Rush: L. Stephens-Howling (22-127) M. Turner (15-46)
Rec: E. Doucet (5-28) R. White (8-123)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDLaRod Stephens-Howling runs for 3 yards (Jay Feely kick is good). Drive: 2 plays, 9 yards in 0:47.
FGJay Feely makes a 48 yard kick. Drive: 5 plays, 40 yards in 2:00.
FGJay Feely makes a 28 yard kick. Drive: 4 plays, 9 yards in 1:38.
2ND QUARTER
FGMatt Bryant makes a 51 yard kick. Drive: 13 plays, 47 yards in 6:23.
TDJonathan Babineaux makes a 15 yard fumble return (Matt Bryant kick is good).
FGMatt Bryant makes a 28 yard kick. Drive: 10 plays, 81 yards in 4:56.
FGJay Feely makes a 38 yard kick. Drive: 6 plays, 74 yards in 1:20.
FGMatt Bryant makes a 48 yard kick. Drive: 5 plays, 50 yards in 0:32.
3RD QUARTER
None
4TH QUARTER
FGJay Feely makes a 27 yard kick. Drive: 4 plays, 7 yards in 1:47.
TDMichael Turner runs for 1 yard (Matt Bryant kick is good). Drive: 7 plays, 70 yards in 3:04.
Players of the Game
Atlanta

R. White
Rec 8
Yds 123
Avg 15.4
TD 0

L. Stephens-Howling
Rush 22
Yds 127
Avg 5.8
TD 1
 
Arizona
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
R. Lindley9/206400
J. Skelton2/7600
RushingATTYDSTDLG
L. Stephens-Howling22127152
W. Powell41006
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
E. Doucet52808
M. Floyd218017
L. Fitzgerald111011
A. Roberts1707
L. Stephens-Howling2605
Atlanta
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
M. Ryan28/4630105
RushingATTYDSTDLG
M. Turner1546110
J. Rodgers51606
J. Snelling1-10-1
M. Ryan3-30-1
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
R. White8123037
H. Douglas548026
J. Rodgers535017
J. Jones333020
T. Gonzalez333012
J. Snelling325013
D. Davis1404
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
MIA 14 Final
BUF 19
TB 27 Final
CAR 21
CLE 20 Final
DAL 23
GB 24 Final
DET 20
JAC 37 Final
HOU 43
CIN 28 Final
KC 6
IND 24 Final
NE 59
NYJ 27 Final
STL 13
PHI 6 Final
WAS 31
NO 38 Final
OAK 17
SD 23 Final
DEN 30
BAL 13 Final
PIT 10
CHI 7 Final
SF 32