The Falcons had little difficulty rolling over the Arizona Cardinals in their home opener, winning 41-7 to get their record back to .500 at 1-1.
Matt Ryan led the team with a good bounce back performance from Week 1. He completed 21 of 32 passes for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jason Snelling led the Falcons ground attack with 24 carries for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. Snelling subbed in for Michael Turner who went down with a groin injury in the second quarter. Turner was off to a fast start, finishing the day with 75 yards on 9 carries. Roddy White led receivers with 7 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown, the first thrown by Ryan. Snelling added 5 catches for 57 yards and also got Ryan’s second touchdown pass. Brian Finneran followed up with the third score, and caught 3 passes for 31 yards for the day. The Falcons offense was pretty efficient for the game, but was greatly aided by errors from the Cardinals. Eight of their 33 first downs came via penalties. The Falcons were able to convert 11 of 17 third down attempts and practically doubled the Cardinals time of possession, holding the ball for 39 minutes and 13 seconds. The Falcons took a 24-7 halftime lead with 17 points in the second quarter.
Defensively, the Falcons early lead was able to allow the defense to pin their ears back and take advantage of the Cardinals lacking passing attack. They picked off Derek Anderson twice, and also Max Hall as well, who subbed when the game was out of reach in the final moments. The Cardinals did not convert a single third down attempt in 8 tries, and were only able to generate 147 total offensive yards outside an 80-yard scoring run by Tim Hightower in the second quarter. Sean Weatherspoon led defenders with 9 tackles and a sack. Jonathan Babineaux (2 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble), Kroy Biermann (4 tackles), Thomas DeCoud (3 tackles), Dominique Franks (1 tackle, 1 interception), Brent Grimes (2 tackles), Curtis Lofton (3 tackles), William Moore (2 tackles, 1 interception), Chris Owens (2 tackles, 1 interception), Dunta Robinson (3 tackles, 2 passes defended), and Brian Williams (2 tackles, 1 pass defended) had noteworthy games. It marked the first career interceptions for Moore and Franks. The defense prevented the Cardinals offense from getting into the redzone, and the Cardinals were only able to get it in Falcons territory twice on twelve possessions.
Matt Bryant hit a pair of field goals of 24 and 35 yards. Michael Koenen only had to punt twice for an average of 34 yards. Eric Weems had a lone punt return for 17 yards. Jerious Norwood returned the opening kickoff 34 yards, but came up with a knee injury on the play. Weems finished with a kickoff of 30 yards. The coverage gave up 98-yard touchdown return on their initial kickoff to LaRod Stephens-Howling, but it was nullified by a holding call.
Next week the Falcons will face division rival New Orleans Saints on the road in the SuperDome. The Falcons have lost three straight vs. the Saints, as well as four straight on the road. The Saints have won 7 of their last 8 against the Falcons. Although the Falcons haven’t lost to the Saints by more than 8 points in their past three road games against them. THey hope to break the streak in what could be a pivotal game for their success at challenging the Saints for divisional supremacy.