The Falcons had to scrap and claw for an ugly victory over the Arizona Cardinals today by a score of 23-19. The Falcons played from behind until the very end of the game. The offense struggled with 6 turnovers on the day. But the defense held firm with a strong performance, which including a turnover-turned-touchdown on their part.
Matt Ryan struggled with 5 interceptions, three of which came off deflected passes. He completed 28 of 46 passes for 301 yards and no touchdowns. On the ground, the Falcons found little success with Michael Turner leading rushers with 46 yards on 15 carries and the Falcons lone offensive touchdown. Roddy White had a good day, catching 8 passes for 123 yards. Harry Douglas (5 catches, 48 yards), and Jacquizz Rodgers (5 catches, 35 yards) also made contributions. Tony Gonzalez had 3 catches for 33 yards, as did Julio Jones who managed to play despite missing the entire week of practice due to an ankle injury. Jones would leave the game late in the third quarter after reaggravating his injury. Matt Bryant was excellent, making all 3 of his field goal attempts from 51, 28, and 48 yards out. Matt Bosher had 4 punts for an average of 51.3 yards with 2 placed inside the 20. Jacquizz Rodgers returned 2 kickoffs for 53 yards, while Dominique Franks had 4 punt returns for 44 yards. The Falcons did give up some return yardage to Arizona on special teams, giving up 125 yards on kickoff returns. The Falcons were able to fare fairly well on third downs throughout the game (7 of 16), but turnovers halted and stalled too many drives, preventing them from scoring their first touchdown until late in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, the Falcons were stout against a weak Arizona Cardinals offense, halting them despite favorable field position on many of the turnovers. The Cardinals struggled to convert third downs, converting only 2 of 16 all game. They held the Cardinals passing game to just 41 yards for the game, although they did give up 137 yards on the ground. The defense was also able to generate a touchdown of their own off a sack-strip by John Abraham, which Jonathan Babineaux picked up for a score. Robert McClain led defenders with 7 tackles. Abraham (5 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble); Babineaux (2 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown); Kroy Biermann (3 tackles); Akeem Dent (4 tackles); William Moore (5 tackles); Stephen Nicholas (4 tackles, 1 sack); Chris Owens (4 tackles); and Asante Samuel (3 pass deflections) had noteworthy games.