The Atlanta Falcons improved to 9-1 after a 23-19 win over the Arizona Cardinals, who lost their sixth consecutive game. This game was a sloppy affair in the Georgia Dome for the Falcons, but they did just enough to get the win…as usual. Here is the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Cardinals came into the game knowing they did not have much of an offense to rely on, but their defense definitely picked up the slack. They were able to pick Falcons QB Matt Ryan off a career high five times. Arizona was led by linebacker Darryl Washington, who accounted for nine tackles and an interception. The Cardinals also did a tremendous job stuffing the Atlanta rushing attack, which is not hard, but they still must be given credit for only allowing the Falcons a total of 71 rushing yards.
Atlanta did not have a great day offensively, but White most certainly did. Roddy reeled in eight catches for 123 yards. Julio Jones was slowed by an ankle injury, Michael Turner did very little on the ground and even Ryan was in rare form; in spite of all of that White was easily the most reliable Falcon on the day.
The Falcons kicker kept the Atlanta in the game as he made all three of his kicks, including a 51-yarder in the second quarter. His field goal was the first points Atlanta tallied on the day and it definitely stopped the bleeding as Arizona had scored 13 straight points.
Atlanta’s usually cool quarterback looked just as bad as his Cardinal counterpart, Ryan Lindley. Matty Ice threw five interceptions, which was a career high and no touchdowns. His best moves were getting the ball to Roddy White and handing that same ball to Turner on the one yard line for the go-ahead TD. Ryan probably will not play this bad again but if he does Atlanta will definitely lose.
Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers
Going into the game, I felt Turner and Rodgers could be huge factors in this game because the Cardinals defense is just as bad against the run as Atlanta. Needless to say, Turner on gained 46 yards while Rodgers turned in 16 yards. The only positive on the day was Atlanta rushing attack was able to get points in the red zone when it mattered most unlike last week versus the New Orleans Saints.
True enough, Lindley is a rookie but his numbers on the day were downright ugly. Lindley completed 9 of 20 passes for 64 yards and not much else. Lindley was inserted into the lineup for John Skelton who was benched but this was a bad coaching move by Ken Whisenhunt. This move also took Larry Fitzgerald out of the game, as he finished with one catch for 11 yards.
Atlanta’s Run Defense
To be honest, the run defense has not been that great all year they gave up 127 yards on the ground to LaRod Stephens-Howling. To put this ugly stat in perspective, Stephens-Howling came into the game with 184 yards through eight games. After his game with the Falcons, the fourth year back now has 311 yards for the season. That’s ugly.
Atlanta got the win but it was not pretty. They continue their trend of not playing well at home, which is cause for concern for a team in the driver’s seat for home field advantage. As they work on improving their tackling, they need to also work on taking care of business better at home.