The Atlanta Falcons snapped a five-game losing streak with a 40-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It’s not the type of excitement we measured yesterday (Celebration Bowl) or last Saturday (MLS Cup) but it was an exceptional victory that ended their winless run.
We all know how explosive the Falcons offense can be but what fans haven’t seen in a few months is a flourishing running game. Running back Tevin Coleman came out the gate with something to prove today. His 11 carries for 145-yards helped Atlanta’s offense tremendously. He not only scored a 65-yard touchdown but he averaged 13.2 yards per carry.
“It was just a lot of energy out there,” Coleman said after the game. “The guys (offensive line) came out with energy, I came out with energy, and they got on their blocks and were able to make holes for me.”
Quarterback Matt Ryan had an above average outing accounting for three touchdowns for the Falcons, one of which was rushing. He threw for a total of 231 yards after a sluggish start that included two sacks.
Tevin Coleman’s 65-yard run wasn’t the only big play of the game. The momentum shift came after Deion Jones’ big interception. Atlanta’s Vic Beasley got a paw on the ball to break up the pass from Josh Rosen. The ball fell into Jones’ hands and he comfortably ran 42-yards for the touchdown.
“That was the momentum kick starter for us as a team to get the tip and then Deion intercepts it and return it for a touchdown,” said Matt Ryan. “I felt like the energy that really got everybody into it and from that point forward, we played really well.”
The Falcons tied the game at seven points after the successful PAT. The Cardinals wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter.
After two championships in consecutive weekends were played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Falcons performed above expectations, especially since they’re officially eliminated from the playoffs. That reality was already embraced by the fans as the stands were visibly empty. Take the Falcons current record and midseason performance and contrast that with the season had by their footy counterparts (Atlanta United) and their achievements and it looks like the city is shifting toward world football instead of American football.
The Falcons improve to (5-9) on the season and gave their fans a last-ditch victory as they wave goodbye for the final time at “The Benz.” Their final two games against Carolina (12/23) and Tampa (12/30) will be on the road.
Photo: Hakim Wright