Julio Jones and Harry Douglas both went over 100 yards receiving to propel the Atlanta Falcons to a 29-18 victory over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday in the Georgia Dome.
Atlanta jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter behind big plays from Steven Jackson and Julio Jones. Jackson broke off a 55-yard jaunt, his longest run of the season, to set up the first score. Ryan’s 1-yard pass to Levine Toilolo put the finishing touches on the scoring drive. “They did a very good job blocking for Steven,” said Atlanta Head Coach Mike Smith. It was good to see Steven create that explosive play.”
Jones picked up 32 of his 189 yards receiving on the Falcons third offensive series. The fifth-year pro spun 180 degrees, out-jumped Patrick Peterson at the five, and bulldozed through the Cardinals defensive back for the touchdown. It was just the play the pair needed to get off to a good start. “We got the one-on-one press coverage we thought we might get, we took a chance,” said Matt Ryan. “Julio adjusted really well to that ball. That was big.”
Watching Peterson get beat didn’t sit too well with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. “You better watch out when you call people out,” said Arians. “You have to be ready to play. If you are going to call them out, you don’t give up the plays. It’s okay to talk, just back it up.”
As expected, the defense with the second most interceptions produced the first points of the game for the Cardinals. Free safety Rashad Jones stepped in front of a pass intended for Julio Jones and crisscrossed the field for an 88-yard touchdown.
Chandler Catanzaro added a field goal from 44 yards out to cut the Falcons lead to just a touchdown.
A 23-yard field goal from Matt Bryant put the lead back to 10 points just before the half expired.
The Falcons added three more field goals to put the game fairly out of reach but it was the play of the defense that made the difference. Atlanta’s defense forced three turnovers that halted Arizona drives. “The Cardinals are a good football team but we wanted to show that we were the better team this afternoon,” said safety William Moore. “Our defensive unit took the challenge seriously and I feel we came out with a lot of energy. We were lucky to force some turnovers both via interception and fumble recovery.”