Cardinals 19

(4-6, 1-4 away)

Falcons 23

(9-1, 5-0 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 18, 2012

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA 

1 2 3 4 T
ARI 13 3 0 319
ATL 0 16 0 723

Top Performers

Passing: M. Ryan (ATL) - 301 YDS, 5 INT

Rushing: L. Stephens-Howling (ARI) - 22 CAR, 127 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: R. White (ATL) - 8 REC, 123 YDS

Falcons overcome Matt Ryan's 5 interceptions, rally past Cardinals

Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons can forget about any style points.

This one was downright ugly.

That's OK with them. It's still a victory.

Bouncing back from their first loss of the season and overcoming Ryan's career-worst five interceptions, the Falcons rallied past Arizona 23-19 on Sunday. Michael Turner scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 6:40 remaining, and Larry Fitzgerald couldn't hang on to a fourth-down pass that would've given the feeble Cardinals a chance to pull it out.

"You can't worry about it," said Ryan, who had never thrown more than three picks in a game. "Part of playing this position is knowing there are going to be times when you make mistakes, when you fall flat on your face. You've got to get up and keep playing, keep throwing it. In those kind of situations, I'm just worried about the next play."

Ryan became the first quarterback since Green Bay's Bart Starr in 1967 to win a game despite throwing five interceptions with no touchdowns, according to STATS LLC.

"That's good company to be in," Ryan said with a chuckle.

The Falcons (9-1) turned it over a total of six times, but Ryan set up Turner's winning run with four completions for 64 yards, including a 9-yarder to Tony Gonzalez that was just short of the end zone. Turner scored on the next play.

Coming off a bye, Arizona (4-6) lost its sixth straight game. The Cardinals tried to bolster their anemic offense by switching quarterbacks, replacing John Skelton with rookie Ryan Lindley, but they had only 178 yards.

"We said during the bye week we were going to make changes that we thought necessary, and that's what we're going to do going forward," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We have to make more plays."

Both teams struggled offensively in the second half. The Cardinals had the only points -- going ahead 19-16 on Jay Feely's fourth field goal of the game, set up by Ryan's fourth interception -- before the Falcons finally came alive on a 70-yard drive.

With Julio Jones sidelined by an ankle injury, Ryan completed an 11-yard pass to third receiver Harry Douglas, then a 26-yarder to Douglas into Arizona territory. Roddy White hauled in an 18-yard pass before Ryan, on third-and-5 at the Arizona 10, went to ol' reliable. Gonzalez grabbed the pass and stretched for the goal line, getting his helmet knocked off in the process.

The officials ruled him down about a foot short. Turner carried it in from there, standing defiantly in the end zone in front of the cheering Atlanta fans who had booed him earlier for the Falcons' continuing problems running the ball.

Arizona had one more chance, after Ryan had a pass deflected at the line, the ball wobbling into the arms of Cardinals linebacker Sam Acho at the Falcons 32.

On fourth-and-2 with just over 3 minutes remaining, Lindley threw a pass that Fitzgerald appeared to haul in at the 5 before tumbling out of bounds. But as he took a hit from William Moore, Fitzgerald rolled over and the ball came loose. The Falcons took over and ran out the clock.

Ryan completed 28 of 48 for 301 yards.

LaRod Stephens-Howling accounted for most of Arizona's yards, carrying 22 times for 127 yards. Lindley was 9 of 20 for 64 yards. Skelton was benched in the second quarter after going 2 of 7 for 6 yards.

"It's extremely frustrating," Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein said. "If you would have told us yesterday we'd get the ball four or five times on their side of the 50, I'd have said, `Yeah, we're going to beat them, and beat them by a large margin."

The turnover tone was set on the very first snap.

Ryan threw a little behind White, the ball bouncing off his hands and right into the arms of Arizona safety Rashad Johnson for the interception. He returned it to the Atlanta 9, and the Cardinals punched it in two plays later on a 3-yard run by Stephens-Howling.

On Arizona's next possession, Stephens-Howling broke off a 40-yard run to set up Feely's 48-yard field goal. The Falcons were down 10-0 before they even gained a yard.

Ryan threw two more interceptions before the first quarter was done, the second of which led to another field goal by Feely to make it 13-0. But the Falcons rallied to tie it up by halftime, coming up with a huge defensive play after the Cardinals brought in Lindley.

As the rookie dropped back to pass on third down, John Abraham came in from the blind side and got his hand on the ball a split-second before Lindley's arm came forward. While both teams mostly stood around, thinking it was an incomplete pass, Abraham motioned for Jonathan Babineaux to pick up it up. The 300-pound tackle did just that, running 15 yards for a stunning touchdown.

"Multiple players told me they heard a whistle," Whisenhunt insisted.

With a nod to Gonzalez, Babineaux feigned like was going to dunk the ball over the crossbar, but just flipped it over instead.

Call it a celebratory layup.

"We're always taught to finish play," Babineaux said. "I looked at the ref. I saw him running, so I figured the play was still going."

Game notes

Stephens-Howling had only 184 yards rushing coming into the game. ... The Falcons lost CB Asante Samuel (right shoulder) in the first half, and WR Julio Jones (right ankle) hobbled off in the fourth quarter. .... Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson was slowed by a hamstring injury.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs720
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5671
Total Yards178354
Yards per play3.25.0
Total Drives1516
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

ariTD13:59Larod Stephens-Howling 3 Yard Run (Jay Feely Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 9 yds, 0:47
ariFG11:03Jay Feely 48 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 40 yds, 2:00
ariFG1:06Jay Feely 28 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 9 yds, 1:38
atlFG9:44Matt Bryant 51 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 13 plays, 47 yds, 6:23
atlTD8:46Jonathan Babineaux 15 Yard Fumble Return (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 1 yds, 1:02
atlFG1:56Matt Bryant 28 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 81 yds, 4:56
ariFG0:37Jay Feely 38 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 74 yds, 1:20
atlFG0:02Matt Bryant 48 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 50 yds, 0:32
ariFG15:00Jay Feely 27 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 7 yds, 1:47
atlTD6:42Michael Turner 1 Yard Run (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 70 yds, 3:04

Research Notes

The Cardinals duo of Ryan Lindley and John Skelton combined to post a Total QBR of 3.7 in Sunday's loss to the Falcons. It was the 10th time that the Cardinals have had a single-game QBR under 10 since Kurt Warner retired in 2009, most in the NFL over that span.
How do you lose a game when your defense intercepts Matt Ryan five times? Two quarterbacks combining to go 11-of-27 for 70 yards is a start. Cardinals quarterbacks combined to complete only 2-of-13 passes deeper than five yards downfield for 25 yards, the third time this season a team has not completed at least three of those passes (49ers' Alex Smith 2-of-8 in Week 7, Vikings' Christian Ponder 2-of-7 in Week 9). Arizona's 15.4 completion percentage on those throws is the worst since Week 16 of last season (Ravens' Joe Flacco 2-of-13, 15.4 percent).
The Falcons won despite a poor showing from Matt Ryan, who finished Sunday's game 28-of-46 for 301 yards and five interceptions, his worst completion percentage in a game since Week 14 of last season. Four of Ryan's five interceptions came on throws 10 yards or fewer downfield, but Ryan was especially inefficient on deeper throws, and could have been even worse had Sam Acho not dropped a potential sixth interception 11 yards downfield in the first quarter. --Julio Jones was active but limited on Sunday. Ryan was 3-of-7 for 33 yards and an interception when targeting Jones.
From Elias: Matt Ryan is the 4th quarterback to throw 5 interceptions with no touchdowns IN A WIN. He is the first to do it since Bart Starr in 1967.
Matt Ryan joins Tony Romo (in 2007) as the only QBs in the last 20 seasons to throw 5 interceptions and win the game. Ryan is the 1st Falcons QB to do it.

ESPN Stats & Information