Arizona intercepted Matt Ryan five times and still allowed the Falcons to walk away with a 23-19 win at the Georgia Dome on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta.
Arizona Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt thought his defense played well enough to to win. “When you get six turnovers against a team like that we gotta convert more of them into touchdowns,” said Whisenhunt. The Cardinals defense locked in on Ryan early picking off the fifth year quarterback three times in the first quarter.
“I’m just glad that we still won,” said a relieved Ryan. “As a quarterback you don’t ever want to have those kinds of games, but they happen”. Despite the interceptions, Ryan still completed 28 of 46 passes for 301 yards.
Atlanta trailed most of the first half until Matt Bryant’s 48 yard attempt split the uprights tying the game at 16-16 with two seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Starting Cardinals quarterback John Skelton watched the second quarter and the rest of the game from the sideline after being replaced by rookie Ryan Lindley. Skelton’s overthrow of a wide open Larry Fitzgerald in the endzone precipitated the change. “We missed some throws but had opportunities early and felt like at that point we would give Ryan (Lindley) a chance to see if he could make those plays,” said Whisenhunt.
Lindley completed less than half of the 20 passes thrown including a potential first down to Larry Fitzgerald during the final minutes of the game. Fitzgerald, who had just one catch on the day, had to wait for the pass allowing Falcons corner back Dunta Robinson to disrupt the play on the sideline. “That is going to bother me for a while,” said Fitzgerald.
Atlanta scored the go ahead touchdown on the heels of a 7 play 70 yard drive. Ryan hooked up on consecutive passes with Harry Douglas for 26 and 11 yards to move into Arizona territory. Roddy White moved the ball inside the redzone with his eighth reception of the day. Ryan’s fifth pass found Tony Gonzalez inside the five. Michael Turner took over from there busting in over the left side for a touchdown.
After being held to a three and out on offense, linebacker Sam Acho gave the Cardinals one more bite at the apple. Acho intercepted Ryan for the fifth and final time at the 32 yard line inside Falcons territory. The Cardinals failed to take advantage of the short field as Atlanta prevailed in the most improbable of fashions.
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