Atlanta Falcons Gain Win Over Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons Gain Win Over Cardinals

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The Atlanta Falcons take the win on Sunday,  and Taylor Gabriel stole the show.

Gabriel turned two short passes from Matt Ryan into two scintillating second-half touchdowns for the Atlanta Falcons to demonstrate another potent threat for the NFC South leaders.

They were essentially finishing blows – a 35-yard streak, then a 25-yard burst – that helped break open a tight game en route to a 38-19 victory against the Arizona Cardinals at the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta (7-4) not only kept its grip on first place in the division, but also demonstrated the difficulty of completely containing its versatile offense.

You’d think the Cardinals would have a shot. Arizona entered the game with the NFL’s top-ranked defense for fewest yards allowed, and in the featured individual matchup it could assign one of the league’s best cornerbacks, Patrick Peterson, to shadow star receiver Julio Jones.

Yet while the Cardinals (4-6-1) managed to prevent Jones (four catches, 35 yards, 0 TDs) from dominating the game, that was hardly enough.

Ryan was typically efficient, completing 26 of 34 passes for 269 yards and two TDs with an interceptions. Running back Devonta Freeman scored two TDs. Mohamed Sanu caught a team-high eight passes.

And then there was Gabriel, the slot receiver who can easily be overlooked – or missed in the open field, as was the case on Sunday.

On both of his touchdowns, he caught screen passes in the left flat, and piled on with yards after the catch. On the first score, he picked up a wall of blockers and zig-zagged his way to the end zone. On the latter score, he took off down the sideline and dove for the pylon.

Gabriel, who also ran 27 yards on an end-around to jump-start a drive that resulted in a field goal, entered the game with 17 catches on the season. A third-year pro who joined the Falcons this season, he’s emerged in recent weeks, scoring all four of his TDs in the past four games.

He finished Sunday with four catches for 75 yards, and 102 yards from scrimmage.

Yes, the Falcons offense is still expanding with one more weapon on fire as they make their playoff push.

source: usatoday.com

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