Brown catches 2 TD passes as Cardinals drop Falcons
Speedy wide receiver John Brown proved he could still get open as he led the Arizona Cardinals to a 24-14 victory over the Falcons on Saturday in the opening of $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Brown, who has been battling a quad injury, hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer and a 21-yarder from Drew Stanton.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians sent a message to Brown last week, saying if he couldn’t get healthy enough to run at full speed, he was in danger of losing his job. Brown heard the message loud and clear.
The Cardinals’ passing attack was strong as Palmer completed 8 of 13 passes for 86 yards and Stanton completed 4 of 6 for 53 yards.
On the 28-yard touchdown pass, Brown got behind Falcons cornerback Janor Jones and free safety Ricardo Allen wasn’t able to get over the top in time to help.
On the 21-yard touchdown pass, Brown shook off a jam attempt from Falcons cornerback C.J. Goodwin and worked his way outside and up the field. Stanton threw a near-perfect pass to Brown’s outside shoulder and he hauled the ball down for the score.
Backup running back James Summer added a 5-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
For the Falcons, the first-team offense struggled after scoring two touchdowns in the previous two exhibition games. Quarterback Matt Ryan tossed an interception on his first attempt of the game.
Ryan, the league’s reigning MVP, was looking to his left and then moved his eyes back inside and fired a pass that was deflected and intercepted by Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu. Ryan was 4 of 11 for 36 yards with one interception and one dropped interception.
The Falcons tried be aggressive on a fourth-and-3 from their 48, but Ryan’s pass intended for Terron Ward was incomplete.
The Atlanta offense continued to sputter under backup Matt Schaub, who couldn’t push the ball in the end zone after getting it on the 27-yard line and the Falcons had to settle for a 20-yard field goal.
The Falcons added a Matt Simms to Josh Magee 57-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.