EditorsNote: corrects typo in fifth graph
Linebacker Deion Jones began a 26-point first-half outburst with a 41-yard interception return for touchdown and the Atlanta Falcons ended their five-game losing streak with a 40-14 win over the visiting Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
With the Falcons trailing 7-0, Jones snagged an errant Josh Rosen pass and returned it for a score and sparked Atlanta to a 26-7 halftime lead. Atlanta, which began the day with only 11 takeaways, got two others on Brian Poole’s interception and Grady Jarrett’s strip sack, one of six sacks on the day.
Atlanta (5-9) was led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who was 22 for 36 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran three times for 18 yards and one touchdown.
The Falcons found their long-lost running game. Tailback Tevin Coleman rushed 11 times for a career-best 145 yards and one touchdown. He had a career-long 65-yard run.
Ryan connected with seven different receivers, with Julio Jones catching six passes for 82 yards and one touchdown and Calvin Ridley grabbing five passes for 42 yards.
Rosen suffered a long afternoon. The rookie was 13 for 22 for 132 yards and two interceptions. He was lifted midway in the fourth quarter for backup Mike Glennon.
Arizona (3-11) had trouble moving the ball all day. David Johnson led the team with 33 yards rushing on 11 carries. Larry Fitzgerald caught seven passes for 82 yards.
Arizona scored first, finishing an eight-play drive with Johnson’s 1-yard run and forced the Falcons to go three-and-out on the ensuing possession.
That’s when the momentum quickly switched to the Atlanta side. On the second play of the drive, Rosen fired a pass in the right flat that was intended for Johnson. But Jones came up with the interception and went 41 yards for a touchdown.
From that point it was all Atlanta. The Falcons added a 22-yard field goal from Matt Bryant, a 1-yard run by Ryan, a 33-yard field goal by Bryant and 21-yard pass from Ryan to Julio Jones for a 26-7 halftime lead.
The Falcons tacked on a touchdown on a 43-yard run from Coleman and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Justin Hardy in the second half.
The Cardinals scored with 3:14 left when Glennon threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield.
—Field Level Media