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RECAP
11/18/2012 5:36 PM EST
Despite Ryan's 5 picks, Falcons beat Cards 23-19
ATLANTA 23, ARIZONA 19

By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) -- 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."



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.



---



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---



Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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