Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Falcons Perfect despite Bad Day

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Falcons Perfect despite Bad Day

Article excerpt

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have plenty of mistakes to work on during their off week. Of course, it's sure easier to fix the problems when you're still unbeaten.

Asante Samuel returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown in the closing minutes and Matt Bryant connected on a 55-yard field goal with one second remaining, allowing the Falcons to escape with a sloppy 23-20 victory against the visiting Oakland Raiders.

Overcoming three interceptions by Matt Ryan, the Falcons (6-0) extended the best start in franchise history.

It wasn't easy against the pesky Raiders (1-4), who bounced back from Samuel's pick to tie the score with less than a minute to go, but left a little too much time on the clock for Atlanta's final possession.

Ryan completed four short passes, the last of them a 13-yarder to Tony Gonzalez that got Bryant in range for his longest field goal since joining the Falcons in 2009 -- and his second winning kick in three weeks. He beat the Panthers, 30-28, on a 40-yard field goal with five seconds left.

"He knows how to get himself prepared, how to calm himself down, how to get it through those pipes," Ryan said. "He's made a lot of clutch kicks for us through the years."

Bryant actually missed one early, pulling a 43-yarder wide left to break a streak of 23 consecutive field goals going back to last season.

He bounced back to connect from 41 and 20 yards before making the one that really mattered.

"Missing that one early kind of woke me up a little bit to focus even harder," Bryant said.

After a mostly ugly game, the final three minutes were thrilling. Tied at 13, the Raiders were in position for a go-ahead field goal when Samuel stepped in front of Carson Palmer's pass at the Atlanta 21 and returned it for a touchdown, racing to the end zone right in front of the Falcons' bench.

Ryan finished 24 of 37 for 249 yards and equaled his career high for picks, matching the three he had against New Orleans in 2009.

But he was cool as can be with the game on the line.

"We've been in these situations before," Ryan said. "We know what we need to do. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.