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Falcons 41, Cardinals 7: Game Recap

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Matt Ryan threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns on 21-of-32 throws, guiding Atlanta to a thorough 41-7 pasting of Arizona in a lopsided Week 2 affair.

Jason Snelling saw plenty of action after Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood went down with injuries in the first half and amassed 186 total yards with three touchdowns for the Falcons (1-1), who failed to find the end zone in an overtime loss at Pittsburgh in Week 1.

Roddy White caught seven passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, as Atlanta outgained the opposition 444-267 and held the ball for nearly 40 minutes.

Derek Anderson was pressured throughout and completed 17-of-31 passes for just 161 yards with two interceptions for the Cardinals (1-1), who nipped the Rams in their season opener.

“Obviously a disappointing game for us today,” Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We have a lot of things to work on and obviously that’s what we’re going to do.”

The only highlight for Arizona came on Tim Hightower’s 80-yard TD run off the right side two minutes into the second quarter, which cut its deficit to 10-7.

It was all Falcons from there. A pass interference penalty on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie extended the ensuing drive, and on 3rd-and-3 from the Arizona 19-yard line, Ryan hit Snelling in the flat and the running back took it the rest of the way for a TD.

After a Cardinals three-and-out, Atlanta had a similar eight-play, 78-yard drive aided by a penalty, and Snelling ended the march with a one-yard plunge over the goal line for a 24-7 game heading to the break.

Anderson’s first pass of the second half went through the hands of intended receiver Stephen Williams and into the waiting arms of William Moore, who returned the pick 31 yards to the Arizona 14.

After gaining two yards over two plays, Ryan threw a jump ball in the right corner of the end zone that Brian Finneran came down with for a 31-7 cushion.

Later in the frame, the Falcons held the ball for 6:37 and pushed the margin to 27 on Matt Bryant’s 35-yard field goal with under four minutes remaining in the third.

The Cardinals gained two first downs the rest of the way, and Snelling finished his career day and another time-consuming 11-play, 80-yard drive with a seven-yard jaunt to the end zone with just over three minutes left in the game.

Atlanta drove right down the field its first time with the ball, and White hauled in a seven-yard pass over the middle for an early 7-0 lead 4:27 in.

“We got out to a fast start today, any week you like to get to a fast start, but we were able to do that with the first drive and move the ball effectively,” Ryan said. “We ran the football really well throughout the entire game, but specifically on that first drive. It was good to get off to a fast start and we kind of kept that momentum going.”

LaRod Stephens-Howling took the kickoff back 98 yards for a touchdown, but a holding penalty nullified the return.

Bryant made it 10-0 on a 24-yarder less than two minutes into the second stanza.

Both teams were penalized heavily, with the Cardinals getting whistled for 10 infractions for 109 yards, while Atlanta had six for 75…Atlanta gained 33 first downs to Arizona’s 11…Snelling had a career-high 129 yards on 24 carries and 57 yards on five receptions…Hightower ended with 115 yards on 11 carries…Arizona wideout Larry Fitzgerald caught seven balls for 83 yards, while teammate Steve Breaston caught three passes for 10 yards a week after grabbing seven for 132…The Cardinals are 0-5 in Atlanta since last winning there in the 1993 regular season finale…Ryan is 14-1 in his career as a starter at home…Turner left with a groin injury after gaining 75 yards on nine carries and Norwood exited with a knee injury suffered on the opening kickoff return.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.