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Time Machine: Falcons Turn to Hanspard

Posted Nov 15, 2012

With 102 yards on the ground, running back Byron Hanspard became the first Falcon in the 1999 season to eclipse the century mark for a game in a win over the Cardinals.


The Falcons have won nine of 15 lifetime meetings against Arizona in the series in Atlanta and look to make it double digits on Sunday.
 
On December 26, 1999, Atlanta rolled up a season-high of 393 yards of total offense, including 163 on the ground, en route to a 37-14 win over Arizona to even the series at six wins apiece.

Since that game, the Falcons have defeated the Cardinals three more times at home and hold an overall winning streak at the Dome of five straight (dating back to 1994 campaign).  
 
In that Week 16 clash of birds in 1999, RB Byron Hanspard became the first Falcon that season to rush for more than 100 yards with a 102-yard effort on 26 attempts to help Atlanta control the clock for 35:20.
 
Bob (Sister) Christian also aided the Falcons running cause behind a career-day that consisted of 54 yards rushing and a pair of scores from his fullback position, including a 33-yard touchdown jaunt in the fourth quarter. Christian also positioned the Birds for another score with a 36-yard pass reception in the second quarter.
 
After Atlanta scored first on a WR Terance Mathis 23-yard catch, the Cardinals actually responded by scoring on their next two possessions to take an early 14-7 lead.
 
But the Falcons scored the next 30 unanswered points on eight drives to pull away. Three Morten Andersen field goals, another Christian touchdown and Hanspard’s 1-yard run capped the most points scored by the team all year.
 
So how do the Falcons bounce back from their first defeat of the season? You just need to take a look at one stat. Under head coach Mike Smith, the Falcons are 18-3 (.857) after suffering a loss. (Also, the Birds have not lost back-to-back games in 44 consecutive contests.)

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