EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It was wet, soggy and sloppy, but the Atlanta Falcons still found a way to beat the New York Jets 25-20 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, ending a three-game losing streak.
The win was an important one for the Falcons, who improve to 4-3 as they try to keep pace in the NFC South. Both the Saints (5-2) and Panthers (5-3) won Sunday. Coincidentally the Falcons were 4-3 a year ago after seven games.
- Falcons' defense comes up big in win over the Jets
- Straight from the Beek: Questions about Panthers, more
- Sanu shines in New Jersey homecoming
- Early Bird Report: National reaction to Falcons win
Aside from Atlanta snapping its losing skid, the rainy weather was one of the biggest storylines in this game as both teams struggled with the slippery and sloppy conditions.
Rainy weather the likely culprit in a number of Falcons miscues
After two quarters of play the sloppy conditions were likely responsible for at least two botched Falcons snaps and three dropped passes in the first half alone.
On Atlanta's first possession – a first-and-10 play from the Falcons' 35-yard line – Matt Ryan fumbled the exchange with center Alex Mack. New York's Jordan Jenkins recovered on the Atlanta 34. The Jets failed to capitalize, however, missing a 46-yard field goal attempt four plays later.
It was clear there was some sort of problem between Mack and Ryan, who could be seen practicing the snap exchange repeatedly in the sidelines during possessions and before the start of the second half.
Falcons receivers also dropped three balls in the first half -- Levine Toilolo, Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu – most likely due to the heavy rain, which has not let up. You can read more about the weather's impact here.
Falcons run defense stands out in the first half against the Jets
Defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel said earlier this week he wanted to see more consistency from the Falcons' run defense. In the first half against the New York Jets, he got just that.
Atlanta allowed just 23 yards on 12 carries in a rain-soaked first half at MetLife Stadium, making New York's runners fight for every yard. The Falcons' defense also registered three tackles for a loss in the first half, and allowed just one carry of over 10 yards. You can read more about the Falcons' run defense here.
Hooper's big first quarter helps Falcons answer Jets' early score
The Falcons' tight ends were called upon in the first quarter, and they responded.
After a miscue on the center-quarterback exchange ended Atlanta's first offensive possession, the team showed greater care for the ball on its second drive, which ended in a 1-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper.
The Falcons' tight ends bookended the drive, which covered 64 yards in seven plays. All four of Matt Ryan's passes on the drive were caught by tight ends – one by Levine Toilolo and three by Hooper. You can read more about Hooper's big first half here.
What does the win over the Jets mean?
As noted above, the Falcons improve to 4-3 with the win and keep pace with NFC South leaders New Orleans (5-2) and Carolina (5-3). Atlanta snapped a three-game skid -- all against AFC East teams -- and, thankfully, it won't face another team from that division again during the regular season. The Falcons are 3-0 vs. NFC opponents.
What's next for the Falcons?
The Falcons will face the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 5. It's the first NFC South opponent Atlanta will face this season. The Panthers (5-3) defeated the Buccaneers 17-3 on Sunday and improved to 1-1 in division play.
To recap all the moments from the Falcons-Jets game on Sunday, scroll through our in-game blog below: