Falcons Top One of League's Best, 29-18

It's a battle of the birds at the Georgia Dome as the Atlanta Falcons take on the Arizona Cardinals. Check out these photos of gameday.

FIRST QUARTER

The Atlanta Falcons talked all week about needing a boost from their running game, and they got it on the first drive of the contest. Steven Jackson recorded his longest run as a Falcon, 55 yards, to set up a first-and-goal at the Arizona 1-yard line. Levine Toilolo capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Matt Ryan.  ATL 7 AZ 0

The Falcons defense was on the field for just 66 seconds in its first drive before forcing an Arizona punt. Falcons wide receiver Devin Hester fielded the 50-yard punt 68 yards before being flagged for a facemask penalty, negating the touchdown return. The vaunted Cardinals' defense kept Atlanta out of the end zone, allowing a 20-yard field goal by Matt Bryant. ATL 10 AZ 0

Arizona's second offensive drive lasted 1:46 thanks to an interception by Falcons safety Dwight Lowery. Ryan and company made the most of the forced turnover, scoring two plays later.  Julio Jones beat Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson down the sideline to haul in a 32-yard touchdown pass from Ryan.  ATL 17 AZ 0.

SECOND QUARTER

The Cardinals cooled the Falcons' hot offense early on in the second quarter. Arizona safety Rashad Johnson stepped in front of a Ryan pass and returned it 88 yards for the score. ATL 17 AZ 7

Trailing by 10 points and driving on offense, Arizona was stopped in its tracks by Falcons safety William Moore. Seeing his first action since a Week 4 shoulder injury, Moore punched the ball loose from Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd, which was then recovered by Desmond Trufant.

Again, Arizona's defense came up big, forcing another Atlanta punt. Cardinals' quarterback Drew Stanton directed an 8-play drive, covering 54 yards in 3:56, capped by a 44-yard field goal by kicker Chandler Catanzaro.  ATL 17 AZ 10

Ryan and the Atlanta offense responded during the final drive of the half. Using all 2:42 left on the game clock, Ryan helped lead a 12-play drive that totaled 68 yards, ending with a 23-yard field goal by Bryant. ATL 20 AZ 10.

THIRD QUARTER

Allowing 10 points to Arizona in the first half, the Falcons defense turned up the heat to start the third quarter. Facing a 3rd-and-5, Falcons defensive end Cliff Matthews appeared to sack Stanton before the play was ruled an incompletion, leading to a punt.

Later in the quarter, Julio Jones continued his Jurassic Park-sized game. Already surpassing 1,000 receiving yards for the season earlier in the first half, Jones hauled in a 41-yard pass from Ryan to Arizona's 22-yard line. The Cardinals' defense stood strong, however, forcing the Falcons to attempt another field goal. Bryant nailed the 23-yard kick. ATL 23 AZ 10

Atlanta's defense forced another Cardinals' punt on the ensuing drive. Ryan then led the Falcons' offense on a drive that continued into the fourth quarter.

FOURTH QUARTER

Filling in for the injured Roddy White (ankle), wide receiver Harry Douglas, like Jones, continued his big game. Douglas grabbed two passes totaling 22 yards, giving him 105 receiving yards with over 10 minutes remaining in the game. Atlanta got as far as Arizona's 27-yard line before Bryant booted a 45-yard field goal. ATL 26 AZ 10

The game's next two offensive drives resulted in punts before Atlanta's defense forced another turnover. Falcons' cornerback Josh Wilson picked off Stanton, returning it 15 yards to the Atlanta 47-yard line. The Jones and Douglas show continued on the ensuing drive. Douglas added one more reception, his ninth of the game, ending the contest with 116 receiving yards. Jones also grabbed one pass during the drive, finishing with 10 receptions for a career-high 189 receiving yards and one touchdown. Bryant capped off the drive with a 28-yard field goal. The Falcons' kicker logged a career day as well, making all five of his field goals in the win. ATL 29 AZ 10.

Arizona added a late 1-yard touchdown and a 2-point conversion, each scored by running back Stepfan Taylor on its final drive of the game. ATL 29 AZ 18

Atlanta walked off the field with a 29-18 win, remaining in first place atop the NFC South.

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