EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – After a back-and-forth first three quarters, the Falcons needed a momentum swing in their favor Sunday against the New York Jets. Trailing 17-16 with a quarter to play, Mohamed Sanu gave the Falcons the score they needed to take the lead for the first time.
- Falcons' defense comes up big in win over the Jets
- Straight from the Beek: Questions about Panthers, more
- Takeaways: Falcons beat Jets, snap three-game skid
- Early Bird Report: National reaction to Falcons win
After Tevin Coleman broke loose on a 52-yard run, the Falcons were in scoring position. Facing a third-and-8, Matt Ryan stepped up in the pocket with pressure coming and found Sanu who extended himself for the catch in the back of the end zone.
A play so spectacular the Falcons' bench exploded with excitement.
"Not only was the catch fantastic, we expect that from him," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "He's got such a big catching radius, he's 6-foot-3 with long arms and he has aggressive hands, so when the ball is in that area, he's someone that really goes after it. He also had a good third-down conversion at the end of the game to extend one of the drives. It's good to have him back and all that he brings to our team."
Quite the homecoming it was for Sanu who is a New Jersey native and played college ball at Rutgers University. The receiver finished the day with six catches for 74 yards and one touchdown.
"This is home for me, so it was a homecoming for me," Sanu said. "It felt great to play in (New) Jersey. I haven't played in (New) Jersey since college, so it was awesome."
Not only did Sanu's touchdown give the offense a lift, free safety Ricardo Allen said it changed the mindset of the defense for the remainder of the game. Atlanta's defense came up with some key third-down stops in the fourth quarter which resulted in more possessions for the offense – ultimately leading to the victory.
"We needed that," Allen said. "That put us on top. That made us start to be the aggressors and the dictators. Once Sanu made that catch, us as a defense we changed our mindset. That helped us out a lot."