GLENDALE, Ari. — The lead truly bounced back and forth between the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals in the second half of Sunday's Week 10 contest at State Farm Stadium, but the Cardinals used a game-winning field goal to pull through for a 25-23 victory.
Below is how every game recap this 2023 season will be broken down by quarter for right-at-the-buzzer consumption, starting with a note that Atlanta won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Arizona's ball to start.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray officially made his return from an ACL injury that sidelined him for the past 11 months when he took the first offensive snap of Sunday's game. His first play was an incomplete pass. Arizona went three-and-out on their opening drive.
But then so did Atlanta's offense, with Taylor Heinicke at the helm.
The Cardinals were ultimately the first team to put points on the board, doing so with a 51-yard field goal. Arizona got to the Atlanta 18-yard line, but a false-start penalty holding call and three incomplete passes forced kicker Matt Prater onto the field.
The Falcons were cooking when the period wrapped, setting up a first-and-5 at the Cardinals' 5-yard line to start the second quarter.
(NOTE: Falcons running back Bijan Robinson had five carries for 37 yards in the first quarter. One of those was in the red zone, for a 10-yard gain.)
Cardinals: Matt Prater 51-yard field goal … 3-0, ARI
End Q1: 3-0, ARI
Robinson was given his second consecutive red-zone carry to begin the period, but the 1-yard add was negated due to an offensive holding call on tight end MyCole Pruitt. Robinson got the ball again, though, and picked up 3 yards. Heinicke then kept it for a 11-yard scramble and draw up a third-and-goal at the Arizona 2-yard line. He found wide receiver Scotty Miller for a touchdown pass afterward.
The Cardinals came close to answering, as Murray threw up a deep pass to Brown in the end zone that fell incomplete with Falcons safety Jessie Bates III in coverage. Prater came out to make a 46-yard field goal instead.
The Falcons then cobbled together a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was ultimately capped off with a 5-yard touchdown run from Robinson.
(NOTE: That was Robinson's second rushing touchdown this season. He now has as many rushing touchdowns as he does receiving touchdowns.)
After the Falcons touchdown, there were about four minutes remaining before halftime. The Cardinals were able to sneak in a touchdown on their way to the locker room. Murray punched it in himself on a 6-yard run. Arizona then went for a 2-point conversion, but the pass attempt didn't work, giving Atlanta a two-point lead at the halfway point.
(NOTE: Robinson's nine carries tied hisfirst-half season high. His 50 yards rushing is the second-best mark through two quarters.)
Falcons: Taylor Heinicke 2-yard pass to Scotty Miller; Younghoe Koo PAT … 7-3, ATL
Cardinals: Matt Prater 46-yard field goal … 7-6, ATL
Falcons: Bijan Robinson 5-yard run; Younghoe Koo PAT … 14-6, ATL
Cardinals: Kyler Murray 1-yard run … 14-12, ATL
Halftime: 14-12, ATL
The Cardinals got things rolling in the second half with a nine-play, 38-yard scoring drive that ended with a 56-yard field goal from Prater. Thing is, Arizona picked up 58 yards overall but were penalized 20 yards along the way. Nonetheless, the Cardinals took the lead back for the first time since their opening field goal.
The Falcons offense did not respond, going three-and-out. Linebacker Nate Landman came in clutch, though, snagging an interception off Murray in the Cardinals' next drive and giving the Falcons the ball at the Arizona 14-yard line.
Atlanta could not pull off a touchdown from there. Koo, instead, made a 36-yard field goal to nudge the Falcons back ahead.
This must be a game of ping pong, because on their next drive, the Cardinals took the lead back again. It looked like it was going to be via 15-yard touchdown pass, but the play was ruled down at the 1-yard line. Well, Arizona had a quick swap at quarterback, putting in Clayton Tune to make the final tush-push into the end zone with 19 seconds left in the third quarter. Touchdown.
Cardinals: Matt Prater 56-yard field goal … 15-14, ARI
Falcons: Younghoe Koo 36-yard field goal … 17-15, ATL
Cardinals: Clayton Tune 1-yard run; Matt Prater PAT … 22-17, ARI
End Q3: 22-17, ARI
Three plays in, Heinicke is sidelined with an injury. He finished an 8-yard run, got up but then stumbled back down. Desmond Ridder entered the game as Heinicke entered the injury tent.
(NOTE: Ridder has not taken an offensive snap since the second quarter of the Week 8 loss to the Tennessee Titans.)
Heinicke, at this point, had completed eight of his 15 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. With about eight minutes left in the game, Heinicke's status was announced as questionable to return with a hamstring injury.
Ridder's return drive resulted in 15 plays for 54 yards. A fourth-and-1 run play dropped short, and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs at the Cardinals' 21-yard line.
Heinicke was ruled out by the time Ridder took the field again.
Ridder powered an eight-play, 42-yard drive that he personally dusted off with a 9-yard touchdown run. The Falcons attempted a 2-point conversion afterward, but wide receiver Drake London couldn't close the distance upon catching Ridder's pass.
As an answer, Murray led a game-winning drive that was highlighted by a 33-yard pass to tight end Trey McBride to bring the Cardinals to the Falcons' 9-yard line. Arizona wasted time from there, then allowed Prater to seal the deal with a 23-yard field goal.
Falcons: Desmond Ridder 9-yard run … 23-22, ATL
Cardinals: Matt Prater 23-yard field goal … 25-23, ARI
Final: 25,23- ARI
View photos of the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals during Week 10.