This one was downright ugly.
That's OK with them. It's still a victory.
Bouncing back from their first loss of the season and overcoming Ryan's career-worst five interceptions, the Falcons rallied past the Arizona Cardinals 23-19 on Sunday. Michael Turner scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 6:40 remaining, and Larry Fitzgerald couldn't hang on to a fourth-down pass that would've given the feeble Cardinals a chance to pull it out.
"You can't worry about it," said Ryan, who had never thrown more than three picks in a game. "Part of playing this position is knowing there are going to be times when you make mistakes, when you fall flat on your face. You've got to get up and keep playing, keep throwing it. In those kind of situations, I'm just worried about the next play."
Ryan became the first quarterback since Green Bay's Bart Starr in 1967 to win a game despite throwing five interceptions with no touchdowns, according to STATS LLC.
"That's good company to be in," Ryan said with a chuckle.
"We said during the bye week we were going to make changes that we thought necessary, and that's what we're going to do going forward," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We have to make more plays."
With Julio Jones sidelined by an ankle injury, Ryan completed an 11-yard pass to third receiver Harry Douglas, then a 26-yarder to Douglas into Arizona territory. Roddy White hauled in an 18-yard pass before Ryan, on third-and-5 at the Arizona 10, went to ol' reliable. Gonzalez grabbed the pass and stretched for the goal line, getting his helmet knocked off in the process.
The officials ruled him down about a foot short. Turner carried it in from there, standing defiantly in the end zone in front of the cheering Atlanta fans who had booed him earlier for the Falcons' continuing problems running the ball.
Ryan completed 28 of 48 for 301 yards.
LaRod Stephens-Howling accounted for most of Arizona's yards, carrying 22 times for 127 yards. Lindley was 9 of 20 for 64 yards. Skelton was benched in the second quarter after going 2 of 7 for 6 yards.
The turnover tone was set on the very first snap.
On Arizona's next possession, Stephens-Howling broke off a 40-yard run to set up Feely's 48-yard field goal. The Falcons were down 10-0 before they even gained a yard.
As the rookie dropped back to pass on third down, John Abraham came in from the blind side and got his hand on the ball a split-second before Lindley's arm came forward. While both teams mostly stood around, thinking it was an incomplete pass, Abraham motioned for Jonathan Babineaux to pick up it up. The 300-pound tackle did just that, running 15 yards for a stunning touchdown.
"Multiple players told me they heard a whistle," Whisenhunt insisted.
With a nod to Gonzalez, Babineaux feigned like was going to dunk the ball over the crossbar, but just flipped it over instead.
Call it a celebratory layup.
"We're always taught to finish play," Babineaux said. "I looked at the ref. I saw him running, so I figured the play was still going."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press