Younghoe Koo made a 21-yard field goal on the final play, lifting the Atlanta Falcons over the Arizona Cardinals 20-19 on Sunday to end a four-game skid.
In a matchup of teams eliminated from playoff contention, Atlanta rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder got his first career victory. He was 19 of 26 for 169 yards and no interceptions in his third start as he auditions for a starting job next season.
The Falcons (6-10) improved to 5-8 in one-possession games. They were 7-2 in such games last season.
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The Cardinals (4-12), playing with their fourth starting quarterback in four weeks, have lost six straight and eight of nine. David Blough completed 22 of 40 passes for 222 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions filling in for Colt McCoy, who is sidelined with a concussion.
Ridder drove Atlanta 72 yards in 12 plays in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. The Falcons reached the red zone with 1:49 to play and ticked down the clock to set up Koo’s game-ending kick.
Ridder is still seeking his first career touchdown pass and nearly had one before Cordarrelle Patterson dropped the ball in the end zone in the fourth.
JAGUARS ONE STEP CLOSER TO DIVISION TITLE AFTER BLOWOUT WIN OVER TEXANS
Tyler Allgeier and Patterson combined for 125 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 29 carries.
Arizona went up 16-14 on Matt Prater’s 36-yard field goal in the third and 19-17 with 4:57 remaining on Prater’s 57-yarder.
The Falcons took a 7-3 lead early in the second on Allgeier’s 5-yard TD run, but Ridder soon lost a fumble to Leki Fotu on a snap at the 11-yard line, and the Cardinals converted for a touchdown to make it 10-7 on Trey McBride’s short touchdown catch.
Atlanta later went for it on fourth-and-two from the 9 before Ridder’s pass bounced in front of Drake London in the end zone, but he got a reprieve when Richie Grant blocked and recovered a punt at the 5. Patterson ran in for the score, and the Falcons led 14-13 at halftime.
STILL GETTING IT DONE
Working a two-man stunt from the right side, Arizona defensive end J.J. Watt sacked Ridder early in the third and now has 10 1/2 this season. Watt, 33, is a three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year and a five-time All-Pro who is retiring after the season. It marks his sixth season with at least 10 sacks.
The Cardinals lost linebacker Isaiah Simmons (leg), receiver Robbie Anderson (back) and defensive lineman Jonathan Ledbetter (knee) in the first half. Simmons returned to the game, but the others did not. Running back James Conner (shin) left in the second half. Falcons fullback Keith Smith (concussion symptoms) left late in the second quarter but returned in the second half. Allgeier walked off the field with an undisclosed injury early in the fourth but returned. Running back Avery Williams was ruled out in the fourth with a foot injury.
The teams began the game ranked high in 2023 draft positioning with Arizona No. 4 and Atlanta No. 6.
Not long after No. 1 Georgia held off No. 4 Ohio State in a game that ended at a little after midnight, personnel at Mercedes-Benz Stadium worked through the night to get the field ready.
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Cardinals: At San Francisco next Sunday.
Falcons: Host Tampa Bay next Sunday