Falcons gain momentum for showdown with Saints
Matt Ryan insists the Atlanta Falcons weren’t thinking about the
defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints as they crushed
the Arizona Cardinals.
It sure didn’t take long for talk to shift to the Saints after
The Falcons gained momentum for this week’s NFC South game at
New Orleans by overwhelming the Cardinals 41-7 on Sunday. The
Falcons, led by backup running back Jason Snelling’s 129 yards
rushing, 57 yards receiving and three touchdowns, took a 33-11
advantage in first downs in the dominant win.
Atlanta held the ball almost twice as long as Arizona, stopped
each of the Cardinals’ eight third-down plays and intercepted three
It was just the well-rounded performance the Falcons needed
after a tough opening loss at Pittsburgh.
”We’re going to be a more confident football team going into
next week against New Orleans,” said receiver Roddy White, who had
seven catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
The Falcons needed the momentum boost after opening the season
with a 15-9 overtime loss at Pittsburgh.
”We had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” said receiver
Brian Finneran. ”We felt like we lot one slip away against a good
football team up in Pittsburgh. So we needed to come down here and
prove to ourselves and the rest of the league that we’re still
someone to be contended with.”
Bring on the Saints.
”It’s got to give us confidence but at the same time we’re
going against the world champions, so we know our plates are
full,” said tight end Tony Gonzalez. ”We know we’ve got to
duplicate what we did this week and maybe even keep rising up.
We’ve got to get better.
”We’re going to be a pretty good football team. We’ve got the
talent. We just have to keep putting it together week in and week
The Falcons controlled the game against the Cardinals even after
losing running backs Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood to
Turner suffered a groin injury and was held out in the second
half even after being cleared to return. He had nine carries for 75
yards before leaving the game in the second quarter.
Norwood was carted off the field with a knee injury. Coach Mike
Smith said Monday he will say more on Wednesday about the severity
of the injury.
”I know everybody’s concerned about Jerious,” Smith said.
”Jerious has had some evaluation this morning and we’re going to
continue to evaluate it. Hopefully we’ll have a lot more
information on Wednesday.”
Running back Antone Smith, who was not on the active list
against Arizona, may be needed behind Turner and Snelling against
The Falcons lost running back Dimitri Nance off their practice
squad last week. Nance signed with Green Bay on Tuesday.
The Falcons had 221 yards rushing, including 64 yards in the
final quarter. Atlanta limited Arizona to 29 total yards in the
final 15 minutes.
”We want to be able to run the football and possess the ability
to finish games,” said coach Mike Smith. ”I thought it was
evident that we did that. I thought that we were the tempo-setters
in the game, and I think that’s very, very important for any
The workhorse was Snelling, who averaged 5.4 yards on his 24
”Just says a lot about the depth of this team that our
personnel staff has put together over three years,” Smith said.
He’s just a darned good football player, not only running the
football, but catching the football.”
Snelling said the win helped the team ”get back to playing
Snelling said the win will boost the Falcons for the big game
against the Saints. Ryan said the team’s focus was on the
”We didn’t have next week in mind,” Ryan said. ”I think the
biggest thing was to focus on getting a win, and we were able to