With the 27-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, any playoff hopes for the Atlanta Falcons look several million miles away.
The score wasn’t nearly indicative as to how one-sided this game really was.
Matt Ryan threw four interceptions and the running game – even with the return of Steven Jackson – managed just 27 yards.
Ryan had thrown only three interceptions through the first six games of the season; in the last two games against the Cardinals, he has thrown nine.
Ryan threw the ball a career-high 61 times, completing 34 passes for 301 yards. His passer rating of 47.2 was the fourth-lowest of his career.
With both Julio Jones and Roddy White out, the Falcons (2-5) were unable to get the ball down the field.
The Cardinals (4-3) jumped on the Falcons immediately. Atlanta scored the first three points of the game, but Arizona put up 21 in the second quarter to take a 21-6 lead heading into halftime.
Carson Palmer had thrown multiple interceptions in five consecutive games. He did throw one pick to Asante Samuel early in the first quarter, but the Falcons didn’t force him into another bad throw.
The quarterback only threw the ball 18 times, but he completed 13 of those passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Palmer’s 72.2 completion percentage and 9,6 yards per attempt were both season-highs.
The Cardinals also displayed explosiveness in the running game. Rookie Andre Ellington finished the game with 15 rushes for 154 yards, including an 80-yard scamper for a touchdown in the second quarter to give Arizona a 14-3 lead.
It was Ellington’s first career 100-yard game and by far his best yardage total.
Steven Jackson’s return after missing four straight games was less than stellar. He carried the ball 11 times for six yards. The run blocking was atrocious, and often times Jackson was hit immediately after the ball was handed off to him.
Ryan led the Falcons with 13 rushing yards, and Jacquizz Rodgers carried the ball twice for eight yards.
Harry Douglas hauled in a career-high 12 receptions for 121 yards. Tony Gonzalez had just three catches for 26 yards.
The Falcons had a chance to chance to make the game interesting.
Ryan connected with Drew Davis on a four-yard touchdown with almost five minutes left in the game.
Matt Bosher recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Ryan was intercepted several plays later by Rashad Johnson for the second time.
Against his former team, John Abraham picked up a sack and provided some pressure on Ryan.
Things are looking grim for the Falcons, and they have to travel on the road against next week to face the 4-3 Carolina Panthers.