Julio Jones dominates as Falcons win 29-18 over Cardinals

Julio Jones could not be stopped Sunday. (Brynn Anderson)

Julio Jones could not be stopped Sunday. (Brynn Anderson)

Patrick Peterson said he wanted Julio Jones one-on-one.

Be careful what you wish for.

Jones turned in a stellar performance, catching 10 balls for a career-high 189 yards and a touchdown as the Atlanta Falcons improved to 5-7 to remain atop the NFC South after beating the Arizona Cardinals, 29-18.

Harry Douglas, Matt Ryan, and Steven Jackson each turned in fine performances as well.

Douglas filled in for an injured Roddy White and responded with 116 yards on nine catches.

Ryan, who had thrown one touchdown and nine interceptions in the last two matchups against the Cardinals, passed for 361 yards and two touchdowns. Arizona did get another interception off him, however.

And Jackson had his best showing as a Falcon as he ran for 101 yards. He also rattled off his longest run since 2009: a 55-yarder on Atlanta’s fourth offensive play of the game.

It was the first time the Falcons had a 100-yard rusher since November 4, 2012.

After the first quarter, the game had the makings of a blowout. The Falcons outgained the Cardinals 183-22 in total yards and held a commanding 17-0 lead.

But Arizona had no plans to go down that easily.

Rashad Johnson took an interception 88 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the second quarter, giving the Cardinals some much-needed momentum.

Then, after Atlanta failed to put up points on a couple of drives, Arizona kicker Chandler Catanzaro nailed a 44-yard field goal to close to gap to seven points.

That’s as close as the Cardinals would get, however.

The Falcons responded buy putting together a 12-play, 68-yard drive that was capped off with a 23-yard Matt Bryant field goal to end the first half and give the Falcons a 20-10 lead.

Arizona wouldn’t score again until garbage time in the fourth quarter after Stepfan Taylor caught a three-yard touchdown from Drew Stanton with 1:09 left to go.

Atlanta has a tough matchup next Monday night against the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field.

Notes

The Falcons struggled mightily in the red zone, settling for a field goal on four of five trips.

William Moore returned to action and made his presence felt with a forced fumble in the second quarter and a bone-jarring hit on Jaron Brown in the fourth. The defense seemed to feed off Moore’s return.

Atlanta’s defense allowed just one third-down conversion in seven attempts.

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