Fal­cons slip, slide to win

Rome News-Tribune - - SPORTS - By Den­nis Waszak Jr. As­so­ci­ated Press Sports Writer

EAST RUTHER­FORD, N.J. — Matt Ryan threw two touch­down passes and the At­lanta Fal­cons slipped and slid to a 25-20 vic­tory over the New York Jets on a soggy Sun­day.

Fum­bled snaps, dropped passes and a big-time drench­ing at MetLife Sta­dium had both squads try­ing to find their foot­ing, but the Fal­cons (4-3) stead­ied them­selves just enough to snap a three-game skid — all to other AFC East teams.

Austin Hooper and Mo­hamed Sanu each caught touch­down passes from Ryan, who fin­ished 18 of 29 for 254 yards. The Fal­cons quar­ter­back had lots of trou­ble with the weather, fum­bling four snap ex­changes from cen­ter Alex Mack and los­ing two of them.

The Jets (3-5) had their own is­sues while los­ing their third straight. Josh McCown had a bad snap ex­change and fum­bled on

another play — but re­cov­ered — and Jeremy Ker­ley had a costly muffed punt.

McCown fin­ished 26 of 33 for

257 yards with touch­down passes to Robby An­der­son and Eric Tom­lin­son.

The Jets missed a chance to in­crease a 17-16 lead early in the fourth quar­ter when Chan­dler Catan­zaro missed his sec­ond field goal of the game, go­ing wide right on a 48-yard at­tempt.

It gave the Fal­cons their best start­ing po­si­tion of the game at their own 38 — and the Fal­cons took ad­van­tage.

Tevin Cole­man eluded a few tackle at­tempts on a 52-yard run that got the ball to the Jets 10. Af­ter Cole­man ran for 5 more yards, Ryan fum­bled the snap and re­cov­ered.

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Ryan then hit Sanu for an 8-yard touch­down to make it 22-17, but the Fal­cons quar­ter­back again fum­bled the snap on the 2-point con­ver­sion and the Jets re­cov­ered.

New York cut the deficit to two on its next pos­ses­sion on Catan­zaro’s 46-yard field goal with 8:42 re­main­ing.

The usu­ally sure-handed Ker­ley muffed Matt Bosher’s punt and Ke­mal Ish­mael re­cov­ered for At­lanta to put the ball at the Jets 13. New York’s de­fense stiff­ened, though, and held the Fal­cons to a 29-yard field goal by Bryant to give At­lanta a 25-20 lead with 5:19 left.

The Fal­cons nearly put the game away with what ap­peared to be an 80yard punt re­turn for a touch­down by An­dre Roberts, but At­lanta’s Shar­rod Neas­man was called for an il­le­gal block in the back — negat­ing the score.

The Jets opened the game with an im­pres­sive drive, go­ing 75 yards in eight plays and capped by McCown’s 20-yard touch­down toss to a wide-open Eric Tom­lin­son.

New York got the ball right back four plays later, when Ryan botched the snap from cen­ter Alex Mack and Jor­dan Jenk­ins re­cov­ered. But the Jets couldn’t take ad­van­tage as Catan­zaro’s 46-yard field goal at­tempt was wide right.

At­lanta tied it on its next pos­ses­sion, with Ryan march­ing the Fal­cons down the field through the driv­ing rain with four passes to his tight ends — in­clud­ing a 1-yard touch­down to Hooper with 5:03 left in the open­ing quar­ter.

Ryan botched another snap ex­change on the Fal­cons’ next drive, and Ja­mal Adams re­cov­ered for the Jets. This time, New York took ad­van­tage as Catan­zaro kicked a 43-yarder to put the Jets up 10-7.

At­lanta nearly took the lead mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter, but Hooper had the ball go through his hands in the end zone. The Fal­cons set­tled for a 23-yarder by Bryant to tie it at 10.

The Jets took a 17-10 lead with 2:26 re­main­ing in the first half when McCown con­nected with An­der­son on a per­fectly placed 24-yard pass through a driv­ing rain for a touch­down.

Bryant’s 45-yard field goal as time ex­pired in the open­ing half made it 17-13, but it ap­peared the Fal­cons might get more be­fore the drive stalled. An un­nec­es­sary rough­ness call on Dar­ryl Roberts put the ball at the At­lanta 46 and was fol­lowed by a 23-yard catch by Sanu. Three plays later, Ryan took a shot at the end zone, putting up a ball to Jones and Mor­ris Clai­borne was flagged for pass in­ter­fer­ence — but the of­fi­cials picked up the flag, say­ing the ball was un­catch­able — and coach Dan Quinn fumed on the side­line.

Af­ter another in­com­ple­tion, Muham­mad Wilk­er­son got his first sack of the sea­son to push the Fal­cons back to the 27 to set up Bryant’s kick.

Bryant booted a 37-yarder in the third quar­ter to cut the deficit to one at 17-16 on a drive that started on a 54-yard catch by Julio Jones. The Fal­cons wide re­ceiver had been held to just two catches for 20 yards by Clai­borne, who left with a foot in­jury.

Bill Kostroun / The As­so­ci­ated Press New York Jets cor­ner­back Dar­ryl Roberts (right) tack­les At­lanta’s Devonta Free­man dur­ing Sun­day’s game in East Ruther­ford, N.J. A penalty was called on the play.

Seth Wenig / The As­so­ci­ated Press

At­lanta wide re­ceiver Mo­hamed Sanu (left) ex­changes words with New York’s Ja­mal Adams af­ter catch­ing a pass for a touch­down dur­ing the sec­ond half.

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