The comparison of starting quarterbacks just didn't seem fair.
Arizona's John Skelton was benched after only five incompletions. Atlanta's Matt Ryan kept throwing after five interceptions.
Michael Turner scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 6:40 remaining, and Atlanta bounced back from its first loss of the season to rally past Arizona 23-19 Sunday, giving the Cardinals their sixth-straight loss.
Even in the ugliest of wins, Ryan managed to find himself linked with a legend. He became the first quarterback since Green Bay's Bart Starr in 1967 to win a game despite throwing five interceptions with no touchdowns, according to STATS LLC.
"That's good company to be in," Ryan said with a chuckle.
The Falcons (9-1), who clinched their fifth straight winning season, found a way to bounce back from the team's first loss at New Orleans.
Atlanta rallied after trailing the Cardinals 13-0 in the first quarter.
Coach Mike Smith stuck with Ryan, who led the 70-yard touchdown drive that gave Atlanta its first lead in the fourth quarter.
Ryan, who completed 28 of 48 passes for 301 yards, said it was important he remained confident for his teammates.
"I think that there are a lot of hats you wear as a quarterback," Ryan said. "Part of it is player, and part of it is keeping everybody on the same page and being relaxed."
Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald couldn't hang on to a fourth-down pass that would've given the feeble Cardinals a chance to pull it out.
The Falcons (9-1) turned it over a total of six times, but Ryan set up Turner's winning run with four completions for 64 yards, including a 9-yarder to Tony Gonzalez that was just short of the end zone. Turner scored on the next play.
Coming off a bye, the Cardinals (4-6) tried to bolster their anemic offense by switching quarterbacks, replacing Skelton with rookie Ryan Lindley. Arizona was held to only 178 yards.
"We said during the bye week we were going to make changes that we thought necessary, and that's what we're going to do going forward," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
Lindley completed 9 of 20 passes for 64 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns. He said he was "geeked up" and rushed his decisions in the first half.
"I was too excited," said Lindley, a sixth-round draft pick from San Diego State. "After that, I felt more calm. I think I made better decisions."
Skelton completed only 2 of 7 passes for 6 yards.
"We missed some throws when we had opportunities early," Whisenhunt said. "We're trying to win, so we gave Ryan a chance to make the throws."
The Cardinals took a 19-16 lead on Jay Feely's fourth field goal of the game, set up by Ryan's fourth interception — before the Falcons finally came alive on a 70-yard drive.
Ryan completed passes of 11 and 26 yards to Harry Douglas. Following an 18-yard completion to Roddy White, Ryan passed to Gonzalez, who stretched for the goal line, getting his helmet knocked off in the process.
The officials ruled him down about a foot short. Turner carried it in from there.
Arizona had one more chance, after Ryan had a pass deflected at the line, the ball wobbling into the arms of Cardinals linebacker Sam Acho at the Falcons 32.
On fourth-and-2 with just over 3 minutes remaining, Lindley threw a pass that Fitzgerald appeared to haul in at the 5 before tumbling out of bounds. But as he took a hit from William Moore, Fitzgerald rolled over and the ball came loose. The Falcons took over and ran out the clock.
"It's disappointing," Fitzgerald said. "I had an opportunity late in the game to make a play, and that is going to bother me for a while."
The comparison of starting quarterbacks just didn't seem fair.
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Trojans get one hit, but win region title
If high school baseball games lasted six innings, Zack Bullard would have had a no-hitter and the Tift County Blue Devils would have been on top of the region standings. It was the last inning that cost both player and team. Coffee only had one hit, but it was all they needed for a 2-1 victory that clinched the 1-AAAAAA title.
Remembering Miss Mattie
The year was 1991.
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Coffee can’t brew any offense against Tift’s McCray
For at least a few hours, the Tift County Blue Devils will be able to say they share part of the Region 1-AAAAAA baseball lead. They were winners of the first game of a doubleheader Thursday over the Coffee High Trojans, 4-0. The sides were even with two division losses.
Panthers outlast Warriors, 2-1
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Devils to dine on Coffee and Crisp
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Lady Panthers gouge GCS, 7-1
The Tiftarea Academy soccer teams had a windy Tuesday night for Senior Night but they didn’t let the chill in the air stop them from keeping the scoreboard heated up. Seniors Neeli Fortson, Lauren Goforth, Ali Rippy, Britton Robitzsch and Austin Tenneson were recognized after the Lady Panthers sealed a 7-1 victory against the Georgia Christian Lady Generals. The Panthers had to settle for a 1-1 tie.
Nashville hosts 5th annual Tyler Carter Memorial Duathlon
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McMinn, Beier shut down Glenwood
The Tiftarea Academy Panthers mustered only five hits Monday night, but that would be enough for them. Behind the arm of Noah McMinn, clutch hitting from Zach Beier and a big trick play, they bested the Glenwood (Ala.) Gators by a 2-1 score.
Panthers ready for region track championships
Through early Tuesday, the track team at Tiftarea Academy knew they would be participating at a region track meet today. They just were not sure where.
Coach Ryan Branch said Monday that the meet was scheduled for Hugh Mills Stadium in Albany, but if the event it was hosting was rained out Tuesday, TIftarea would be the hosts. The rains came, but it was not enough to change plans. Branch confirmed Tuesday afternoon that they would be on the road.
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