GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Kyler Murray threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns and the Arizona Cardinals built a big lead, lost it, and then rallied again for a 34-33 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Atlanta looked like it would tie the game with 1:53 left after Matt Ryan hit Devonta Freeman on a 12-yard touchdown pass, but 44-year-old Matt Bryant missed left on the extra point, and the Cardinals ran out the clock from there.
The Cardinals (2-3-1) took a 34-27 lead with 5:12 remaining on David Johnson’s 14-yard touchdown catch from Murray. Johnson made a great adjustment to his route on the slightly underthrown ball, catching the ball between two defenders.
The Cardinals won at home for the first time since last Oct. 28.
After showing flashes during the season’s first five games, Arizona’s offense put together the complete performance it expected after bringing in coach Kliff Kingsbury and Murray during the offseason.
The Falcons (1-5) have lost four straight games.
The way this one ended was a stunner. Bryant had missed just three extra points over the past 11 seasons before Sunday. After the miss, the kicker took off his helmet and walked off the field with his head down.
Arizona scored on a 20-yard touchdown from Murray to Maxx Williams early in the third quarter to take a 27-10 lead and looked like it might turn the game into a blowout.
Atlanta responded with a field goal and then a 7-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Devonta Freeman to pull within 27-20 by the fourth quarter. The Falcons tied the game at 27 with 10:50 left in the fourth quarter after Ryan’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper.
Hooper finished with eight catches for 117 yards.
Atlanta was trying to bounce back after a 53-32 loss at Houston last week. The Falcons stayed on the road, flying directly to Phoenix and practicing for a week in the desert.
It looked like the strategy might work until Bryant’s miss. Ryan completed 30 of 36 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns.
The Cardinals were productive on offense in the first half and this time had some success in the red zone, which was a problem in previous games. Chase Edmonds scored on a 2-yard pass from Murray and Johnson ran for a 1-yard score as Arizona built a 20-10 halftime lead.
Murray showed off his arm strength and touch on a few big plays, including a 58-yard pass over the middle to Damiere Byrd and a 38-yard completion to Trent Sherfield down the left sideline.
Atlanta jumped to a 7-0 lead early on Ryan’s 9-yard pass to Calvin Ridley that capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive, but the Falcons managed just 50 yards the rest of the first half.
Arizona’s Chandler Jones had arguably the biggest defensive play of the game when he sacked Ryan and forced a fumble in the fourth quarter. The Falcons recovered, but the play forced a punt and stopped Atlanta’s momentum.
Murray is the first NFL quarterback to have at least 20 completions in his first six career games.
The Falcons return home to face the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday.
The Cardinals travel to face the New York Giants next Sunday.
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