Matt Ryan

Ryan's 2 TD passes enough as Falcons hold off Seahawks 34-31

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Ryan's 2 TD passes enough as Falcons hold off Seahawks 34-31

SEATTLE - Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons did enough through 3 1/2 quarters that even the best comeback attempt by Russell Wilson fell short this time.

A couple of yards short to be exact.

Ryan threw a pair of touchdown passes, Adrian Clayborn returned a fumble 10 yards for a score and the Falcons watched Blair Walsh's 52-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds fall short, holding off the Seattle Seahawks for a 34-31 win on Monday night.

Atlanta won its second straight to stay on the heels of New Orleans and Carolina in the NFC South, and handed Seattle a second consecutive home loss.

"What an absolute team win from the guys tonight," Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. "Coming here, in this environment, with the crowd, we thought it would be two competitive, tough teams that were going to battle for it in the biggest way."

Ryan threw TDs to Mohamed Sanu and Levine Toilolo, while Tevin Coleman added a 1-yard TD run on Atlanta's opening possession.

But it was Clayborn's fumble return that helped break the game open early in the second quarter and gave Atlanta a 21-7 lead. He scooped up a loose ball after Wilson was crunched by Takk McKinley and Courtney Upshaw.

"I think we're moving in the right direction. We keep proving we can finish games and beat guys. We have to take the momentum and keep rolling with it," Clayborn said.

With Seattle down 11 points, Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a 29-yard TD with 3 minutes left and then threw to Jimmy Graham for the two-point conversion. Seattle got the ball back and moved in range for Walsh, whose attempt was on line but landed short of the crossbar.

"That was in our range, and in hindsight I would have just driven it more," Walsh said. "I would have driven it more and not left it short. I was too accurate and didn't have enough on it."

Wilson again was the entirety of Seattle's offense, throwing for 258 yards and two touchdowns, and running for another 86 yards and a TD.

But it was an awful night for the Seahawks, filled with more injuries and questionable decisions by coach Pete Carroll. He called for a fake field goal late in the first half rather than attempting a 35-yard kick. He also made a questionable challenge in the fourth quarter that didn't go his way and left Seattle with just one timeout.

That lack of timeouts came back to haunt Seattle on the final drive when seconds ticked away and rather than running one more play, Walsh was sent out to attempt the 52-yard kick. His long for the season is 49 yards.

The conclusion only amplified Carroll's baffling decision at the end of the first half, when Seattle ran a fake field goal rather than having Walsh attempt a 35-yarder that would have pulled Seattle within 24-20. Holder Jon Ryan completed his shovel pass to Luke Willson, but Grady Jarrett read the play and tackled Willson for a 4-yard loss.

Willson said Atlanta's defense on the play was different than what Seattle had seen on film.

"It would have been a really good call if we had made it," Carroll said. "Terrific opportunity right where we wanted it and the defensive tackle made a better play."

Seattle played a game for the first time since the end of the 2010 season without Richard Sherman. His streak of 99 consecutive starts in the regular season was snapped because of a torn Achilles tendon suffered against Arizona. The Seahawks were also without safety Kam Chancellor because of a neck injury, leaving their vaunted secondary with several new faces.

"Those two are phenomenal players. ... It was a lot different," Sanu said. "They did a lot of different things but we just had to take advantage of our routes."

MATTY ICE

Ryan was more than happy to pick on a defense without Sherman and Chancellor. He was 19 of 27 passing for 195 yards and rarely faced pressure. Seattle had one sack, and the Falcons went 9 of 14 on third-down conversions.

Sanu made a great one-handed grab for a 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Ryan found Toilolo on a 25-yard TD in the third quarter to give Atlanta a 31-20 lead. Matt Bryant added a 19-yard field goal with 3:49 left to put the Falcons ahead by 11, and Wilson's late heroics weren't enough.

Ryan's streak of 64 straight games passing for at least 200 yards was snapped.

INJURIES

Seattle's injury woes continued. The Seahawks lost rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin to a concussion on the second play of the game, forcing newly signed veteran Byron Maxwell into a more prominent role than expected.

Early in the second half, promising running back Mike Davis was lost to a groin injury after taking a screen pass 21 yards. Davis had two receptions and had carried six times for 18 yards before getting hurt. Seattle also lost starting guard Oday Aboushi in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.

Atlanta got a scare when safety Keanu Neal was checked for a concussion in the first half. He was cleared to return.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday to open a three-game homestand.

Seahawks: Travel to division foe San Francisco on Sunday.

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AFC EAST: Ryan, Falcons slip and slide to 25-20 win over Jets

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AFC EAST: Ryan, Falcons slip and slide to 25-20 win over Jets

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. 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 80-yard 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.

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