Falcons Find Footing, Escape Jets 25-20

The Atlanta Falcons found their footing and survived 25-20 against the New York Jets on a wet Sunday, Oct. 29, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

After a three-game losing streak, the Falcons overcame multiple turnovers caused by soggy conditions to bring their overall record to 4-3.

Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for two touchdown passes, one to tight end Austin Hooper and one to wide receiver Mohamed Sanu. The biggest play of the afternoon came at 12:22 in the fourth quarter when Ryan sent an 8-yard touchdown pass to Sanu, putting the Falcons in the lead, 22-17.

From there, the Falcons never looked back.

Ryan, who threw for 254 yards with a passer rating of 113.3, struggled to hold on to the football throughout the game due to the rainy weather conditions. He fumbled three snap exchanges with center Alex Mack, losing two of them in the first quarter. Wide receiver Andre Roberts followed suit with a fumble of his own but succeeded in recovering it to maintain Atlanta’s possession.

“That was some of the hardest conditions I played just for the length of the game,” Ryan told ESPN. “I have played in situations where we had some heavy rain or tough wind or anything like that for a little bit. From kickoff to the end of the game it was coming down pretty hard.”

The Jets (3-5) started the game strong, scoring a touchdown on their opening drive when a 20-yard pass from Josh McCown found receiver Eric Tomlinson. McCown later connected with receiver Robby Anderson for a touchdown on a 24-yard strike in the second quarter.

But the Jets had some turnovers of their own.

McCown, who threw for 257 yards with a passer rating of 119.3, fumbled twice. Returner Jeremy Kerley made a costly turnover as he muffed a punt in the fourth quarter, allowing the Falcons to tack on another field goal.

“It sailed a little bit,” Kerley told ESPN. “It was wet, raining and the ball was more slippery than I thought it was. … It messed up momentum a little bit.”

This marks the third consecutive game that the Jets lost despite leading in the fourth quarter.

Leading 17-16 early in the fourth quarter, the Jets missed a chance to add to their lead when kicker Chandler Catanzaro (2/4 on FG for the day) missed a 48-yard field goal wide right.

That gave the Falcons great field position, and with 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter, running back Falcons Tevin Coleman evaded multiple defenders and burst for a 52-yard run. Ryan capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Sanu.

On the next drive, the Jets cut the lead 22-20 on a 46-yard field goal by Catanzaro.

But the Jets’ best chance at a comeback ended when returner Jeremy Kerley muffed a punt in the fourth quarter, turning the ball over deep in Jets territory.

The Atlanta Falcons hope to maintain their winning ways when they battle the Carolina Panthers (5-3) in Charlotte, N.C., Nov. 5. The New York Jets hope to rebound at home against AFC East rival Buffalo Bills (5-2) Nov. 2.

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