Inept Cardinals lose to Falcons, 6-3 - East Valley Tribune: News

Inept Cardinals lose to Falcons, 6-3

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Posted: Sunday, September 26, 2004 2:00 pm | Updated: 4:30 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

ATLANTA - Michael Vick wasn't much help. The Atlanta Falcons had to rely on their defense and Arizona's inept offense to get to 3-0 for the first time since 1986.

The Falcons forced Arizona quarterback Josh McCown into three fumbles and managed to win with a pair of field goals by Jay Feely, beating the winless Cardinals 6-3 in a downright ugly game Sunday.

How ugly? There were nine fumbles (seven resulting in turnovers), five calls that had to be reviewed by the referee (two were overturned) and not one touchdown despite countless opportunities by both teams. The Cardinals (0-3) lost three fumbles inside the Falcons 20.

Atlanta did its best to give the game away in the fourth quarter. Vick threw a pass that was intercepted by Adrian Wilson and returned to the Falcons 18, but the Cardinals had to settle for Neil Rackers' 30-yard field goal with 9:24 remaining.

Warrick Dunn, who rushed for 117 yards, fumbled at the Atlanta 19 with 3:19 remaining, giving the Cardinals a chance to at least kick a tying field goal. Of course, they promptly gave the ball right back.

On a reverse, receiver Karl Williams got to the 7 but the ball was jarred loose by Chris Draft. Bryan Scott recovered for the Falcons with 2:26 remaining.

Finally, Vick broke loose. He ran for 58 yards on a bootleg -- the longest carry of his career -- to seal the victory. The Falcons are 3-0 for only the third time in their 39-year history.

Vick struggled the rest of the game, one week after accounting for 288 yards rushing and passing in a victory over St. Louis. He was sacked five times, turned the ball over three times and went just 10-of-20 for 115 yards.

The Cardinals couldn't take advantage. Rod Coleman forced a couple of fumbles and Brady Smith finished off McCown with a blindside hit that led to another turnover in the fourth quarter. Patrick Kerney had a career-high three sacks for the Falcons, who had six sacks overall.

McCown went 20-of-26 for 198 yards, but was replaced by Shaun King after the third fumble. The backup quarterback couldn't rally the Cardinals, who have managed just 25 points and two touchdowns in their first three games.

On the Falcons' first possession, Dunn got loose for a 60-yard run, but the offense bogged down inside the 10 and settled for Feely's 25-yard field goal.

A 30-yard punt return by Allen Rossum set up Feely's second field goal, a 23-yarder less than three minutes into the second period. That was it for the Atlanta offense.

The Falcons managed just 283 yards against the Cardinals, who gave up an average of 412.5 in their first two games -- the worst figure in the NFL.

Arizona hasn't lost its first three games since 1996, but this season is shaping up like most others for this team. The Cardinals have only one winning year since 1985.

The officials struggled, too. Rossum's long punt return was initially credited as a 65-yarder, even though he appeared to step out of bounds several times before being whistled down at the Arizona 4.

The Falcons moved back when replays clearly showed Rossum's entire right foot had stepped out of bounds at the 39.

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