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Cardinals fall to the Falcons 20-19, losing streak increases to six

Jan 1, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons safety Richie Grant (27) blocks a punt by Arizona Cardinals punter Andy Lee (14) during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Despite a strong performance from fourth-string quarterback David Blough, the Cardinals fell just short against the Falcons with a final score of 20-19.

It was a back-and-forth game throughout all four quarters, but a 21-yard field goal snapped the Falcons’ four-game losing streak and gave Desmond Ridder his first NFL win.

Meanwhile, Arizona has increased their losing streak to six as they continue to lose winnable games but come just short.

This was the second straight week that the Cardinals lost on a game-winning field goal by their opponent. 

Struggles to finish off drives

While Arizona did have some very impressive drives, many of which led them into the red zone, it was a constant struggle to finish them off in the end zone.

Matt Prater was forced onto the field five different times, and he converted four of those five times. Prater single handely accounted for 13 of the 19 Cardinals points.

Through the last six games, Arizona is now 2/10 on fourth-down conversions. A striking number that continues to cost them those must needed first downs to move the chains.

Today, the Cardinals went 1-4 in the red zone, ultimately costing them a win.

The running game shines

James Conner has been excellent over the past few weeks, recording at least 100 yards total in four of the last five games.

Before leaving injured in the fourth quarter, Conner ran the ball 16 times for 79 yards and gained an additional 31 yards through the air.

Overall, the Cardinals ran the ball for 126 yards, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. This is highly impressive considering their injuries throughout the offensive line.

Inability to close out games

The reoccurring problem for Arizona was showcased in today’s loss against the Falcons.

Arizona has had a massive issue with closing out games on offense. While they have had leads in the fourth quarter, the offense continues to stall, leading to the defense finally folding.

The Falcons took advantage of this with a 12-play, 72-yard drive with less than 5 minutes left in the game.

Atlanta converted four first downs on this drive, burning the rest of the Cardinals’ timeouts and allowing Younghoe Koo’s field goal to be the game’s final play.

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