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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Nov 19, 2012 - 7:58 am

Bird Bits: Cardinals slip late in Atlanta

Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Sam Acho (94) knocks the ball out of the hands of Atlanta Falcons fullback Jason Snelling (44) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, in Atlanta. Arizona Cardinals strong safety Rashad Johnson made the recovery. (AP Photo/Rich Addicks)

Sure, you could read the box score and know who won, but we all know that won't tell you everything that happened in a football game. So, we will give you Bird Bits providing you with the analysis, quotes and notes from the Cardinals' 23-19 loss to the Falcons.

The Story:

Matt Ryan threw a career-high five interceptions and the Falcons (9-1) didn't hold a lead until midway through the fourth quarter, but Michael Turner's touchdown run with 6:40 remaining proved to be the difference, as Atlanta handed the Arizona Cardinals (4-6) their sixth-straight loss 23-19.

The Good:

The Cardinals defense came up big most of the afternoon, forcing six turnovers, including three first quarter interceptions that helped build an early 13-0 lead.

LaRod Stephens-Howling also had an impressive day on the ground, rushing for 127 yards to go along with a first quarter touchdown. Stephens-Howling had two runs of 40 and 52 yards respectively -- the longest rushing attempts of his career.

The Bad:

John Skelton was just 2-of-7 during the first quarter, including a bad miss to Larry Fitzgerald in the right corner of the end zone. Skelton was replaced by rookie Ryan Lindley during the Cardinals' first drive of the second quarter.

The Cardinals offense did not complete a third down on their final six drives. During two short-yardage situations in the fourth quarter, Arizona predictably elected to run the ball with Stephens-Howling and the Falcons defense snuffed out both attempts.

While Ray Horton's unit kept Arizona in the game for most of the afternon, during Atlanta's 70-yard touchdown drive the Cardinals defense failed to get pressure on Ryan and the former No. 3 overall pick made them pay -- completing four passes for 64 yards.

Noted:

• In his first career NFL appearance, Lindley went for 9-of-20 for 64 yards.

• Cornerback Patrick Peterson suffered a hamstring injury in the second half and didn't return after going to the locker room.

• Arizona's 13 first quarter points were the most the team had scored in the first 12 minutes of play all season.

• The Cardinals' quarterback issues once again limited the effectiveness of Larry Fitzgerald. Arizona's star wideout had just one catch for 11 yards.

• Six-game losing streaks are nothing new for the Cardinals. Last season, Arizona dropped six consecutive contests from September 18 to October 30.

Coming Up Next:

The Cardinals try to regroup with a home divisional matchup against the St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) next Sunday. The Rams were the first team to beat Arizona this season, knocking Ken Whisenhunt's squad around on Thursday Night Football 17-3.

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