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NFL 2020: Atlanta Falcons hold off Minnesota Vikings for first win of the season

Atlanta Falcons v Minnesota Vikings Enter caption
Atlanta Falcons v Minnesota Vikings Enter caption
Amaar Burton
ANALYST
Modified 19 Oct 2020, 11:05 IST
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The Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings were two of the NFC's most talented teams on paper going into this season.

On the football field, both of them have started terribly.

The Vikings were 1-4 going into Sunday's Week 6 home contest with the Falcons. Atlanta was so disappointing that their 0-5 start cost head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff their respective jobs.

With interim head coach Raheem Morris at the helm on Sunday, the Falcons got their first win of the season, 40-23, over the struggling Vikings.

Ever since the Atlanta Falcons famously blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI three years ago, they've become a running joke around the sports world for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

This season, the Falcons did it again -- twice -- losing significant leads to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2 and the Chicago Bears in Week 3.

Against the Vikings in Week 6, the Falcons were up 23-0 early in the third quarter. If you're an Atlanta fan, you had zero reason to fee confident at that point. When it was 33-7 midway through the fourth quarter, the Falcons' lead probably felt safe.

But rest assured, no one rooting for the Atlanta Falcons really relaxed until the game was officially over and the Falcons improved to 1-5. It definitely helped that Minnesota was playing without injured star running back Dalvin Cook.

Quarterback Matt Ryan finished with 30 completions on 40 attempts for 371 passing yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Ryan connected with star receiver Julio Jones for eight catches, 137 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan also hit receiver Calvin Ridley and tight end Hayden Hurst for scores.

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The Atlanta Falcons' defense intercepted Vikings QB Kirk Cousins three times: Linebackers Deion Jones and Foyesade Oluokun, and cornerback A.J. Terrell each picked off Cousins. Prior to the game, Atlanta had collected only two interceptions in the first five weeks.

Going into this season, the Atlanta Falcons may not have been considered a Super Bowl threat. But they weren't supposed to be competing for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, either.

Picking up their first win of the season is a small step, but it's a step in the right direction for a franchise that is starting over with the benefit of some great talent on its roster.

Published 19 Oct 2020, 11:05 IST
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