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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Matt Urben

Takeaways: Falcons defeat Cardinals on game-winning field goal

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The Atlanta Falcons faced off against an undermanned Arizona Cardinals team in Week 17, and while the game was closer than fans would have liked, kicker Younghoe Koo hit a game-winning field goal as time expired to seal the 20-19 victory.

Sunday’s win ended the Falcons’ four-game losing streak as the team improved to 6-10 with one game left to play. Here are four takeaways from Week 17.

Tyler Allgeier show

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Allgeier is looking more dangerous with each passing week. He got the Falcons on the board early to give the team a 7-3 lead. The rookie topped 1,000 all-purpose yards for the season during Sunday’s game and finished with 83 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Going forward, it’s clear Allgeier is the future of the Falcons running game. The rookie has 900 rushing yards with one game left to play and 1,012 yards total. Not too bad for a fifth-round pick.

Ridder wins start No. 3

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Ridder showed a bit more consistency in his third game — and first career win — as an NFL starting quarterback. While Ridder has yet to have that breakout performance, the rookie continues to show good poise and is clearly trending in the right direction. With Marcus Mariota rumored to be on his way out after the season, this could very well be Ridder’s team going forward. The third-round pick out of Cincinnati completed 19-of-26 passes for 169 yards and a passer rating of 90.1. He has yet to throw for a touchdown or an interception.

Play of the game: Richie Grant blocks punt

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Safety Richie Grant blocked a Cardinals punt in the second quarter and the Falcons recovered the ball near Arizona’s goal line. On the next play, Cordarrelle Patterson punched it in to give Atlanta the lead. Grant has shown significant improvement in his second NFL season, and Sunday’s performance was just more proof that he can be the long-term answer at free safety for this young Falcons team.

What's next for Atlanta?

(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The Falcons get another shot at Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 18. The last time these two teams faced off, the Bucs benefited from a phantom roughing the passer penalty on Grady Jarrett. Obviously, things haven’t gone the way Falcons fans were hoping this season, but a win against a division rival at home would end things on a high note. The Buccaneers defeated the Panthers in Week 17.

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