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3 things we learned about the Falcons

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Atlanta’s defense made sure the Falcons didn’t suffer an upset loss on the road Sunday.

Linebacker Paul Worrilow’s second-quarter interception and safety Robenson Therezie’s fourth-quarter pick helped Atlanta hold on for a 10-7 win over the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium.

Worrilow’s interception came with 4 seconds left in the first half and Therezie’s with 1:35 remaining in the game.

“I loved the way we finished at the halves,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “Those are exactly the types of finishes we want for our defense at the end of a half, where we can close out a game and that’s what we want to stand for.”

The Falcons (6-1) rebounded from their first loss of the season against New Orleans.

Tennessee (1-5), which hasn’t won a home game since beating Jacksonville in October of last year, suffered its fifth straight loss.

Falcons back Quarterback Matt Ryan completed 22 of 38 passes for 251 yards and one touchdown.

Running back Devonta Freeman rushed for 116 yards on 25 carries for his third consecutive game with at least 100 yards. He wasn’t surprised the struggling Titans kept it close.

“This is the NFL — ain’t nobody better than nobody,” Freeman said. “It’s just the team that pays the most attention to detail. Those are the teams that maybe win the game. Or the team with the least turnovers. I’m not surprised at all.”

Zach Mettenberger started at quarterback for Tennessee in place of rookie Marcus Mariota, who suffered an MCL sprain in last week’s loss to Miami. Mettenberger completed 22 of 35 passes for 187 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

“It’s frustrating, for sure, but ultimately I can’t let that faze me,” Mettenberger said of the loss. “I’ve got to keep working like I know I do and it will come. It’s a team effort and I obviously didn’t make the plays to help the team out today.”

Tennessee converted only one of nine third-down situations.

What we learned about the Falcons:

1. Atlanta will find a win. The Falcons’ offense struggled, but the defense limited the Titans to one touchdown in Atlanta’s 10-7 win. The Titans’ only score came in the second quarter, and the Falcons shut them out in the second half. Two crucial interceptions silenced Tennessee late in the second and fourth quarters. Rookie safety Robenson Therezie’s fourth-quarter pick sealed the win. “It was big,” Therezie said. “It shows the character of the player that I want to be and being a pro.”

2. Quarterback Matt Ryan moved the ball, but he couldn’t get anything going in the second half when the Falcons were held off the scoreboard. Two interceptions hurt. He completed 22 of 38 passes for 251 yards and one touchdown. “You know in this league any time you come away with a win, that’s the objective,” Ryan said. “Today was a hard-fought game for us, and we kept battling the entire time.”

3. Running back Devonta Freeman proved his reliability with his third consecutive 100-yard game. He rushed for 116 yards on 25 carries. Freeman averaged 4.6 yards per carry. “I feel good, but I want to get better,” Freeman said. “I want to always get better and grow.”

Etc.

–WR Julio Jones led all receivers with nine catches for 92 yards. He scored Atlanta’s only touchdown in the second quarter and almost added another one in the fourth quarter when he dived just short of the goal line. “There was more concern over whether, ‘Did I get the ball over the pylon?'” Jones said. “As you can see on the replay, the ball was clearly over the pylon. Then (the officials) were like, ‘Was his foot in?’ But I was in.”

–WR Roddy White caught three passes for 48 yards. He has not made more than four receptions in a game this season, and the yardage total Sunday was his second best of the year.

–LB Justin Durant made six tackles, including one for a loss. He missed each of the previous two games due to a left elbow injury.


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