Matt Prater kicks Cardinals past Falcons in Kyler Murray’s return

Matt Prater kicks Cardinals past Falcons in Kyler Murray’s return

Matt Prater kicked four field goals, including the 23-yard game-winner, and Kyler Murray passed for 249 yards and ran for a score to spark the Arizona Cardinals to a dramatic 25-23 home win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in Glendale, Ariz.

A 9-yard touchdown run by Desmond Ridder with 2:33 remaining in the game put Atlanta up 23-22, but Murray, in his first game back since tearing his ACL, led the Cardinals (2-8) on a 11-play, 70-yard drive to set up Prater for the game-winning kick.

Ridder replaced Taylor Heinicke in the second half after he left with a hamstring injury and passed for 39 yards. He led the Falcons down the field midway through the fourth quarter but was stopped on a fourth-and-1 run at the Arizona 21-yard line with 8:01 to go.

James Conner had 16 carries for 73 yards after spending four games on injured reserve. Trey McBride had a team-high eight receptions for 131 yards.

Heinicke passed for 55 yards and a score for the Falcons (4-6). Bijan Robinson added 22 carries for 95 yards and a score and Scotty Miller had a scoring reception.

Arizona took to a 3-0 lead with 4:53 to go in the first quarter after Prater capped a 15-play, 63-yard drive with a 51-yard field goal.

Atlanta responded on its ensuing possession when Heinicke hooked up with Miller on a 2-yard touchdown pass to give the Falcons a 7-3 lead. A roughing the passer penalty on Dennis Gardeck on third-and-8 inside Atlanta territory kept the scoring drive alive.

The Cardinals trimmed the lead to 7-6 with 10:32 before halftime when Prater capped a six-play, 47-yard drive with a 46-yard field goal. But a 5-yard scoring run by Robinson put the Falcons up 14-6 with 4:07 to play.

Murray capped an impressive nine-play, 75-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring run to cut Atlanta’s lead to 14-12 with 10 seconds to play until halftime. The two-point conversion attempt failed.

After the teams swapped field goals in the third quarter, a 49-yard punt return by Greg Dortch set Arizona up at the Atlanta 21-yard line. Murray appeared to throw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Michael Wilson two plays later, but the play was overturned and the ball was placed at the 1-yard line. On the next play, backup quarterback Clayton Tune scored on a QB sneak to give the Cardinals a 22-17 lead.