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Struggling Atlanta Falcons fall to Minnesota Vikings, 20-10
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) runs past Atlanta Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen (37) and Atlanta middle linebacker Paul Worrilow (55) during the second half of Sunday's game in Atlanta. - photo by David Goldman

Falcons at Buccaneers

When: 1 p.m. Sunday

Where: Tampa, Fla.

On TV: Fox

ATLANTA — Matt Ryan heard some of the loudest boos of his career after another Falcons loss.

There was plenty of blame to go around.

Ryan threw two more interceptions and didn’t get much help from his teammates Sunday, sending slumping Atlanta to its fourth straight loss. Minnesota pulled away for a 20-10 victory as Adrian Peterson rushed for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“It starts with me,” Ryan said. “It starts with making great decisions. I didn’t do a good job of that.”

Ryan has five interceptions in the past two games, drawing plenty of heat for Atlanta’s slide. The Falcons (6-5) have lost five of six games and are in danger of becoming one of the few teams in NFL history to start 5-0 and miss the playoffs.

“I know I can play better,” said Ryan, who was 22 of 31 for 230 yards. “I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. But I’ve got to get started next week.”

Matty Ice flubbed one scoring chance in the second quarter when a deep throw down the middle was picked off by Captain Munnerlyn.

The second interception was really costly, coming after Tevin Coleman’s 1-yard scoring run, which would’ve given the Falcons a 10-7 lead in the third quarter, was wiped out by a clipping penalty on tight end Tony Moeaki.

With the Falcons facing third-and-goal from the 14, Ryan scrambled to his left and tried to force a pass to Jacob Tamme in the end zone. Terence Newman grabbed it instead, giving Minnesota a huge stop.

“You want to be aggressive,” Ryan said. “But there’s a time and place for that. That was not the place.”
Others made costly mistakes, too.

Coleman, starting for injured running back Devonta Freeman, broke the longest run of his career in the first quarter. But the 46-yard scamper was wasted when the rookie failed to keep a firm grip on the ball, allowing linebacker Anthony Barr to come up from behind and punch it away.

Antone Exum fell on the loose ball at the Minnesota 21 for Coleman’s third lost fumble of the season.

On Atlanta’s last gasp in the fourth quarter, Coleman dropped a deep pass down the right sideline. Then, on fourth-and-1 at midfield, Ryan was hammered by Barr before he could even get off a quick pass, the linebacker blowing right by lineman Andy Levitre.

“Our sense of urgency on the offensive side of the ball, I just don’t feel it,” receiver Roddy White said. “I felt like we got a little complacent.”

There was nothing complacent about Peterson, who was held to 45 yards — his lowest output since Week 1 — in last week’s 30-13 loss to Green Bay. He also had a crucial fumble in the fourth quarter that thwarted any hopes of a comeback.

“We took it personal, the loss last week,” Peterson said.

Minnesota (8-3) jumped ahead on Peterson’s 1-yard run in the opening quarter, and clinched it when he got loose on a 35-yard scamper down the sideline with 4:15 remaining in the game.

Against the Falcons, who came in with the league’s top-ranked defense against the run, Peterson ripped off his sixth 100-yard game of the season. He also moved to 18th on the NFL career rushing list with 11,354 yards, passing O.J. Simpson (11,236), Corey Dillon (11,241) and John Riggins (11,352).

“I just come in and try to focus on doing my job and helping my team win,” Peterson said. “I’ll be able to look at those things after the fact.”

Teddy Bridgewater completed 20 of 28 for 174 yards, throwing an interception in the end zone to take potential points off the board. It didn’t matter.

The Vikings’ defense kept Atlanta out of the end zone until Ryan’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Nick Williams with 1:28 remaining.

Minnesota really clamped down on Atlanta star Julio Jones, who was held to 56 yards on five catches.

The Vikings reclaimed a one-game lead over Green Bay in the NFC North, taking advantage of the Packers’ loss to Chicago on Thanksgiving night.

Notes: Coleman had the first 100-yard game of his career, finishing with 110 yards on 18 carries. … Shayne Graham made a 31-yard field goal in his Atlanta debut. He was filling in for regular kicker Matt Bryant, out with a quadriceps injury. … Jones had a streak of three straight 100-yard receiving games. … LB Justin Durant went out in the first half with an ankle injury and didn’t return.

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