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Cardinals vs. Falcons results: The key stats behind the 29-18 Arizona loss

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A look at what the stats told us about the trip to Atlanta

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

We know it was ugly, but how did it happen?  Let's find out and take a look at the stats that mattered in the Arizona Cardinals loss to the Atlanta Falcons.  And no use trying to sugar-coat or put on a positive spin because the stats don't lie.

Win/Loss 9-3

The Cardinals fall to 9-3, and the lead in the NFC West is reduced to one game with four remaining.  Hard to imagine a team that's tied with the best record in the league and remains the number one seed in the conference having their backs to the wall, but that's exactly what the Cardinals face.

Points Scored 18-29

With 11 offensive points scored,  the last 15 quarters add up to a grand total of 17 for the team.  For the season the Cardinals have scored 258 points (offensively and defensively) for an average of 21.5 per game, that ranks 19th* in the league.  The 224 points allowed for the season averages to 18.7 points per game (tied for 4th ranked) and at +2.8 points differential, the team is ranked 12th in the league.

Total Net Yards 329-500

An improvement over last week in yards gained, but surrendering an even-500 yards to the Falcons, this becomes the 2nd most net yards allowed this season (Denver/568). All three Cardinals losses have occurred when being out-gained in total yards.

First Downs 18-22

Not as lop-sided as one would think given the disparity in total yards, and with the league average of 20.3 it underscores how big plays by the Falcons were the Cardinals undoing on defense.  The team ranks 24th in average first downs offensively with 19.0 per game and defensively the Cardinals rank 6th with 18.9 per game allowed.  The +.1 differential ranks 17th in the league.

Net Rushing Yards 35-142

Just when Cardinal Nation thought it couldn't any get worse, it did.  When you subtract the 7 yards on a Drew Stanton scramble, we're left with 28 yards on 10 handoffs (which makes the math for yards per carry easy).  Remarkably, this is the 3rd game this season the team has rushed for under 40 yards (and the 4th time under 50 yards).   At 74.8 yards per game, the Cards can be thankful to the Oakland Raiders not to be in last place in this category.

Defensively, by far the worst performance by the team with 142 yards allowed against an Atlanta Falcons team that entered the game ranked 26th in offensive rushing yards per game.  The Cardinals average yards allowed per game is still a very respectable 89.5 though , but slips to 6th ranked in the league (which makes it that much more difficult to swallow a -14.7 differential which ranks 23rd).

Net Passing Yards 294-358

The Cardinals offensive passing yards per game actually rises to 247.2, good enough for 13th ranked, while defensively the average falls to 263.2 (ranked 27th in the NFL).  With a pass differential of -16.0, the Cardinals match their rushing differential with a 23rd ranking.

Third Down Percentage 1-7-14% / 7-16-44%

With a league average of approximately 41 percent, easy to see how 14 percent relates for the Cardinals in this game.  Tough to win games with this kind of disparity.

Time of Possession 22:57-37:03

(See Third Down Percentage above)

Now let's take a look at player stats

Drew Stanton

Throwing for 24 completions on 39 attempts for a 61.5 pass percentage with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions earned a 72.0 passer rating.

Rashad Johnson

Contributing with by far the biggest play of the game for the Cardinals with an 88 yard pass interception return for a touchdown.

Honorable Mention

Jaron Brown The Cardinals leading receiver with 7 receptions for 75 yards and Larry Foote with 9 tackles and 3 assists.

In Summary

A very poor day for the Arizona Cardinals and the stats show it.

* All team rankings were taken at press-time and are subject to change pending the results of the Dolphins/Jets Monday night game.