Vikings defeat Falcons 20-10, Peterson runs for 2 TDs
Dawn's pregame perch.
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) -- Adrian Peterson turned in another typical performance.
For Matt Ryan, this is becoming the norm, too.
Peterson ran for 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Ryan threw two more interceptions, and the Minnesota Vikings beat the slumping Atlanta Falcons 20-10 on Sunday.
Bouncing back from a 30-13 loss to Green Bay, 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.
After being held to 45 yards by the Packers, his lowest output since Week 1, Peterson ripped through the Falcons for his sixth 100-yard game of the season.
Atlanta (6-5) has lost five of its past six, including four straight, and is in danger of becoming one of the few teams in NFL history to start 5-0 and miss the playoffs.
Ryan was already facing plenty of scrutiny after throwing three interceptions the previous week against Indianapolis. He was picked off two more times by the Vikings, the second a crucial turnover in the end zone after an apparent go-ahead touchdown was wiped out by a penalty.
Minnesota reclaimed a one-game lead over Green Bay in the NFC North, taking advantage of the Packers' loss to Chicago on Thanksgiving night.
Teddy Bridgewater completed 20 of 28 for 174 yards, though he did throw an interception in the end zone to take potential points off the board. It didn't hurt. The Vikings' defense kept Atlanta out of the end zone until Ryan's 1-yard touchdown pass to Nick Williams with 1:28 remaining.
Julio Jones was held to 56 yards on five catches.
For Ryan, it was another disappointing performance. Matty Ice squandered one scoring chance in the second quarter when a deep throw down the middle was picked off by Captain Munnerlyn.
The second interception was real costly.
It came after Tevin Coleman's 1-yard scoring run, which would've give 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.
As Ryan unbuckled his helmet and trotted off the field, he heard some of the loudest boos of his career from the home crowd.
But there was plenty of blame to go around.
Coleman, starting for injured running back Devonta Coleman, broke off 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 from Coleman, who has lost three fumbles this season. Antone Exum fell on the loose ball at the Minnesota 21.
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 Andy Levitre on a blitz.
Coleman had the first 100-yard game of his career, finishing with 110 yards on 18 carries.
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