Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 11/28/11
Before arriving in the Lone Star State to take on the Houston Texans, the Falcons are hoping they can develop a killer instinct. In wins over Tennessee and Minnesota, Atlanta let both opponents stick around before pulling out victories that could have been routs. When the Falcons face the 8-3 Texans and third-string quarterback T.J. Yates, they'll need to finish if they are able to craft a big lead. Yates is taking over Matt Leinart, who was injured Sunday in his first game as a replacement for Matt Schaub, who was hurt the previous week. "It doesn't matter who you are playing, but when you get up, you definitely want to keep your foot on their throats," Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. On Nov. 20 against Tennessee, the Falcons built a 23-3 lead before giving up two late touchdowns. Atlanta wound up with a 23-17 win. Against the Vikings, the Falcons stormed out to a 17-0 lead before holding on for a 24-14 victory. Cornerback Christopher Owens helped save the game with a tackle on Minnesota's Percy Harvin, who had broken free on a kickoff return. "The most pivotal play in the ball game in my opinion," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. Also, Weatherspoon had a key stop on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. If Owens doesn't catch Harvin, the Vikings would have pulled within three points with more than six minutes to play. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan turned in a stellar performance against the Vikings. He completed 27 of 34 passes for 262 yards and three touchdown passes. His passer rating of 128.2 was his highest of the season. His previous high this season was 120.7 in a 31-7 victory over Indianapolis on Nov. 6. "I don't put a whole lot of stock in the rating, but I thought we played efficiently," Ryan said. The Falcons were 3-for-3 on their trips to the red zone against the Vikings. They were 3-for-10 in the previous two games against the Saints and the Titans. "We used our short passing game today effectively to kind of move the chains," Ryan said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Hugh Freeze resigns amid reports he contacted escort service

Dodgers reportedly ‘in the mix’ for top left-handed relievers

Did LeBron troll the world with Ben Simmons birthday tweet?

O.J. Simpson granted parole, will be released in October

Jourdan Lewis will miss start of camp for domestic abuse trial

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Vick 'truly sorry' for comments about Kaepernick

NFL owners pushing for Ezekiel Elliott suspension?

Report: Derrick Rose in ‘serious talks’ to join Cavs

Giants co-owner: Kaepernick is not being blackballed

Report: Lakers wanted to sign D-Wade if Bulls bought him out

Report: Bell has no plans to miss regular season games

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

Every NFL team’s biggest question as training camps start

Box Score 7/20: Nothing but Nolan

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

Every MLB team's biggest need at the trade deadline

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

Box Score 7/19: The shadow of the trade deadline begins to fall over baseball

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

The 'Youth in baseball is cyclical' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

Getaway Day: Class is back in session

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker