Matt Ryan threw for 371 yards and four touchdowns and the defense secured three interceptions as the visiting Atlanta Falcons recorded their first victory of the season Sunday with a 40-23 win against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Falcons (1-5) scored 23 unanswered points to open the game, their first under the direction of interim coach Raheem Morris, who replaced the fired Dan Quinn this week. Younghoe Koo kicked field goals of 50, 21 and 47 yards during the run.
Atlanta took a 20-0 lead into halftime, turning a trio of interceptions by Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins into 17 points. After intercepting Cousins on the first play from scrimmage, the Falcons capitalized just five plays later, as Ryan connected for a 20-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones.
Jones caught a pair of scoring passes and finished with eight receptions for 137 yards. Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst also caught touchdowns from Ryan, who was 30-for-40 with zero interceptions.
Minnesota (1-5) was outgained 462-365 and did much of its damage during a 16-point fourth quarter. In addition to Cousins’ early struggles — the veteran was 24-for-36 for 343 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions — the Vikings were without running back Dalvin Cook, who exited in the second half of a Week 5 loss at Seattle with a groin injury.
Justin Jefferson led the Vikings with nine receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns, while Adam Thielen had three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. Alexander Mattison, who ran for a career-best 112 yards last week, was Minnesota’s leading rusher with 26 yards on 10 carries.
Trailing 10-0 with an opportunity to put points on the board following a Falcons fumble, the Vikings turned the ball over on downs with 11:41 to go in the second quarter, as the Atlanta defense stuffed Mike Boone on 4th-and-goal from the Falcons’ 1-yard line.
Minnesota also was without right guard Dru Samia. Rookie Ezra Cleveland started in his place.
Cousins has a league-leading 10 interceptions this season after throwing just six interceptions in 2019.
Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun and A.J. Terrell had picks for the Falcons.