Alford’s late pickoff saves Falcons’ 23-20 win over Browns
ATLANTA (AP) — Arthur Smith said his Atlanta Falcons won’t always be able to run the ball as effectively as they did against the Cleveland Browns, who were missing three starters on their defensive line.
Clearly, the Falcons coach will be happy when he can lean on his ground game.
Dee Alford intercepted Jacoby Brissett’s pass with less than a minute remaining and the Falcons held on to beat the Browns 23-20 in Sunday’s matchup of top-five rushing attacks.
Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett sacked Brissett for a loss of 8 yards on the play before the interception.
The Falcons outrushed the Browns 202 yards to 177 despite another strong game by Cleveland’s Nick Chubb.
“When you can run the ball and they know you’re going to run it, that speaks volumes for your guys,” Smith said.
Cleveland didn’t have All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett, who was hurt in a one-car crash last Monday. He suffered injuries to his shoulder and biceps, several cuts and bruises and a broken blood vessel in his left eye.
The Browns still held Atlanta’s passing game in check. Marcus Mariota threw for 139 yards with an interception.
“I always felt the team that ran the ball better today was going to win, and it held true thankfully,” Smith said.