Dee Alford gets redemption and ends game as hero

Falcons cornerback Dee Alford saw his up-and-down day end in redemption.

He came up with an interception to help preserve the 23-20 win over the Browns on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

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Alford, who starred in the Canadian Football League, recorded the first interception of his NFL career in particularly memorable fashion.

The significance of the fourth-quarter pick was not lost on Alford, who is from Griffin.

“Personally, after I made the interception to save the game, I was like, ‘Wow, this feels so real,’” Alford said.

His teammates were happy for Alford, too.

“It means a lot for him,” cornerback A.J. Terrell said. “I was too lit for him.”

Terrell laughed before continuing, “It was a big play in a big situation. With how much he has overcome, I know that pick meant a lot for him.”

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Earlier in the game, Alford was beaten by Donovan Peoples-Jones on a 42-yard reception that put the Browns at the goal line before they were denied a touchdown by the Falcons’ defense.

Cleveland quarterback Jacoby Brissett completed 21 of 35 passes for 234 yards. He had no touchdowns and the game-changing interception.

“Every game, we want to create takeaways,” Alford said about Atlanta’s defense. “Whether it is fumbles or interceptions.”

Alford’s game-saving play was similar to what happened last week in Seattle: a sack and then a highlight interception.

Browns receiver David Bell caught a 20-yard pass against Alford two plays before the interception, but the Falcons rookie did not lose confidence.

“Next-play mentality,” Alford said. “No one is perfect; everyone gets caught on. That is what helps us make the next play that is coming.”

Terrell, Richie Grant and Alford have had signature moments in their young careers that show their growth in defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ scheme.

Alford and his defensive teammates hope to continue playing well next week, and they know they will be challenged by Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.