Gabriel continues scoring streak in Falcons’ win over Cardinals

Taylor Gabriel didn’t need many touches to make an impact in Sunday’s game.

The speedy wide receiver had only four receptions and one rushing attempt but gained 102 total yards and had two touchdowns to help the Atlanta Falcons (7-4) beat the Arizona Cardinals (4-6-1) 38-19 in the Georgia Dome.

In the Falcons’ last game, Gabriel’s 76-yard touchdown catch gave Atlanta a lead it would quickly relinquish in a 24-15 loss in Philadelphia. Sunday, his first score — a 35-yard catch and scamper off a screen pass — gave the Falcons a lead they would not let slip away.

“They called a screen and I jumped back and I seen Julio (Jones) in front of me, and I made a few moves, I really just followed behind Julio the whole time,” Gabriel said. “Just great blocks in front of me. I really just had to run.”

Gabriel has not been asked to do much this season, but when the ball does end up in his hands, he has consistently found a way to make big plays happen.

As the Falcons continue to push toward the postseason, the third-year speedster from Abilene Christian should continue to get opportunities to bust open big plays. Whether it’s leaving defenders in the dust as he sprints down the field or if it’s by juking his way through the masses before hitting the turbo to reach paydirt, Gabriel has found a way to provide a punch for the NFL’s highest scoring offense.

He said his recent success has not given him a boost in self-confidence, but instead more assurance in his teammates.

“Just confidence within my brothers and them blocking, just knowing they’ll have my block,” Gabriel said.

Sunday was the fourth straight game where he reached the end zone and the first game of his career with multiple scores. In an offense that gets so many players involved in the passing game, Gabriel has wedged his name into the conversation to get more touches and demand more attention from opposing defenses.

“That’s what Gabe do,” running back Devonta Freeman said. “It’s been phenomenal for him. I’m excited for him. And he’s a hungry kid. He takes advantage of every opportunity he gets.”