The Atlanta Firebirds flashed their killer instinct in a 35-10 win over the Mississippi Cottonmouths. For three quarters the Birds struggling to break the snakes, but the team kicked into gear late with 21-fourth quarter points.

“It doesn’t have to be pretty all game, but as long as you take the Prom Queen home at the end of the night, you’re a winner,” said Coach Rob Ryan. “We showed some piss and vinegar late, and we got the win we needed.”

Matt Breida scored the only touchdown of the first quarter, punching it in from four yards out. After Mississippi got on the board with a field goal, Matt Barkley and Albert Wilson connected for a 17-yard touchdown and a 14-3 halftime lead.

The third quarter was scoreless for both sides, but Atlanta padded their lead early in the fourth on a 6-yard scoring pass from Barkley to Cameron Meredith.

Mississippi found the end zone on a 38-yard pass from Casey Therriault to Darvin Adams, but Atlanta shut them down emphatically with Trindon Holliday returning the ensuing kickoff for a 98-yard touchdown. Mike Tolbert iced the game with a 1-yard plunge with one minute left in the game.

Barkley continued his strong play of late, completing 19 of 27 passes for 228 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions.

Rookie Matt Breida had his finest game as a pro, running for 91 yards and a score on 19 carries and adding 6 catches for 62 yards.

Meredith hauled in 6 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown, and Albert Wilson picked up 3 catches for 54 yards and a score.

Brandon Boykin paced the defense with 9 tackles, and safeties Rahim Moore and Bacarri Rambo each notched an interception.

The win runs Atlanta’s record to 11-3 and keeps them ahead of the Orlando Rockets in the division chase, but with a game against their foes looming in week 16 they first have to keep focused on this week’s road game against the 4-10 Washington Wave.

“Washington doesn’t care that we’re playing for the division, they want to win,” said Ryan. “Guys over there are fighting for their jobs and they’re going to scratch and claw to try to beat us. We have to focus real hard this week and worry about the Rockets later.”