Falcons hold off fumble-prone Redskins 27-26
From Washington’s first possession to the decisive play in the
final minute, Atlanta’s defense kept finding ways to get its hands
on the ball.
One of five rookies to start for the defense made the biggest
play of the game.
Desmond Trufant deflected Kirk Cousins’ pass on a potential
winning 2-point conversion with 18 seconds remaining, and the
Falcons edged the Redskins 27-26 on Sunday.
The Falcons (4-10) scored 20 points off seven Washington
turnovers. The Redskins (3-11) tied a team record with five lost
fumbles. Alfred Morris and Santana Moss each lost two fumbles.
”You can’t win with turnovers, yet we still had an opportunity
to win and that shows you how hard they fought,” said Redskins
coach Mike Shanahan.
”Those guys normally are great with ball security and don’t
turn it over.”
Cousins passed for 381 yards and three touchdowns, but had three
turnovers in his first start of the season after Shanahan benched
Robert Griffin III. Griffin was not in uniform and watched from the
Cousins’ 3-yard touchdown pass to Moss gave Washington a chance
to force overtime by kicking the extra point.
Instead, Cousins’ 2-point pass for Pierre Garcon was deflected
by Trufant, who also had an interception.
”I was telling myself I had to make some big plays,” Trufant
said. ”I wasn’t surprised they went for the win. They had the
confidence and we were up for the challenge.”
Shanahan said his decision to go for 2 was based on the Falcons’
defensive alignment. He said he would have used his final timeout
to send his kicking team on the field if the Falcons didn’t have
the alignment he wanted for his planned play.
”I thought if we had the right defense and the right play,
we’re going to stay with it,” Shanahan said. ”We thought we did
and unfortunately it didn’t work out.”
Shanahan brushed off a question about his job status, saying
”I’m not going to talk about that.”
Cousins said he liked the decision to go for 2.
”I loved the call to go for 2 there,” Cousins said. ”I felt
like we had them on the ropes. We just didn’t do enough to execute,
but it starts right here with me.”
The Falcons recovered an onside kick to seal the win.
”It was a game full of drama, but I’m glad we were able to pull
it off,” said Atlanta’s Steven Jackson, who ran for 38 yards and
Cousins listed his two interceptions, lost fumble and failed
2-point pass as ”four plays right there that if they go
differently, it’s probably a much better result.”
The Falcons started five rookies on defense, including three in
The Falcons held out safety Thomas DeCoud, who is recovering
from a concussion. Rookie safety Zeke Motta made his first
Rookie offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder also made his first start
Morris had 98 yards rushing on 18 carries, including a 37-yard
Cousins lost a fumble on the Redskins’ first possession and set
up the Falcons’ go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter with
his first of two interceptions.
The Falcons led 24-20 with less than 6 minutes remaining before
Trufant’s interception set up Matt Bryant’s 51-yard field goal.
The teams combined for six turnovers in the first half,
including four turnovers by the Redskins. There were lost fumbles
on three straight plays in the second quarter.
The Redskins had an excellent scoring opportunity at the Atlanta
18 following a 62-yard pass from Cousins to Aldrick Robinson.
On first down from the 18, Morris lost the ball without being
hit, and Malliciah Goodman recovered for Atlanta.
The Falcons gave the ball back when Matt Ryan fumbled when hit
by Ryan Kerrigan. On the next play, Cousins passed to Moss, who
lost the ball when stripped by Robert McClain. William Moore
recovered for Atlanta.
Ryan completed 29 of 38 passes for 210 yards with one touchdown
and one interception.
Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez had six catches for 62 yards and
a touchdown. He became the fifth player in NFL history with 15,000
NOTES: The Redskins also lost five fumbles against the Oilers on
Oct. 30, 1988. … Garcon had seven catches for 129 yards,
including a 53-yard touchdown. … Falcons DT Jonathan Babineaux
recovered two fumbles. … Signs spotted in the stands held by
Redskins fans: ”Free RGIII,” ”Let `em play” and ”We still
believe in RGIII.” … Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon left the game
with a knee injury.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org