Robert Alford, Matt Bryant ruled out for Falcons

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              New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) makes the catch against Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford (23) during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, in Atlanta. The Atlanta Falcons won 23-20. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons cornerback Robert Alford and kicker Matt Bryant missed practice for the third straight day and have been ruled for Sunday’s game at Washington.

Coach Dan Quinn said rookie Isaiah Oliver will take Alford’s spot. Oliver, a second-round draft pick from Colorado, makes his second career start.

Alford, a starter in 67 of 79 career games, is out with an ankle injury and will miss his first game since 2015. He was hurt in a win over the New York Giants 11 days ago but did not come out.

Giorgio Tavecchio takes Bryant’s place for the second straight game. With Bryant hobbled by a sore hamstring since kicking a 57-yard field goal against Tampa Bay, Tavecchio kicked three field goals against New York. He sealed the outcome with a 56-yarder in the closing minutes.

The 43-year-old Bryant is the Atlanta’s franchise scoring leader. Before this season he had not missed a game since 2009.

The Falcons (3-4) hope that receiver Mohammed Sanu will be active against the Redskins (5-2). He has been limited in practice two days this week and did not participate Thursday because of a hip injury.

Quinn said Oliver has a better understanding of his role since misaligning in zone coverage and allowing A.J. Green to score a late touchdown in Cincinnati’s Week 4 win over Atlanta.

The Falcons, who rank third worst in scoring defense and yards allowed per game, will be without their best linebacker, Deion Jones, for at least another two more weeks. Jones has been sidelined with a foot injury since the season-opening loss at Philadelphia.

Strong safety Keanu Neal was lost for the season in the opener and free safety Ricardo Allen was lost for the year in Week 3.o