Falcons hold on to defeat Redskins


The Falcons and the Washington Redskins have gone though their share of trials and tribulations this season. So when they played against each other on Sunday, they left everything out on the field. It was not a clean-played game by both teams, but it came down to the very last play and the Falcons were able to come away with the 27-26 win.

The Redskins were down by seven with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter. But Kirk Cousins was able to lead the offense to a 13-play, 80-yard drive, which resulted in a Cousins 3-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss. However, the Redskins went for two instead of kicking the extra point to tie the game. That proved to be costly because Cousin’s pass to Pierre Garcon fell incomplete in the back of the end zone.

“I’m not surprised by the aggressive play-call,” Steven Jackson said who scored two of the Falcons touchdowns in the win. “It was a game full of drama, but I was happy we were able to pull it off.”

The Falcons started the game strong as they were able to jump to a 14-0 lead. The first score came on the opening series when they put together a 14-play, 83-yard drive, which resulted in a Jackson 3-yard touchdown run.

The second scoring drive came after the defense created a turnover. Osi Umenyiora sacked Cousins on third down, which led to a fumble by Cousins and recovered by Jonathan Babineaux. The offense capitalized when Matt Ryan threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez to increase the lead to 14.

The Redskins answered on the ensuing drive with a 6-play, 80-yard drive, which resulted in a 23-yard touchdown pass to Fred Davis from Cousins.

The Falcons were able to increase the lead to 10 early in the second quarter with a Matt Bryant 20-yard field goal. The score was made possible when Santana Moss muffed the returned punt and it was recovered by Robert McClain.

After that it was all Washington. Later in the second quarter, the Redskins put together a 59-yard scoring drive, which resulted in a Cousins 53-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon.

When the Redskins got the ball back after forcing the Falcons to go three-and-out, they put together a 10-play drive which ended with a 33-yard field goal by Kai Forbath.

With 49 seconds left in the half and three timeouts, the Falcons looked to gain control of the game. That did not happen as Ryan threw an interception to Jose Grumbs and that led to a Forbath 37-yard field goal to take the lead before halftime.

“There was a stretch in the first half where we really had some issues with explosive plays,” Falcons head coach Mike Smith said. “It was a great learning experience for our young players.”

The Falcons had issues scoring in the second half all year, especially in the third quarter. That was not the case on Sunday as Jackson scored on a 3-yard run to give the Falcons the four-point lead. That play was possible because William Moore intercepted a Cousins pass and returned it to the Redskins 2-yard line.

“That was a good play by [Mike] Nolan,” Moore said. “We were hoping they would get some pressure up front, [Cousins] would force the ball out and that’s exactly what happened. I wish I would have scored.”

Falcons would add three to their lead midway through the fourth quarter when Matt Bryant kicked a 51-yard field goal to make it a touchdown difference.

The Redskins totaled 476 yards of offense, was more efficient on third downs and averaged more yards per play than the Falcons. But the biggest difference in the game was the turnovers and they had seven of them. In fact, there was a stretch in the second quarter when there were three consecutive fumbles in 20 seconds (Redskins 2, Falcons 1). Cousins threw two picks, Alfred Morris and Moss each lost two fumbles and Cousins also lost a fumble.

“It’s about flying around, playing sound football,” Malliciah Goodman said who recovered one of the Redskins fumbles. “We’ve got 11 guys out there playing together. It’s hard for an offense to be productive.”

The Falcons improve to 4-10 and now have a 3-4 record at the Georgia Dome. They will have their final road game of the season next Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers.

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