Our hometown Atlanta Falcons hold on to defeat the Washington Redskins by the score of 27-26. The Redskins without Robert Griffin III relied on a “gutsy” performance from Kirk Cousins to stay in the contest, especially when the Falcons went up big early. The 2nd year quarterback out of Michigan State threw for 381 yards, three touchdowns, while throwing two interceptions. Cousins led a late drive that resulted in a touchdown but after a two point conversion was stopped and the Falcons “barely” recovered an onside kick attempt, the Skins would go back to DC with a loss. Matt Ryan went 29 of 38 for 210 yards and a touchdown and an interception, while Steven Jackson had only 38 yards on 15 attempts but found the endzone twice. You can find more intricate details on 92.9 The Game about this contest.
Yes, the box score indicates that the Falcons won the game which is ultimately the goal but Kirk Cousins made the Falcons Defense look like “swiss cheese”. They knew early that Cousins would be the starting quarterback and I assume prepared that way but even with the expected growing pains of having two rookie corners on the field, a lot of plays in the passing game seemed to come way too easy. Early on the Falcons pass rush bothered Cousins so the offensive plan for the Redskins shifted and a large dose of Alfred Morris, who finished with 98 yards on the ground came about. This seemed to quiet the early momentum for Osi Umenyiora and Jonathan Massaquoi. After the 1st quarter, the offense seemed to become real unpredictable for the Redskins, keeping the Falcon defense off balance. Washington used a great deal of deception in their passing scheme, using a lot of the fullback to draw the corners in for some wide open throws downfield to Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss. Garcon finished with seven receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown. Also, the team is learning exactly what Zeke Motta, the rookie out of Notre Dame in for Thomas DeCoud is, possibly another “box” safety. On quite a few plays he was out of position playing the deep middle or deep half, depending on coverage. This was not the most stellar game that Robert Alford, rookie corner out of Southeast Louisiana has played. He was caught “peeking” in the backfield on a few important occasions, either due to being drawn by the fullback and Cousins going over the top or him being anxious to make a play. All in all, it was not the greatest performance from the defense, but they were opportunistic in creating turnovers and did not completely break.
Offensively for the Atlanta Falcons, I personally worried about the pass rush of the Redskins having Adam Carriker and Brian Orakpo but the running game neutralized them early on with Steven Jackson. However, in sharp contrast to the Redskins, they got away from keeping the defense off balanced. Once, the passing game became the emphasis for the Falcons it was very easy for the pass rush of the Redskins to “get off”. Even with the rush being felt the much maligned offensive line for the Falcons still had a decent game. Despite the inequalities on offense for the Falcons, timely passing by Ryan and clutch catches by Tony Gonzalez aided in the offense doing just enough to pull out a victory. The Atlanta Falcons travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers on next Sunday.
Jamie Walker is a Producer and the Atlanta Falcons Blogger for Sports Radio 92.9 The Game. You can follow on Twitter @coachjdub21.