The Falcons chose to receive the ball to begin the game. Starting the game with a nice drive, Matt Ryan connected with Roddy White on a long ball. Then a few minutes later Ryan was able to find Tony Gonzalez in the corner inside the red zone. This setup a 5 yd touchdown run by Stephen Jackson. The Falcons put together a very efficient opening-game drive of 14 plays for 83 yds ending with a touchdown making the game 7-0.
The Redskins opening drive was developing nicely as Kirk Cousins started out 3 for 3 on passing attempts. Unfortunately his string of good fortune ran out when 3rd down came and Cousins fumbled the ball (recovered by Jonathan Babineaux). So the Falcons began their next drive on the Redskins 34 yard line. All it took was 3 plays and Ryan was able to find Tony Gonzalez for an 11-yard touchdown pass. 3 plays and 46 yards later the Falcons found themselves up 14-0.
After the kickoff reception, a big gain on the ground by Alfred Morris brought the Redskins within scoring distance. Cousins then found Fred Davis for the 23-yard touchdown pass. With the successful PAT the game was then 14-7, Falcons.
After forcing the Redskins to punt, a muffed return was recovered by the Falcons which gave them field position on the Redskins’ 19 yard line. Unfortunately they got inside the red-zone but couldn’t get to the end-zone, so they had to settle for a Field Goal. With that the game was 17-7.
Once Washington got the ball back Cousins threw a 62 yard bomb to open up the drive and place them inside the Falcons’ 20 yard line. Alfred Morris fumbled the ball which was recovered by Falcon’s Malliciah Goodman. On the first play the ball was once again fumbled but recovered by Washington’s Brian Orakpo. So within 4 seconds the Redskins lost possession and recovered it back. So Cousins completed a 12 yard pass and then it too was fumbled! This time recovered by Atlanta’s William Moore. So make that 3 fumbles within 10 seconds. The last fumble resulted in a lightweight brawl during the recovery and the Falcons fell victim of a personal foul penalty, so their drive started at their own 4 yard line.
It soon became a battle of the gunslinger as Cousins again went deep, this time to Pierre Garcon for the 53-yard touchdown strike. After the PAT it was tied at 14.
Matt Ryan tried to respond but his pass was intercepted by Jose Gumbs. After 2 running plays put them in good field position, with 3 seconds left Kai Forbath nailed the FG to take the lead 17-14.
The 3rd quarter was riddled with action as we saw another fumble, an interception, and multiple changes of possession. Unfortunately, all of that action didn’t convert into many points as the Falcons outscored the Redskins a mere 7-3. But the upside to this is that at least it didn’t get any worse. With 7 total turnovers and copious dropped passes the score differential could’ve been much greater. Also something to note, Tony Gonzalez went over 15,000 receiving yards this quarter.
The 4th quarter began with the Falcons up 24-20 and they were starting to feel the pressure. With a record that’s nothing to brag about they definitely did not want to happen what has plagued them the past 3 seasons: Starting the game strong and then losing. The first quarter and a half saw Falcons dominance, and then they slowly let Washington back in the game by Halftime. We couldn’t go too far into the 4th quarter without another fumble and an interception (9 turnovers at this point). With Matt Bryant’s 51-yd FG the Falcons went up 27-20 but still couldn’t find a rhythm.
The Redskins stayed within reach the entire quarter even down til there was 0:28 seconds left in the game. But Kirk Cousins, possibly establishing why he should be the starter, found Santana Moss in the corner for the touchdown. Shanahan got a little greedy and chose to go for 2 instead of kicking the PAT. So with 0:18 seconds left the Redskins were down 26-27. Had they just kicked the point-after they’d be heading comfortably into overtime. So that’s how the game ended after the failed 2-pt conversion, the Falcons outlasted Washington 27-26.
Article: Jon J.
Photography: Anna Lira
The Peach Review®