Monday, October 8, 2012

Redskins Fall to Falcons

In a very valiant and respectable effort today at FedEx Field, the Washington Redskins fell to the Atlanta Falcons 24-17. For the Redskins, however, that was one of two losses on the day...

Ryan Kerrigan made the play of the day for the Washington Redskins. In the beginning of the second quarter, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan looked to get the ball into the flats. However, defensive end Ryan Kerrigan stepped pawed the ball out of the air for the interception and ran it into the endzone for a touchdown.

Unlike the rest of the season up to this point, it wasn't the Redskins lack of defense that lost them this game. The Falcons offense more than doubled the offense when it came to first downs (28-12) and nearly doubled the Redskins in total plays run (81-48). The Redskins defense was on the field for a total of 37:01.

While the defense had troubles keeping the Falcons to short drives, the offense had troubles sustaining drives. On third down, the Redskins were 1-9 and started the game 0-8. They only had the ball for 22:59 which meant the defense didn't have much time rest and, in the end, that's what cost them this game.

Twice, however, the Redskins were well within field goal range for Billy Cundiff and had him in position to put six total points on the board. However, they only managed to collect three of them. Cundiff was one-for-two today with a missed field goal from 31 yards away.

Cundiffs second field goal attempt came in the third quarter and it put the Redskins ahead 10-7. However, the drive was in vain as the Redskins leader, Robert Griffin III was knocked out of the game due to a concussion after taking a hard hit to the head from Falcons player Sean Weatherspoon.

Following the injury to Griffin, enter the Redskins fourth round draft pick Kirk Cousins. This is exactly the reason the Redskins drafted him behind Robert Griffin III.

To start off his stint in the game, Cousins didn't do too badly. In fact, according to the stats Cousin's had a better game than Griffin. Cousin's finished with 111 yards passing to Griffin's 91.

Following the Falcons touchdown drive to open the fourth quarter, the Redskins found themselves down by four points. On the ensuing Redskins drive, Cousin's found Santana Moss wide open behind the safeties for a 77 yard touchdown to put the Redskins back up 17-14.

The next Falcons lasted nine plays and the Redskins defense was beginning to show signs of fatigue. They were on the field for 4:21 game minutes, but the drive seemed to last an eternity for the men on the field. It ended with a game tying 53 yard field goal from Matt Bryant.

After the Redskins went three and out on their next drive, the tired and battered defense was back at it again. The Falcons used a heavy dose of running back Michael Turner to lead them to the endzone to take the lead 24-17.

Much like Robert Griffin III against the Buccaneers, Kirk Cousins had his shot at a dramatic fourth quarter victory.

It was not meant to be, however, as Cousins final two passes were intercepted by the Falcons secondary. His final interception was one that you would expect from a rookie. He was fooled by the secondary and threw in tight coverage.

It was a very admirable effort from the Redskins as much off the football world didn't even expect this game to be close. Many were calling for this game to be a blowout and the Redskins kept it close.

While the Redskins didn't give up their usual 30+ points a game today, they did employ a very bendable, but not breakable, defense. Matt Ryan finished 34/52 with 345 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Tony Gonzalez shredded the Redskins linebackers for 13 catches and 123 yards and a touchdown. Julio Jones finished with 10 catches for 94 yards and a touchdown, as well.

The run defense was solid again, today. Michael Turner only managed 67 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The front seven did an excellent job stopping the run including a three-and-out with under two minutes to the give the Redskins offense one last chance.

One place where the offense had an advantage was in the running game. The Falcons statistically don't have that solid of a run defense and Alfred Morris exploited that today. Morris took the handoff 18 times for 115 yards including and long 29 run.

Ironically, the game in which Griffin ran the least was the game that he got hurt, and sustained a mild concussion on, on his just his second rushing attempt of the game. It went down as a sack, but that is only because it occurred behind the line of scrimmage.

For the second consecutive week, Fred Davis led the team in receptions with five for 54 yards. Pierre Garcon spoiled what could have been a sensational game for him with four drops. He still managed for 4 3 receptions for 24 yards. Moss finished with 80 yards and a touchdown catch.

The Washington defense forced two turnovers today. One was the pick-six from Kerrigan and the other was a fumble recovery by Perry Riley. London Fletcher led the game in tackles yesterday with 20 total tackles including eight solo tackles. The Redskins front seven did an excellent job getting their hands in the passing lanes as the defense deflected eight passes.

Following the loss, the Redskins dropped to a strong 2-3 team. Each of the Redskins game this season have been close and they have a had a chance to win each and every one of them. The Redskins front seven will be tested as they take on Adrian Peterson at home next Sunday at 4:25. The Vikings have won the past two games against the Redskins.

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