ATLANTA—When Scot McCloughan came in as the Redskins general manager, the talked about having a tough team. Jay Gruden has talked a lot about resilience lately. The Redskins displayed both attributes by the bushel in the Georgia Dome today but they couldn’t come away with a win.
They seemed to have today’s game with the Falcons under control at times. A few times it looked like they were sure to win it. At others it looked like there was no way they would be able to rally. Here is a look at the game’s ups and downs.
Up: The Redskins did what they have been doing all year, putting together a long drive and capping it with a score. This one went 12 plays and culminated in a seven-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Derek Carrier to give the Redskins a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. I looked like the Redskins were having one of those lucky days as Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant dinked makeable field goals off of both the left and right uprights.
Down: Bryant did manage to his a couple of field goals, though, and the Redskins were clinging to a 7-6 lead in the fourth quarter. Then the Falcons got a little luck as Devonta Freeman fumbled trying to get it into the end zone but Julius Jones recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown that put the Falcons up 12-7 with 9:14 left to play.
Up: The Redskins bounced back immediately, taking just three plays to regain the lead. A 26-yard pass from Cousins to Jamison Crowder got things going. Then Cousins went for Rashad Ross on a deep pass that drew a pass interference flag. That set up Matt Jones’ two yard touchdown run on the next play and the Redskins were up 13-12.
Things were looking even better after Bashaud Breeland picked off a Matt Ryan pass and made a nifty 28-yard return to the Atlanta 21. They burned off over three minutes of clock before Dustin Hopkins’ field goal put them up by four with 2:38 left.
Down: But they don’t call Ryan Matty Ice for nothing. He engineered an 80-yard drive. It looked like Freeman scored the game winner with 51 seconds left when he lunged into the end zone after catching a slant from Ryan. But the ball popped loose when he hit the ground and a replay review overturned it. No matter, Freeman scored on a run with 24 seconds left to put the Falcons up 19-16. So all the replay reversal did was allow the Falcons to burn more time off of the clock and create an even more desperate situation when the Redskins got the ball at the 20 after the kickoff.
Up: But it turned out that the Redskins had just enough time. A 20-yard pass from Cousins to Carrier got it going and then a deep pass over the middle to Pierre Garçon got them to the edge of field goal range. After Jamison gained seven yards on an out pattern, Hopkins came in and booted a 52-yard field goal to send it into overtime.
Things were looking good in overtime as the Redskins moved to midfield. They were a few plays away from perhaps a field goal to take the lead our a touchdown that would win it.
Down: The one last down moment was the dagger. On second down, Cousins had pressure in his face and pass to the right sideline in the direction of Ryan Grant. But the receiver slipped to the ground, allowing Robert Alford to get an easy interception and a 59-yard return for the TD to end it.
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