The Atlanta Falcons Dominate Washington For Third Straight Win

Written by Merrissa Vault

Landover, MD- The Atlanta Falcons stepped out to FedEx Field looking rejuvenated after their bye week to defeat Washington 38-14 and to send Redskin fans filing out of the stadium well before the end of the game. The win was attributed to a combination of grit, resiliency, and brotherhood.


The Falcons looked like a well-oiled and cohesive unit Sunday afternoon led by none other than QB, Matt Ryan. Ryan moved the ball down the field with ease targeting Calvin Ridley, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Ito Smith, and Tevin Coleman. The first score of the day was recorded by Running Back, Tevin Coleman off a 39-yard touchdown pass. Off the reception, Coleman punched the turbo button to reach the end zone for the longest reception of his career. In a game where the Washington defense was suggested to be more threatening, the Falcons showed to have the bigger bite.


“It was very big. The defensive line and linebackers killed them.” Said Falcon Safety, Sharrod Neasman. “They showed up. They did their job, so we could do our job.”


The same could not be said for the Washington defense. Washington had at least five injuries by the end of the game which led to them filling in spots by younger reserves. Brandon Scherff went out with a shoulder injury, Shawn Lauvao, and Morgan Moses with injured knees, Quinton Dunbar went out with an injured shin and Jordan Reed injured his back. However, Washington head coach, Jay Gruden attributed the defensive issues to other factors, namely the penalties.


“It’s impossible [to win with so many penalties], you might as well just give them the ball and give them the game. I have to check the tape out to see what these penalties are all about. It’s very frustrating.”


Washington had 10 penalties for a total of 147 yards. The penalties were a huge wound for the Redskins, but the Falcons were productive without the help from the Redskins and the officials. Before the end of the half, Ito Smith bulldozed for a 12-yard touchdown into the end zone carrying a Redskins player, impressing the Atlanta fans and Matt Ryan.


“Ito’s [Smith] run for a touchdown was awesome. To see that, it was impressive. I was able to watch it from behind and I didn’t think he was scoring at first, but then he just kept going… He’s a guy that continues to get better every time he touches the ball and every time he plays.”


The running game was the most explosive it has been this season creating 24 attempts for a total of 154 yards. Coleman led the running crew with 13 attempts, 88 yards, and two touchdowns. His second touchdown came right in the beginning of the 3rd quarter off a 10-yard pass from Ryan. The dynamic duo did not go unnoticed by Falcon’s head coach, Dan Quinn.


“I thought both of them really shined for us…Matt’s ability on third down was one of the stories within this game that made a big difference…When those drives extended and so many people get opportunities to catch the ball, I thought that was a real factor. We thought it was something with Tev [Tevin Coleman] coming in this game, and we certainly thought it with the offensive line.”


A major key to the Falcons victory was their 77% efficiency rate on third down conversions. Atlanta went 8-8 and 100% third down conversions in the first half and ended the game 10-13. This was a struggle that Washington was unable to answer.


It wasn’t all perfection down on the field for the Falcons, the Redskins were able to put up 14 on the scoreboard. Josh Doctson snagged the first touchdown with a floater in the back of the end zone and Kapri Bibbs picked up the second touchdown on a 3-yard run in the 3rd quarter.


Despite the 31-14 lead towards the end of the 4th quarter, the Falcons were relentless, and the final touchdown of the game came from none other than Julio Jones. The Receiver ended his touch down drought in fashion with a 35-yard pass from Matt Ryan while fighting out of the grasp of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.


The true brotherhood of the team was showcased when Jones recorded his first touchdown since November 26th. Coach Quinn reiterated his excitement for the team leader.


“Yes, I think you guys saw the enthusiasm for the team. He is one of the rarest because his ability to attack with the ball and without the ball creates opportunities for the men on this team…It was great to see him in the end zone. He is one hell of a leader on the team.”


The resiliency of this Atlanta Falcons team continues to blossom. From a 1-4 start to working back to 4-4 the Falcons are on a mission to reclaim their spot in the NFC South and prepare for week 10 against the Cleveland Browns.

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