Falcons Knock Out RG3, Defeat Redskins 24-17

Matt Ryan congratulates Julio Jones on his touchdown reception. (Susan Walsh)

For the first time in franchise history, the Atlanta Falcons are 5-0.

The Falcons overcame a slow start to defeat the Washington Redskins 24-17 at FedEx Field. Atlanta remains as the only unbeaten team in the NFC.

After being held to just seven points in the first three quarters, the Falcons offense ripped off 17 points in the fourth quarter. An 18-yard touchdown reception by Julio Jones, a 53-yard field goal from Matt Bryant, and a 13-yard touchdown run by Michael Turner with 2:46 left gave the Falcons the victory.

It was in the 18th time in Matt Ryan’s five-year career that he’s led the Falcons back in the fourth quarter. Ryan’s 18 fourth quarter comebacks are the most in the league since 2008.

Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III’s day was over after he suffered a mild concussion on a vicious hit from linebacker Sean Weatherspoon in the early second half. Like Michael Vick, Griffin tends to take more hits than he should. Griffin was 10/15 for 91 yards, and he rushed just one time for seven yards.

Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins spelled Griffin and threw a 77-yard touchdown to Santana Moss on his third play from scrimmage. The touchdown gave the Redskins a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter.

Atlanta responded with 10 straight points, and Cousins was intercepted by Dunta Robinson and Thomas DeCoud on back-to-back possessions to ice the game.

Ryan finished with 345 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He tied career-highs in attempts (52) and completions (34). His interception was a pick-six by Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. After being sacked seven times last week, Ryan was sacked only once this week.

Tony Gonzalez caught a game-high 13 balls for 123 yards and a touchdown. The ageless wonder has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down; he’s not just here for the ride.

Julio Jones bounced back from last week: he caught 10 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.

The Falcons defense only allowed the Redskins to convert one third down out of nine. The lone conversion was the 77-yard touchdown reception by Moss.

Run defense still remains a problem for the Falcons: Alfred Morris rushed for 115 yards on 17 carries.

The Falcons return home to host the Oakland Raiders next Sunday.

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