Falcons Squeak By Raiders, Remain Undefeated

Matt Bryant has been money in clutch situations this season. (Kevin C. Cox)

The Atlanta Falcons improve to 6-0 after beating the Oakland Raiders (1-4) on a 55-yard field goal from Matt Bryant.

It was an ugly, ugly game for the Falcons. Somehow, they overcame three interceptions from Matt Ryan to emerge victorious and win another game they probably shouldn’t have won.

The Raiders, who hadn’t intercepted a pass all season, picked Ryan off twice in the first quarter and once more in the second quarter.

It was only the second time in Ryan’s career he’s thrown three interceptions in one game. The first time was on November 2, 2009, in a losing 27-35 effort against the Saints in New Orleans.

Asante Samuel got his first interception of the year after picking off Carson Palmer and returning it for a 79-yard touchdown. The touchdown gave the Falcons a 20-13 lead with 2:40 remaining in the game.

The Raiders tied the game by capping off a 63-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Darren McFadden with :40 left on the clock. Atlanta was then able to get within field goal range for Bryant to win the game.

For the third consecutive week, the Falcons were able to win a game despite not playing great football. Although good teams find ways to win games, it’s starting to become a concern that Atlanta can’t seem to put away teams they’re seemingly better than.

Oakland was able to hang 474 yards of offense on Atlanta. The Falcons missed a lot of tackles, allowing several Raiders to gain additional yardage. The Raiders didn’t look like a team ranked last in the league in rushing offense; they were able to gain 149 rushing yards after averaging just 60 over their first four games.

Although John Abraham, Jonathan Babineaux, and Sean Weatherspoon were able to turn in big games, the Falcons defense as a whole looked lost. There were several missed assignments as the Raiders receivers were running open with ease.

Ryan turned in his worst game this season. He went 24/37 for 249 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He was sacked only once.

Atlanta’s rushing offense was nonexistent – they gained only 45 yards. Michael Turner had 11 carries for a paltry 33 yards.

Tony Gonzalez needed just one touchdown to reach 100 for his career, but he was unable to find the end zone. He had four receptions for 42 yards.

Roddy White was the Falcons’ leading receiver with six receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. Julio Jones caught four passes for 63 yards.

Abraham had a game-high three sacks. Samuel had the Falcons’ only interception.

The bye week comes at a perfect time for the Falcons. They have plenty of things to work on before they make the trip to Philadelphia to face the Eagles in two weeks.

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