The Atlanta Falcons managed to force seven turnovers versus the Kirk Cousins-led Washington Redskins, but only won by a score of 27-26.
A comeback by the Redskins was halted after rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant deflected Cousin’s pass intended for Pierre Garcon on a two-point conversion attempt with :22 left in the game.
It was an aggressive call by Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan to go for the victory versus sending the game into overtime by kicking the extra point.
Off the seven turnovers (two interceptions, five fumble recoveries), the Falcons (4-10) scored just 20 points.
Atlanta had two turnovers of their own, both from Matt Ryan: a fumble lost after he was sacked by Ryan Kerrigan, and an interception thrown just before the first half ended.
At one point in the second quarter, there were three straight lost fumbles on three consecutive plays. It was a particularly inept display of football by two bad teams.
The Redskins (3-11) shut down Robert Griffin III for the remainder of the season, and Cousins got the start against Atlanta.
Cousins finished with 381 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions on 29 of 45 passing in his season debut.
It looked like the Falcons were going to run away with this game.
After putting together a 14-play, 83-yard drive that took 6:46 and ended with a three-yard touchdown run from Steven Jackson, Osi Umenyiora strip-sacked Cousins on the following drive and the fumble was recovered by Jonathan Babineaux.
Three plays later, Ryan found Tony Gonzalez for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Falcons a 14-0 lead.
From there, Washington began gashing Atlanta’s defense with big plays; at one point in the second quarter, Cousins had 199 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 attempts.
At the end of the first half, Atlanta was down 20-17 despite the fast start.
Ryan completed 29 of 38 passes for 210 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Gonzalez led the Falcons with six receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown. Roddy White finished with five catches for 53 yards.
Jackson carried the ball 15 times for just 38 yards, but he added two more rushing touchdowns to put his season total at five.
Next week, the Falcons travel to face the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.