Falcons 24, Redskins 17

The SportsXchange

LANDOVER, Md. -- The Atlanta Falcons arrived at FedEx Field as the NFC's only unbeaten team and left with that same distinction.

They knocked Washington Redskins hot-shot rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III out of the game. They overcame two turnovers to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but gave it back before rallying to beat the Redskins 24-17 on Michael Turner's 13-yard run up the middle with 2:46 remaining on Sunday.

Dunta Robinson's interception of rookie backup Kirk Cousins' pass for tight end Fred Davis 53 seconds later sealed the triumph that gave Atlanta its first 5-0 start.

The Falcons had left Santana Moss uncovered with 12:23 left and the veteran receiver turned a throw over the middle from Cousins into a 77-yard touchdown that gave Washington (2-3) a three-point edge. However, Matt Ryan marched the Falcons 45 yards in nine plays to set up Matt Bryant's 53-yard field goal that made it 17-17 with 7:42 to go.

Moss' touchdown came just 1:01 after a gorgeous, 18-yard scoring toss from Ryan to receiver Julio Jones had given Atlanta a 14-10 lead.

The pass to Moss was just the second for Cousins after he replaced Griffin, who exited after seemingly being knocked woozy on a sack by linebacker Sean Witherspoon at the Atlanta 5. Griffin, who came in as the NFC's second-leading passer behind Ryan, completed 10 of 15 passes for just 91 yards and ran once for seven yards. The sack preceded a 23-yard field goal by Washington's Billy Cundiff, who had missed a 31-yard attempt in the second quarter, his fourth errant kick in the past two games.

Neither offense managed to generate points in the first 29 minutes. The only player to cross the goal line with the ball in his hands was Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who picked off Ryan's screen for Harry Douglas and sprinted 28 yards to give Washington a 7-0 lead with 10:11 to go in the first quarter.

After Redskins inside linebacker Perry Riley recovered a botched snap at the Washington 32-yard line with 4:56 left in the second quarter, Alfred Morris sprinted 20 yards with a screen from Griffin. The running back powered for 29 yards to the Atlanta 19 on the next play, but the drive stalled and Cundiff missed a field goal.

Given the reprieve, the Falcons finally managed to sustain a scoring drive. Passes to Roddy White and Douglas gained 35 yards. After a trio of short throws to Jones put Atlanta on the Washington 22 with 44 seconds to go in the half, Ryan hit tight end Tony Gonzalez for 21. On the next snap, the 36-year-old cinch Hall of Famer beat reserve linebacker Lorenzo Alexander for the game-tying touchdown.

Notes: Gonzalez finished with 13 catches for 123 yards and the touchdown. ... The defeat extended the Redskins' home losing streak to eight. ... Kerrigan's touchdown was his second in 21 career games and the third for Washington's defense in five games this season. The Redskins haven't scored more often on defense since 1999, the last year that they won the NFC East. ... Moss' second catch of the day made him the fourth to catch 500 passes for Washington.
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