After a quiet day by both teams in the first half, the Washington Redskins and the Atlanta Falcons couldn’t decide the game during regulation, heading to overtime before the Falcons won on an interception return for a touchdown, 25-19.
A Dustin Hopkins 52-yard field goal as time expired in regulation pushed the game to overtime with the score deadlocked at 19. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman had given his team a three-point lead with a touchdown with 24 seconds to go in the fourth quarter.
In overtime, the Redskins got the ball first and moving down the field. However, a Kirk Cousins pass sailed over a fallen receiver and into the hands of Falcons cornerback Robert Alford, who returned it 52 yards for the touchdown and the win.
Cousins finished 21 of 32 with 218 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions, including the game winner. The Redskins only managed 51 yards on the ground.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan struggled, throwing two interceptions as well en route to a 24 of 42, 254 yard day. Running back Devonta Freeman picked up the load, rushing for 153 yards and a touchdown and catching seven passes for 44 yards.
The Falcons remain undefeated at 5-0. The Redskins fall to 2-3, but still in the hunt for the division lead in a very soft NFC East.
What seems to be a problem for the Redskins, a penalty negated a big play on the opening drive and the offense went three-and-out to open the game.
However, the defense came up big. Safety Trenton Robinson picked off a Matt Ryan pass. The pick is the first for the Redskins this season.
Atlanta’s defense rose to the occasion, forcing a Redskins punt after only 5 plays. The punt was downed inside the 10 yard line after a 47-yard kick.
Another defensive stop, including a sack by Ryan Kerrigan, gave the ball back to the Redskins. Using a mix of passing and run and clock management, the Redskins chewed up near 7 minutes in the 2nd quarter before scoring on a dart of a pass by Cousins to tight end Derek Carrier, giving Washington a 7-0 lead.
The Falcons offense responded with a 12 play, 56 yard drive that stalled as they approached their goal line. Matt Bryant booted a 42-yard field goal, but the Redskins retained the lead, 7-3, with 7 minutes to go in the first half.
Cousins looked to be having the offense moving again, but a deflected pass found its way into the waiting hands of Falcons cornerback Robert Alford. However, the Redskins defense came up with a turnover of their own, forcing Ryan to fumble during a scramble and recovered by Will Compton.
The Redskins couldn’t capitalize on the advantage, giving the ball back to the Falcons with less than 2 minutes to go. Washington defense came up large again, stopping the Atlanta drive and forcing another field goal try.
But this time, Bryant hit the right upright as time expired, giving the Redskins a 7-3 lead at the half.
With the start of the 3rd quarter, the Falcons may have gotten the message at half time, opening up the second half with a couple of big plays. But a short pass and two more incompletions created a 4th and 5 situation they were able to convert and keep the drive alive.
The Redskins stopped the Falcons again, and Bryant missed yet another field goal, hitting the left upright this time.
After a 9 play, 27 yard drive, Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins tried a 53 yard field goal that had the distance, but drifted wide right.
The Falcons offense got a couple of strong runs by Devonta Freeman before passes by Ryan fell harmlessly to the ground. However, another fourth down conversion, their second of the day, kept the drive alive.
Atlanta was able to drive to the 10 yard line and called on Bryant once again. This time, the veteran split the uprights, but the Redskins still held the lead, 7-6.
A couple of errant throws by Cousins and the Redskins went three and out on their next possession.
Six runs by Freeman, a pass interference call against the Redskins, and a couple of Ryan scrambles moved the Falcons quickly down the field to start the fourth quarter. The Redskins forced a fumble near the goal line, but Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones pounced on it, scoring a touchdown.
The Falcons went for a two-point conversion, but the pass was deflected. Atlanta took the lead, 12-7, with more than 9 minutes to go in the 4th quarter.
The Redskins got some help to retake the lead. After a short pass from Cousins to Crowder ended up going for 44 yards, a deep attempt to Ross resulted in a pass interference call at the 1 yard line.
Running back Matt Jones sped outside on the next play to score a touchdown. Washington went for 2 points, but failed in the attempt. The Redskins led 13-12 with more than 7 minutes to go.
The Redskins defense rose to the challenge. Bashaud Breeland picked off a Ryan pass and returned it deep into Falcons territory. It was Ryan’s second interception of the day.
However, it was the Falcons defense turn to stand strong. Aggressive play forced another Hopkins field goal, this one from 28 yards, extending the Redskins lead to four points, 16-12.
Ryan would not let the Falcons go down without a fight. Two quick completions before the 2 minute warning moved Atlanta down the field. A third completion moved the Falcons into Redskins territory and a fourth got them to the 21 yard line.
Ryan scrambled out of the pocket, lowering a shoulder before going out of bounds with 1 minute to go at the 12 yard line. His pass to the end zone was knocked down by Breeland.
But Ryan would not be denied. Freeman, who had rushed for more than 100 yards, caught an apparent short touchdown pass, but officials ruled he did not maintain possession of the ball all the way to the ground.
However, Freeman scored two plays later on a 6 yard run to give the Falcons a 19-16 lead with 24 seconds to go in the game.
The resulting kickoff went into the end zone, spending no time of on the clock. Three passes from Cousins moved the offense into Falcons territory, down to the 35 yard line.
Hopkins came out to try a 52 yard field goal and drilled it, forcing overtime.