The Atlanta Falcons picked up their fifth straight win with a 24-17 victory on the road over the Washington Redskins. Washington rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III left the game in the third quarter with what has been announced as a mild concusion.
UPDATE: Falcons tie the game at 17 points apiece after Matt Bryant makes a 53-yard field goal
Just as the Redskins appeared poised to score on third-and-goal from the three-yard line, fate - or rather, Sean Weatherspoon - intervened a laid a nasty, but legal, hit on Robert Griffin III to force a field goal attempt.
Billy Cundiff would make this attempt from 23 yards out, giving the Redskins a 10-7 lead late in the third quarter.
The bad news for Redskins fans came when Griffin went into the team locker room with an apparent head injury suffered on said Weatherspoon tackle. Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins came into the game on the ensuing drive, and Washington's offense went three and out.
After taking over just inside midfield, the Falcons offense churned out a lightning-quick six play, 47 yard scoring drive that culminated in an 18-yard TD pass from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones in the corner of the end zone.
But disaster struck on the following drive for Atlanta as Kirk Cousins hit Santana Moss on a 77-yard touchdown pass. The Falcons secondary missed an apparent coverage assignment, and Moss rumbled all the way into the end zone completely untouched.
Washington now possesses a 17-14 advantage with just over 12 minutes left in this ball game.
Stay tuned for the conclusion to this exciting matchup.
Griffin was seen visibly shaken up on the sideline after Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon laid a big hit on the rookie quarterback as he attempted to scramble toward the end zone on third-and-goal.
There is no official word on the nature of the injury, but all signs point to it being related to either the head or neck. Griffin was seen having his eyesight checked out by team trainers, evidence that he might have been displaying concussion-like symptoms after the legal blow. His return to the game is being called "questionable."
Assuming Griffin does not return to this game, fellow rookie quarterback and Michigan State alum Kirk Cousins would be the primary backup quarterback option.
With this injury, the Falcons' chances of escaping Washington with a win naturally increase. They currently trail the Redskins 7-10 late in the third quarter of this football game.
It was a rough first half for the Falcons offense as the Redskins forced three Atlanta punts and two turnovers.
Early in the second quarter, Redskins defensive end Ryan Kerrigan made an incredibly instinctive leap to pick off a Matt Ryan screen pass, which he returned for a touchdown to give Washington a 7-0 advantage.
Later Ryan would fumble a snap with the team inside the Washington 30-yard line, which the Redskins would also recover. The Falcons turnover ratio, which has been so impressive this season, suddenly looked very ugly.
But the turning point in this half would come when kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 31-yard field goal, giving the ball to the Atlanta just before the two-minute warning.
And the Falcons offense delivered.
Ryan was able to march his team down the field on a brilliant ten play, 79 yard two-minute drill. He capped off the drive with a one yard play-action TD pass to Tony Gonzalez, tying the game at seven points apiece with just thirty seconds left in the half.
Gonzalez has been a force, compiling nine receptions for 86 yards and a score in this first half alone. Julio Jones also contributed with eight catches for 47 yards, including three on the final drive of the half.
The defense has also been generally impressive. Rookie "sensation" Robert Griffin III has had a very quiet first half, completing six of his ten passes for 52 yards and zero yards on the ground. Mike Nolan has done an excellent job containing the rookie thus far.
The only sore spot has come, once again, in containing the ground game. Running back Alfred Morris has run rampant, tallying 86 yards on ten carries thus far.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta for second-half updates.
In a matchup featuring two high-powered offenses, this game has been dominated by a lack of scoring thus far. Through one quarter, both teams remain locked in a scoreless tie.
Matt Ryan has looked shaky early, completing five of his ten pass attempts for just 36 yards. He had an open Julio Jones deep down the sideline on the game's opening drive, but Jones couldn't quite get a handle on the pass.
The only thing going for the Redskins offense so far has been Alfred Morris, who has broken a couple of tackles on his way to 41 yards on four carries. As for Robert Griffin III, he has been just as unimpressive as Ryan, completing just one of his three passes for ten yards.
The only bright spots for Atlanta have been its pass defense and special teams. Holding Griffin to ten pass yards and zero rush yards through the first fifteen minutes of play. Matt Bosher contributed on special teams with a booming 62-yard punt, a career best for the punter.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta for more game time updates.
The Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins have released their inactives for Sunday's Week 5 contest at FedEX Field. The biggest name on the inactives list for the Redskins is safety Cedric Griffin, who is expected to miss his second straight game due to a hamstring injury.
The official ruling on Griffin makes the Redskins very thin in the secondary, as another safety, Brandon Meriweather, is also on the inactive list. This may not bode well for a defense that's going against a hot quarterback in Matt Ryan.
The only listing not at Falcons 3-under is currently 5 Dimes, which has the Falcons favored by 2.5. Bovada, Top Bet and Sportsbook.com all have Atlanta favored by a field goal. The opening moneyline had Atlanta at -150 and Washington at +136, and the over/under is set between 151 and 152 between the four sites.
Some might see the line as low for an undefeated team like Atlanta, but the Falcons will be seeing Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III for the first time. The Redskins have the league's No. 2 rushing offense, which might be just the formula to beat Atlanta and their 27th-ranked rushing defense. However, the Redskins' pass defense is one of the worst in the league at No. 30 and will have to tangle with Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez.
Sunday's game from FedEx Field is set for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff and will be televised by FOX.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones said he's completely recovered from the hand injury that slowed him down last week against the Carolina Panthers, and he's ready to go Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback spoke about the Washington Redskins defense, among a list of other topics, in an interview with the team website. Ryan also discussed what's allowed him to be so effective this season.
The Redskins are 2-2, and have so far defeated the 1-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 0-4 New Orleans Saints. The Falcons, meanwhile, boast running back Michael Turner, who is starting to look like his old self. Turner rushed for over 100 yards for the first time this season, and in each game he has played his yardage has increased. Quarterback Matt Ryan is completing 69 percent of his passes, and has 11 touchdowns to just two interceptions.