Landover, MD- The Atlanta Falcons came to FedEx Field with a strong offense and a bad record, while the Washington Redskins came in with a strong defense and running game. After four quarters of football the Falcons look like serious contenders while the first place Redskins have some soul searching to do. The final score of 38-14 sums up this game: the offense could not consistently move the ball and the defense did not provide much resistance.
The biggest issue with the offense today was offensive line injuries. Guard Shawn Lauvao went down early with a leg injury and did not return. The Morgan Moses went down in the first quarter as well. Then in the second half guard Brandon Scherff went down with a shoulder injury. That means the Redskins who started without Trent Williams finished the game with: Geron Christian (LT), Ty Nsekhe (LG), Chase Roullier (C), Tony Bergstrom (RG), and Moses at (RT). With the shuffled offensive line and eventually the score, the Redskins could not run the ball with any consistency.
The defense did little to provide resistance to Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense. Ryan finished 26 for 38, 337 yards and four touchdowns. Tevin Coleman rushed 13 times for 88 yards and Ito Smith added 60 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. No matter what offense takes the field if a defense is giving up yards like that then it is hard to win. Newly acquired safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix started the game but there were a few series where Montae Nicholson played as well. The defensive line outside of Matt Ioannidis was held in check and Ryan had plenty of time to throw the ball.
Alex Smith passed for 30 for 46, 306 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Smith took a nasty hit on the sideline which he admitted he did not see. Smith said that he was fine and that seemed to pump his team up some. That momentum was taken away by the Falcons with a touchdown right before the half. The game also featured some questionable penalties that affected the Redskins. Coach Gruden mentioned this in his press conference that he needed to view the tape because he wasn’t sure about a few of them.
This loss, while not as bad visually as the New Orleans Saints loss shows some serious kinks in the Redskins armor. The Redskins face another prolific offense in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week on the road. The defense must contain another strong passing attack while the offense must get more points against a low ranked defense. The Redskins have talked the talk often, but now must dig deep to walk the walk and keep their lead in the NFC East.