There was no question this was going to be an ugly game between two desperate, lousy football teams. They certainly did not disappoint.
The Falcons ran out to an early 14-0 lead and promptly fell apart, allowing big plays, committing costly penalties and bogging down on offense. The Redskins played poorly throughout the game, making every effort to give it away, and finally fell just short at the end of regulation. The result was something that was best enjoyed drunk off of paint thinner. I know I was!
It was a reminder that the season has been an unmitigated train wreck, and no matter how many times I manage to convince myself that they're turning a corner, it isn't happening. Whether you want them to win or lose or tie, you have to admit this has been painful to watch. I personally want the Falcons to win every game because I hate to watch them lose, but if you just want to see everything fall apart for the draft pick, it's awfully hard to blame you. It came awfully close to falling apart.
Considering the number of times the Redskins turned the ball over, the Falcons should have absolutely blown them out. It hasn't been that simple with the Falcons, however, and this was probably the team's last win of the 2014 regular season. The fact that it came on a failed two point conversion with 18 seconds left more or less caps everything off. It was far from an enjoyable win, but I'm still happy to have one more win. The Falcons will probably get themselves a top five pick by losing their next two against clearly superior teams, after all.
- It would appear that Roddy White is feeling a bit better. After scuffling through most of the season thanks to his own stubbornness and the coaching staff's lack of common sense, White has finally returned to form.
- Harland Gunn finally got in the game and looked every bit as impressive as a run blocker as we hoped he would be. I don't know if he's going to get right guard snaps going forward, but he probably should.
- Ryan Schraeder was impressive as hell today, especially considering the circumstances. It's fairly rare that a UDFA free agent can start at tackle in any capacity and not disappoint mightily, so I've been encouraged by Schraeder. He can be at least a competent swing tackle moving forward.
- Osi Umenyiora has taken a ton of crap for not being a good pass rush this season, some of it justified. Yet he's up to 7.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 2013, and while he's not nearly as consistent as any of us would like, he hasn't been bad.
Of course, he did only play 28 snaps yesterday. More on this in a separate article later, but the pass-rushing punch still matters.
- Desmond Trufant's coverage on that two-point conversion was flawless. I know this was a rather ugly game for the secondary, but the man can ball.
- The Falcons forced a ton of turnovers. That may well be a bit fluky, but it's still worth praising. They need to score more points off of them, but going for the strip sometimes pays off. The failure to capitalize is bad news, of course, but they were getting after Cousins.
- Matt Ryan had a fine game on balance and you can't pin too much on him, but I found it difficult to put him under the good this week when he fumbled the ball away twice and threw a pick. It was a decent week, but those turnovers are rough.
- This was not Lamar Holmes' finest game. If you want to make the case he shouldn't at least be a starter at right tackle, a game like this is your best bet. He can't handle elite speed rushers off the edge, and while I hope he'll learn to, I can't guarantee it. He'll have competition a year from now.
You can't have two costly penalties in a game and have everything hunky-dorky. The line as a whole fell apart badly down the stretch, too, with even the remarkably solid Joe Hawley having a lackluster game. On balance, the right side of the line was pretty good, though.
- Robert Alford has a very bright future, but the Redskins ate him alive in the first half, with Cousins finding multiple long completions against the rookie cornerback. It's not a concern—he's still learning on the job—but you can see why he'll be the second corner next year behind Desmond Trufant.
- Dirk Koetter's triumphant return from Boise State rumors was pretty lackluster. Again, the Falcons got seven turnovers, but the Falcons weren't able to get the points you'd expect out of that windfall. Poor line play once again plagued the unit, but for whatever reason,
- Penalties on penalties on penalties. The Falcons have played the least disciplined football of the Mike Smith era thus far, and nothing changed Sunday. This is a very real problem that needs to be addressed heading into 2014. This is a young team, sure, but it's also a team playing deeply sloppy football. It's something they must learn from.
- The fake fan nonsense, again. Can we please just stop? Be a fan the way you want and leave other people alone. You guys are all dedicated, caring fans with different ideas of how this should go, after all.
Game MVP: The turnover patrol. The Falcons don't win this game without all of those turnovers, so the game ball goes to the loose ball.
Game Theme Song: I don't even like this song, but it's apropos.
One Thing To Take Away: This is a miserable season, and a one-point victory is all we can expect despite seven turnovers. Can't sugarcoat that. Don't want to.
Final Word: Whatdidwejustwatch?