Three Pivotal Plays: Football Follies Edition

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

So many fumbles, so little time.

The Falcons won an ugly game against the Redskins last Sunday. It was ugly, due to, or maybe in spite of,  a multitude of turnovers. It's difficult to even understand how a team can force seven turnovers and win by only one point. Of course, the Falcons had their share of boneheaded plays, too.

Both teams were apparently in the holiday spirit and feeling generous, because this was a fumble-fest. Let's look at just a few of the fumbles that contributed to the eventual outcome of Sunday's game.

A few minutes into the second quarter, the Falcons held a 17-7 lead, and had just kicked to the Redskins following a Matt Bryant field goal. The Redskins' offensive series got off to a troubling start for the Falcons' defense. The first down play was a 62-yard completion to Aldrick Robinson that made Robert Alford look foolish.

So the Redskins found themselves with a fresh set of downs deep in Atlanta territory. On first down from the Atlanta 18 yard line, Kirk Cousins handed off to Alfred Morris. There's some defensive shifting as the Falcons prepare for a run.

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Morris follows his blockers, but fumbles the ball away. It looks like it would have been a tackle for loss if he hadn't.

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Falcons rookie defensive end Malliciah Goodman recovers.

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Goodman tries to run for it, but doesn't get far.

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At any rate, it's a clear fumble and recovery on the Falcons' 37 yard line.

But it doesn't matter much, because the very next play is a Matt Ryan fumble. Ryan takes the snap under center, and has Patrick DiMarco and Steven Jackson in the backfield in the I formation. Tony Gonzalez is lined up to the left, and Roddy White and Harry Douglas are spread to each side. The Redskins are prepared to rush five.

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Before the snap, White shifts to the inside and lines up right behind Gonzalez. DeAngelo Hall shifts inside too, to maintain coverage on White.

DiMarco runs a short route to the right, and Jackson steps up as an additional blocker. White and Douglas go deep, and Gonzalez is open short.

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Ryan Schraeder is at right tackle, and he just does not even remotely block Ryan Kerrigan coming off the edge. Not even a little bit.

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Ryan is sacked, and the ball is out. Brian Orakpo recovers on the Atlanta 27-yard line.

But, that doesn't matter much either, because the Falcons are going to take it right back from the Redskins. Kirk Cousins is in the shotgun, and the Falcons are in the nickel.

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Cousins manages to get the pass off to Santana Moss, and it's a 17-yard completion. As Moss is being tackled, it looks like Sean Weatherspoon is the one who actually punches the ball out, and it's a fumble.

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William Moore recovers, and it's Falcons ball on the Atlanta nine-yard line.

This wouldn't particularly matter, either. There were many flags thrown, and the Falcons would incur two unnecessary roughness penalties after the fumble recovery, moving them half the distance to the goal.

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On first down, Ryan Schraeder was flagged for a false start, moving the Falcons back to their own two-yard line. They ended up punting, and on the next Redskins series, Kirk Cousins threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon, narrowing Atlanta's lead to three points after all of those fumble shenanigans.

Because it's the holiday season, and I'm feeling generous, here's a bonus pivotal play. I'm apparently not the only one feeling generous; Santana Moss must have been feeling generous, also.

Early in the second quarter, the Falcons were forced to punt. Matt Bosher puts the 47 yard punt well inside the Washington 20. Santana Moss, who will be called "Santa Moss" for the remainder of this article, gives the Falcons a real gift as he tries, and just utterly fails, to field the punt.

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Santa Moss trips on another player, muffs it, and Robert McClain recovers. The Falcons have the ball on the Washington 14 yard line. They ended up settling for a field goal, which wasn't ideal, but those three points were a gift from Santa Moss.

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What were your pivotal plays from Sunday's game?

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