The Falcons survived a last-minute Redskins rally and held on to a 27-26 victory Sunday at the Georgia Dome. Let’s take a peek at a few of the numbers behind the narrative of the Falcons’ one-point win.
1.5 - Number of reverse revolutions by Redskins’ starting CB Josh Wilson after being trucked by Steven Jackson during his first quarter touchdown run – the first of two rushing scores on the day. Jackson exploded through the right side of the Falcons’ offensive line, hitting Wilson with a full head of steam at one-yard line as the cornerback came up to plug the hole Jackson was chugging toward. The laws of physics were not kind to the seven-year pro from Maryland, who pitched backwards into the end zone as Jackson strode purposefully over him for six points. The play was captured perfectly in an animated .GIF that’s been floating around the Twitosphere.
3 - Plays in a row with a fumble and a turnover during a surreal first-quarter stretch. With 10:04 on the second quarter clock, Alfred Morris lost the handle on the football without being hit, and rookie Malliciah Goodman scooped up the loose ball, returning it 13 yards to the Atlanta 24. On the very next play, Ryan Kerrigan blasted into the Falcons’ backfield to sack Matt Ryan and jar the ball loose. Brian Orapko fell on the fumble at the Falcons’ 27-yard line. With Washington’s offense back on the field, Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins dropped back to pass and hit Santana Moss on a crossing route inside the Atlanta 15, but Robert McClain stripped the ball loose as he was bringing Moss down, and William Moore recovered on the 9-yard line. Moss caught ball inside the Atlanta 15, stripped by McClain as he was going down, recovered by Moore.
3 - Number of rookie undrafted free agents starting for the Falcons against the Redskins. Linebackers Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu suited up alongside Sean Weatherspooon in the Falcons’ base defensive package. On the offensive side of the ball, rookie OT Ryan Schraeder got the start at right tackle. With Zeke Motta spelling the injured Thomas DeCoud and first and second round draft picks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford starting at the cornerback spots, the Falcons had six rookies starting for them against Washington.
5 - Plays of 20 yards or more surrendered by the Falcons defense, all in the first half of the game. In addition to a 62-yard second-quarter completion to Aldrick Robinson, Cousins threw touchdowns of 53 and 23 yards in the first half.
5 - Number of players in NFL history who have totaled 15,000 career receiving yards. This elite group grew by one this afternoon as Tony Gonzalez stepped into that rarified air. Gonzalez reached the plateau in the third quarter after a 13-yard reception. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer hauled in 6 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown – the 110th of his career.
6 - Points given up by the Falcons defense in second half. The first half was marked by explosive plays for Washington’s offense, rolling up 320 total yards and 20 points before halftime. The young Atlanta defense settled down after the intermission, surrendering just 156 yards and a last-second touchdown in the second half.
7 - Takeaways for the Falcons in the game (5 fumbles and 2 INTs), the most since Atlanta’s defense forced 7 turnovers against the Green Bay Packers on November 6, 1988.
7 - Number of rookies in the game on defense (of the 11 defenders on the field) throughout the day for the Falcons. DE Malliciah Goodman, DE Stansly Moponga, LB Paul Worrilow, LB Joplo Bartu, CB Desmond Trufant, CB Robert Alford and S Zeke Motta were on the field together frequently from kickoff to final whistle. While the young group was victimized by too many big plays, they gelled as the game went on, only giving up 6 points in second half.
9 - Combined turnovers in the game, with six of them ocurring in the first half. Despite forcing four fumbles and recovering all of them in the first two quartters, the Falcons went to the locker room at halftime trailing 20-17.
16 - Combined penalties in the game. Washington was flagged 9 times for 66 yards, while the Falcons were penalized 7 times for 73 yards.
36 - Total tackles for the five rookies who led the team in tackles against the Redskins. Alford and Worrilow led all Atlanta defenders with nine tackles, followed by Trufant and Bartu with 7 and Zeke Motta with 5. William Moore, Robert McClain, Jonathan Massaquoi and Stephen Nicholas also notched five tackles in the game.
46.8 - Average net yardage for Falcons punter Matt Bosher on his six punts in the game, including a 59-yard boot in the fourth quarter. Bosher is turning in a stellar third professional season, averaging over 41 net punting yards on the year, which ranks seventh in the NFL.
55 - Percent of 2 point conversions Mike Shanahan has converted in four seasons as Redskins’ head coach. Shanahan went for the 2-point conversion after the Redskins scored a potential game-tying touchdown with 22 seconds remaining in the game instead of sending the game to a likely overtime period. The Cousins pass was knocked down by rookie CB Desmond Trufant, cementing the win the the Falcons. Shanahan has gone for two point conversions 11 times as head coach of the Redskins, converting 6. He is now 2 of 5 in 2013.
73 - Percent of passes completed by Matt Ryan at home this season. He has only completed less than 70 percent of his passes in 2 of 7 home games (New England & Seattle) this year, and in both of those games he was still over 63 percent in completion percentage.