FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons may have to juggle their linebacking corps due to an ankle injury suffered by starting strongside linebacker Stephen Nicholas against Washington on Sunday.
“It was an ankle injury and Stephen tried to play. He came out there in the second half,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said on Monday. “I thought he did a nice job of trying to get back out there, but he just wasn’t able to push off. Hopefully, he’ll get to feeling better in the next couple of days.”
Nicholas played 37 of 49 (73 percent) defensive snaps against the Redskins. Akeem Dent and Robert James picked up in his absence.
Running back Antone Smith (hamstring) left the game and could not return.
Tight end Michael Palmer, who suffered a shoulder injury against San Diego on Sept. 23, is not expected to return until after the bye week.
“We are looking at probably [getting him back] for the Philadelphia game [on Oct. 28,]” Smith said.
Defensive tackle Corey Peters [stress fractured foot] is close to returning but remains on the reserve/non-football injury list.
“He’s been working with our athletic performance group on the side,” Smith said. “There will be a decision-making process in the term [physically unable to perform] from Week 6 through Week 9, where you can come off the list. That’s coming up very quickly.”
The NFL is looking into whether the Washington Redskins followed the league’s injury reporting policy when they announced during the game that quarterback Robert Griffin III was “shaken up” and questionable to return on Sunday.
Griffin was diagnosed with a mild concussion and spent most of the fourth quarter in the locker room. Teams are required by the league to give accurate and timely injury information during games.
Record book check
Tony Gonzalez’ 99th touchdown reception, which came in the second quarter against Washington, tied him with Don Hutson for eighth on the NFL’s all-time touchdown reception list.
The 16-year veteran is one score shy of becoming the eighth player in league history to catch 100 touchdown passes.
Wide receivers Tim Brown and Steve Largent are next up on the list, tied with 100 touchdown catches each.
The defense sealed the win over Washington with a pair of interceptions on the Redskins’ final two possessions.
Cornerback Dunta Robinson picked off quarterback Kirk Cousins at the Falcons 36-yard line with two minutes remaining and free safety Thomas DeCoud picked off Cousins near midfield on the Redskins final drive.
Overall, the Falcons are second in the league with nine interceptions. Chicago leads the league with 13.
DeCoud’s four interceptions are tied for tops in the league with Chicago’s Tim Jennings.
Gonzalez had his best game since joining the Falcons in 2009. His 13 receptions and 123 yards were both his highest totals with the Falcons. … Quarterback Matt Ryan tied career-highs with 34 completions on 52 attempts. … Ryan’s 345 yard passing marked the 12th time he has thrown for more than 300 yards in a game. His 12 career 300-yard games tied Steve Bartkowski for the franchise record. Bartkowski set the mark between 1975 and 1985. … Veteran cornerback Terrence Johnson was signed to the practice squad after outperforming Bryan McCann (Southern Methodist), Prince Miller (Georgia) and Kevyn Scott (Syracuse).