(I’ll be back shortly with the game column. Until then, here are my three short takes on the Falcons’ 24-17 win over the Washington Redskins.)
1. Plan B always works: The Redskins’ defense effectively shut down the Falcons’ deep threat of Roddy White and Julio Jones for most of the game. But as we’ve seen this season, the offense always has a backup plan. In this case, it was tight end Tony Gonzalez, who had 13 catches (one short of his career high) for 123 yards and a touchdown. Not bad for a 36-year-old who plans on retiring after this season. Maybe he can be talked out of it.
2. RG3 injury benefits defense: You’ll never hear anybody on the Falcons admit this but it obviously helped their cause when quarterback Robert Griffin III left the game with a mild concussion. Yes, rookie backup Kirk Cousins threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss. But that largely was the result of a blown coverage by the Falcons — the deep safety broke off the route — and Cousins’ game inexperience showed thereafter with two interceptions. He was 4 for 8 for 34 yards on his other attempts.
3. Whatever Matt Bryant is getting paid, it’s not enough: The Falcons’ kicker has been money all season, and this game was no exception. With the Falcons trailing 17-14 in the fourth quarter but driving, Matt Ryan was sacked for a 7-yard loss back at the Redskins’ 35. That eventually forced Bryant to attempt a 53-yard field goal, which he made anyway — easily. He is now 10-for-10 this season.
– By Jeff Schultz