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(Sunday, December 15th)
Final Score: Atlanta 27, Washington 26
Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins nearly overcame a seven-turnover nightmare, but Desmond Trufant tipped away a potential go-ahead two-point conversion in the waning seconds to give the Atlanta Falcons a 27-26 victory at the Georgia Dome.
With the Redskins trailing 27-20, Cousins led a crisp two-minute drill that ended in a 3-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss with 18 seconds remaining.
Mike Shanahan, just days after making the decision to shut down franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III, made another headline-worthy call by going for the win.
Cousins rolled to his right and flew a floater into traffic, Trufant knocked the ball out of the back of the end zone and Atlanta (4-10) secured the onside kick to win for just the second time in the past eight weeks.
"I love the call to go for two at the end. I felt like we had them on the ropes, but I just didn't do enough to execute," Cousins said. "That's a play I clearly didn't have a good feel for."
Steven Jackson rushed for two scores and Tony Gonzalez caught a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan, who finished with 210 yards and an interception on 29-of-38 passing.
Griffin watched in street clothes as Cousins passed for 381 yards and three touchdowns, though the second-year backup accounted for three turnovers -- two interceptions and a lost fumble.
Alfred Morris and Santana Moss each lost two fumbles for the Redskins (3-11), who are a mired in a six-game slide.
The first interception by Cousins came immediately after the Redskins stuffed Jackson on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line midway through the third quarter.
William Moore returned the pick 14 yards back to the 2, and Jackson wasn't denied a second time as he barreled across the goal line to put the Falcons in front, 24-20, with 8:13 remaining in the third.
Washington went three-and-out its next two possessions and had a promising drive go for naught early in the fourth when Morris was stripped by Stephen Nicholas in the red zone.
Trufant stepped in front of a poor Cousins pass on Washington's next play from scrimmage, and Matt Bryant knocked the eventual game-winning 51-yard field goal through the uprights with 3:25 to play.
"It wasn't perfect by any stretch...but we found a way to win the ballgame," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said.
Atlanta took the opening kickoff 83 yards in 14 plays using a mix of effective runs and passes. Jackson capped the lengthy drive with a 3-yard touchdown run after running over Redskins defensive back Josh Wilson at the goal line.
Osi Umenyiora swiped the ball out of Cousins' hands in his first series under center, and three plays after the change of possession, Gonzalez caught a short pass over the middle and weaved his way through a slew of defenders en route to a 13-yard score.
Cousins bounced back from the turnover with a Griffin-like touchdown throw, as he rolled to his right and found Fred Davis for a 23-yard score.
A muffed punt from Moss early in the second quarter led to a 20-yard Bryant field goal, and Morris lost the ball deep inside Atlanta's territory to start an odd run of fumbles on three consecutive plays, with Ryan and Moss taking turns coughing up the ball.
Despite twice spoiling good field position, the Redskins pulled closer when Pierre Garcon got behind the secondary and brought in Cousins' 53-yard scoring strike.
Washington tied it at 17-17 with Kai Forbath's 33-yard field goal just before the break, and Ryan's interception on the next snap allowed Forbath to tack on a go-ahead 37-yard kick on the final play of the half.
Garcon had seven catches for 129 yards and needs 10 receptions over the final two games to break the team record of 106 catches in a season set by Art Monk in 1984 ... Gonzalez caught six passes for 62 yards ... Morris rushed for 98 yards on 18 carries ... Jackson was limited to 38 yards on 15 carries ... The Redskins have dropped four straight against the Falcons, last beating them on Sept. 14, 2003.
12/15 18:45:53 ET