By Mark Pierce
History may say what was most remarkable about today’s Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons matchup was watching new NFL player safety rules concerning concussions and brain injury take decisive precedence over any football driven desires the coaching staff of the Redskins may have harbored concerning Robert Griffin III returning to the game for any hypothetical late-game heroics. None occurred, and the Falcons went home with the victory, 24-17.
After Griffin was hit hard going out of bounds by Atlanta on a rollout play at the Atlanta 3 yard line, he did not return to the game, leaving quarterbacking duties to fellow rookie Kirk Cousins. Cousins was the author of a fine 77 yard scoring strike to Santana Moss, however for the most part he telegraphed his throws and proved to be easy pickings for a veteran Atlanta secondary, who nailed the rookie for not one but two game changing 4th quarter interceptions.
In a game that had been billed primarily as a test of the Redskins previously porous defense against the throwing prowess of the NFL’s number one quarterback and passing attack, Jim Haslett’s squad accounted for themselves remarkably well, considering all the obstacles in front of them. It was the Redskins offense which sputtered today, with the notable exception of Alfred Morris’s slashing, never say die running. The sixth round pick from Florida Atlantic rushed for a team high 115 yards on 18 carries, for an average 6.4 yards a carry.
Bu the offense simply wasn’t able to hold on to the football long enough, as the Falcons dominated time of possession, holding on to the ball for 37 minutes to the Redskins 23. Again, the Skins were horrible on third down, managing only one first down in eleven tries.
Washington loses its eighth consecutive home game at Fed Ex field, with the first successive home game this season coming up next week against Minnesota. Quarterback Griffin’s status was described by coach Shanahan after the game as a ” mild concussion.”