published Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Falcons hold off fumble-prone Redskins 27-26

Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) runs after making a catch as Washington Redskins free safety E.J. Biggers (30) and Washington Redskins strong safety Brandon Meriweather (31) defend during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, in Atlanta.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) runs after making a catch as Washington Redskins free safety E.J. Biggers (30) and Washington Redskins strong safety Brandon Meriweather (31) defend during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, in Atlanta.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATLANTA — Kirk Cousins picked on an Atlanta secondary packed with first-year players all game long.

But the Falcons' top rookie had the last word.

Desmond Trufant deflected Cousins' pass on a potential winning 2-point conversion with 18 seconds remaining, and the Atlanta Falcons edged the Washington Redskins 27-26 on Sunday.

The Falcons (4-10) scored 20 points off seven Washington turnovers. The Redskins (3-11) tied a team record with five lost fumbles.

Cousins passed for 381 yards and three touchdowns but had three turnovers in his first start of the season after coach Mike Shanahan decided to bench Robert Griffin III. Griffin watched from the sideline.

Cousins' touchdown pass to Santana Moss gave Washington a chance to force overtime by kicking the extra point.

Instead, Cousins' attempted go-ahead 2-point pass for Pierre Garcon was deflected by Trufant, the first-round pick who also had an interception.

Steven Jackson ran for 38 yards and two touchdowns for Atlanta.

The Falcons started five rookies on defense, including three in the secondary.

The Falcons held out safety Thomas DeCoud, who is recovering from a concussion. Rookie safety Zeke Motta made his first start.

A sixth Atlanta rookie, offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder, made his first start.

Alfred Morris had 98 yards rushing, but lost two fumbles for Washington.

Cousins lost a fumble on the Redskins' first possession and set up the Falcons' go-ahead touchdown late in the third quarter with his first of two interceptions.

Santana Moss fumbled a punt and also lost a fumble following a catch.

The Falcons led 24-20 with less than 6 minutes remaining before Trufant's interception set up Matt Bryant's 51-yard field goal.

The teams combined for six turnovers in the first half, including four turnovers by the Redskins.

The teams combined for lost fumbles on three straight plays in the second quarter.

The Redskins had an excellent scoring opportunity at the Atlanta 18 following a 62-yard pass from Cousins to Aldrick Robinson.

On first down from the 18, Morris lost the ball without being hit, and Malliciah Goodman recovered for Atlanta.

The Falcons gave the ball back when Matt Ryan fumbled when hit by Ryan Kerrigan. On the next play, Cousins passed to Moss, who lost the ball when stripped by Robert McClain. William Moore recovered for Atlanta.

Tony Gonzalez had six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. He became the fifth player in NFL history with 15,000 yards receiving.

Ryan completed 29 of 38 passes for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Garcon had seven catches for 129 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown.

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