Rapid Reaction: Falcons 23, Raiders 20
October, 14, 2012
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com
ATLANTA -- Thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons' 23-20 victory against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
What it means: The Falcons are 6-0 and heading into their bye week. From a distance, it looks like they’re sitting pretty. But there was nothing pretty about this game. The Falcons were about as sloppy as they’ve been all season on both sides of the ball. They were lucky they were playing at home and against a bad team because they easily played well enough to lose.
Play of the day: Matt Bryant's 55-yard field goal with one second remaining gave the Falcons the victory. Very quietly, Bryant has been one of the league's best clutch kickers in recent years.
Play of the day II: Veteran cornerback Asante Samuel almost won this game for the Falcons before Bryant did. He picked off a Carson Palmer pass and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown with 2:40 left in the game to give the Falcons a lead that didn't last long.
Near-goat of the day: Quarterback Matt Ryan has been at the forefront of every MVP conversation up until now. But Ryan had one of the worst games I can recall from him. Yeah, he had a few nice passes and worked the sideline masterfully to set up Bryant's winning kick. But Mr. Efficiency threw three interceptions -- all in the first half -- and was the main reason the Raiders stayed in this game as long as they did.
What I didn’t like: Atlanta’s defense. The Falcons gave up more than 400 yards of total offense. Samuel had the big play and defensive linemen John Abraham and Jonathan Babineaux made some splashy plays. But there were way too many mistakes by the defense. The Falcons also couldn’t come up with a stop when they had the lead late in regulation and let the Raiders force overtime.
What’s next: The Falcons have a bye next weekend. They return to action Oct. 28 at Philadelphia.