Final

Raiders 20

(1-4, 0-3 away)

Falcons 23

(6-0, 3-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, October 14, 2012

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA 

1 2 3 4 T
OAK 3 10 0 720
ATL 0 7 6 1023

Top Performers

Passing: C. Palmer (OAK) - 353 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: D. McFadden (OAK) - 27 CAR, 70 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Moore (OAK) - 5 REC, 104 YDS, 1 TD

Matt Bryant makes 55-yard FG, lifts unbeaten Falcons over Raiders

Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have plenty of mistakes to work on during their bye week.

Of course, it's sure easier to fix the problems when you're still unbeaten.

Asante Samuel returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown in the closing minutes and Matt Bryant connected on a 55-yard field goal with 1 second remaining, allowing the Falcons to escape with a sloppy 23-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Overcoming three interceptions by Matt Ryan, the Falcons (6-0) extended the best start in franchise history.

It wasn't easy against the pesky Raiders (1-4), who bounced back from Samuel's pick to tie the game with less than a minute to go, but left a little too much time on the clock for Atlanta's final possession.

Ryan completed four short passes, the last of them a 13-yarder to Tony Gonzalez that got Bryant in range for his longest field goal since joining the Falcons in 2009 -- and his second game-winning kick in three weeks. He beat the Panthers 30-28 on a 40-yard field goal with 5 seconds left.

"He knows how to get himself prepared, how to calm himself down, how to get it through those pipes," Ryan said. "He's made a lot of clutch kicks for us through the years."

Bryant actually missed one early, pulling a 43-yarder wide left to break a streak of 23 consecutive field goals going back to last season. He bounced back to connect from 41 and 20 yards before making the one that really mattered.

"Missing that one early kind of woke me up a little bit to focus even harder," Bryant said.

After a mostly ugly game, the final 3 minutes were thrilling. Tied at 13, the Raiders were in position for a go-ahead field goal when Samuel stepped in front of Carson Palmer's pass at the Atlanta 21 and returned it for a touchdown, racing to the end zone right in front of the Falcons' bench.

Palmer shook off that huge mistake, leading the Raiders down the field for the tying score. He connected with Derek Hagan on a 38-yard pass to the Atlanta 5, and Darren McFadden scored on a 2-yard run with 40 seconds left.

Just enough time for the Falcons, it turned out.

"You don't want to tell your back to take a knee," Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen said. "We wanted to use up as much time as we possibly could, and unfortunately we gave them a little bit too much."

Ryan finished 24 of 37 for 249 yards and equaled his career high for picks, matching the three he had against New Orleans in 2009.

But he was cool as can be with the game on the line.

"We've been in these situations before," Ryan said. "We know what we need to do."

Palmer was 23 of 33 for 353 yards, putting up much better rating than Ryan. But the Raiders quarterback was kicking himself for that one devastating play: the pick by Samuel.

"Put the blame on me," Palmer said. "It's completely my fault."

Ryan came into the game with three interceptions in the first five weeks. He doubled his total by halftime.

On the fourth snap of the day, Ryan went over the middle looking for Harry Douglas but didn't see cornerback Joselio Hanson. Atlanta's third possession ended the same way. Ryan made an ill-advised decision to throw deep to Julio Jones, despite triple coverage. Michael Huff made an easy interception at the Oakland 2. Late in the second quarter, with Atlanta clinging to a 7-6 lead, Ryan got popped by blitzing linebacker Philip Wheeler just as he released the ball. The fluttering pass settled right in the arms of safety Tyvon Branch, giving Oakland the ball at the Falcons 28.

The Raiders quickly seized on the third interception. Palmer flipped a short pass to Denarius Moore, who took it all the way to the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown that gave Oakland a 13-7 lead at halftime. Sebastian Janikowski connected on field goals of 52 and 22 yards, while the Falcons' lone score was Ryan's 4-yard pass to Roddy White, capping a 10-play, 80-yard drive.

The third quarter turned into a defensive slog, the only points coming on Bryant's first two field goals.

John Abraham had a huge day on the Falcons' defense. He sacked Palmer three times and gave Atlanta's sputtering offense a chance to retake the lead in the third when he stripped the ball away from the quarterback just before his right arm came forward. Ray Edwards scooped up the fumble and rumbled to the Oakland 2.

But the Raiders held. Michael Turner was stopped just short of the goal line and, even after an offside penalty moved the tip of ball just short of the end zone, Atlanta couldn't get it in. Jason Snelling was thrown for a 2-yard loss on third down, forcing Atlanta to settle for Bryant's 20-yard field goal that tied the game at 13.

Game notes


Falcons coach Mike Smith improved his career record to 49-21, tying Dan Reeves as the winningest coach in team history. ... The Raiders rushed for 149 yards, more than double their NFL-worst average. But McFadden had another tough day, averaging 2.6 yards on 27 carrries. ... One week after making 13 catches against the Redskins, Gonzales was held to four receptions for 42 yards.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
OAK
ATL
1st Downs2216
Passing 1st downs
1511
Rushing 1st downs
63
1st downs from penalties
12
3rd down efficiency
5-132-9
4th down efficiency
0-00-0
Total Plays6853
Total Yards474286
Yards per play7.05.4
Total Drives1313
Passing325241
Comp-Att
23-3324-37
Yards per pass
9.06.3
Interceptions thrown
13
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-281-8
Rushing14945
Rushing Attempts
3215
Yards per rush
4.73.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-00-0
Penalties12-1102-25
Turnovers33
Fumbles lost
20
Interceptions thrown
13
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession36:2623:34

Passing Leaders

OAKC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Palmer23/3335310.7113-28
ATLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ryan24/372496.7131-8

Rushing Leaders

OAKCARYDSAVGTDLG
McFadden27702.6114
Goodson45914.8043
ATLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Turner11333.009
Ryan11515.0015

Receiving Leaders

OAKRECYDSAVGTDLG
Moore510420.8149
Hagan48521.3038
ATLRECYDSAVGTDLG
White67212.0126
Jones46315.8025

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTEROAKATL
oakFG0:28Sebastian Janikowski 52 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 65 yds, 4:24
30
SECOND QUARTEROAKATL
atlTD9:56Roddy White 4 Yard Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:33
37
oakFG4:15Sebastian Janikowski 22 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 76 yds, 5:40
67
oakTD2:00Denarius Moore 25 Yard Pass From Carson Palmer (Sebastian Janikowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 28 yds, 0:54
137
THIRD QUARTEROAKATL
atlFG5:10Matt Bryant 41 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 47 yds, 3:29
1310
atlFG2:35Matt Bryant 20 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 0 yds, 1:53
1313
FOURTH QUARTEROAKATL
atlTD2:55Asante Samuel 79 Yard Interception Return (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 62 yds, 3:39
1320
oakTD0:44Darren Mcfadden 2 Yard Run (Sebastian Janikowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yds, 2:00
2020
atlFG0:05Matt Bryant 55 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 43 yds, 0:39
2023

Research Notes

From Elias: Going into this season, 52 teams have started 6-0 or better in the Super Bowl era. 24 of them reached the Super Bowl (46.2%). 13 won the Super Bowl (25.0%).
Carson Palmer completed 10 of his first 11 passes outside the numbers in Sunday's game against the Falcons. However, Palmer's 12th attempt was an underthrown pass with 2:55 left to Denarius Moore that Asante Samuel returned for a touchdown to give the Falcons the lead. With the exception of that one play, Palmer had his best game of the season throwing outside the numbers.
  [+]
The Raiders defense kept the Falcons' passing game under control on Sunday. Matt Ryan was 12-of-22 with all three of his interceptions on throws deeper than five yards downfield. Through his first five games, Ryan was the only qualified quarterback above 70 percent on those throws.
  [+]
The Raiders had a chance to knock off the Falcons on Sunday because they dominated nearly every statistical category. But, they are still the Raiders:
  [+]
In the first half, Carson Palmer was 7-for-8 for 118 yards and a touchdown against four or fewer pass rushers (14.8 yards per att). Entering today, Palmer ranked 29th among 33 qualified quarterbacks with 6.1 yards per attempt against four or fewer pass rushers this season.

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