Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

December 16, 2013

Falcons cause 7 turnovers, beat Redskins

Atlanta — Kirk Cousins’ first start of the season produced 381 yards passing — more than Robert Griffin III has had in a game.

Cousins also threw three touchdown passes, including a 3-yarder to Santana Moss to cap a 13-play, 80-yard drive that could have tied or won the game.

Despite all the yards, Cousins and the Redskins were left to bemoan the seven turnovers they couldn’t overcome in Sunday’s 27-26 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Cousins, a second-year quarterback appearing in only his third game of the season, threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.

He said those mistakes and his inability to complete a pass on a potential winning 2-point conversion with 18 seconds remaining cost the Redskins the game.

“We just didn’t do enough to win,” Cousins said. “Two interceptions that were on me. A fumble that you don’t want to have. The failed attempt at a 2-point conversion, that was on me. Those are four plays right there that if they go differently, it’s probably a much better result.”

Cousins completed 29 of 45 passes. He started following coach Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench Griffin. Griffin, whose career high is 329 yards passing, watched from the sideline.

“I thought he did well,” Shanahan said of Cousins. “Though anytime you have seven turnovers — I don’t think I have ever been in a close game and there were seven turnovers. We have to eliminate those to have a chance to win.”

The furor created by Shanahan’s move at quarterback followed the team to Atlanta. Redskins fans held signs which read “Free RGIII” and “We still believe in RGIII.”   

Falcons rookie Desmond Trufant deflected Cousins’ pass for Pierre Garcon on the 2-point play.

The Falcons (4-10) scored 20 points off seven Washington turnovers. The Redskins (3-11) tied a team record with five lost fumbles. Alfred Morris and Santana Moss each lost two fumbles.

“You can’t win with turnovers, yet we still had an opportunity to win and that shows you how hard they fought,” Shanahan said.

“Those guys normally are great with ball security and don’t turn it over.”

Shanahan said Cousins showed good composure for a quarterback with so little experience.

“It was the first time he had seen some playing time in a while,” Shanahan said. “It’s nice to see him go out there and play with a lot of confidence. I thought he kept his composure back there and did a heck of a job in leading us down the field. Just proud of the way he handled himself.”

Shanahan said his decision to go for 2 was based on the Falcons’ defensive alignment. He said he would have used his final timeout to send his kicking team on the field if the Falcons didn’t have the alignment he wanted for his planned play.

“I thought if we had the right defense and the right play, we’re going to stay with it,” Shanahan said. “We thought we did and unfortunately it didn’t work out.”

Shanahan brushed off a question about his job status, saying “I’m not going to talk about that.”

Linebacker Brian Orakpo said the attention surrounding Shanahan’s status and the switch at quarterback were not distractions in the game.

“You have to ignore it,” Orakpo said. “Once you’re in between the lines, everything else is out the window. That’s what happened today. Regardless of all the drama that went on, we came out here to try to win a ballgame. We fell short but fought very hard to the end.”

Cousins said he liked the decision to go for 2.

“I loved the call to go for 2 there,” Cousins said. “I felt like we had them on the ropes. We just didn’t do enough to execute, but it starts right here with me.”

The Falcons recovered an onside kick to seal the win.

“It was a game full of drama, but I’m glad we were able to pull it off,” said Atlanta’s Steven Jackson, who ran for 38 yards and two touchdowns.

Morris had 98 yards rushing on 18 carries, including a 37-yard run.

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.

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 fumbles by the Redskins. There were lost fumbles on three straight plays in the second quarter.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • Nolin settling in as new VSU soccer coach

    Meet Rebecca Nolin, VSU's new soccer coach.

    July 28, 2014

  • Induction Crowd: Honorees were genuine, down to earth

    More than 48,000 people gathered under the scorching sun at The Clark Sports Center for the 75th National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Sunday, including one woman who carpooled to the event with more than 40 other people.

    July 28, 2014

  • Braves trio all business at inductions

    The Braves seemed almost businesslike in their approach -- something you might expect from a trio that won so consistently.
    Managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa also remained calm and collected throughout their addresses.
    Frank Thomas took care of the emotional side, his voice breaking and his eyes moist during a heartfelt speech Sunday at the Clark Sports Center.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • Cooperstown Merchants: Weekend was a success

    Cooperstown merchants are elated about the exceptionally prosperous Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, several storekeepers said Sunday.

    During an afternoon lull in business, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame's induction ceremony was taking place, area shop and restaurant owners took a quick breath, reflected and expressed satisfaction with their sales for the weekend.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall of Famers thank fathers for stepping up to the plate

    Great ballplayers thanking their dads at a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is about as original as oil and vinegar are to an Italian restaurant.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall_Maddux.jpg Hall of Braves

    The weird part was that Jeff Idelson didn't take a lot of time to answer.
    "Is there any word or description that unifies this class?" was the query posed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's president.
    "The common thread among the six is profound humility," Idelson said of former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, and former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, all of whom will be inducted into the Hall today. "I don't think I realized that fully until I spent time with them in December. It was uncanny to me, for the cumulative star power in that group, the humility among them. I think that's felt really strongly with baseball fans."

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • Hall_Cox.jpg Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches

    Bobby Cox will be able to add Hall of Famer to his resume when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    But the former Atlanta Braves manager’s legacy will remain the same to area baseball coaches: his willingness to defend his players.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Valwood_Henderson.jpg Area teams hoping to get over the hump

    Past successes lead to present and future expectations.
    That’s the task faced by pretty much all 12 area high school football coaches present Saturday at In The Game Magazine’s South Georgia Football media day at the Holiday Inn conference center.
    It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • VHS little cats camp 1.jpg Valdosta hosts fundamental camp for ‘Little ’Cats’

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • VHS practice1.jpg Getting Back to Work

    Friday officially began the 2014 season for the Valdosta Wildcats and both the offense and defense came out and made statements.
    After holding spring and summer workouts, the Wildcats will practice four more times without pads before beginning full pad practice next week.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

Blazers Blog
More