That’s how it ends?  Really?  A pick six in the late afternoon Atlanta lights?  The Redskins were close multiple times to handing Atlanta its first loss of the season…only to allow two fourth quarter touchdowns before an overtime interception was run back for a Falcon touchdown.  There are games you look back at in December when your team is one of three fighting for the final playoff spot and you realize that was one that was there for the taking Sunday’s game was one of those.  Cruel world.

Captain Kirk Crashlands– Cousins threw for 219 yards and a touchdown…but his two interceptions made by the Falcons Robert Alford will linger.  Especially the one in overtime…although Ryan Grant slipped on the turf giving Alford not just a clear path to the ball but an easy route to the end zone.  Cousins did not play poorly…and it’ll be interesting to see how he bounces back next week against the New York Jets.

Running on Empty– the ground game went to Atlanta ranked #1 in the league…but wound up tallying just 51 yards on 24 carries.  Instead of the Thunder and Lightning Backfield causing a storm…Matt Jones (11 carries for 20 yards) and Alfred Morris (8-15) were simply clouds that didn’t make any rain.  So much for giving this tandem a nickname…

Third and Longshots– the Skins converted 4 of 12 third downs…with 7 of those 12 attempts measuring 7+ yards.  Less than ideal if you want to move the chains consistently.  Cousins completed 8 of 12 passes for 4 conversions…targeting Pierre Garcon (1 catch, no conversions), Chris Thompson (3 catches and 1 conversion) and Jamison Crowder (3 catches, 2 conversions) three times apiece.  Cousins’ first half interception came on a deep pass on 3rd & 10 to Garcon…while his touchdown toss came on a 3rd & goal from the 7 to Derek Carrier.  Yardage breakdown:  no attempts on 3rd and short (1-3 yards needed), 2 for 5 on 3rd & 4-6 yards needed, 2 for 7 on 3rd & 7+.

Safety First and Fourth, Cornerback Second and Third– the defensive backfield led the team in tackles Sunday.  While it’s nice that DaShon Goldson (10 stops) was active and Bashaud Breeland (8 tackles plus 4 passes defensed) contributed…the goal is that the front seven plays well enough to make these guys afterthoughts.  Now there were big plays made:  Ryan Kerrigan tallied two of the team’s three sacks…while Breeland and Trenton Robinson notched interceptions.  But when they needed one stop in the fourth quarter, it didn’t happen…

Flying Flags– only 5 penalties?  Ice cream for everyone!  Or at least the offense as Trent Williams first quarter hold was their only infraction of the afternoon (Anthony McCoy’s hold in overtime was offsetting).  Will Blackmon picked up a pair (illegal contact & pass interference) of penalties…while Bashaud Breeland’s horse-collar tackle was his third this fall.  The quantity of penalties may be down…but the quality of flags was up:  each defensive penalty assisted an Atlanta scoring drive…while the special teams infraction (unsportsmanlike conduct on DeShazor Everett) jumpstarted a possession that would end in a missed field goal.  The lone offensive flag helped stall a drive deep in the Skins own territory.

Dissecting the Division– the New York Giants (3-2) take over first place in the NFC East with their third straight win…oh, that’s right.  It’s 2015– four years after 2011 and eight after 2007.  Like the ciceda, the Super Bowl Moth life cycle is on track again.  They currently own the #4 seed, but I’m sure that’s all part of Tom Coughlin’s diabolical plan.  Dallas is drifting at 2-3 but owns tiebreakers over the Redskins (division record) and Philadelphia (head-to-head)…so the Cowboys take 2nd in the division and 8th in the conference.  The Skins are in 9th place of the NFC thanks to a 2-2 conference mark…while the Eagles bring up the division rear and are 12th in the NFC.  Let the record show that there are a total of seven 2-3 teams in the NFC at this time…with another at 2-2.  Prepare for a late season-scrum…

Early Divisional Returns– the AFC East is off to the hottest start (11-6) while the NFC South (12-7) is only percentage points behind.  The AFC South (6-13) remains the Colts’ playpen.  How about the NFL’s SEC?  A MAC-like 9-11.  And they get to face the AFC East this fall…

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