ATLANTA -- Watching Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams bent over on the field after the game summed up the team's day: It was a devastating 25-19 overtime loss in a game they not only could have won, but should have. The Redskins had one opportunity after another in regulation, and with Atlanta’s offense struggling, they needed to take better advantage. They did not.
To win a big game on the road, a team must capitalize on every opportunity. And when the Redskins intercepted a pass late in the game and started at the Atlanta 21 and only got a field goal? It was the beginning of the end -- even though it went into overtime and they started with the ball first. The Redskins have taken steps this season toward being a good team, and this does not detract from the positives. Their mindset is terrific, and when you look at all their injuries, perhaps they shouldn't have been expected to win. But they outplayed Atlanta (5-0) for a large portion of the game, and they had a chance for a win that could have altered the direction of their season. It was there. They lost it.
Ugly pick: Quarterback Kirk Cousins had a strong fourth quarter (after an inconsistent day) but he misfired on the game-ending interception return for a touchdown by Robert Alford in overtime. Receiver Ryan Grant slipped on his cut, and that didn’t help at all -- the ball was out before he fell. But the pass was still too wide. If Grant doesn’t fall, he can perhaps break up the play or tackle Alford.
Scheming: The Redskins did not shut out receiver Julio Jones, but they most definitely kept him in check. It helped that he played with a bad hamstring -- he was seen limping a couple of times on the sideline. But the Redskins were without two starting corners. They bracketed him, changed up looks that took away certain routes (showing man, playing zone) and the corners did an excellent job playing to their safety help, allowing them to cut underneath on some throws.
Scheming, Part 2: One reason Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman had such a big day stemmed from the Falcons forcing the Redskins into their nickel defense. With one fewer big body in the way, Freeman was able to find better creases.
One reason to get excited: The defense held up well with two starting corners sidelined, with an offense that failed to provide any help and when faced with bad field position.
One reason to panic: The running game has not been working; there have been too many missed blocks up front, resulting in poor cutback lanes. It’s the third straight game they’ve rushed poorly.
Fantasy watch: There weren’t many good fantasy plays with tight end Jordan Reed and receiver DeSean Jackson out. Running back Alfred Morris only managed 15 yards on eight carries and had just two second-half runs.
Ouch: Running back Matt Jones suffered a toe injury and did not play late in the fourth quarter or in overtime. Trenton Robinson left the game a couple of times, but always returned after a short absence.