LANDOVER, Md. -- The Atlanta Falcons (4-4) earned their first road victory of the season on Sunday, beating the Washington Redskins (5-3) 38-14.
The Falcons are now on a three-game win streak after starting the season 1-4, and they've climbed out of the early hole to remain alive in the NFC playoff picture. This was the most complete game of the year for Atlanta, which gained 491 yards on offense and allowed a season-low 14 points.
Julio reaches the end zone
Julio Jones provided the perfect exclamation point on what was a exemplary day for the Falcons' offense. Late in the fourth quarter, Jones took a screen pass and sprinted through a gap in the defense for a 35-yard touchdown catch. It was Jones' first touchdown of the season, which puts an end to what has become a running joke for NFL trolls across the country.
Touchdown aside, it was another dominant outing for the Falcons' All-Pro receiver, who entered the game with the second-most receiving yards in the league. Jones caught seven passes for 121 yards and the touchdown.
Falcons offense rolls in first half
The Falcons' offense has played well for much of 2018, but during the first half against the Redskins they looked exceptional. Atlanta scored on three of its four first-half possessions, with a miscommunication between Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley leading to an interception on the Falcons' only non-scoring drive.
Tevin Coleman scored the first touchdown of the game on a 39-yard screen pass, Ito Smith scored the Falcons' second touchdown on a 12-yard run and Ridley scored from 40 yards out just before halftime to give Atlanta a 21-7 lead.
Atlanta gained 289 yards of offense in the first half, with 226 of those yards coming through the air and the other 63 yards gained on the ground. The Falcons were also a perfect 8-for-8 on third down, sustaining long drives against a Redskins defense that has allowed 322 yards per game, fourth-fewest in the league.
Atlanta contains Redskins' rushing attack
Adrian Peterson entered Sunday's game with 587 rushing yards, the fifth-most among all NFL running backs, and four touchdowns, but he couldn't find much room to run against Atlanta. The Falcons' defense looked as sharp as they ever have during the first half against the Redskins, bottling up Peterson for just 15 yards on six carries.
The longest run of the game for Washington came on an Alex Smith scramble, which went for 22 yards after he somehow eluded three Falcons pass rushers and found a ton of space in front of him.
With the Falcons holding a large lead for much of the second half, the Redskins resorted to throwing the ball in the second half in an attempt to close the gap. Washington ended the game with just 79 yards on the ground and Peterson finished with 17 yards on nine carries.
Kazee continues to be a true ball-hawk
The legend of Damontae Kazee's ball-hawking ways continues to grow. Kazee entered Sunday's game with a team-leading three interceptions, and he snagged his fourth on a toe-tapping catch along the sideline in the fourth quarter. The interception came after Blidi Wreh-Wilson deflected Smith's pass to tight end Vernon Davis.
Tavecchio remains perfect as a Falcon
He didn't have as much work to do as he did during the Falcons' Monday-night win against the Giants, but Giorgio Tavecchio remains perfect as Matt Bryant's replacement. Tavecchio's lone field goal attempt came in the fourth quarter, but he hit the 27-yarder true and gave Atlanta a 31-14 lead late in the game.