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Gonzalez, Defense Highlight First-Half


The offensive battle that everyone expected didn't materialize in a damp Washington D.C. during the first half of Falcons-Redskins.

Two Falcons turnovers and a dominant pass defense from Atlanta controlled the storyline of the first half before a late surge by the Falcons began to change the game.

Matt Ryan moved the ball well through the air, but uncharacteristically threw an interception at his own 38-yard line that Ryan Kerrigan returned for an interception. Later in the second quarter, Ryan fumbled a snap that the Redskins recovered.

The Redskins moved the ball after the turnover, but Atlanta's defense stepped up and clamped down inside the redzone. Kroy Biermann stopped running back Alfred Morris for a two-yard loss on third down and a missed field goal by Billy Cundiff kept the Redskins lead at 7-0.

With just over two minutes remaining in the half, the Falcons took over and let Ryan and Tony Gonzalez go to work. Starting on the Atlanta 21-yard line, Atlanta marched down the field, using three catches from Gonzalez to keep the ball moving, including the final play of the drive, a 1-yard touchdown catch for the tight end. The score was the future Hall of Famer's 99th career touchdown reception.

The score from the final first-half drive by Atlanta tied the game at 7 and may have helped the Falcons find some momentum. In the first half, Ryan is 21-for-32 passing for 187 yards. Gonzalez is carrying the offense on his back, catching nine passes for 86 yards.

Atlanta's defense held the Redskins to just 138 yards of offense in the first half. Washington wasn't able to manage a third-down conversion in four tries. A Dunta Robinson sack of Washington QB Robert Griffin III was a big part of holding him to just six completions for 52 yards.

Alfred Morris was the majority of Washington's offense in the first half. The rookie RB rushed for 86 yards on 10 carries, but the Falcons stopped him when they needed to the most.

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