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Time Machine: Sanders, Tuggle Spark Falcons over Raiders in 1991


The Falcons-Raiders series is similar to another AFC opponent this season, Kansas City, because there isn't much history between the two teams. The clubs have played just 12 times since opening up for the first time in 1971 with the latest game coming four seasons ago in Oakland.  

These two teams faced off at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium each looking for an identity in the early part of the 1991 season in a Week 4 contest.

Both defenses established their presence early, but it was the Falcons unit that proved opportunistic. CB Deion Sanders blitzed off the edge and sack-stripped Raiders signal-caller Jay Schroeder deep in Atlanta territory. LB Jessie Tuggle picked up the loose ball and rambled 18-yards untouched for a 7-0 lead to close out the first quarter scoring.

After being knotted at 7, the offense picked up the pace in the second half when Falcons QB Chris Miller was picked off on the first possession and turned into a touchdown four plays later.  A Schroeder to TE Ethan Horton five-yard scoring pass put the Raiders on top for the first time, 14-7.

Miller atoned for his mistake quickly by marching the Birds down the field on only three plays, covering 66-yards, which culminated in a 25-yard touchdown pass to RB Steve Broussard.

Atlanta took the lead for good on a 46-yard touchdown grab by WR Michael Haynes early in the fourth. The Los Angeles Raiders, as they were called at the time, could only muster a 49-yard field goal by K Jeff Jaeger to close the gap to 21-17.

The Falcons defense ended the game as they started with a strong final quarter and a CB Tim McKyer interception in the end zone late in the final minutes secured the win.

For Atlanta, this victory was the second in a row for an emerging team that would eventually post a 10-6 record and playoff berth for the first time in eight seasons. (The Raiders ended with a 9-7 mark to also qualify for the postseason.) The Birds would go on to register their first road playoff win in team history that season with a 27-20 victory at New Orleans in the Wild Card round.

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