Regardless of the facet, the Falcons dominated the Commanders in most areas of the game, except just one; that one proved extremely costly, though.
Atlanta had 25 first downs compared to Washington’s 13. Though 5-of-15 on third downs isn’t great by any means, it’s better than the 2-of-10 that the Falcons held Sam Howell and the Commanders’ offense to. Desmond Ridder and the offense outgained their opponents 402 to 193 while running 29 more plays and averaging more than a yard per play.
Ridder threw for nearly 296 yards compared to Howell’s 121 yards. The Falcons rushed for 106 yards while only allowing the Commanders to gain 72 yards on the ground. The home team also held the ball for over 36 minutes compared to the Commanders’ less than 23 minutes of possession. The visitors also committed two more penalties for 10 more total yards.
By nearly every metric, the Falcons won this football game. However, behind actually scoring points, the most important statistic is the only the Commanders won — turnovers. Desmond Ridder turned the ball over three times, while Sam Howell and Washington protected the ball. It was the difference in the game.
The Falcons have to protect the ball. Last week, Atlanta nearly gave the game away with a pair of fumbles from Jonnu Smith and Bijan Robinson. Thankfully, Ridder was able to lead the Falcons down the field to set up a game-winning field goal.
This week they weren’t so lucky. Ridder doesn’t have to be a hero for this club to win football games. He has to protect the football and let his playmakers make him look good. The defense is good enough to carry the team, but they can’t do it all. Ridder, Smith, and the offense have to do their part and not make the defense’s lives harder.