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Raiders Fall Short, Falcons Rally…Again!

Atlanta Falcons DE John Abraham sacks Raiders QB Carson Palmer.

Atlanta didn’t have to come from behind but they needed a 43 yard drive in 39 seconds to set up Matt Bryant’s 55 yard game winning field goal to avoid overtime and dispatch the Oakland Raiders 23-20 Sunday afternoon at the Georgia Dome.

Oakland’s Carson Palmer and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan aired out the Dome throwing for 353 and 249 yards respectively. Both quarterbacks attempted over 30 passes and completed over 60% of their passes. Ryan threw for two more interceptions (3) than Palmer but the Raiders QB’s only pick came at the most inopportune moment.

With the game all tied at 13 with 2:40 remaining, Asante Samuel jumped in front of a pass from Palmer intended for Denarius Moore and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown.

“He's known for intercepting the ball,” said Atlanta Head Coach Mike Smith of Samuel’s play. “He is a ball-hawk and he is an athletic guy that can return it.”

Looking a lot more confident than their 1-4 record, the Raiders came right back marching the length of the field to tie the game. Palmer completed 7 passes for 78 yards before handing off to Darren McFadden for the touchdown.

The Raiders used up 2 minutes of the clock on the drive, leaving Atlanta 40 seconds of air. Atlanta needed just 34 of them to get Matt Bryant within range. "You don't want to tell your back to take a knee," said Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen. "We wanted to use up as much time as we possibly could, and unfortunately we gave them a little bit too much."

Bryant’s game winning field goal was his second of the season. The Falcons 11 year veteran nailed a 33 yard field goal in week 4 to beat the Carolina Panthers.

“Missing that one early kind of woke me up a little bit to focus even harder,” said Bryant of the 43-yard field goal missed in the first quarter. “I had to find a way today.”

Atlanta heads into the bye week a franchise best 6-0. They will have two weeks to prepare for Michael Vick and the Eagles in Philadelphia. Oakland will dust themselves off and get ready to face a rested Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) at Oakland County Coliseum.

  • Head coach Mike Smith has compiled a 49-21 (.700) record in four-plus seasons in Atlanta, tying Dan Reeves for the most coaching wins in team history. Reeves went 49-59-1 (.454) in seven seasons from 1997-03.

  • Including Sunday’s game winner, Bryant has connected on eight field goals of 50-plus yards in his NFL career and his teams are 7-1 when he is good from that distance.

  • Ryan has engineered 19 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in his career which is the most in the NFL since 2008 and most by a quarterback in his first five seasons since 1966.

  • CB Asante Samuel recorded his first interception as a Falcon in the fourth quarter. Including playoffs, Samuel has 10 interception returns for touchdowns which rank fifth in NFL history.

  • DE John Abraham turned in an impressive performance on Sunday, sacking Palmer three times for a loss of 28 yards. Abraham notched his second strip-sack of the season in the third quarter, hitting Palmer and forcing a fumble. DE Ray Edwards picked up the loose ball and returned it 26-yards to set up a 20-yard Bryant field goal.

  • This season, the Falcons have scored 53 points off of 17 takeaways, which ranks among the NFL leaders. Under Smith, the Falcons have forced 123 turnovers, resulting in 398 points since 2008.

  • The Falcons swept their AFC West opponents this season, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders. Atlanta averaged 29.3 points per game while allowing just 17.0 and posting a 10 turnover differential against AFC West teams.

  • Atlanta Falcons-23 vs Oakland Raiders-20

    • Raiders punter Shane Lechler leads the team onto the field at the Georgia Dome.

    • John Abraham leads the Falcons onto the field at the Georgia Dome.

    • NFL honors Breast Cancer Awareness month with signage, pins and apparell.

    • Raiders fans display the flag for Raiders Nation.

    • Raiders receiver Rod Streater makes a diving catch ahead of Falcons DB Dunta Robinson.

    • Falcons DE John Abraham chases down Raiders QB Carson Palmer for a sack.

    • Raiders fans cheered on their team in full regalia.

    • Raiders DB Michael Huff intercepts a Matt Ryan pass intended for Julio Jones.

    • Raiders RB Darren McFadden runs through a hole off tackle.

    • Falcons QB Matt Ryan gets a pass off ahead of the defensive pressure.

    • Falcons receiver Roddy White runs for yards after the catch as Raiders DB Michael Huff dives for his legs.

    • Raiders tight end David Ausberry makes a leaping grab as Falcons DB Dunta Robinson closes in.

    • Oakland RB Darren McFadden sprints for a 21 yard gain.

    • Oakland RB Darren McFadden jumps over an outstretched Asante Samuel to gain more yards.

    • Raiders receiver Denarius Moore takes the short pass down inside the Falcons 10 yard line.

    • Falcons safety William Moore knocks away the pass intended for tight end Brandon Myers in the endzone.

    • Fans show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    • Raiders safety Tyvon Branch hauls in the deflection at the 39 yard line.

    • Raiders receiver Denarius Moore dives under linebacker Akeem Dent into the endzone for a touchdown.

    • Falcons receiver Roddy White waits on the pass from Matt Ryan.

    • Raiders linebacker Philip Wheeler closes in on Falcons running back Michael Turner.

    • Falcons receiver Roddy White's 31 yard gain is nullified by a holding penalty on the offensive line.

    • Falcons receiver Roddy White's 31 yard gain is nullified by a holding penalty on the offensive line.

    • Raiders fans cheered on their team in full regalia. .

    • Falcons kicker Matt Bryant drills a 41 yard field goal.

    • Falcons safety William Moore stops Raiders receiver Derek Hagan at the spot of the catch.

    • Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer trips and falls while attempting to avoid the pressure from Falcons defensive end John Abraham.

    • Raiders safety Michael Huff knocks the ball intended for Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez into the air but is unable to haul in the deflection.

    • Falcons linebacker Mike Peterson pressures Oakland QB Carson Palmer.

    • Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud tackles Oakland RB Mike Goodson.

    • Falcons DB Asante Samuel tackles Raiders receiver Denarius Moore.

    • Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon squares up for the tackle on Raiders receiver Derek Hagan.

    • Raiders receiver Derek Hagan attempts to elude Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud.

    • Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith greets Raiders rookie Head Coach Dennis Allen at midfield following the game.

    • Falcons QB Matt Ryan and Raiders QB Carson Palmer meet at midfield following the game.

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