When two bad football teams show up to play each other, bad things are probably going to happen.
And for the victor, it’s usually a matter of minimizing those miscues.
The Washington Football Team isn’t going to turn Sunday’s 34-30 win over the Atlanta Falcons into a training video anytime soon, but there are highlights to celebrate and resiliency to acknowledge.
WFT improved to 2-2, which keeps it squarely in the hunt in a mediocre NFC East. The Dallas Cowboys (3-1) appear to be the class of the division, but Washington is the defending champ and only a game back in the standings.
Ron Rivera’s group kept its composure after falling behind 10-0 in the first half. WFT got big performances out of quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who grew up in the metro Atlanta area and threw for three touchdowns. Two went to Terry McLaurin and the third to running back J.D. McKissic with 1:14 proved to be the game winner.
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WFT was also aided by DeAndre Carter’s 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half. Otherwise, special teams were a problem. Dustin Hopkins missed two extra points.
Rivera can’t be happy by allowing a team that had been averaging 16 points per game to nearly double that. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had easily his best showing of the season, passing for four touchdowns and 283 yards without a pick.
Atlanta can only blame itself for letting another one slip away at home. Unlike WFT, the Falcons (1-3) aren’t supposed to be in the playoff mix. This is a rebuilding year under first-year coach Arthur Smith.
So in a season of expected losses, any potential wins are huge. Atlanta’s 10-point lead early and 8-point edge in the fourth quarter are positives to build on.
Ryan’s performance offers hope that maybe he can regain some old magic. Cordarelle Patterson is looking more like Atlanta’s biggest threat after hauling in three receiving touchdowns
The Falcons also get a break in the schedule. Their next two opponents – the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins – are a combined 2-6.