Those who predicted a shootout today between the Washington Redskins and the Atlanta Falcons were in for a surprise in the first quarter.
Neither team got on the scoreboard in a quick-moving first quarter that saw each drive end in a punt for both teams.
We’ll see if the 0-0 score remains into the second quarter of today’s game.
The Falcons used a lot of future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez on their opening drive as they attacked the Redskins in a shotgun formation with four receivers wide and running back Michael Turner next to Ryan.
On 3rd and 5 from the Atlanta 38, quarterback Matt Ryan converted his second-straight third-down conversion — this time for 12 yards to Roddy White — before trying to going deep to Julio Jones. The ball bounced off Jones’ chest, with coverage from cornerback Josh Wilson, so the Falcons tried the run game with Jacquizz Rodgers, who got just two yards.
The Falcons’ first drive ended when Gonzalez was flagged for a false start on the next play, setting up a 3rd and 13 pass attempt from Ryan to Harry Douglas that was overthrown, setting up the first punt of the game.
The Redskins’ offense began its first drive from their own 20-yard line after a seven-yard punt return by Brandon Banks. Robert Griffin III’s first pass was knocked down at the line of scrimmage before rookie running back Alfred Morris chugged his way for an 11-yard gain and the team’s first first down of the game.
Morris almost went to the house on the next play, a 16-yard scamper that featured great blocking before he was brought down by the last possible Atlanta defender in his way. Two plays later, Griffin III and the offense faced its first third down of the game when tight end Fred Davis was found diving across the middle for what appeared to be a catch for a first down. But the refs ruled the pass incomplete, saying the ball had hit the ground in the process of the catch.
The play definitely wasn’t something head coach Mike Shanahan would likely challenge at this point in the game, which reflects what Shanahan has been saying to the media about his replay strategy in recent weeks.
The Redskins were forced to punt, setting up the Falcons for their second drive at their own 15-yard line. One three-and-out later — with well-defended plays by linebackers London Fletcher and Ryan Kerrigan — the Falcons, themselves, were forced to punt.
On the ensuing drive, which started from the Washington 21-yard line, the Redskins went on the ground on their first two plays for a combined three yards. Griffin III’s pass on third down to Santana Moss was dropped, and, again, they had to punt.
The offensive struggles continued on the Faclons’ next drive, as they faced a 3rd and 2 when Ryan again found Gonzalez for five yards. Three plays later, Ryan and the Falcons were up against another 3rd and 3. This time they elected to pass on a screen to Jones, who was tackled immediately for one yard (after a measurement from the officials), forcing yet another punt.
The Redskins’ secondary has been doing its job so far today against the potent Falcons offense. They need to keep it up as Ryan and company will keep gunning.
CHIME IN: What are your thoughts about the first quarter of action today? Feel free to comment below.
Tags: 2012 regular season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, washington redskins
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