Michael Turner ran for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:46 left to play and the Atlanta Falcons gutted out a 24-17 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field.
Turner was bottled up for most of the day, running for just 67 yards on 18 carries, but broke through for a 13-yard sprint to the end zone when it mattered most for the Falcons, who are 5-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Matt Ryan threw for 345 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 34-of-52 efficiency for Atlanta. Tony Gonzalez had a huge day receiving, catching 13 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown, while Julio Jones snagged 10 balls for 94 yards and a score.
"It was a real battle this week on the road," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "I'm really proud of our guys. We showed some resiliency throughout the game."
Robert Griffin III connected on 10-of-15 passes for 91 yards, but left the game after taking a shot to the head from Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.
Kirk Cousins took over under center and threw for 111 yards, one score and two interceptions on 5-of-9 passing for Washington (2-3), which lost at home for the eighth consecutive game.
Rookie sixth-round draft pick Alfred Morris ran for 115 yards on 18 carries for the Redskins, while Santana Moss caught two passes for 80 yards and a touchdown in the setback.
"They controlled the tempo of the game," Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. "We had some opportunities to get some momentum going, but couldn't make those third downs. We've got to make more of our third downs."
With the game tied at 17-17 and 5:40 left on the clock, the Falcons began their decisive drive on their own 31. Facing 2nd-and-9 from near midfield, Ryan stepped up in the pocket and hit Jones deep down the left sideline for 29 yards to the Washington 22.
Two plays later, Turner went off left guard for the 13-yard touchdown run, putting the Falcons ahead for good.
Washington got two more possessions following Turner's touchdown, but Cousins was picked off on both series to seal the result for Atlanta.
After both offenses struggled through the first quarter, it was the Washington defense that put the first points of the game on the board early in the second.
Facing a 3rd-and-5 from the Atlanta 38-yard line, Ryan took a quick three-step drop and fired right into the path of Ryan Kerrigan, who snatched the ball and took it 28 yards the other way for the touchdown and a 7-0 Washington lead.
Washington had an opportunity to widen the lead late in the second quarter, as Morris sparked a 7-play drive to the Atlanta 13 with gains of 20 and 29 yards on consecutive plays. However, Billy Cundiff missed a 31-yard field goal attempt, keeping it a 7-0 game.
Atlanta began its final drive of the opening half with 2:16 on the clock. Ryan completed seven passes on the eight-play trek to the Washington goal line and finished it with a 1-yard touchdown strike to Gonzalez in the back right corner of the end zone.
The Redskins began their second drive of the second half at the Falcons 39 and moved down to the Atlanta three, where they faced a 3rd-and-3.
On that play, Griffin scrambled to the right sideline, but was short of the first down after taking the hit that knocked him out of the game from Weatherspoon. Cundiff was good from 23 yards out to give the Redskins the 10-7 lead.
Atlanta bridged the third and fourth quarters with a 6-play, 47-yard drive to the Washington 18, with Ryan finishing the march with an 18-yard touchdown strike to Jones in the back left corner of the end zone that gave the Falcons the lead for the first time at 14-10.
Cousins and the Redskins answered right back with a big play on their next drive, however, as the Michigan State product hooked up with Moss over the middle for a 77-yard touchdown pass to put Washington back on top, 17-14.
The Falcons responded with a 9-play, 45-yard drive which culminated in a 53- yard field goal off the leg of Matt Bryant that tied the game at 17-17 with 7:42 to play.
Washington leads the all-time series between the teams, 15-7-1 ...Cousins' touchdown pass to Moss was the first of his career ... Bryant is 10-for-10 on field goal attempts this season and has kicked 23 consecutive field goals ... Atlanta racked up 421 yards of offense, while Washington had 316 total yards ... The Falcons went 9-of-17 on third down, while the Redskins converted just 1-of-9 third-down chances.