On a dreary and drizzly Sunday afternoon in Atlanta, the Falcons dominated the Las Vegas Raiders 43-6 inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Falcons rushed for 125 yards, averaging nearly four yards per attempt. Meanwhile, the Raiders were held to 40 rushing yards and were a miserable 3-of-12 on third downs. Lastly, the Falcons forced five Las Vegas turnovers.
“I just thought it was the guys’ ball mindset,” said Falcons head coach Raheem Morris You know, they really had a ball mindset today to go after it and really had ball mindset. Every time they had an opportunity to get it, they got the ball out. The hustle, the turn and run, all those things just kicked into play and usually when that happens and technique and opportunity meet, you get the ball.”
Kicker Younghoe Koo converted five field goals from 38, 39, 30, 29 and 54 yards, stretching his field-goal streak to 21 straight games.
Matt Ryan completed 22 of 39 passes for 183 yards for two touchdowns and one interception.
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr finished the day 22 of 34 for 215 yards, sacked five times and threw one interception. That interception was made by linebacker Deion Jones. The former LSU standout picked off a Derek Carr pass and returned it 67 yards for a touchdown with 11:36 remaining in the third quarter, putting the Falcons up 22-6. From that point forward, the Raiders ceased to be competitive.
“I’ll look at the film,” said Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. “We had players open. We had opportunities to make plays. I’m not going to sit here and say anything else. We had plenty of opportunities. They made more plays than we did and it snowballed on us today. When you turn the ball over five times and have 120 yards of penalties, you got no chance.”
Gruden would pull Carr for Nathan Peterman as the Raiders were down 40-6 with 10:48 left in the fourth quarter. The Falcons were pleased with their effort going against a Raiders team that competed with the Chiefs just a week before, but the interim head man in charge isn’t worried about stats.
“You know stats are for losers, but when you get those things that work in your favor, you go out there and you get those guys to believe in themselves and believe in what they can do, those things always work out in the right favor and always in the right way for you. Today that’s what happened for us,” said Falcons interim head coach Raheem Morris.
For Las Vegas, this game was important to keep up in the AFC’s playoff race. With the loss, the Raiders are one game behind the Indianapolis Colts for the final wild card spot.
“Like to apologize to Raider Nation. Really compliment the Falcons. They played a hell of a football game; we did not,” said Gruden. “The turnovers, the penalties, inexcusable. It’s a reflection of me. We’re a lot better team than that, and I’ll answer any questions.”
The biggest question the Raiders will have to answer is if they’re a playoff team in 2020. The Raiders were 6-3 at this point one year ago and finished the season 7-9 and did not make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Atlanta interim head coach Raheem Morris is 4-2 since the team fired Dan Quinn for going 0-5.
Wide receiver Julio Jones did not suit up because of a hamstring injury. Later in the game, wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus went down in the first half with a toe injury. Additionally, guard James Carpenter was carted off the field with a groin injury in the fourth quarter.
The Atlanta Falcons will face off against the New Orleans Saints next Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“It was a great collective team win,” said defensive end Jacob Tuioti-Mariner. “It all started off on Monday when we came in and made our corrections. We learned from our mistakes and we learned off of that. We continued to have a great week of practice mentally and physically. It’s based off of that. It was just a great team win. Proud to be out there.”