The Washington Redskins host the Atlanta Falcons today, looking to pick up their second consecutive win and improve to 3-2 on the season.
But a victory won’t come easily. Atlanta has gotten off to a 4-0 start and boasts a potent offense, strong pass rush and stingy secondary.
The Falcons enter the game as three-point favorites despite playing on the road. The Redskins have lost their last seven home games, dating back to Week 2 of the 2011 season.
Here are five story lines to follow today.
And here are some fast facts about the game:
- A win today would give the Redskins their first triumph against a 4-0 team since they beat Dallas on Oct. 1, 1995.
- The Redskins haven’t strung together consecutive wins since Weeks 1-2 of the 2011 season.
- A victory would give Washington a 10-2 regular season record against Atlanta and improve its record this season against NFC South opponents to 3-0.
- The Redskins enter this game aiming to rush for 150 yards or more for the fifth consecutive game, the first time since Weeks 6-10 of the 1983 season that Washington has been able that. Atlanta ranks 29th against the run, having allowed 146.3 rushing yards per game.
- Washington has forced nine turnovers (five interceptions, four fumbles) this season and has turned the ball over only twice (one interception, one fumble). The Redskins will try to post a positive turnover differential in a sixth consecutive game for the first time since weeks 1-7 of the 1996 season.
- The Redskins aim to record an interception for a sixth consecutive week for the first time since Weeks 9-14 of the 2009 season.
- This marks the 100th game of nose tackle Barry Cofield’s career.
- Tight end Fred Davis has a chance to record 70 receiving yards or more for a third consecutive week for only the second time of his career. He first did so in Weeks 6-8 of the 2011 campaign.
- Linebacker London Fletcher is poised to extend his consecutive games played streak to 229 games.
- With an interception today, Fletcher would join Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher as the only active players to amass 20 picks and 30 sacks in his career. Only six players in NFL history have done so since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.
- With a fifth rushing touchdown today, quarterback Robert Griffin III would break the franchise record in that category. He currently is tied with Eddie LeBaron and Joe Theismann for first with four rushing touchdowns in one season.
- Griffin needs 48 rushing yards to become only the third Redskins quarterback since 1950 to rush for 300 yards in a season. Theismann is the only full-time QB to do so. Harry Gilmer did it (352 yards) in 1952 while playing primarily at left halfback despite being listed as a quarterback.
- Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan looks to extend his streak of recording at least half a sack in consecutive games to five for the first time in his career. Kerrigan has 3.5 sacks this season. (Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett contends that the NFL scored the half-sack versus Cincinnati incorrectly, and that Kerrigan should have four whole sacks in four games).
- Running back Alfred Morris aims for his second consecutive 100-yard game.
- With at least 75 rushing yards today, Morris would join Larry Brown (1972), John Riggins (1983), George Rogers (1986), Earnest Byner (1991) and Terry Allen (1996) as the only backs in team history since the 1970 league merger to open a season with five straight 75-yard rushing performances.
- Receiver Santana Moss needs two catches to record 500 catches as a Redskin. He would become the fourth player in team history to do so. He would join Art Monk (888), Charley Taylor (649) and Gary Clark (549).
- Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander and safety Reed Doughty enter this game sharing the league lead for special teams tackles (six).
- Receiver Pierre Garcon has the league’s longest touchdown reception this season (88 yards in Week 1).
- Griffin ranks first among quarterbacks with rushing attempts (39) and yards (252). He and Morris are tied with Houston’s Arian Foster for first in rushing touchdowns (four).
- Morris ranks third in the NFC and fifth in the NFL with 376 rushing yards.
- Cornerback Josh Wilson is tied for second in the NFL with two fumble recoveries.
Here are some connections between these teams:
- Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall played for the Falcons from 2004-07.
- Falcons wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie held the same position with Washington from 1994-98 before being promoted to passing game coordinator (1999-2000) and interim head coach for three games in 2000.
- Atlanta defensive coordinator Mike Nolan held the same position with Washington in 2000.
- Redskins defensive lineman Kedric Golston, guard Maurice Hurt and linebacker Perry Riley all hail from Georgia.
- Falcons secondary coach Tim Lewis was defensive coordinator for the New York Giants in 2006 and coached current Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield that season. Lewis also coached Wilson while serving as defensive backs coach for the Seattle Seahawks in 2009.
- Nolan was head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 2008 and drafted Redskins wideout Josh Morgan out of Virginia Tech.
- Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker played under Nolan both in Denver (2009) and Miami (2010).
- Nolan and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan were members of the same Denver coaching staff from 1987-1991. Nolan was linebackers coach and special teams coach while Shanahan served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator during that stretch.
- Redskins cornerback Cedric Griffin and linebacker Brian Orakpo were teammates with Falcons guard Justin Blalock at Texas.
- Redskins receiver Leonard Hankerson and safety Brandon Meriweather played with Falcons punter Matt Brosher at the University of Miami.
- Redskins tackle Trent Williams and Falcons cornerback Dominique Franks were teammates at Oklahoma.
- Alexander and long-snapper Nick Young played together at California with Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud.
- Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and Falcons tight end Michael Palmer were teammates at Clemson.
- Linebacker Markus white and Falcons running back Antone Smith were teammates at Florida State.
- Redskins receiver Dezmon Briscoe played at Kansas with Falcons wideout Kerry Meier.