ATLANTA -- Falcons guard Justin Blalock thought he was at some bizarre football horror movie.
He didn't feel like ordering any buttered popcorn, either.
Despite the Falcons' creating seven turnovers, despite leading most of the second half, Blalock watched from the sideline as the Washington Redskins lined up for a potential game-winning two-point conversion in the last 18 seconds. Not until rookie Desmond Trufant swatted the ball to the ground could Blalock and the Falcons could finally exhale to celebrate a 27-26 victory Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
"That was a weird sequence of events," Blalock said. "There were several times in the game where it was just back-and-forth, back-and-forth. It was almost like a movie or something."
And one with a happy ending, an Atlanta rarity this season. The Falcons improved to 4-10, while the Redskins, who had benched their starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, dropped to 3-11.
The game at times was a comedy of errors. One sequence involved three fumbles on three consecutive plays. There was a fourth-and-goal try from the 1-inch line that failed for the Falcons, only to be followed by an interception and a touchdown that gave Atlanta the lead for good midway through the third quarter.
"Luckily, we were able to redeem ourselves. Coming away from the goal-line stand with no points was unacceptable," Blalock said. "We were able to make up for it, but you're not going to put yourself in positions to win football games if you can't score from the 1."
With the Redskins in a charitable mood, the Falcons were more than happy to accept the seven turnovers and exchange them for 20 of their 27 points.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completed 29 of 38 passes for 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The Redskins started second-year man Kirk Cousins at quarterback in place of the benched Robert Griffin III and he completed 29 of 45 passes for 381 yards against a Falcons secondary that featured three rookie starters. He tossed three touchdowns and two interceptions.
"We had a ton of chances today, offensively, to play with a short field," Ryan said. "We took advantage of some, we didn't on others, but ultimately it feels good to get the win."
The Redskins tied a franchise record for fumbles lost in a game with five, a record originally set against Houston on Oct. 30, 1988.
In the day's most critical segment, after the Falcons were stopped on the fourth-and-goal, Atlanta safety William Moore intercepted Cousins on the next play to set up go-ahead score. Falcons running back Steven Jackson scored his second touchdown, a 2-yard run, to put the Falcons ahead 24-20, with 8:13 left in the third quarter.
"That was probably one of the most unique situations that I've ever been part of," Ryan said. "I thought we did a great job of capitalizing on that one."
An interception by Trufant with 5:38 to play -- the Redskins' seventh turnover -- led to Matt Bryant's 51-yard field goal to make it 27-20 and the Falcons appeared to have the game in hand.
But Cousins resuscitated the Redskins with a flawless 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, tossing a 3-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss with 22 seconds to play. The Redskins didn't hesitate and kept the offense on the field for a two-point conversion attempt.
"We had a timeout and I was down there by the official on the sideline," Washington coach Mike Shanahan said. "I thought if we had the right (Atlanta) defense or not, then I could call the timeout and kick it. I thought we had the right defense, so we went for it. Unfortunately it didn't work out."
The Falcons were ready, chasing Cousins out of the pocket before he threw a high pass to Pierre Garcon deep in the end zone. Trufant deflected it over the end line.
"We were able to get our match with the personnel," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "They ran a full wide receiver set, we were able to get our six defensive backs out on the field and we executed the pivotal play in the ball game."
The Falcons were not totally in the clear until Jason Snelling recovered an onside kick that ricocheted off the hands of fullback Pat DiMarco.
"Anything could happen in that situation," Snelling said. "I was just happy to be able to recover it and ice the game out."
Lost in the drama was the play of Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, who made a 12-yard catch in the third quarter to become just the fifth player in NFL history to amass over 15,000 yards receiving. He joined Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Isaac Bruce.
The Falcons fizzled after a fast start and trailed 20-17 at halftime but not before enduring a three-play, three-fumble sequence early in the second quarter.
Washington running back Alfred Morris fumbled when he was hit by one of his own lineman, Tom Compton. Falcons defensive end Malliciah Goodman recovered it but stumbled while trying to break away.
"The sniper got me," Goodman quipped.
On the next play, Ryan fumbled after being pummeled by Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Washington's Brian Orakpo recovered at the Falcons' 27-yard line.
But one snap later, Cousins completed a pass to Moss, who fumbled at the Atlanta 9 and William Moore recovered.
"We did show some resolve there at the end, by sticking with it and coming away with the victory," said Blalock.
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