After going for several weeks, Las Vegas Raiders take two steps back, and that was a big step.
Matt Ryan delivered two landing passes and Yongo Kuo scored five field goals as the Atlanta Falcons rolled 43-6 victory over the dulled Raiders Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
It wasn’t like the silver and black team that nearly defeated Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs for the second time this season last week at Allegant Stadium in Las Vegas before losing in the last minute.
“When we get hit in the mouth and stop at fourth, and then get stuck in the next game, we have to get off the field and fight better,” Riders coach John Groden told reporters after the match. “As a coaching and soccer team, this is something we have to look at. It’s a reflection of me and I apologize to my Ryder fans.
“Courtesy Atlanta Falcons. They played a football match in Hell, and we didn’t. ”
The ghost of last season suddenly looms over the Readers (6-5), who were also 6-4 before losing five of their last six matches and missing the 2019 qualifiers.
Metamorphoses were the story of this story, plus the invaders’ inability to exploit the alleged secondary hawks, as Derek Carr lost three grips in the pocket and threw six 67-yard pecs to back Dion Jones while running backwards Josh Jacobs lost another grope.
“We had a big rush that made him throw a bad ball,” Jones said. “He was behind the run. I locked it. Once I got the ball and put the ball in, I knew it was going home.”
“As a defense, as a team, we get everything together. We played well together. Finally we put one on the movie. We have one to look at to grow from.”
“(The five turns) we were just chasing the ball. We hadn’t had a ball in two weeks. The guys were hungry for it this week. We talked about it and it went into life.”
The Falcons (4-7) scored 20 turnover points, including eight yards scored by Eto’o Smith in the last touchdown with a 10:48 left in the match after Carr’s last tumble.
Coach Dan Quinn was fired by the Falcons after a 0-5 start, but Atlanta won four of their last six matches under interim coach Raheem Morris, who had been an assistant under Groden’s leadership several years earlier with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Ryan, who appeared to be heading into the Professional Football Hall of Fame, completed 22 of 39 passes over 185 yards and two touchdowns with interceptions, and delivered four-yard scoring passes to wide receivers like Martin Ridley and Brandon Powell.
This puts Ryan in 174 touchdowns in his 13-year career.
“(The defense) was the story of the day,” said Ryan. “I thought our defense played very well. It gave us a lot of short field opportunities. All in all, it was a great team effort.”
Smith sprinted 65 yards in 12 carriages, and Brian Hill added 55 yards in 13 lunks as the Falcons dominated the ball for 34 minutes 27 seconds.
Ridley had six grabs for 50 yards and landing fourth down, while Hayden Hearst picked up four balls for 48 yards as the Falcons dominated the invaders without two of their best players – broad receiver Julio Jones and backward running Todd Gurley.
Ryan said, “I thought it was a huge and wonderful call from Rahim (fourth), and it’s a strong call to do it in this position.” “You’ll leave them back up if you don’t get it. We felt like we had a good play called there.
“It took a while to develop. Great body control by Calvin in the back of the end zone to kind of stop before he got hit. It was a great play for him.”
Although the initial numbers don’t necessarily show it, Carr was probably his worst game of the season as he completed 22 of 34 passes for 215 yards without a touchdown and threw his third interception of the season. His three moves, which he lost six players this season, have given him.
Carr is replaced by Nathan Peterman with 10:48 remaining in the match.
“Very frustrated,” said Carr, who said he saw some bad signs during the week. “Our training week was not up to the standard that we set.”
Jacobs led Raiders with 27 yards on seven carts, but 17 came into play in which he flopped late in the third quarter and left the match due to a right leg injury he sustained while playing.
Hunter Renfrow led the Raiders with seven receptions to 73 yards, while Nelson Agholor got five to 54 yards, and Henry Rogers caught five to 54. The Falcons limited the narrow end of Darren Waller, Karr’s favorite receiver, to four receptions for 23 yards.
“We have a chance to go there and fight and we really have this opportunity to get better next week,” Renfrew said. “And I think it’s a good chance to go to (New York). They got derailed last year, and what a chance for us to go there and go get some payback, by itself.”
Linebacker Nicholas Morrow and Safety Jeff Heath received 10 total endorsements for the invaders, while full-back Nick Kwiatkowski had six tackles, two for losses, and a lone raiders bag plus an interception with a penalty kick.
Raiders were also punished 11 times for 141 yards.
“We had two games where we were punished,” Groden said. “The roughness of the passers-by, the roughness of the port, we received some calls, and illegal hands in the face. You are late in the distance, and you give the teams free shots. It is a recipe for disaster and this is what I saw today.”
The Raiders twice had the first and goal within the 5-yard streak from Atlanta, but had to settle for their only points in field goals from 24 and 29 yards by Daniel Carlson.
Kuh’s field goals came from 38, 39, 40, 29, and 54 yards, and he hit the last 21 yards without a miss. Koo actually missed at 40 yards leaving 4:30 in the first half, but Dallin Levitt of the Raiders were punished for intimidating him.
The Falcons, never late, converted that breakthrough into a four-yard pass by Ryan to Ridley to lead 13-3 with 2:17 remaining in the game.
However, the breaker came when Carr threw a short pass over the middle with the goal of running back to Devonte Booker, only to cut Jones in front to intercept him all the way home to take a 23-3 lead with 11:36 left in the third quarter.
The raiders tried to assemble but were only able to manage three more points, and things only got worse.
The Raiders will try to turn back and break their losing streak in two games next Sunday against the unfortunate New York Jets (0-11) at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, NJ.
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