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Overall Game Grade: B+
The defense came up big for the Falcons on Sunday, sacking Carson Palmer three times, containing Darren McFadden for most of the game and forcing three turnovers.
While they did give up a few big plays, a ton of yards, and took great advantage of a dozen offensive penalties by the Raiders, that doesn't take away from the Falcons' great effort on defense.
The defense forced punts on their two opening series, but on the third drive of the quarter the Falcons gave Darren McFadden a huge hole to run through which resulted in a 43-yard gain. Atlanta had difficulty shedding blocks, especially on a throwback screen to Brandon Myers for 14 yards.
Perhaps the play of the day on defense was made shortly after: Facing third-and-six from the Falcons' 28-yard line, Samuel jumped an out pattern by Moore and returned it 79 yards for a touchdown. It was his first interception of the year, and couldn't have come at a better time for Atlanta.
They allowed a game-tying touchdown on the ensuing drive, but it didn't matter in the end.
The defense stonewalled McFadden and the Raiders on their first two drives of the second half, forcing punts both times.
On the third drive John Abraham made his presence felt yet again, sacking Palmer for a second time and forcing a fumble recovered by Ray Edwards, who took the ball 26 yards to the Raiders' two-yard line.
On the ensuing drive, Akeem Dent's defensive holding wasn't enough to keep McFadden from getting big yardage on a third-down play. Embarrassing, considering his tackling hasn't been all that great either.
Robinson is still struggling, missing an open-field tackle on his receiver on an early pass. His and the defense's woes continued this opening drive, as Atlanta was burned on a well-timed screen pass to Mike Goodson that went for 37 yards on a drive that got all the way to the Falcons' one-yard line. A great goal line stand by the Falcons kept the Raiders to just a field goal, but they shouldn't have allowed them to get there in the first place. The front four needs to play better.
The defense' second drive started on their own 25-yard line, but again a missed tackle, this time by Mike Peterson, allowed Denarius Moore to get into the endzone for a touchdown.
The third drive lasted just one play, with the defense benefiting from a McFadden slip to allow just a one-yard gain.
Aside from a few good early runs from McFadden the Falcons have kept him in check, allowing just 11 yards on his eight total carries. Jonathan Babineaux made a great play when he forced a McFadden fumble that would be recovered by the Falcons, while Abraham made his presence felt with a sack. Cornerback play needs to improve though, with Asante Samuel giving up a big 49-yard pass that would eventually lead to a Raiders field goal and Dunta Robinson missing tackles.