Alford’s 59-yard interception return saves the day

Falcons DB Robert Alford on his 62-yard interception return for the overtime victory. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons cornerback Robert Alford didn’t sulk or keep his head down after getting a 42-yard pass interference penalty.

Falcons defensive backs coach Marquand Manual told him to move onto the next play.

When it was time for someone to step forward in overtime, Alford came through with a 59-yard interception return for a touchdown to help the Falcons improve to 5-0 on Sunday.

“It feels good,” Alford said. “When we were meeting on the sideline, we all said that it was going to be one of us on the back end that was going to end the game. Happily so, it was just me. God blessed me to make that play. I ended the game for us.”

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has been pleased with Alford’s overall play.

“The last couple of weeks, it’s just been alive for him,” Quinn said. “He had a bunch of pass breakups last week. Then on the tip that he got today and the of course, the one at the finish today. We couldn’t be more thrilled for him.”

Alford had an up and down day.

He an interception earlier and was called for a pass interference play that helped Washington retake the lead.

But he saved his best play for overtime.

“I (saw) the quarterback take a three-step drop,” Alford said. “It’s always a quick pass when he takes a three step drop. I just relied on my instincts… .I just jumped it and it was there for me to make the play on it.”

After making the nifty interception along the sideline in front of the Falcons bench, Alford seemed to hesitate before he flashed his speed.

“The game is never over until it says double-zeros,” Alford said. “This team that we have, the coaches that we have, we are always going to keep grinding until the end.”

The Falcons thought they could beat the Redskins.

“Of course, we never had (any) doubts,” Alford said. “We were down when we came in (at halftime). We pep-talked each other. We knew the game wasn’t over and that we had two more quarters to go. We just went out there and we grinded. We believe in each other. We believe in the coaches and we believe in the grind.”

Alford’s earlier pick was on a bobbled ball by Washington wide receiver Pierre Garcon.

“That was some good work by our defensive line,” Alford said. “It was something that just popped up to me and I caught it.”

Alford has struggled with defensive holding and pass interference calls. It looked like a clean play from afar, but the referee was right on the spot.

“If it’s called, there’s nothing that the players could do about it,” Alford said. “When the refs called it, it was P.I. So, it was a P.I. Coach (Manual) just said, move on to the next play.”

For Alford, his next play, ended the game.