Jarrett led a spirited Falcons defensive effort

Unit held Adrian Peterson to 17 yards rushing

The Falcons defense, which has been ravaged by injury this season, took a major step forward in the 38-14 win over the Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field.

The defense was charged with stopping future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson and came through with a big day after the offense spotted them 21-point lead.

The defense started strong with two stops to start the game. The Falcons defense which entered the game with the lowest three-and-out percentage in the league got a three-out to open the game.

Peterson, who was coming off this third 100-yard rushing game of the season, was held to 17 yards on nine carries. He entered the game on pace to rush for more than 1,300 yards at age 33.

“Just being physical up front and guys making good tackles and being gap sound,” defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said about the keys to stopping Peterson.

The Falcons got an early lead and the Redskins could not lean heavily on Peterson. The Falcons swarmed to the ball and maintained good outside containment on Peterson.

Also, Jarrett was a disruptive force inside. He continued to flush Washington quarterback Alex Smith outside and he was ready inside when the Peterson didn’t have anywhere to run inside.

“I felt good today,” Jarrett said. “I definitely felt like there were some more plays out there today. I now there was one sack that I literally let go out of my hands. That’s going to haunt me tonight, but I’m going to go back to work.”

The defense was without cornerback Robert Alford against the Redskins as they played without four starters who opened the season.

The Falcons have missed four starters six of their eight games this season.

Strong safety Keanu Neal and free safety Ricardo Allen are out for the season. Middle linebacker Deion Jones could return against Dallas in two weeks.

“There is still a lot there out there for us,” Jarrett said.

Some of the reserves, most notably Duke Riley and rookie linebacker Foye Oluokun, are starting to progress.

“With guys having more experience they are starting to play a lot better,” Jarrett said. “You can see it and it was exciting, too.”

Jarrett had three tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss. He was on the chase for most of the day.

Oluokun led the Falcons in tackles with six. He had a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit. Riley had five tackles.

Isaiah Oliver did a credible job filling for Alford. He gave up a touchdown pass, but had four tackles and two pass breakups.

The Falcons killed the Redskins chance for a rally with a Damontae Kazee interception. He ran down the field and tossed the football to a relative in the stands.

The Falcons were elated that they met their “Stop Peterson” challenge.

Oluokun contends that he is getting more comfortable.

“That happens over time,” Oluokun said. “You get a lot of guys playing on the field together at the same. It takes time to get used to everybody. Just getting out there and getting experience together has been a help.”

The Falcons stopped Peterson after stopping Giants running back Saquon Barkley in their previous game.

“It’s been the same for the past couple of weeks,” Oluokun said. “We have an elite running back. ... Get to the ball and get as many (players) to the ball as possible.”

The Falcons took advantage of the Redskins’ injury depleted offensive line.

Starting left tackle Trent Williams didn’t play. Left guard Shawn Lauvao (knee) and tackle Morgan Moses (knee) left the game. Moses returned, but right guard Brandon Scherff later went down.

Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley picked up backup tackle Geron Chrisitian Sr. and threw him to the ground.

The Redskins struggled as they had seven holding penalties and two of them were declined.

The Falcons finished with three sacks and five quarterback hits.

“Whether if they are lacking or not, it was unfortunate for their team, you never want to see guys go down,” Jarrett said. “Whether if they were there or not, the mindset was the same.”