5 things we learned in the Falcons’ 25-19 win over the Redskins

Falcons fans celebrate beating the Redskins 25-19 during sudden death to remain undefeated at 5-0 during their football game on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Atlanta.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Falcons fans celebrate beating the Redskins 25-19 during sudden death to remain undefeated at 5-0 during their football game on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Atlanta.

Five things we learned from the Falcons’ thrilling 25-19 victory against the Washington Redskins before a crowd of 70,178 fans on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Cornerback Robert Alford returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown to help the Falcons improve to 5-0. Washington dropped to 2-3.

“I looked back to see who was around me,” Alford said. “Once I (saw) that there wasn’t anybody around me, it was off to the end zone.”

Falcons coach Dan Quinn was proud of how the team fought through some adversity.

“It was a really clear demonstration of our toughness, of our grit and of our mindset to finish the game,” Quinn said.

Here’s what we learned:

1. Freeman electric again. With quarterback Matt Ryan having an off day, running back Devonta Freeman carried the offense.

“It was all or nothing,” Freeman said. “Fight for your brother. That’s what we live for. That’s our mentality.”

Freeman rushed 27 times for 153 yards and scored a rushing touchdown to give the Falcons the lead with 24 seconds left in regulation. He also caught seven passes for 44 yards. In three starts, Freeman has amassed 193, 149 and 197 total yards from scrimmage.

“Devonta did a nice job out of the backfield,” Ryan understated.

2. Ryan off target. Ryan hadn't been intercepted since Philadelphia's Walter Thurmond picked off a pass intended for Roddy White with 13:25 left in the third quarter of the season opener. Ryan had 116 pass attempts without throwing an interception before he was picked off by Washington's Trenton Robinson on the Falcons' first possession. He later also fumbled while being pummeled by Washington's Chris Baker and Jason Hatcher and had a late fourth-quarter interception.

He has had better days, until he caught fire on the final drive. Ryan completed 24 of 42 passes for 254 yards and finished with a 55.1 passer rating. It was Ryan’s worst passing rated game since he had a 48.6 in Week 2 against Cincinnati last season.

It was Ryan’s lowest passer rating in a victory during his pro career. The Falcons beat Tampa Bay 13-10 on Dec. 14, 2009 when he had a 57.5 passer rating.

“We just never really got into a rhythm,” Ryan said.

3. No pressure on Cousins. Quinn wanted to see the pass rush improve, but the defense wasn't able to mount much of rush against the Redskins. Linebacker Nate Stupar had a sack and the Falcons had five quarterback hits.

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins had time to find his receivers for most of the game.

4. White gets ovation. The Falcons were throwing passes to Nick Williams before White.

He had a meeting with Quinn about his role in the offense.

White, the Falcons’ career leading receiver, didn’t get a target until 12:03 was left in the third quarter. He had a big 16-yard catch to keep the Falcons’ first touchdown drive alive. He also had a key 7-yard catch on fourth day to help the Falcons take the lead in the final minute of regulation.

There were cheers of “Roddy, Roddy, Roddy.”

5. The return of Jacob Tamme. Tight end Jacob Tamme had a strong game.

He caught eight passes for 94 yards. He had a key drop on a third down in the second quarter before a missed field-goal attempt.

After sustaining a concussion against Dallas, Tamme missed last week’s game against the Houston Texans while in the league’s concussion protocol program.

He entered the game with eight catches for 108 yards, but has won favor with Ryan as a pro’s pro.