Week Nine Morning Aftermath: Falcons 31, Redskins 17

After dropping back-to-back games to the Cowboys and the Saints, the Falcons desperately needed a win in order to remain in the playoff chase.

They got what they needed.  Sort of.  After building a 21-point lead, the Falcons let the ‘Skins climb back into the game with a pair of second-half touchdowns.  It took a 58-yard touchdown run from Michael Turner (fueled by the shoddy play of LaRon Landry) to stretch the margin back to 14, and if the Falcons hadn’t stiffened on defense, this one could have gone down to the wire.

The good news is that running back Turner churned out 166 yards, conjuring memories of his performance in 2008. 

Still, what the Falcons really needed was a pasting, like the one they applied to the 49ers last month, or the one coach Mike Smith allegedly tried to apply to DeAngelo Hall.  The Falcons now need to take care of the Panthers in Charlotte, and then the Falcons will have to travel to the Meadowlands for a crack at the Giants.

In the end, it could be that none of last year’s surprise teams — the Falcons, Dolphins, and Ravens — will make it back to the playoffs.  But the Falcons are the only one of the trio to be above .500 after eight games, and they have the best shot at getting back to the postseason.

We’d feel even better about their chances if they’d blown out the Redskins.  And if Matt Ryan had managed more than 135 yards passing.

As to the Redskins, a nightmare season continues — and it won’t be ending soon.  There’s only one game left that we think they might win, and even then beating the Raiders is no sure thing.

So 2-14 is a distinct possibility.  And that would be enough to turn the heart of any Redskins fan dark.