Paul G's Instant Replay: Falcons 23, Raiders 20

October 14, 2012, 8:03 pm
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ATLANTA -- Matt Bryant kicked a 55-yard field goal with one second remaining in regulation to lift the Atlanta Falcons to a 23-20 victory over the Raiders Sunday at the Georgia Dome.This after the Raiders had rallied to tie the score at 20-all with 40 seconds to play and having come back from a potentially devastating pick-six.The Raiders were closing in on the most improbable of victories, over an unbeaten team in a hostile environment, when Carson Palmer made his first mistake of the day. At precisely the wrong moment.Already in field-goal range, the Raiders quarterback tried to hit Denarius Moore on the right sideline when Asante Samuel jumped the route and was gone for a 79-yard pick-six and a 20-13 Falcons lead.No matter, Palmer led the Raiders on an 80-yard scoring drive, punctuated by Darren McFadden's two-yard touchdown run and Sebastian Janikowski's point-after tied the game.But the Raiders defense could not keep the Falcons from getting into field-goal position.Picks galore: After not having a single interception in the first four games, the Raiders secondary picked off Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan three times in the first half. Cornerback Joselio Hanson predicted this week they would come in bunches and he had the first pick across the middle. Later, Michael Huff got one on a long bomb at the 2-yard line and then Tyvon Branch's interception came on a floater when linebacker Philip Wheeler blasted Ryan.Coverage equals sacks, right?: Entering the day with only three sacks in four games, tighter coverage downfield allowed the Raiders to pick up another sack when Matt Shaughnessy broke through in the second quarter. He leads Oakland with 2 12 sacks.McClain finds a role?: Middle linebacker Rolando McClain was mostly a spectator in the first half, when the Raiders went to nickel and dime defenses in response to the Falcons' four-wideout alignments. And the Raiders seemed to respond to the ball quicker. McClain, however, had a huge tackle on 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line that forced the Falcons to settle for a game-tying field goal.Tackles from unexpected sources: Yes, Carson Palmer can tackle, as evidenced by his taking down Robert McClain as he returned Darren McFadden's first-quarter fumble. And McFadden returned the favor by chasing down Ray Edwards and saving a touchdown when Palmer was strip-sacked in the third.Penalties return: The Raiders entered the game with 19 penalties for 143 yards and finished with 12 penalties for 110 yards.Trending: The Raiders last won a game in the Eastern Time Zone in Week 13 at Pittsburgh in the Bruce Gradkowski game, going 0-7 since that day. Since the 2002 Super Bowl season, they are 5-23 in the Eastern Time Zone. Also, the Raiders have lost 10 straight post-bye week games.Up next: The Raiders (1-3) play host to Jacksonville next Sunday at the Coliseum, and the dirt infield should be gone by then.