|Date of game: 10/14/2012
Recap: Atlanta vs. Oakland
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - It was business as usual for Matt Ryan.
For the third straight week, Ryan led the Falcons to a go-ahead scoring drive and Atlanta is 6-0 for the first time in franchise history.
Matt Bryant kicked a 55-yard field goal with one second remaining and the Falcons edged the Oakland Raiders, 23-20, on Sunday.
Ryan, who shook off three first-half interceptions, got the ball at his own 20-yard line with 40 seconds left and the game tied at 20-20 following Darren McFadden's 2-yard TD run.
"We wanted to use up as much time as we possibly could," Oakland head coach Dennis Allen said of the drive. "Unfortunately we gave them a little bit too much."
Ryan found Jacquizz Rodgers for gains of seven and nine yards before hitting Harry Douglas for a short 4-yard pickup to put the ball at the Falcons' 40-yard line with 26 ticks on the clock.
Facing a 3rd-and-6 two plays later, Ryan fired a 10-yard completion to Gonzalez to move the chains. With a timeout in hand and 12 seconds to play, Ryan hit Gonzalez for a 13-yard reception over the middle, which set up Bryant's boot.
Bryant missed his first field goal of the season earlier on in the contest, but atoned for it by sneaking his field-goal attempt just inside the left upright.
"It's about handling the moment," Bryant said of the game-winning kick. "Handling adversity, whatever it takes.
Ryan was 5-of-6 for 43 yards on the march.
The fifth-year Boston College product finished the day with 249 yards through the air with a touchdown on 24-of-37 efficiency for the Falcons (6-0), who are the only remaining unbeaten team in the NFL. The previously undefeated Houston Texans lost to the Green Bay Packers later on Sunday.
Roddy White caught six balls for 72 yards and a score, while Julio Jones caught four passes for 63 yards in the win.
As a bonus, Atlanta head coach Mike Smith equaled Dan Reeves for the most victories in franchise history with 49.
Carson Palmer was 23-of-33 for 353 yards with a touchdown and interception for Oakland (1-4), which has lost two straight on the heels of its win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 23.
Darren McFadden ran for 70 yards and a score on 27 carries, while Denarius Moore had five receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown in the setback.
The game was tied at 13-13 in the fourth quarter when Oakland regained possession at its own 10-yard line following a Falcons punt.
Two plays into the march, Mike Goodson broke off a 43-yard run off the right tackle to put the ball in Atlanta territory at the 46-yard line. Brandon Myers took a tight-end screen on the next play into field goal range to the 32-yard line, but Palmer's lone interception came three snaps later.
Moore ran an out pattern to the right sideline, but Asante Samuel jumped the route, snatched the pick and ran and strutted the other way 79 yards for the score and a 20-13 Falcons edge.
"I let the team down," Palmer said of the pick. "Making that mistake I made is crucial. It's on me."
Undeterred, though, Palmer led his troops down the field for the tying score. McFadden's score capped off an 8-play, 80-yard trek.
Earlier, it was a mistake-filled first quarter for both teams.
Joselio Hanson intercepted Ryan's pass on Atlanta's opening possession of the game, but McFadden gave the ball right back to the Falcons three plays later after a fumble.
The Falcons didn't capitalize, however, as Bryant missed his 43-yard field goal attempt wide left.
Michael Huff's pick of Ryan on the second play of Atlanta's ensuing series led to a 52-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal, which made it 3-0 late in the stanza.
Ryan and the Falcons countered with a 10-play, 80-yard drive, which was capped when White hauled in a 4-yard score in the back of the end zone.
Following a 22-yard Janikowski field goal, Tyvon Branch picked off Ryan on Atlanta's next touch. The Raiders took advantage and found the end zone two plays later when Palmer flipped a short pass to Moore, who made two defenders miss crossing the goal line for a 13-7 Oakland edge.
A pair of Bryant field goals, 41 and 20 yards, respectively, in the third quarter tied the contest.Game Notes
The Raiders outgained the Falcons, 474-286 ... Oakland won the time of
possession battle, 36:26-23:34 ... Ryan, who tied his career-high with the
three interceptions, also had three against New Orleans in 2009. He had just
three picks coming into the contest.