Sports

Falcons topple the Raiders, 35-28

Amari Cooper, Robert Alford
Raiders receiver Amari Cooper tries to evade Falcons cornerback Robert Alford after a reception in the second half Sunday.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Justin Hardy caught a deflected eight-yard touchdown pass to break a tie midway through the fourth quarter and the Atlanta Falcons held on to beat the Oakland Raiders, 35-28, on Sunday. 

Matt Ryan threw three TD passes, but got a little lucky on the go-ahead one in the fourth quarter. His third-down throw to Tevin Coleman was broken up, but the ball bounced high in the air and Hardy caught it in the end zone to put Atlanta (1-1) up 28-21. 

The Raiders (1-1) appeared to have tied the game on the next drive when Amari Cooper caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr. 

But officials ruled Cooper went out of bounds voluntarily before making the catch, although the Raiders contended he was pushed by Desmond Trufant. 

Oakland coach Jack Del Rio then decided to go for it on fourth and two, but Jalen Richard was stopped on a 1-yard gain. 

Del Rio had successfully gone for it on fourth and goal earlier in the game, leading to a two-yard TD pass to Michael Crabtree and went for a late two-point conversion to beat New Orleans, 35-34, last week in the season opener. 

But this latest gamble proved costly as Atlanta added an insurance touchdown on a 13-yard touchdown run by Tevin Coleman to deny the Raiders their first 2-0 start since their 2002 AFC championship season.