Photo: Kevin Hinton
Atlanta Falcons' Michael Turner (33) breaks tackles from Washington
Redskins' London Fletcher (59) and LaRon Landry (30) during Sunday's
game at the Georgia Dome.
ATLANTA -- Michael Turner prefers to stay on his feet. For some reason, it just felt right to jump.
When he came down, he was gone.
Turner had a huge showing for the second week in a row, rushing for a season-high 166 yards and two long touchdowns Sunday as the Atlanta Falcons snapped a two-game losing streak with a 31-17 victory over feisty DeAngelo Hall and the Washington Redskins.
The Falcons (5-3) built a 24-3 halftime lead, then gave up two long touchdown drives after the break to make a game of it. But Turner ended the Washington comeback, breaking off a 58-yard scoring run on what looked to be nothing more than a routine play between the tackles.
First, he spotted a hole. Then, when LaRon Landry tried to take him down at the ankles, Turner leaped right over him. Hall was the only other guy who had a shot, but he slid off the burly running back's shoulder pads as though they were covered in grease.
The 254-pound Turner even surprised himself with that acrobatic move to get away from Landry.
"It happened so fast, I didn't know what I was doing," Turner said with a grin. "I usually try to keep my feet on the ground. But he came in low, so I jumped. I don't know why I did that."
After a slow start to the season, Turner is getting back to where he wants to be -- something akin to the form that made him the league's second-leading rusher a year ago with 1,699 yards. He followed up a 20-carry, 151-yard effort in a loss to New Orleans with an even better performance against the Redskins, who had one of the league's top-rated defenses if not a very good record (2-6).
"Enough was enough," Turner said.
The game nearly turned ugly in the first half when Landry delivered a late hit on Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan after he scrambled out of bounds. As flags flew, Hall jumped into the middle of things, surrounded by a horde of Atlanta players and angry coach Mike Smith.
Hall had spent most of the week complaining about how he was treated by his former team. He played four years in Atlanta, making two Pro Bowls, but was traded to Oakland after the 2007 season. He didn't even make it through one season with the Raiders, landed in Washington and was eager to get back at the Falcons in his return to the Georgia Dome.
All those emotions seemed to boil over when Hall found himself on the Atlanta sideline.
"Guys just started coming at me," Hall said. "It wasn't any mindset to break the fight up. It was in a mindset to try to get some licks in. Even the head coach came over there. Mike Smith said some stuff, said some words to me, cussed me out. He was grabbing at me, pulling at me."
Smith refused to trade barbs with Hall, saying he was merely trying to break up the scuffle and didn't even know the former Falcons player was involved.
"All I was trying to do was restore some order on the sideline," the fiery coach said. "There were a bunch of guys on that sideline. Some of them were wearing black helmets (Falcons) and some of them were wearing maroon helmets. I can't tell you anything more about it."
The Falcons defense came up huge in the first half. Jason Campbell was sacked five times. Tye Hill picked off a pass and returned it 62 yards for a touchdown. Running back Clinton Portis took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from Thomas DeCoud and staggered off the field, done for the day with a concussion.
Campbell bounced back to go 15 of 22 for 196 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown pass to Todd Yoder that gave the Redskins a chance. But the Redskins quarterback was all beat up when it was done.
"Those guys were doing a great job of bringing the heat," said Campbell, who twice left the game to recover from shots but still finished. "We just weren't answering the bell."
Although it appeared no punches were thrown in the melee, Hall said he planned to file a complaint with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The Falcons just shrugged the whole thing off as a ploy by Hall to fire up himself and his team.
"That's DeAngelo," defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux said. "That's what gets him going. You can't fall into what he's doing or he'll have you where he wants you."
Turner sure had the Redskins where he wanted them. He also broke off a 30-yard touchdown run, helping the Falcons build their big lead.
"We couldn't stop Michael Turner," Hall said. "I think he single-handedly beat us. He's a beast."