ATLANTA -- From Washington's first possession to the decisive play in the final minute, Atlanta's defense kept finding ways to get its hands on the ball.
One of five rookies to start for the defense made the biggest play of the game.
"Those guys normally are great with ball security and don't turn it over."
Cousins passed for 381 yards and three touchdowns, but had three turnovers in his first start of the season after Shanahan benched Robert Griffin III. Griffin was not in uniform and watched from the sideline.
Cousins' 3-yard touchdown pass to Moss gave Washington a chance to force overtime by kicking the extra point.
Instead, Cousins' 2-point pass for Pierre Garcon was deflected by Trufant, who also had an interception.
"I was telling myself I had to make some big plays," Trufant said. "I wasn't surprised they went for the win. They had the confidence and we were up for the challenge."
"I thought if we had the right defense and the right play, we're going to stay with it," Shanahan said. "We thought we did and unfortunately it didn't work out."
Shanahan brushed off a question about his job status, saying "I'm not going to talk about that."
Cousins said he liked the decision to go for 2. "I loved the call to go for 2 there," Cousins said. "I felt like we had them on the ropes. We just didn't do enough to execute, but it starts right here with me."
"It was a game full of drama, but I'm glad we were able to pull it off," said Atlanta's Steven Jackson, who ran for 38 yards and two touchdowns.
Cousins listed his two interceptions, lost fumble and failed 2-point pass as "four plays right there that if they go differently, it's probably a much better result."
Morris had 98 yards rushing on 18 carries, including a 37-yard run.
The teams combined for six turnovers in the first half, including four turnovers by the Redskins. There were lost fumbles on three straight plays in the second quarter.
Ryan completed 29 of 38 passes for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
NOTES: The Redskins also lost five fumbles against the Oilers on Oct. 30, 1988. ... Garcon had seven catches for 129 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown. ... Falcons DT Jonathan Babineaux recovered two fumbles. ... Signs spotted in the stands held by Redskins fans: "Free RGIII," ''Let 'em play" and "We still believe in RGIII." ... Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon left the game with a knee injury.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press