Falcons’ offense is missing in second half of loss
Roddy White says the Falcons’ 10th loss was especially
Atlanta’s offense disappeared after taking a 21-10 lead at Green
Bay on Sunday. The Falcons were shut out in the second half of the
22-21 loss to the Packers.
It was a disappointing finish after such a strong start. Steven
Jackson had 55 yards rushing and White had five catches as the
Falcons built the first-half lead.
”It’s a game you’ve got to win,” White said.
White said he knew the Falcons couldn’t sit on the lead.
”When I came back in to the locker room, I told everybody we
needed another field goal, another score to win this game,” he
said. ”We knew they were going to make their runs. There’s always
ebbs and flows in games. You know at some point they’re going to
make their run so we had to counter and get a drive together and
score whatever points we could get. Unfortunately, we didn’t do
The Falcons (3-10) had no first downs in the third quarter and
then were hurt by two fourth-quarter turnovers – a fumble and
interception by quarterback Matt Ryan.
Late dropped passes by Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez also were
costly as the Falcons failed in their attempt to drive for a
last-minute field goal.
Coach Mike Smith said the frozen turf at Lambeau Field hardened
after halftime, making traction more difficult, especially for the
running game. Jackson had only 16 yards rushing in the second
The temperature for kickoff was 9 degrees.
”I think that the field got frozen in the second half,” Smith
said Monday. ”I think if you look at the numbers on both sides of
the ball, the running numbers went down in the second half. The
footing was much different in the second half than it was in the
Smith said the field was not an excuse for poor execution.
”This group doesn’t give up,” Smith said. ”We’re playing
hard. We’re playing with a lot of energy. We’re just not very
precise in our execution. That’s the thing that’s hurt us the
The Falcons couldn’t establish their offense when the running
game faltered. Jackson was held to 3 yards on Atlanta’s first snap
of the second half. The possession ended quickly with two
On their second series of the third quarter, the Falcons again
tried to run on first down. This time, Jackson was stopped for only
1 yard, setting the stage for another three-and-out.
”That was a really tough stretch, anytime you string together
consecutive three-and-outs,” offensive guard Justin Blaylock said
Monday. ”That does not give you a chance to win ballgames, no
matter what kind of lead you build up.”
The Falcons managed only 136 yards in the second half and 285
The offense had big assists from Atlanta’s defense. One of the
three first-half touchdowns came on a 71-yard interception return
by linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.
William Moore sacked Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn in the
second quarter, causing a fumble that was recovered by defensive
end Malliciah Goodman at the Packers 13. Ryan took advantage of the
short field with a four-play drive capped by his touchdown pass to
It was a rare highlight for the offense.
”It’s disappointing,” Ryan said. ”We jumped out to an early
lead, the defense created some turnovers for us and we capitalized
on it, but we weren’t able to get it done offensively in the second
half. We had chances, we moved the ball in a couple different
situations, but stalled out when we got into scoring situations. We
have to be better than that.”
The architect of the Atlanta offense could soon be leaving.
Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has interviewed for the Boise
State head coach position.
Koetter, a native of Pocatello, Idaho, was Boise State’s coach
”I know he has ties and was the coach there before,” Blaylock
said. ”I love the guy and wish him the best, no matter what
happens. I hope it’s here.”
NOTES: Safety Thomas DeCoud left the game with a concussion late
in the first quarter and must clear the NFL’s concussion protocol
before he can be cleared for Sunday’s game against the Redskins.
… Smith said running back Antone Smith’s knee injury is not
believed to be serious and is expected to return to practice this
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org