When the Falcons see red, they stop - and lose


This post is an adjunct to the Falcons-Patriots game column, which can be found on, our premium site

1. The Falcons, who were bad at scoring touchdowns in the red zone through three games, got worse in Week 4. They entered Sunday night’s game having gone 6-for-12 at scoring touchdowns inside the opponent’s 20, this after a 2-for-5 effort in the loss at Miami. They were 1-for-6 against the Patriots, bringing them to 7-for-18 (39 percent) on the season. Said coach Mike Smith: “It’s an offensive league. You have to score touchdowns … It’s poor execution. We’ve got to look at everything we do down there, not just the execution but schematically.”

2. Remember those stat folks who said the Falcons wouldn’t win as many close games this time around? The 2012 team was 7-2 in one-score games. The 2013 team is 1-3 and has already lost as many regular-season games as the 2012 Falcons – and also the 2010 Falcons. And it wasn’t as if the Falcons stunk out the joint against New England: They gained 457 yards against a Bill Belichick defense and made only one turnover. They made some plays; they just didn’t make winning plays. A year ago, the Falcons made winning plays even on days when they probably shouldn’t have won.

3. Even so, they almost pulled this one out. Down 30-13 with 6:18 remaining, they scored a touchdown in the red zone – hurrah! – and recovered an onside kick and kicked a field goal to make it 30-23, and then, miracle of miracles, Tom Brady fumbled a snap on the fourth-and-an-inch that would all but clinched the game for New England. “It felt like the football gods were smiling on us,” safety Thomas DeCoud said. “But the cookie didn’t crumble in our direction. We won a lot of games like that last year.” Which is precisely the point: As is becoming increasingly apparent, this isn’t last year.

From More red-zone failues equal another Falcons loss.

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