Falcons’ Arthur Smith: ‘They made a play at the end’

LANDOVER, Md. — Here’s what Arthur Smith had to say after the 19-13 loss to the Commanders:

On the loss: “Obviously, disappointed to lose, especially when it happens like that. Our guys, I love them. It’s a resilient group. You’ve got to give credit to Washington. They made a play at the end. We had the look we wanted. The guy tipped the ball up, and he caught it. So, unfortunately, that’s the way it went. Our guys understand that it’s always going to sting. We get back tomorrow. We’ll get up and get back to work. Try to correct things and come out swinging because we have a big (game) next against Pittsburgh.”

ExploreCommanders stymie late Falcons’ scoring drive to secure 19-13 win

On Marcus Mariota’s run on first-and-goal: “I’m not going to go over scheme, but there are a lot of options. The way the Washington defender played it, thankfully Marcus was able to get out of it (for a loss of 2 yards). You come back, and we’ve got plenty of time. We still had our timeouts. Those are decisions that you make. You have to live with them. We liked the look, but, unfortunately, the result is not what he’s looking for. Hats off to their (defensive) line. They tipped a lot of balls today and didn’t really get a lot of pressure. The way our line played ... they made one more play at the end. It’s natural. You live with that. That’s part of coaching in the NFL. You’ve got to be ready to make the call. Give Washington credit. They made the play.”

On only having 13 plays in the second half before the final drive: “We knew they were gonna run the possessions. The way they came out, they tried to throw it and they were aggressive early. We stayed patient. He threw us a couple, caught one and [CB] A.J. [Terrell] got close on another. They kind of change up to the run. That’s what happens when you come out at the half. They had the ball. They had a pretty long drive, they backed us up, we didn’t get out of there and then they held the ball for most of the third quarter. That’s the way it goes. It was probably going to be a low possession game. Only had a few more drives after that. We had four total drives in the second half. We were backed up. We had the drive that came back, we were able to get the field goal. And one drive they got the sack and we punted and then we had the long drive at the end.”

On the final play call and how he will process that: “It’s an emotional game. The easy thing to do is look for some kind of excuse, and, at the end of the day, that’s what you live with as a play-caller. We liked the look, but again, they had a say. Tipped the ball so you go back and replay a lot of things that lead up to it. This, that, whatever, and ultimately when you can take the emotion out, and you gotta be as objective as you can be. That’s what we pride ourselves on. Unfortunately, we came up short, and you live with those decisions.”

On not calling a timeout before going for it at the end of the second quarter:

“They got the ball after the half. Challenge them to see if they’d bang the timeout. Thought they would try to do it, they didn’t. So, I felt it was advantage us. Felt with our timeouts, and the situation. That’s the game you’re playing. You know they’re getting the ball after half. So you’re trying in that situation, to not let them double up. Wanted to go for it, but it was kind of a stare-off to see if they’d use their timeout and they didn’t. So I was like great, let it run down. Still had plenty of timeouts left. They made a play up front, we were short. Threw it right back to us, and we got it down. Got in there and had a shot to try and end the half with points. So that’s what went into it.”

On if he thought Washington played the game differently with TE Kyle Pitts out today: “They’ve been relying on their front. That’s a good defense. It really wasn’t that different. And that’s a credit to them. A lot of times when you’re playing teams that are that stout upfront they usually don’t do a whole lot. And that’s not a shot, that’s just the reality of it. It’s smart. Play to your strengths. So, not really.”

On if there was a time to potentially recalibrate his thought process on when to call timeouts towards the end of the first half: “You get there in a one possession game and they get the ball, they defer. They get the ball, that’s how you steal a possession. It’s pretty common. The double-up term we use. They didn’t try to do it, so in a game with small possessions if you punt it there, you take a timeout or they took one early, they’re going to have plenty of time to score, get into field goal range, and milk the clock. They get the ball after half, try to bleed it, so you always look at everything. Guys have been pretty good at the end of half.”

On how much they missed DE Ta’Quon Graham in terms of the run defense today: “You’re dealing with what’s reality. Those aren’t excuses. You’d love to have everybody, they’re missing guys too. That’s the reality around the National Football League. Of course, you’d love to have all of your guys, but that’s not why we lost.”

On how Mariota played: “Pretty solid. Ran the ball pretty well, made some big-time plays. Yet, we came up short. A lot of things to dissect when you lose. Our guys played pretty physical up front against a good front; obviously, we didn’t get it done.”

On if he has an injury update on OLB Arnold Ebiketie: “I don’t.”

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Atlanta Falcons 2022 schedule

Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26

Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27

Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23

Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20

Oct. 9 Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15

Oct. 16 Falcons 28, 49ers 14

Oct. 23 Bengals 35, Falcons 17

Oct. 30 Falcons 37, Panthers 34 OT

Nov. 6 Chargers 20, Falcons 17

Nov. 10 Panthers 25, Falcons 15

Nov. 20 Falcons 27, Bears 24

Nov. 27 Commanders 19, Falcons 13

Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

BYE WEEK

Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD

Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.

Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD

For more content about the Atlanta Falcons

On Facebook at Atlanta Falcons News Now

On Instagram at DorlandoLed

Atlanta Falcons coverage on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Bow Tie Chronicles

Atlanta Falcons 2022 schedule

Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26

Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27

Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23

Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20

Oct. 9 Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15

Oct. 16 Falcons 28, 49ers 14

Oct. 23 Bengals 35, Falcons 17

Oct. 30 Falcons 37, Panthers 34 OT

Nov. 6 Chargers 20, Falcons 17

Nov. 10 Panthers 25, Falcons 15

Nov. 20 Falcons 27, Bears 24

Nov. 27 Commanders 19, Falcons 13

Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

BYE WEEK

Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD

Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.

Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD