Falcons picked a bad time to stall-out

Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson runs through Washington Football Team defenders for a first down during the first quarter Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

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Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson runs through Washington Football Team defenders for a first down during the first quarter Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

The Falcons had several opportunities to finish off the Washington Football Team, but could not come up with a any big plays down the stretch of 34-30 loss at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Particularly troubling for coach Arthur Smith was the two dropped interceptions amongst the five pass breakups.

ExploreArthur Smith: ‘We gotta make the plays’

Also, the pass rush stalled out and Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke extended plays and had two “prayer” passes answered.

“We had plenty of chances to go pick the ball,” Smith said. “We didn’t. You have give Washington credit. They made plays when they had to. Quarterback extended plays. He threw them up there and their guys came down.”

Heinicke stayed alive and heave up a ball to the back of the end zone that wide receiver Terry McLaurin hauled down for a 17-yard touchdown.

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Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke runs for a first down against the Falcons during the first half Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke runs for a first down against the Falcons during the first half Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

caption arrowCaption
Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke runs for a first down against the Falcons during the first half Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis Compton / curtis.compton@ajc.com

On his game winning touchdown pass, Heinicke scrambled out to his left and all four receivers were covered. The fifth receiver was on the right side of the field and he tossed the ball to J.D. McKissic, who eluded Deion Jones’ tackle attempt on his way to a 30-yard touchdown run.

In addition to the dropped interception and Heinicke’s wild throws, the Falcons didn’t have their top weapon, Cordarrelle Patterson, on the field on the final two drives.

“It’s more of a protection thing,” Smith said. “We believe in the guys that are out there. There’s a couple of things we have, multiple packages. It’s not one play. It’s situational. And we feel pretty good about Kyle (Pitts) going up, playing big-boy ball with Hayden (Hurst) and (Calvin) Rid[ley]. And those things get packaged, and there’s something there that we wanted for O.Z. (Olamide Zachheaus) and Mike (Davis), if we had gotten the look; we didn’t. So that was a thought.”

Ridley was targeted 13 times, but came with seven catches for 80 yards. Pitts caught four of nine targets for 50 yards. Patterson caught five of six target for 82 yards and three touchdowns.

“Whenever they call you, you just have to go out there and make a play,” Patterson said. “They did a good job in calling my number. All I do is play for my team.”

Patterson would have rather had the win.

“I’m putting this in the past,” Patterson said. “I’ll take all that back to get a win you know. It’s not about what I did, it’s about the team. We didn’t win and that’s all that matters.”

The defense was playing well and limiting Washington’s big play, until Heinicke got desperate and started making plays.

“Creating plays, buying extra time,” Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun said. “We’ve got to stay in our rush lanes (and) stay plastered on receivers and just play longer.”

Heinicke’s receivers would run deep routes and then he’d throw passes underneath the deeper routes.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

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Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun said the team was "somber," "disappointed" following loss to Washington.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

“He wants to buy time, you run backwards, you see what space you’ve got and then you go and find the space, run to it and throw the ball,” Oluokun said. “So, we’ve got to stay in our rush lanes, as I said earlier, and be more disciplined within the play.”

It was a tough loss for the Falcons who may have lost nickel back Isaiah Oliver to a serious knee injury.

“A lot of things on my mind,” Oluokun said. “First of all, I want to shout out my boy Isaiah (Oliver). You always play for a why and you know, him going down like that, we worked hard together all off-season so definitely another thing I’m playing for the rest of the year. It’s been tough to see him go down, but as far as the loss, there are definitely things that we’ve got to clean up and improve for next week, and we’ll definitely get on that.”

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Atlanta Falcons Schedule

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington FT 34, Falcons 30

New York Jets vs. Falcons in London, Oct. 10 at 9:30 a.m.

Bye Week

Falcons at Miami Dolphins, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m.

Here’s the rest of full schedule

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