Here are the grades after reviewing the film from the Falcons’ 34-20 loss to the Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
“Our toughness is right, but our focus is not,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said on Monday. “The self-inflicted wounds. The penalties. The turnovers. The lack of turnovers. ... As we are sitting here at Week 15, we have four wins. You better believe we are evaluating everything and doing anything to get it right.”
A list of nine self-inflicted wounds
Matt Ryan’s lateral: Third-and-8 from Green Bay’s 19-yard line, Ryan tries to bring the ball back in when Packer safety Josh Jones jumped into his passing lane. The ball went backward for a 16-yard loss, which knocked the Falcons out of field goal range. They tried a 53-yarder into the 10 miles per hour wind. It was five yards short.
Marvin Hall’s fumble: Hall bobbled the ball on the kickoff return. He got scattered, covered and smothered at the 8-yard line.
Ryan’s pick-six: Three plays later, on third-and-4 from the 14, Ryan was intercepted by Bashaud Breeland and he returned it 22 yards for a touchdown and the Falcons went down 17-7.
Left guard Wes Schweitzer’s holding penalty: Ryan connected with Julio Jones for a 32-yard gain down to Green Bay’s 12. The holding brought the ball back to the Falcons’ 45, a 42-yard penalty.
DeVondre Campbell and Isaiah Oliver’s penalties: The Packers were backed up at their 7-yard line, but Campbell’s unnecessary roughness penalty jump-started their drive with a 15-yard gift. Oliver was called for defensive holding, which turned into a 21-yard penalty to help set up a Mason Crosby 48-yard field goal and give the Packers a 20-7 halftime lead. A total of 36 of the 62 drive-yards were gifted by penalties.
Damontae Kazee, Foye Oluokun and Deion Jones penalties on the first drive of third quarter: The Falcons gave the Packers 25 of the 72 drive-yards via penalties. The Packers took a commanding 27-7 lead when Randall Cobb ran a precise out-and-up route. He hauled in a 24-yard strike from Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers with Falcons safety Sharrod Neasman in tight coverage.
Jake Mathews holding penalty: The infraction erased a 32-yard completion to Mohamed Sanu.
Alex Mack’s holding penalty: The infraction erased a 14-yard gain by Ito Smith.
Fumble on bad snap: The Falcons were trying to scramble back into the game after going down 34-7. The had one touchdown and were going for another. But Mack’s shotgun snap from the 8-yard line hit Sanu, who was in motion, which apparently ticked Ryan off as he had another “get (expletive) set” moment on the sideline.
Run offense: The Falcons appear to be easing Tevin Coleman out of the operation as Ito Smith has had more touches for the second week in a row. Coleman appears set to be a free agent after the season. Brian Hill started his audition as the third running back and Devonta Freeman will keep the No. 1 spot upon his return to good health. The Falcons rushed for more than 100 yards for the third time this season as Smith had 11 carries for 60 yards. Coleman had 10 carries for 45 yards. Hill had a rush for five yards. Overall the Falcons rushed 24 times for 107 yards for an averaged of 4.5 yards per carry. The Falcons manufactured the rushing attack by using extra tight ends, including Ben Garland on 16 of 71 snaps. Grade: B
Pass offense: Ryan completed 28 of 42 passes for 262 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He had a passer rating of 97.5. Ryan had three major miscues: the lateral throw, the pick-six throw and an overthrow of Julio Jones on what should have been a 70-yard touchdown. The pass protection was much improved as Ryan was sacked or hit on just 5 of 43 drop backs (11.9 percent). Over the two previous games against the Ravens and Saints, Ryan was affected on 35 percent of his dropbacks, which led to the benchings of right guard Ben Garland and right tackle Ryan Schraeder. The Falcons were not playing against the Packers old Super Bowl XXXI defensive front of Reggie White, Santana Dotson, Gilbert Brown and Sean Jones, but it was a step in the right direction. Grade: C-plus
Run defense: The unit gave up too much in the run game as the Green Bay running backs had 21 carries for 95 yards (4.5 per carry) and one touchdown. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers got loose three times for 44 yards to make the overall numbers look really bad. The Packers finished with 25 carries for 138 yards. Deion Jones and Brian Poole led the Falcons with six tackles. On Green Bay running back Aaron Jones’ 29-yard touchdown run, Packers center Corey Linsley climbed to the second level to seal off Deion Jones. Kazee missed a tackle in the open field. Grade: D
Pass defense: The Falcons finished with four sacks and five quarterback hits, but easily could have at least three more sacks. They let Rodgers escape the pocket too often against a makeshift Green Bay offensive line with three backups. Bruce Irvin, who getting some action at linebacker, registered his first sack with the Falcons. Grade: C
Special teams: The Falcons didn’t play the wind correctly in Green Bay. Matt Bryant best field goal kick in warmups into the wind was from 48 yards. Why Bryant was sent out to kick a 53-yarder into the wind was a mystery. He also banged an extra point attempt off the left upright, but it skidded through. He missed one to the right. Quinn admitted to the blunder of sending Bryant out for the 53-yarder the next day. Punter Matt Bosher averaged 50 yards net on four punts and placed one inside the 20. Justin Hardy had a 14-yard punt return. Hall’s fumble on the kickoff return was costly as it backed the offense up and was followed by a pick-six. Grade C
Coaching: The ball-handling suggests the coaches didn’t do enough to get the team ready for the frosty conditions. It was 15 degrees with the wind chill factor and the Falcons handled the ball accordingly. Kicking the 53-yard field goal into the wind was a clear coaching miscue. The four procedural penalties (Ty Sambrailo offsides, Deadrin Senat encroachment, Russell Gage false start and Steven Means neutral zone) are unacceptable in the 13th game of season. The holding calls and defensive contact calls are almost acceptable physical errors. The lineman had to choose: Get Ryan hit some more or hold? At least they didn’t allow free runs to the quarterback. The quasi-rally showed a little spunk, but the Falcons couldn’t get out of their own way while trying to rally. These final three games are going to be interesting. Grade D-plus
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