Dan Quinn just more colorful language to describe the Falcons’ mood after a lackluster and season-threatening loss to the Browns.
After getting steamrolled by Cleveland Sunday, 28-16, the Falcons returned to practice Monday and started their attempt to move on from the embarrassing loss.
After reviewing the film with the staff and meeting with the players, Quinn had a clear plan. Quinn didn’t like the “speed and energy” that the Falcons displayed Sunday.
“We were all (ticked) and disappointed,” said Quinn on Monday. “But just like when were 1 and 4, we didn’t plan on staying there. We certainly aren’t backing off what we think we can get done this season.”
The Falcons are now 0-3 against teams from the rugged AFC North, with losses to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Cleveland. The Falcons (4-5) face Dallas (4-5) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“As a team, you run right back to the process,” Quinn said. “We know what and how to get ready. ... That’s what our focus is. When I spoke to the team today we got through all of the truth. The good plays. Bad plays. … We were real clear about where we felt we had missed opportunities.”
Quinn didn’t like the offense failing to score a touchdown on fourth down inside of the 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Also, he felt the offense should have scored right before halftime in a drive that was wrecked by poor pass protection.
Then wide receiver Mohamed Sanu’s turnover on the opening drive of the third quarter was costly. Sanu inexplicably stuck the ball out in an effort to gain an inconsequential yard and fumbled.
“I thought all of those three things factored into us not playing at our best,” Quinn said. “I fully intend on getting us back to playing that attacking style.”
The Browns, who were in a state of disarray and playing just their second game for interim head coach Gregg Williams, ran through the Falcons defense for 211 yards.
The Falcons last gave up more than 200 yards rushing against Carolina on Nov. 4, 2017 when they gave up 201 yards.
The 211 was the most yards the Falcons have given up since Minnesota rushed for 241 yards in a 41-28 win on Sept. 28, 2014.
The defeat left the Falcons in third place in the NFC South and on the fringes of the conference playoff race.
Behind the Los Angles Rams (9-1) and New Orleans (8-1), there are several teams in contention for playoff spots.
Carolina, Chicago and Washington are 6-3, followed by Minnesota at 5-3-1 and Green Bay at 4-4-1.
The Falcons, Dallas and Philadelphia are all on the fringe at 4-5.
Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell contended in a radio interview on the team’s flagship station that they took the Browns too lightly. Rookie linebacker Foye Oluokun said they came out “flat.”
“We have really high standards, both on and off the field,” Quinn said. “You get really emotional talking about those. ... Certainly as a 4-4 team, 1-4 or 8-0, you know you better be ready to get rocking every week and that’s what we plan on and intend on doing.”
Quinn knows the Falcons have to move on from what could become a devastating defeat.
“I thought competitiveness-wise, toughness, that part was there,” Quinn said of the meek showing against the Browns. “You really saw, even on the long run, guys like Brooks Reed and Grady Jarrett straining to go get it. Where I was probably more disappointed was the energy and the speed that we normally play with, that part of our style, we’ve got to capture that every time that we go.”
Quinn believes the Falcons, who have gone to the playoffs the past two seasons and reached the Super Bowl after the 2016 season, can still make a run, despite being hit hard by injuries.
“This group of guys is always ready to battle and compete, but there is another spot that you go to, to play really exemplary ball,” Quinn said. “I thought over the last couple of weeks defensively, we knew we had faced some good runners at the Giants and certainly at Washington. We knew it was going to take that second or third guy jumping over the pile to get him down.”
The ravaged run defense will be on the spot against Dallas, which features running back Ezekiel Elliott. He rushed for 151 yards on 19 carries in the Cowboys 27-21 win over the Eagles Sunday night.
The Falcons don’t appear any closer to the return of middle linebacker Deion Jones, who’s coming back from a broken foot.
“We’ll have the same format that we had last week,” Quinn said. “We’ll take it step by step and see where he’s at. It’s too early to make a prediction of where he could be. He’s eligible to be back this week, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready. We will put him out there when he’s 100 percent.”
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