The most costly penalties may have been the consecutive false starts that stalled a potential game-clinching drive and instead put the Falcons in a hole.
After the Chargers scored a touchdown to get within 30-27 with 5:59 to play, the Falcons quickly moved 35 yards in five plays and gained a first down at San Diego’s 40-yard line. They were on the edge of Matt Bryant’s field-goal range with 3:41 to play.
But right tackle Ryan Schraeder jumped early, moving the Falcons five yards back. Then left guard Andy Levitre moved before the snap, moving the ball back another five yards to make it first-and-20. Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman intercepted Ryan on the next play.
“It’s just lapses guys had,” Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews said. “Stuff we usually don’t do. We have got to get that fixed. It’s frustrating. We killed a couple of our drives.”
Schraeder had another false start in the second quarter during a drive in which right guard Chris Chester drew a holding call. The Falcons overcame those miscues to finish the drive with a TD.
Levitre put the Falcons in a first-and-20 hole when he drew a holding call on the first play of the third quarter. The Falcons went three-and-out and Matt Bosher punted for the first time in the game.