Snelling could return to practice

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons will likely have Jason Snelling back when they host Green Bay Sunday night. The running back missed Sunday's game at Seattle with a concussion

Coach Mike Smith said he expects Snelling to be cleared for practice this week.

The Falcons had a “pretty long list” of players banged up against the Seahawks, according to Smith. He said Monday he expects several players to be held out of practice on Wednesday, when the team returns to the field. However, he said he doesn’t expect any of those players to miss Sunday’s game.

Center Todd McClure (knee) left the game and was replaced by Joe Hawley. Defensive linemen Ray Edwards and Peria Jerry left with injuries but later returned.

Stephen Nicholas (calf) and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (knee) were inactive with injuries.

Second half woes

Smith said he was pleased with the Falcons’ first-half effort in the 30-28 victory over the Seahawks. The second half was another matter.

Smith pointed to several reasons for the change in momentum as the Falcons nearly blew a 20-point third-quarter lead.

“We were not very consistent,” Smith said. “We didn’t do some things technically the way we wanted, especially on the defensive side of the ball. We had some mental breakdowns. We game up some [big] chunk plays. We had two chunk plays in the second half that we were not real pleased with.

"We didn’t tackle crisply. We had some opportunities to get off the field. We didn’t play well in the red zone. We had [two third-and-six situations] in the red zone and they scored on both of those plays. You would hope that you would be able to win that down and at least force a field goal. That’s an eight-point difference on the defensive side of the ball.”

Keeping Ryan upright

After allowing Matt Ryan to be sacked 13 times in the first three games, the Seahawks were unable to bring the Falcons quarterback down. He was hit only four times.

Smith said the offensive line responded after being challenged during the week. He also credited schematic changes made by the coaching staff for helping protect Ryan.

Smith said the line was able to keep the middle of the pocket intact for much of the game.. The team aided the protection with blocking from tight ends, running backs and wide receivers.

After challenging the offensive line with personnel changes for ineffective play, the Falcons stuck with their starting unit for most of the game. Smith said the team’s 12-play, 72-yard opening drive, which took seven minutes, 40 seconds, was the key.

“We made the decision that we were going to stay with that group,” Smith said. “They responded well to the challenges that we set for them this week.”

Good Bosher, bad Bosher

Smith was encouraged by the kicking performance of Matt Bosher for much of Sunday's game, including two touchbacks. That was until one very big mistake.

Following a field goal that put the Falcons up 30-21 in the fourth quarter, Bosher’s ensuing kickoff went out of bounds. That allowed the Seahawks to start a drive from their own 40-yard line. Nine plays later, they scored a touchdown to pull within two points at 20-28.

“You can’t kick the ball out of bounds,” Smith said. “You just can’t do that. You can’t give them a drive start of 40 yards and basically they did nothing.”

Receiving threats

The Falcons are the only team in the NFL with three receivers with more than 20 catches each.

Roddy White is tied for third in the league with 26 catches. Rookie Julio Jones has 24 catches and tight end Tony Gonzalez has 21.