BALTIMORE (AP) — In a season filled with narrow losses, the Atlanta Falcons saw their meager playoff hopes come to an end thanks to a chilling loss that marked a familiar slow start. I got
Between the opening kickoff and final whistle of a 17-9 setback against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday, the Falcons were plagued with premature penalties, costly turnovers and poor execution in the red zone.
The loss kept Atlanta (5-10) out of playoff contention. This was a fate that seemed inevitable after the team plummeted following his 3-3 start. Sure, the Falcons dropped his eight games by eight points or less, but that didn’t make his current four-game skid any easier.
“At the end of the day, it’s about winning,” Smith said. “You can see the progress we have made so far. But we have to find a way to play with the lead.
With rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder making his second NFL start, the Falcons went 3-and-out on each of their first two possessions to win the first game in freezing 17-degree weather. The quarter offense was just 12 yards. Baltimore built a 14–3 lead at halftime, keeping Atlanta out of his zone in the end and on goal.
The referee was useless. In the final minute of the first half, Ridder deliberately made a grounding call when he appeared to be hit, causing time to run out and his first goal at 1 to become a rushing field goal.
Smith vehemently objected to the call from a bystander, but then chose to keep to himself his comments and the potential fine for criticizing officials.
“I’d rather give that money to the people of Atlanta,” Smith said.
Atlanta also had a pending call for a touchdown run in the third quarter that could have cut the deficit to 14-9 had the conversion been held. There was a fumble by London, which turned out to be the game’s only turnover.
Overall, the Falcons converted only 5 of 14 third-down attempts, went 0-for-4 on fourth down, and failed to score a touchdown during four trips to the red zone.
“It’s situation football,” Ridder said. “At the end of the day, we look at the red zone, third downs, turnovers and make sure we win them all. , is something we try to do better.”
Smith then said he hopes to show improvement in the final two weeks at home against Arizona and Tampa Bay.
“We aim to win and progress. Then come here and stop sounding like a broken record,” he said. “We need to win at home, win for the fans and finish this right.”
Ridder, who went 22-33 for 218 yards, knows exactly how his coach feels.
“We’ve had a bumpy road this past year,” said the newcomer. “I wanted to get over that difficulty today. Obviously we didn’t. Now we’re trying to get the next one.”
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