FOXBORO, Mass. — Last season, the Atlanta Falcons were an offensive juggernaut seemingly incapable of being stopped. Now, they’re a team struggling to put points on the board.
The Falcons’ offensive woes continued Sunday night in their 23-7 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The Week 7 defeat extended Atlanta’s losing streak to three, which includes home losses to the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.
The Falcons have every right to be frustrated. Their offensive personnel is among the strongest in the NFL, which makes their current 3-3 record all the more puzzling. After Sunday’s loss, Atlanta center Alex Mack acknowledged his frustration with how the team executed against the Patriots.
“We are not happy with the way we performed,” Mack said. “We were not good on third downs and we were not good in the red zone. I think being good on first and second downs is going to help you do all that other stuff. There were plays out there we needed to make and we didn’t make them.”
While no one would bat an eye at Mack’s comments given the situation, wide receiver Julio Jones offered a different perspective on the team’s mindset.
“We are never frustrated. Let’s clear that up,” Jones said. “Nothing about it is frustrating. It is football and on any given Sunday we just have to keep working and just keep putting the work in. We are not going to get down on ourselves and we are not going to hang our heads. We are just going to keep putting the work in and just wait until it pays off.”
Quarterback Matt Ryan shared similar sentiments as his favorite target.
“I think through three games it’s a tale of inconsistency,” he said. “We’ve done some good things at times and at other times we certainly haven’t played good football. We’re not the team I think we’re going to be yet. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ve got the right mindset, the right guys that I think are willing to work towards that and that’s what we’ve got to do at this point. When we get back to Atlanta we’ve got to get back to work and try to be a better football team than we’ve been up to this point.”
The Falcons have no room for complacency in the tough NFC South. The first-place New Orleans Saints are one of the hottest teams in football, and the Carolina Panthers have shown flashes of dominance this season. Not to mention, the Falcons only are one game ahead of the last-place Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Atlanta’s fate will be in its own hands: The team has yet to play a division game this season, as six of its last nine regular-season matchups are against either the Saints, Panthers or Bucs. It might not be time for the Falcons to push the panic button just yet, but it looks like their postseason hopes could come down to the wire.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images