December 2, 2021

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Falcons’ Arthur Smith says team needs ‘self reflection’ after second blowout loss: ‘It feels ugly’

Less than two weeks ago, the Atlanta Falcons were flying high after defeating the rival New Orleans Saints at the Superdome to move to .500 on the season and into the wild-card conversation in the NFC. Fast forward to now and they’ve not only lost two straight, they’ve been flat-out embarrassed — first with a 40-point loss to the Dallas Cowboys and, four days later, with a 25-point loss on their own field to rookie first-round pick Mac Jones and the New England Patriots. 

What’s worse is they haven’t scored a touchdown in their last two games and have mustered only three points in their last eight quarters, playing impotent football offensively that also failed to take advantage of an improved defensive effort on Thursday night.

“It feels ugly right now and in this moment,” head coach Arthur Smith told media after losing to the Patriots, via the team’s website. “You feel, obviously, pretty poor. When you go and get to 4-4, get a big win and then, obviously you guys have all watched the last two games. We’ve done it before. 

“It’s continual improvement. You hope not to ride the roller coaster. We’ve got to fix things and we’re going to get them fixed and we’ll get them fixed in a hurry.”

That’s all saying the least, but a mini-bye before facing the Jacksonville Jaguars may not be enough time to address issues that had them start Smith’s inaugural season in Atlanta with a 1-3 record and now to two consecutive blowout losses to again fall two games under .500. The defense gave a better effort on Thursday night but they’re as inconsistent as the team’s offense, and it’s an offense that’s now thrown seven interceptions in the last to games and allowed six sacks on Ryan.

The Falcons weren’t lacking for opportunities against the Patriots, but simply couldn’t capitalize on any of them.

“There wasn’t a lot of things that we did well tonight offensively,” Smith said. “You don’t score points and you don’t take advantage when you do have the opportunity. … We didn’t do enough to put us in a chance to win at the end. 

“… We’ll take this weekend and do a lot of self reflection. We’re gonna get out of this hole. Because we have to and we will. And we’ve got the right guys to do it.”

Looking at their coming slate of games, including rematches with Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a Carolina Panthers team that’s reinstalled Cam Newton at QB, that’s going to be easier said than done.