Falcons Notes: Smith continues to score

If Antone Smith touches the ball, good things usually happen.

Antone Smith did it again on Sunday. After getting just one run for three yards and catching one pass for one yard in the first half, Smith got another long touchdown run in the third quarter when he caught a screen pass from Matt Ryan and ran 41 yards for six points.

It was the seventh long touchdown for Smith going back to the Tampa Bay game last season. All seven scores have been for 38 yards or more.

Smith finished with five yards on two rushes and had four catches for 64 yards.

On the season, Smith now has 126 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns, along with 220 receiving yards on 10 catches and three touchdowns. Overall this season, Smith has 23 touches for 346 yards and five touchdowns. That’s 15 yards per touch.

Since the Tampa Bay game last November, in his last 12 games, Smith now has 29 touches and 493 yards and seven touchdowns. That’s 17 yards per touch.

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When Matt Bryant kicked the 54-yard field goal in the third quarter to tie the game at 13, it was the 15th time in Bryant’s career in Atlanta he’s kicked a field goal 50 yards or longer. He is as dependable as any kicker in Atlanta’s history. Bryant is now in his sixth year as the Falcons kicker. This season, Bryant is now 8-for-9 in field goal attempts, with four kicks over 50 yards.

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Chicago wore down Atlanta’s defense, which can be attributed to the Falcons inability to stop the Bears on third down. The final time of possession gap was 36:15 to 23:45 in Chicago’s favor, including a 4:03 advantage over the Falcons in the second half.

“We continued to have woes on third down on both sides of the football, third and longs – giving them up on the defensive side and some critical drops on the offensive side,” said head coach Mike Smith. “When you don’t convert on third down offensively, you’re not able to sustain drives. We’ve got to be more efficient and more proficient in all areas of our football team.”

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Ra’Shede Hageman blocked the extra point attempt by kicker Robbie Gould, which made the score a six-point margin instead of seven. The Falcons did get Hageman in more on defense, and it will be interesting to see if they’ll be tempted to use him more with the team still struggling to put pressure on the quarterback.

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The Falcons had issues with dropped passes Sunday. Julio Jones (four catches but targeted 12 times), Roddy White (three catches on six targets) and Levine Toilolo (three catches on six targets) all had drops. That contributed to Matt Ryan’s 19-37 completion ratio against the Bears.

“We’ve got to make plays when the plays are presented to us. We had some opportunities today and we did not get that done,” Smith said.

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Smith’s frustration was obvious in his post-game press conference. The Falcons are 2-4 and facing six weeks away from the Georgia Dome, including the trip to London next weekend. But will there be changes before then?

“We’ve played very inconsistently on defense throughout the entire season,” Smith said. “We haven’t played neither up to our potential on offensive side of the football either. I don’t think anything is off the table in terms of what we’ve got to get done. We have to coach them better. They have to play better.”

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Chicago had two former Georgia Bulldogs on the roster. Tim Jennings started at cornerback for the Bears. He’s now in his fifth season in Chicago after starting his career with four seasons in Indianapolis.

And Cornelius Washington is a third-string defensive end behind Jared Allen and Trevor Scott. Washington was a sixth round pick by the Bears in the 2013 draft.


Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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