Falcons lose tough one to Tampa Bay

The Falcons suffered a tough overtime loss to Tampa Bay Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons’ loss to the Bucs Sunday should not be a surprise. They dodged a bullet last week in Nashville, as they played poorly but still beat the Titans. But this time, they could not get away with their mistakes.

They had 11 penalties, three fumbles and one interception. The turnovers, particularly in the red zone, killed Atlanta’s chances for a seventh win. Instead, they are 6-2 heading to San Francisco before their bye week on November 15.

Matt Ryan was 37-for-45 for 397 yards and two touchdowns. Okay, those are good numbers. But Ryan is still a tad off. He’s just not clicking on all cylinders right now. The offense is sputtering, and it starts with Ryan. He needs to get in a rhythm so this offense can do the things it’s capable of doing.

Devonta Freeman was good again, rushing for 88 yards on 21 carries. Star receiver Julio Jones was unbelievably good again, catching 12 passes for 162 yards. Tight end Jacob Tamme was tremendous, with 10 catches for 103 yards. But the turnovers kept the Falcons from scoring a lot more than the 20 they put on the board.

Defensively, there were breakdowns. Cornerback Desmond Trufant made two critical penalties, which doesn’t happen often. Rookie Robenson Therezie dropped an interception. The pressure on Tampa Bay quarterback Jamies Winston was spotty. And in overtime, the Bucs drove down the field to get into field goal territory.

But Atlanta’s defense did make a critical stop on 4th-and1 late in the game that allowed the team to charge down the field to tie it up and send the game into overtime.

Perhaps this type of loss was inevitable. The Falcons didn’t play particularly well against Washington or Tennessee, but they won anyway. This wasn’t as bad as what happened in New Orleans, but it was bad enough. The Falcons are in need of a good, solid victory. Perhaps next week against the struggling San Francisco 49’ers will be the game to get Atlanta back on track.

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 email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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