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Atlanta suffers fifth straight loss in Tampa Bay

The Falcons are officially in trouble as they lost their fifth straight game Sunday in Tampa Bay.

The Falcons lost again Sunday. It was their fifth straight loss and the sixth in the last seven games. The 5-0 start has now been wiped away, as the Falcons are now at .500 with a 6-6 record.

Tampa Bay is also now 6-6 and obviously have the tiebreaker over Atlanta with the two wins over the Falcons. Atlanta has two games left with the NFC South division winner Carolina Panthers, a road game in Jacksonville and a home game against the Saints. Meanwhile, the Bucs host the Saints next week, have a road game in St. Louis, a home game against the Bears and then finish the season at Carolina.

Seattle beat Minnesota, so they're now 7-5 - a game in front of the Falcons. Atlanta likely not only needs to win out in the final four games of the season, but they will likely need help to make the playoffs.

It's amazing to even think about, but after the 5-0 start this team has collapsed. If they do not make the postseason, they would be just the seventh team out of 73 since the 1970 merger that started 5-0 to not make the playoffs.

Sunday's game included more issues on offense, as fill-in kicker Shayne Graham hit all four field goal attempts. The Falcons' running game was neutralized, as Devonta Freeman had just 47 yards on 14 carries. Tevin Coleman had only 13 yards on three carries.

After the game, Julio Jones showed frustration with the lack of success in the red zone. His comments are not a surprise, considering he's now gone four games without a touchdown.

The questions will continue about Kyle Shanahan's offense, but Matt Ryan continues to struggle, as well. He's just off a bit. The numbers were okay (30-45, 269, 1 TD, 1 INT) but he was under pressure a lot as the offensive line got pushed around a lot. Ryan had a few passes that were dropped, so you can't blame him for that. But the offense just has no flow, no synch to it right now and part of the blame must sit with him.

Ryan wasn't able to drive the Falcons down the field at the end of the game and instead threw an interception. There is no magic in this offense right now.

The Falcons will go back to work this week to try and fix things, but it's now going to be a tall order. Atlanta has backed itself into a corner, and the team will need a lot to happen to recover from this disastrous stretch.

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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