What it means: This one’s not going to help Atlanta’s chances of getting to the playoffs or catching the Saints in the NFC South. They’re 7-5 and could fall two games behind the Saints in the win column if New Orleans wins on Sunday night against Detroit.
What I didn’t like: The Falcons came out and tried to be very aggressive on offense early on. Nothing wrong with that. But Matt Ryan and his receivers weren’t in sync, and that got Atlanta off to a rough start. Ryan was intercepted twice in the first half. The Falcons never really got running back Michael Turner and the running game on track.
Wasted opportunities: The Falcons had two 12-play drives in the second half that didn’t result in any points. The defense played a decent game, but wasn’t able to force many mistakes by rookie quarterback T.J. Yates, who was making his first NFL start.
The streak is over: The Falcons had a streak of 14 consecutive games without allowing a running back to rush for 100 yards. That’s over. Arian Foster rushed for 111 yards.
Festival of flags: The Falcons were their own worst enemy. They had two apparent defensive touchdowns wiped out by penalties. They also weren’t able to get a play off before the play-clock expired on a fourth down in the fourth quarter. Rookie Julio Jones also had a critical penalty late in the game as he made an apparent catch that was wiped out because he went out of bounds and came back inbounds.
What’s next: The Falcons travel to Carolina to play the Panthers next Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.