Falcons fall to Jets, record 1-4 start


It’s was considered a must-win game for the Falcons.

They were playing in front of a national audience against the New York Jets and and a win would put them right back in the race for the NFC South.

That was not the case as Jets kicker Nick Folk kicked a 42-yard with three seconds left in the game to give them the 30-28 win against the Falcons.

“We simply came up short,” Falcons head coach Mike Smith said. “We are disappointed but we are not discouraged. Now we have to use this bye week to evaluate everything we do, keep on fighting.”

The Falcons were down as much as 13 in the fourth quarter. Jets quarterback Geno Smith led the Jets to a 4-play 23-yard drive which ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow to give the Jets the 27-14 lead at the start of the fourth.

But the Falcons answered on the ensuing drive when Matt Ryan led the offense on a 10-play, 80 yard drive. The series ended with Jacquizz Rodgers scoring on a 19-yard run to cut the Falcons lead to six.

After forcing the Jets to punt, the Falcons had to the ball went on a 10-play, 63-yard drive and that ended with a Ryan 3-yard touchdown pass to Levine Toilolo to take the lead.

But Smith and the Jets would not be denied. With 1:54 left in the game, they drove 55-yards on eight plays to give Folk a chance to kick the game-winning field goal.

“We didn’t tackle as crisply as we needed to and giving up that field goal at the end of the ball game,” Falcons head coach Mike Smith said talking about the game-winning drive.

Normally, the Falcons can get off to a fast start as they have jumped out to a lead in every game this season.

That wasn’t the case in the game on Monday night. In fact, the Jets opened the game with 3-0 lead thanks in large part to a blocked punt by the Jets.

Atlanta answered back early in the second quarter when they put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive that led to a Ryan 2-yard touchdown pass to Jason Snelling. But the Jets would respond by scoring 14 unanswered points in seven minutes. Smith would throw a 20-yard score to Jeff Cumberland and then a 16-yard score to Jeremy Kerley.

The Falcons had a chance to cut the lead before the half as they were at the Jets 1-yard line with one second left. Instead of kicking a field goal they tried a run up the middle with Jacquizz Rodgers up but was stopped short of the goal line. That play turned out to the difference in the game because had the Falcons made the field goal instead of going for the touchdown, the game most-likely would not have come down to Jets game-winning kick.

“We felt like we needed to score a touchdown in that situation,” Smith said. “We felt like we had an opportunity to do it and we didn’t get it done. In hindsight, it is probably not the way we wanted it to work out, but that is the decision that we made.”

Atlanta cut the 10-point lead to three early in the third quarter when Rodgers scored on a 4-yard run. The Jets increased the lead to six when Folk kicked a 36-yard field goal. That scoring drive was made possible because Ryan was sacked by Muhammad Wilkerson, forced the fumble and recovered by the Jets.

This was a game where the Falcons did enough to win, but came up short at the end. They had nine more first downs than the Jets, had nearly 80 more yards of total offense, had less penalties and won the time of possession battle. But the blocked punt, the Ryan fumble and the goal line stand at the end of the half were the plays that did the Falcons end and dropped them to a 1-4 record.

“You get what you earn in this league, and we haven’t earned those wins up until this point,” said Ryan who finished the game 36-of-45 with 319 yards and two touchdowns. “Certainly, I feel like we are a talented football team. We just have to keep plugging away.”

The Falcons will be off next week and will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome on October 20.

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