Falcons' offense pulls disappearing act in second half of loss at Packers

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Roddy White says the Falcons’ 10th loss was especially painful.

Atlanta’s offense disappeared after taking a 21-10 lead at Green Bay on Sunday. The Falcons were shut out in the second half of the 22-21 loss to the Packers.

It was a disappointing finish after such a strong start. Steven Jackson had 55 yards rushing and White had five catches as the Falcons built the first-half lead.

“It’s a game you’ve got to win,” White said.

White said he knew the Falcons couldn’t sit on the lead.

“When I came back in to the locker room, I told everybody we needed another field goal, another score to win this game,” he said. “You know at some point they’re going to make their run so we had to counter and get a drive together and score whatever points we could get. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that.”

The Falcons (3-10) had no first downs in the third quarter and then were hurt by two fourth-quarter turnovers – a fumble and interception.

Late dropped passes by Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez also were costly as the Falcons failed in their attempt to drive for a last-minute field goal.

Coach Mike Smith said the frozen turf at Lambeau Field hardened after halftime, making traction more difficult, especially for the running game. Jackson was held to 3 yards on Atlanta’s first snap of the second half. The possession ended quickly with two incompletions.

On their second series of the third quarter, the Falcons again tried to run on first down. This time, Jackson was stopped for only 1 yard.

The offense had big assists from Atlanta’s defense. One of the three first-half touchdowns came on a 71-yard interception return by linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

William Moore also sacked Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn, causing a fumble that was recovered at the Packers 13. Ryan took advantage of the short field with a touchdown pass to Gonzalez.

It was a rare highlight for the offense.

“It’s disappointing,” Ryan said. “We jumped out to an early lead, the defense created some turnovers for us and we capitalized on it, but we weren’t able to get it done offensively in the second half. We have to be better than that.”

KOETTER COULD BE LEAVING SOON

The architect of the Atlanta offense could soon be leaving. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has interviewed for the Boise State head coach position.

Koetter, a native of Pocatello, Idaho, was Boise State’s coach from 1998-2000.

“I know he has ties and was the coach there before,” offensive guard Justin Blaylock said. “I love the guy and wish him the best, no matter what happens. I hope it’s here.”

– Associated Press


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