Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn called his team’s 38-0 loss against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday “unacceptable.”
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s term for it?
“Ugly, obviously,” Ryan said of the Falcons’ sixth straight loss, (they’ve lost seven of eight after a 5-0 start). “In terms of the score, that was our worst loss of the season. When you score zero points, clearly we aren’t doing our job, and we are not doing it well at all.”
The Falcons (6-7) melted down on all fronts, however. After quickly falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter, Atlanta turned the ball over four times – with three of the miscues on consecutive possessions in the third quarter.
Atlanta was also penalized six times for 54 yards, many of those errors coming at inopportune times. The Falcons’ first penalty, for instance, came when linebacker O’Brien Schofield hit Panthers quarterback Cam Newton late after Newton had thrown a pass out of bounds.
The resulting first down extended a drive that led to the Panthers’ first touchdown, a 1-yard run by Jonathan Stewart.
The Falcons’ frustrations continued to surface, as the two teams engaged in some chippy moments between plays. Atlanta defensive line coach Bryan Cox even got into a physical confrontation with one of his own players, tackle Ra’Shede Hageman.
“We talked about poise on the sideline today,” Quinn said. “We knew that would be an important part of this game. We didn’t want to lose our poise, and we wanted to make correct decisions.”
Quinn was asked if his team got the message.
“They did not,” he said. “Both sides (offense and defense) didn’t get it. That’s totally unacceptable.”
If the Falcons did actually get the message, it was either too late or the Panthers’ lead was so big that it didn’t matter.
“I’m not going to say lack of discipline, I’ve got my own reasons for that,” Schofield said. “But we didn’t keep our poise like we should in certain situations, and penalties are always going to kill a drive, defensively and offensively.
“I am just a little bit embarrassed.”
Ryan, who completed 22-of-34 passes for 224 yards and an interception, was willing to give the unbeaten Panthers’ defense credit, however.
“They have shown great pressure throughout the year,” he said. “They do a great job in terms of pressure (with) a four- and five-man rush. They put a lot of pressure on you in terms of pass protection, and they did a really nice job.
“Having gone against them now for a number of years, they have always been good. And I think we were not very good.”
Quinn was also impressed with the Panthers.
“I knew they had done a really good job throwing the ball and going after it defensively,” Quinn said. “I thought they were a complete club. The speed and effort they are playing with defensively, especially the front seven, they are really aggressive. And they have some uniqueness about them offensively.”
Next up for the Falcons is a game next Sunday at Jacksonville, which beat the Indianapolis Colts 51-17 Sunday. Then the Panthers come to Atlanta on Dec. 27.
“I expect us to have a much better performance,” Quinn said of the rematch against Carolina. “They are the best the league has to offer right now, and that showed (Sunday). Our performance hopefully is not indicative of how we will play against them again.”