GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Atlanta Falcons (4-9) were not able to halt their recent skid on Sunday, losing 34-14 on the road against the Green Bay Packers (5-7-1).
There are three more games remaining for the Falcons, including one home game next weekend against the Arizona Cardinals, and there are likely to be plenty of areas where Dan Quinn wants to see his team improve over that stretch. For now, here are 10 things that we learned from Atlanta's loss.
10. Isaiah Oliver saw plenty of action
Dan Quinn is going to be evaluating his team a lot over this final stretch, and it could lead to more playing time for some guys. That may have been the case with rookie Isaiah Oliver as the second-round cornerback was a noticeable part of the rotation in the secondary. He made some positive plays, but he has a few negative ones as well. That’s kind of life for a cornerback, though.
9. Foye Oluokun can make plays in coverage
The first-year linebacker has shown signs of improvement throughout his rookie season, and Foye Oluokun provided a glimpse of his abilities in pass coverage on Sunday. Late in the first quarter, Oluokun made a savvy play deep downfield at the goal line to prevent a completion to tight end Jimmy Graham. The sixth-rounder who ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash prior to the draft has become a primary part of the Falcons’ defense.
8. Matt Ryan pick-six
For the second week in a row the Falcons’ offense has been responsible for giving up 7 points. This week, a Matt Ryan pass to Austin Hooper on third down in the second quarter was picked off by Bashaud Breeland, who returned it 22 yards for the touchdown. That pick-six gave the Packers a 17-7 lead and a lot of momentum at a time the game felt pretty even.
7. Penalty on big Julio Jones play ends with a punt
Following Breeland’s pick-six, the Falcons looked like they were going to have the chance to respond with some points of their own. Atlanta moved the ball to the Green Bay 45-yard line and Ryan connected on a 32-yard pass to Julio Jones, which would have set up the Falcons inside of the red zone. Unfortunately, the play was negated by a holding call on Wes Schweitzer. Three plays later, the Falcons were punting.
6. Falcons brought the blitz more often
Atlanta was aggressive on defense against Green Bay, and it resulted in the Falcons tying their season high in sacks. Atlanta got Aaron Rodgers on the ground four times on Sunday, and the Falcons did it with a combination of blitzes and solid coverage downfield. Vic Beasley, De’Vondre Campbell, Bruce Irvin and Desmond Trufant were the Falcons who registered a sack against the Packers.
5. Atlanta got the run game back on track
The Falcons have been working constantly to get something positive going on the ground, and they did just that on Sunday. Atlanta ran the ball 24 times for 107 yards, marking only the third time this season they’ve surpassed 100 rushing yards in a game. Ito Smith led the way for the Falcons on the ground with 11 carries for 60 yards. Tevin Coleman chipped in with 10 carries for 45 yards.
4. Plenty of evaluations on younger guys
These coming weeks will provide Dan Quinn and his staff with the opportunity to take a serious look at who can fill certain roles on this team. Plenty of younger players saw increased time against the Packers, including guys like Ito Smith, Isaiah Oliver and Eric Saubert. For now, the Falcons are going to use these final games as a way to improve for the future.
3. Penalties put Falcons in bad spot time and again
Possibly the biggest storyline for the Falcons on Sunday was the number of penalties the team had. Atlanta was penalized 13 times for 101 yards, including several penalties that negated positive plays for the Falcons. There’s not much more to say on the topic, other than Atlanta couldn’t seem to get out of its own way.
2. Julio Jones continues to make history
There weren’t many bright spots for the Falcons on Sunday, but Julio Jones did accomplish something no other player in the history of the NFL has. In the third quarter, Jones reached 1,400 receiving yards for the fifth consecutive season, making him the only player to ever has such a streak. He’s also topped the 80-catch mark in each of those years. Jones finished Sunday’s game with eight catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
1. The streak continues
With Sunday’s loss, the Falcons have now lost their last five games. Perhaps most frustratingly for the coaches and players, there hasn’t been a consistent unifying theme for these losses. Each one seems to occur for a different reason. The common theme for this season, though, is still injuries.
For more analysis on today's game, check out our in-game live blog, below.