ATLANTA – Four of the Falcons’ six losses have come down to the final play of the game: Philadelphia, New Orleans, Cincinnati and Dallas.
Whether it be not stopping their opponent or not being able to come away with points with the game on the line, the Falcons have had their chances. And according to head coach Dan Quinn, these are the losses that “sting” the most.
“We’ve found ourselves in lots of close games this year with plays that come down to the end,” Quinn said. “We must close in those situations. We have to get the job done.”
The Falcons held the Cowboys’ offense to six points for three quarters. This game came down to the fourth quarter.
“It sucks especially when you play hard,” defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said of the loss.
The game changed when Matt Ryan’s pass to Calvin Ridley bounced off of him leading to an interception by Cowboys’ rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.
Dallas had just taken the lead (12-9) for the first time in the game and the Falcons needed to answer. Instead, Atlanta’s offense turned the ball over, ultimately leading to a Cowboys touchdown, extending the lead to 19-9.
But the Falcons didn’t stop fighting.
The Falcons got points on the next two offensive series, one field goal to make it 12-9 and the next play, a Julio Jones touchdown to tie it up, 19-19 with 1:52 left to play.
The Falcons’ defense would need to hold off the Cowboys one last time to ensure this game got to overtime.
Facing a third-and-5, Dak Prescott found rookie wide receiver Michael Gallup for 10 yards. Atlanta’s offense couldn’t get off the field when they needed to the most.
A few plays later, the Cowboys were in field goal position and a Brett Maher 42-yard field goal sealed the game.
A scene way too familiar for this 2018 Falcons team.
“We were aggressive across the board,” cornerback Desmond Trufant said. “We had swagger, I felt swagger from the whole team today. At the end of the day, we still have to close the game, that’s been our Achilles’ heel. We just have to find a way. “
With a quick turnaround, the Falcons don’t have much time to dwell on Sunday’s outcome.
“We have to do something right now,” defensive tackle Grady Jarrett said. “There [isn’t any] way around it. It is what it is. Guys have to make up their mind we’re [either] going to go back to work or we’re going to sulk and I’m [not] sulking.”