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'This is an opportunity for us to be able to do some soul searching': How coaches, players respond after Sunday's loss

The Falcons late third quarter surge is not enough to sustain a win

ATLANTA – The disappointment following a harrowing 19-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers loomed heavily in the Falcons locker room.

Though, when Rashaan Evans, who was one of the last players in the locker room, turned around to speak to the media, he spoke optimistically about what this means for what's ahead.

"This is an opportunity for us to be able to do some soul searching," he said. "I look at it on the bright side. I still don't look at it as a situation where we got our spirits killed. I look at these next four games as an opportunity."


He added that as a team, they must be better at finishing games which is something that has been a struggle throughout this season. The Falcons found momentum late in the third quarter after going on an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive that brought the game within six points. The rushing attack was slow to get going as it saw spurts periodically and the passing game fed off the ground game.

"We were able to get a couple of positive plays," head coach Arthur Smith said. "I thought we had some good momentum, I thought we got into a little bit of a groove offensively. I thought our guys were able to get off the football and certainly leaned in that aspect that got us back in the game."

Yet, the Falcons couldn't maintain a consistent rhythm on either side of the ball to sustain a win on Sunday.

"We just didn't have plays and we weren't on the field much," Smith said. "We started the second half; I think we got one first down and then we had to punt and then thankfully we got going a little bit at the end of the third quarter. Not enough plays, not a lot of possessions so there are a lot of things that we need to get fixed."

Marcus Mariota's last-minute interception ultimately ended the game but, as a collective, nothing clicked. The offense started slow, and the defense gave up too many third-down conversions that allowed the Steelers to eat away at the clock and move the ball down field effectively.

"We have to make sure we're getting these long drives, right? There's been low possession games here in the last month or so," Smith said. "We got to do a better job in all three phases."

As a whole, the Falcons understand they have to be better at finishing which will be the emphasis in these last four games, Evans said. Heading into the bye week will allow Atlanta to home in on the critical mistakes that were made against the Steelers.

"I just know, as a whole, we're not satisfied," Evans said. "We definitely are bombed about the how things have been going and I think right now, like I said, it's all about soul searching at this point. Every man has to look in the mirror and figure out what they want to do at this point."

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Pittsburgh Steelers during Week 13.


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