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'He should never hang his head down': What Arthur Smith and Ta'Quon Graham said about late fourth quarter fumble 

ATLANTA – With 46 seconds of the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles Chargers lined up on the Falcons' 22-yard line with the game tied.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler cut left before being met by Grady Jarrett and Rashaan Evans, resulting in a fumble recovered by Ta'Quon Graham.


Graham then streaked up the sideline for 19 yards before fumbling the ball at the Atlanta 36-yard line, where it was then recovered back by the Chargers.

Quarterback Justin Herbert connected with Joshua Palmer on a 22-yard pass, followed by a 2-yard run by Ekeler that ran the clock down to three seconds setting up a game-winning field goal by Cameron Dicker.

In a game with so many twists and turns, Atlanta fell just short of a win at home. They ended up losing 20-17 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Head coach Arthur Smith emphasized the need to stay consistent through all four quarters of the game and that Graham's fumble wasn't the reason why the Falcons lost on Sunday.

"I back TQ 100,000 percent. He wanted to make a play," Smith said. "It's a funny shaped ball, but I love TQ. He should never hang his head down. He scooped the ball up and it slipped out. He's a defensive lineman and the ball takes funny bounces sometimes."

Just before Graham turned around from his locker to speak to a sea of reporters postgame, defensive line coach Gary Emanuel stood next to the second-year pro, giving advice.

As Graham mentioned, he's the toughest on himself but knows he must move on to get ready for a big divisional Thursday night game against the Carolina Panthers.

"Just got to hold on to the ball," Graham said. "My teammates tell me it's okay, but I'm probably the hardest on myself. Should've held on to the ball. Probably should've fell on it, probably should've gotten out of bounds, all of the above, but [I've] just got to move on from here."

Graham reflected on his first NFL fumble recovery and what he can take away from this moment moving forward.

"Hold the ball with two hands. Maybe switch out the leather palms [gloves] to the sticky's maybe," he said. "Just got to move on from this point and become a better football player."

With a short week ahead, the Falcons look to turn the page quickly in preparation for the Panthers on Thursday in what will be a key divisional game.


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