WATCH: 10 Takeaways from Atlanta Falcons loss against Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Atlanta Falcons lost any long-shot hope of making the playoffs this season with a 35-22 defeat against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The loss dropped the Falcons to 3-8 this season.
Let's take a look at our 10 takeaways from the contest:
1. The offensive line was absolutely terrible on Sunday. The Buccaneers recorded 31 pressures on 53 dropbacks for Matt Ryan. Essentially, Ryan was pressured 60 percent of the time he attempted a pass on Sunday. The Buccaneers also posted six sacks.
That's the biggest reason why the Falcons only had 280 passing yards against the league's No. 31 pass defense.
The Falcons are still missing first-round pick Chris Lindstrom, but it was clearer than ever on Sunday that Thomas Dimitroff's 2019 offseason plan to improve the offensive line hasn't worked.
2. It wasn't just the new offensive line additions that struggled versus the Buccaneers, though, as left tackle Jake Matthews had a particularly bad day. Matthews couldn't block Buccaneers defensive end Shaquil Barrett, who posted one sack and a game-high five quarterback hits.
Matthews also committed a season-high three penalties. He only had three fouls in the first 10 games of the season.
3. A big reason why the Buccaneers pass rush took over the game was because of the ineffectiveness of the Falcons running game. Without Devonta Freeman the last two weeks, Atlanta has averaged about 2.5 yards per carry.
On Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Falcons averaged 3.0 yards per rush attempt. Rookie Qadree Ollison led the team with just 20 rushing yards.
4. The biggest bright spot on the Falcons offense was arguably third receiver Russell Gage. He led the team with eight receptions and posted 76 receiving yards.
The Mohamed Sanu trade was already a great move because it will give Atlanta an extra draft pick and more salary cap space next year, but the Falcons aren't missing Sanu on the field either because of the play from Gage the last few weeks.
5. The defense was equally disappointing. While the Falcons did intercept two passes, they recorded zero sacks on Jameis Winston. Coming into the day, Winston was leading all quarterbacks with sacks taken.
The Falcons also managed to record just one quarterback hit.
6. Without any pressure on Winston, the Buccaneers went 6-for-13 on third-down attempts, scored touchdowns on three of their four redzone possessions and averaged 11.2 yards per pass.
The last two weeks, the Falcons held their opponents to convert under 20 percent of their third downs, 0-for-5 in the redzone and to just 6.4 yards per attempt.
It's amazing the difference pressure can make for a defense. It's seen right there in those numbers.
7. The Falcons secondary didn't have a good day either. Atlanta's defensive backfield is still playing a lot better with Raheem Morris as secondary coach, but the unit simply couldn't guard Tampa Bay receiver Chris Godwin on Sunday.
Godwin exploded for seven catches, 184 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 26.3 yards per reception, and one of his grabs was a two-yard touchdown, which severely lowered that average.
8. The Falcons blitzed less and played more zone Sunday than they did the first two weeks with Morris and Jeff Ulbrich calling defensive plays, but I wouldn't blame the play calling all that much. With the exception of maybe the first defensive drive, which ended with an interception, the Falcons defense lacked energy and looked unprepared.
The defensive performance was reminiscent of the first eight games of the season. The defensive line effort was a major issue, as that was the biggest reason there wasn't any pressure on Winston.
9. The home crowd needs to take at least partial blame for the lack of defensive energy. Despite a two-game winning streak, the fans didn't show up to support the Falcons on Sunday. The stadium was, at best, half full.
Although it was a hostile crowd, the Falcons may have fed off the energy in the stadium the last two weeks more than we initially realized. That wasn't possible Sunday at home, which is quite disappointing.
Granted, the Falcons didn't give the home crowd enough to cheer about, but Atlanta has now lost four straight at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is the team's longest losing streak in the stadium's three-year history.
10. But let's end on a positive note. The Falcons appear to have made a good decision with their kicking situation. Younghoe Koo went 3-for-3 and made his only extra-point attempt against the Buccaneers.
Koo is now 10-of-11 on field-goal attempts and 5-for-5 with his extra-point tries. The Falcons are settling for field goals far too often, but Koo is knocking them down.