There are several reasons why the Atlanta Falcons are 0-2 entering their Week 3 match against the 1-1 Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. But the inconsistencies of the team's defense are the most significant ones.
Through the first two weeks of the season, the Falcons are giving up an average of 29 points - a bloated number. And yet Atlanta has showcased flashes of being a solid defensive team.
Before giving up 17 fourth-quarter points, the Falcons held the New Orleans Saints to 10 points through the first three periods. And before holding the Los Angeles Rams to three points during the fourth quarter on Sunday, Atlanta gave up 28 points through the first three quarters.
The Falcons' inconsistent defense has left coach Arthur Smith frustrated but not discouraged.
"Sometimes there are adjustments that need to be made," Smith said. "But it’s going to come down to that, we’ve got to get off the field on third down, and we’ve got to do it for a complete game and handle the situation. ... It’s not just third down in the field. You can argue that the difference has been third down in the red zone. That’ll continue to be the challenge and we’ll continue to work to improve there on both offense and defense.”
Although the Seahawks no longer feature nine-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson under center, quarterback Geno Smith presents a sort-of challenge for the Falcons' defense.
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Despite coming up short to the San Francisco 49ers in a Week 2 defeat, Geno has completed 81.0 percent of his passes for 392 yards and two touchdowns.
"I give him a lot of credit — he’s a very resilient player, he’s playing really well right now, and there’s a lot to be said for that," Smith said. "It doesn’t go the way he probably envisioned when he got drafted and he comes back and keeps swinging, and I’ve got so much respect for guys like that."
Smith led the Seahawks to a 17-16 victory over the Denver Broncos at Lumen Field in Week 1 as he threw for 195 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
What made Smith's performance notable was his ability to handle the Broncos' defense.
Denver blitzed 12 times en route to recording eight pressures and two sacks, but Smith still managed to finish the night on an efficient 23 for 28. The Falcons will look to pressure him on Sunday, too - and will look to put together four quarters of sound defense.
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