The Atlanta Falcons are picking up the pieces after their crushing 19-13 loss against the Washington Commanders over the weekend.
The Falcons had a chance to win the game with a goal-to-go opportunity inside the 5-yard line. However, instead of running the ball with Atlanta's strong rushing attack, Arthur Smith opted to have quarterback Marcus Mariota throw the ball on a play-action pass that was tipped and intercepted by cornerback Kendall Fuller in the end zone.
Despite the loss, the team moved down just one spot in Sports Illustrated's power rankings from No. 17 to 18.
"Even though the Falcons aren’t blitzing anymore, it was surprising they laid just two hits and no sacks on the Commanders," SI writes. "In order to remain relevant, they’ll need complementary, whole-team performances."
The Falcons remain just 0.5 game back in the NFC South standings behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, likely a big reason why the team isn't further down the rankings. The team also nearly beat a red-hot Commanders squad that has now won six of its last seven games.
Atlanta passed the eye test and by gaining some help from its rivals, the Falcons didn't miss a beat in the standings.
The Falcons are now preparing for another crucial game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at home on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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