The Atlanta Falcons didn't look good for much of Sunday's win over the Washington Redskins, especially early, but head coach Mike Smith acknowledged that type of circumstance is bound to happen in the NFL, and was still enthusiastic about his offense's adjustments after a shaky first half.
"Games are going to be tight and close in this league, and you are going to have to win those close ones. We’ve done a nice job, and then it’s a great teaching tool for us because we can make the corrections that we need to make in a positive manner since we got the ‘W’ this week."
Very little went right for the Falcons on offense in the first half until the last drive of the second quarter (ending in a Tony Gonzalez touchdown reception, the team's first of the day) and then a resurgent look in the second half.
"It was big. That’s a situation we practice all the time, the two minutes before halftime. I think there is some kind of crazy statistic that points before the half equate to wins, and so it’s an important situation. I think protection was very good. Harry Douglas made a great catch on a flag route to get us kind of going and we just kept it moving from there."
We talked at halftime. We just needed to stay patient and continue to trust in the plays and needed to execute better. I think the first drive of the second half we got backed up. We did a good job of getting ourselves out, but we just couldn’t make a play. We took a chance down the field and missed on Julio [Jones]. The biggest thing we did was we didn’t flinch. We didn’t play well in the first half, but we came back and played much better in the second half and that’s what you need to do"
Despite failing to score first for the second week in a row, the Falcons scored the first TD of the second half (Matt Ryan to Julio Jones for 18 yards), but it came after a stale third quarter that saw only a Redskins field goal. Nevertheless, Atlanta's 17-7 fourth quarter run mimicked their game-winning field goal drive a week prior against Carolina by scoring in their last possession.