2013 NFL Playoffs: Falcons looking to improve on 3rd downs

Kevin C. Cox

Atlanta hasn't been converting on third downs in the playoffs in recent seasons.

Typically, the Atlanta Falcons are one of the best teams in the NFL in terms of trying to convert third downs.

But when the Falcons are in the playoffs, the story isn't the same, writes Daniel Cox of the Falcons' official website.

One of Smith's coaching points this season was taking extreme caution with the football. They were among the league's best throwing less than one interception per game this season and were tied with Houston for the lowest number of fumbles lost per game this season with 0.2.

"We've learned a lot about taking care of the football," right tackle Tyson Clabo said. "I think that was a big issue (against Green Bay in '10), that and third downs. All the things that we've done well this year are things that we are going to do well in the playoffs."

The Falcons converted third downs at a 45 percent clip, which was the second-best mark in the NFL.

In 2011 and 2010, they finished sixth and third in the league, respectively.

But in the playoffs the last two seasons, the Falcons' third-down percentage was under 30, according to Cox.

The Falcons are looking to do something in the playoffs that they haven't done in the last two seasons: Win a game.

Last season, the Falcons couldn't get out of the Wild Card round, losing to the New York Giants, 24-2.

Atlanta earned a bye in 2010 and faced the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional round. However, the bye didn't help as the Packers walked away with a 48-21 win.

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