The Atlanta Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints in spite of a lack of offense, including going 1-of-11 on third down.
Atlanta Falcons head coach is taking advantage of their Thursday night victory over the New Orleans Saints to give the team four days off, reports the Washington Post. The focus upon returning to practice will reportedly be issues on third-down.
The Falcons converted just one of their 11 third-down opportunities on Thursday. That's far from their normal performance: Atlanta has converted 45.6 percent of their third-down chances for the season, second in the league. The Falcons are 11-1 but have struggled finding consistency. To their advantage, different parts of the team have compensated when other parts have struggled. As Matt Ryan put it:
"I think, like I said before, the three phases have stepped up at different times this year and made plays for us and that's huge. Specifically tonight the defense made a bunch of plays. That's what good teams do, you find ways to win and hopefully, offensively, we can play moving forward."
The offense was uncharacteristically absent on Thursday, posting their season's second-lowest total yards. The defense stepped in and intercepted Drew Brees five times, a career-high for the quarterback, keeping the Falcons in the game while the offense went through fits and starts. That's led to some criticism that the team is more lucky than good, and luck isn't the kind of thing Atlanta wants to depend on when the postseason arrives.