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Buccaneers vs Falcons: Atlanta's offense struggled converting third downs

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said his team's performance on third down was the offense's biggest issue Sunday.

Kevin C. Cox

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said in his post-game interview that his team struggled Sunday because it couldn't convert third downs.

The Falcons lost their regular season finale Sunday to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 22-17. The Falcons struggled from the start, trailing 16-3 early in the third quarter:

"Namely, I think third downs were hard for us today. We didn't do a very good job of converting on third downs. We were three of 14 on third downs. When we haven't played well offensively that has been one of the things that have crept in and been the main issue. We've done a good job of it this year but we did not do a good job of that today."

The Falcons went for it on fourth down three times Sunday, but only converted it once.

Atlanta's biggest problem Sunday was the rushing game. Jacquizz Rodgers led the team with just 28 rushing yards on five carries. Since the Falcons were forced to play from behind the entire game, they had to rely on Ryan's arm to try to get the job done.

Ryan had a solid game. He completed 28-of-44 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown. The game capped an impressive season for the first round draft pick in 2008. Ryan completed 68 percent of his passes for 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns. He threw 14 interceptions.

The Falcons finished the season 13-3, earning themselves a bye for the Wild Card round next weekend. They are the No. 1 team in the NFC and will have home-field advantage.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.