Falcons Eager to Make Sunday A Bump in Road

Falcons Eager to Make Sunday A Bump in Road

Jay Adams

Published December 9, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Tony Gonzalez didn’t try to sugarcoat it. He used the phrase “silver lining” just once, and seemingly begrudgingly.

Instead, he showed a passion and fire in the locker room that the Falcons seemed to lack in the first half Sunday against Carolina.

“Ridiculous. No doubt about it. We can’t leave our defense out there like we did, and we’ve got to put points up. We’re too good of an offense,” he said about the first-half Sunday. “We’ve got too many players. Too much talent.”

That was the feeling around the locker room after Sunday’s 30-20 loss to Carolina — a team the Falcons had to scratch and claw against earlier in the season to pull out a last-minute win.

During a week when the chatter was high between the two teams, the Panthers came out with intensity as a previously 3-9 team with not much to lose. The Falcons came out much different, amassing just 35 offensive yards on 13 total first-half plays, good for just 6:12 of offense.

“If we play like that in the first half, there’s no way. It’s not going to work out the way we want it to for the rest of the season,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve definitely got to learn from this game and we’ve got to go out there and play Falcon football, because we didn’t do that in the first half.”

The offensive struggles to start the game played a part in the Panthers jumping out to a 16-0 lead before halftime. A year earlier, the Falcons faced a 16-point deficit at the end of the first half against Carolina and came back to win.

Needing another one of Matt Ryan’s signature comeback performances, the Falcons fell down to 23-0 before the offense started clicking and Atlanta found itself on the scoreboard.

In true Falcons fashion, the team didn’t give up — Gonzalez’s lone silver lining of the day — and Atlanta was able to cut the score within 10 in the second half.

It’s as close as the Falcons would get as Carolina put Atlanta away with a 53-yard screen pass touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.

“It better be a bump in the road if we’re the team we think we are,” Gonzalez said. “I can hear them right now. They’re getting off the bandwagon. I can hear them jumping off, but that’s how it goes. Looking at our history, a lot of people are going to say, ‘See? I told you,’ or whatever.

“We’re a good football team — no doubt about it. And we’re going play better, because we have to. We’re going to get back and play the way we have, but it’s up to us to have a good week of practice and come out against a very good football team against the Giants and get this thing rolling.”

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