Falcons' third-down woes on offense concern Smith

Published on NewsOK Modified: November 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm •  Published: November 30, 2012
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During the middle of the game, however, Atlanta fell flat. Pressure on quarterback Matt Ryan, coverage on Roddy White and a sluggish run game stalled the offense.

White was particularly inefficient. Despite his ongoing public dispute with the Saints and their fans, White had 100 yards receiving in three of his last four games, including the loss at New Orleans three weeks ago.

But that game essentially ended when Jabari Greer knocked away what would've been a fourth-and-2 touchdown catch with 1:42 remaining.

The Falcons suffered their only loss this season, prompting White to fire his latest salvo in a verbal quarrel that's lasted several years: "We kind of gave it away. You know, we gave it to 'em."

On Thursday night, Greer and the Saints all but shut down White, who said in training camp how disappointed he was to lead the NFL in drops last season. Ryan targeted him seven times, including thrice on third down, but a couple of drops and poor timing between White and Ryan resulted in just one catch.

"I am relieved we got the win tonight in spite of how the offense played," White said after the game. "We were able to ride the momentum created from the defensive side of the ball. I have to give our defense a lot of credit because they performed on a high level from the outset of the game until the end."

Atlanta's offense has seemed to perform more consistently on the road, showing dominance of long stretches at Kansas City, San Diego, Washington and Philadelphia, but struggling for long gaps in home victories against Denver, Carolina, Oakland, Dallas, Arizona.

White says sometimes you have to credit the other team. New Orleans defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo called a good game.

"That was our least productive passing game we've had this season yardage-wise and efficiency-wise," White said. "They changed up from what they did the first time we played them. We had opportunities to make plays and we didn't make them. You have to give them credit. They did a nice job."

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Follow George Henry at http://www.twitter.com/georgehenryAP

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