Smith bemoans his Falcons' second-half woes

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm •  Published: December 24, 2013
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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Coach Mike Smith says the Atlanta Falcons can't take much satisfaction from almost rallying against the San Francisco 49ers.

For Smith, Atlanta's season-long inability to play a mistake-free third quarter wiped out the gains made in an improved final period Monday night.

"The explosive plays have been an issue for us all season long," Smith said Tuesday. "We continue to not defend the deep balls as well as we need to or we have a missed tackle on a running play. We've given up way too many explosive plays."

The Falcons have been outscored by 74 points in the second half this year, due to big plays allowed by the defense, abundant three-and-outs dragging down the offense and untimely penalties hurting both sides.

Such was the case against San Francisco, which capitalized on the miscues to keep Atlanta from winning consecutive games for the first time since last December.

On the opening series of the third, the Falcons would have forced a three-and-out had defensive end Osi Umenyiora not been flagged for being offside.

Colin Kaepernick connected with Michael Crabtree on two of the next three plays for 63 total yards, and the 49ers tied the score one snap later on Anquan Boldin's 10-yard touchdown catch.

"Once they got the momentum, it was hard to get it back," rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant said. "They had the crowd behind them. They're a good team. We were holding them for a while. We couldn't get the stops when we needed them."

Atlanta's offense followed with a punt, and rookie linebacker Paul Worrilow's subsequent interference penalty on third down led to a field goal that gave San Francisco the lead for good.

The flag on Worrilow looked questionable to safety William Moore, but the Falcons likewise were undermined in the third by two additional catches by Crabtree that netted 41 yards and a scramble by Kaepernick that gained 22.



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