Monday, May 21, 2018
Sports

Another fast exit rankles Falcons

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Being embarrassed in the playoffs is becoming a habit for the Falcons, and they're wondering what they can do to break it.

After Sunday's 24-2 loss to the Giants, Atlanta is 0-3 in the postseason under coach Mike Smith.

"We can't lose like this in the playoffs," DE John Abraham, said. "We should have been able to do something different. We played well in the beginning, but it kind of got away from us in the end. … They just came out ready to play, more ready than us, and did a good job."

The setback came a year after Atlanta went in as the top seed and was routed at home 48-21 by the eventual Super Bowl champion Packers.

"You get what you earn in this league," Smith said. "We earned a 10-6 record in the regular season (in 2011), we were 0-1 in the playoffs. We did not play our best game, and we are going to, starting (today), do everything in our power to rectify the 10-6 record from the regular season and the 0-1 record in the postseason."

ROLLING THE DICE: New York was aided greatly by Atlanta's penchant for gambling on fourth downs and failing. Twice the Giants stymied the Falcons on fourth and 1 as QB Matt Ryan's sneaks went nowhere. The defense also stopped RB Michael Turner on third and inches late in the third.

"It's less than a yard, less than half of a yard. It's a play we go through all the time," Smith said. "I felt it was the right play both times, but we didn't execute."

INJURIES: Giants CB Aaron Ross and backup RB D.J. Ware were both knocked out with concussions. Ross was hurt in a collision with Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul early in the third quarter. Coach Tom Coughlin sounded optimistic, saying Ross "counted fingers for me." Ware was also hurt in the third, but it wasn't clear how.

ROAD WOES: After beating Detroit 45-28, the Saints travel to the No. 2 seed 49ers for their game on Saturday. And of New Orleans' three road losses this season, two were on natural grass, the surface it will play on at Candlestick Park, where the 49ers went 7-1. The Saints are winless in four road playoff games in their history.

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