The Atlanta Falcons had a tough Week 9 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, and they very nearly were able to pull off an upset. But in the end, the Falcons got the short end of the stick and lost 20-17, and ended up losing control of the top seed in the NFC South due to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers late rally against the Los Angeles Rams.

The Falcons didn’t have a great day in the passing game, but they made up for that with a strong rushing performance and a good defensive outing against a beat up Chargers offense. It wasn’t hard to see what Atlanta’s path to victory was, and they very nearly found a way to improve their record to 5-4 on the season.

Instead, they came up just short, and now are tied with the Buccaneers a top the NFC South with a 4-5 record, although Tampa holds the tiebreaker after beating the Falcons earlier this season. With Atlanta quickly shifting their focus to their Thursday Night Football contest against the Carolina Panthers in Week 10, let’s look back at Week 9 and pick out three Falcons players who were most responsible for the team’s latest loss.

3. Drake London

Drake London appeared set for a huge rookie season with the Falcons early on this year, but Atlanta’s passing game limitations and their run heavy offense has left London out of the equation for long stretches of the action so far. The Falcons tried to get London involved against the Chargers, but they didn’t have much success doing so.

London finished the game with just three catches on seven targets for 23 yards. London also had a fumble deep in the Chargers red zone that cost Atlanta at least three points, which proved to be a huge difference in this game. The Falcons defense ultimately picked off Justin Herbert on the ensuing drive, but still, those lost points killed Atlanta.

If the Falcons want to win, they need to get more going in the passing game, and while much of that falls on the shoulders of Marcus Mariota (more on him in a minute) London needs to be a reliable option for him. He looked like he was set to be Mariota’s top target early on in the season, but London has struggled recently, and he may have cost the Falcons a chance to beat the Chargers in this one.

2. Marcus Mariota

It looks like opposing defenses are beginning to figure out how to slow down Marcus Mariota, which is not a good sign for the Falcons. Mariota has looked great at times this season, and horrible at others. In Week 9, he looked horrible, and his inability to establish anything in the air cost Atlanta big time on offense.

Mariota’s final line (12/23, 129 YDS, 5 CAR, 24 YDS) shows a quarterback who failed to make any sort of impact for his team. Mariota made some throws when he had to, but he relied heavily on the ground game to help him keep the offense moving. It kept Atlanta in this game, but at some point, your quarterback is going to have to do something to win your team the game.

Mariota was unable to do that in Week 9, and while he didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, he didn’t do nearly enough to help the Falcons beat the Chargers in a very winnable contest. Until he can become more consistent in the air, the Falcons will likely have to continue grinding out wins, which doesn’t bode well for their sudden playoff hopes.

1. Ta’Quon Graham

If things went just a little bit different for Ta’Quon Graham, he probably could have ended up on a list celebrating the Falcons most impactful players in their win. Instead, he committed the gaffe that ended up allowing the Chargers to walk away with the win just when it looked like the Falcons had the game all wrapped up.

The Chargers were driving down the field late in the fourth quarter with the game tied at 17 when Austin Ekeler fumbled at the Falcons 20-yard line. Graham recovered the football and took off, and it looked like the Falcons were going to have a chance to get a game-winning field goal of their own, as Graham angled towards the sideline near Atlanta’s 40-yard line.

Unfortunately, Graham somehow lost the football without being touched, allowing the Chargers to recover and get back into field goal range without skipping a beat. In the span of a few seconds, the Falcons were doomed, had life with Graham recovering the fumble, then were doomed again after he lost it. It doesn’t matter how Graham did throughout the rest of the game, because Graham’s miscue cost the Falcons the game, earning him the top spot on this list.