Arthur Smith said the story of the game is that the Falcons offense had too many negative plays on early downs.
"We have to do a better job… There are some tough lessons learned."
— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) September 24, 2023
The Falcons came into the Week 3 matchup with the Lions with one of the most potent rushing attacks in the league, but the Lions loaded up against the run early and often in the Week 3 tilt. Atlanta was held to just 44 team rushing yards on 20 attempts, playing most of the game from behind after getting down 13-3 at halftime. The Falcons struggled to string together first downs, as the Lions forced Atlanta to throw and play from 2nd and 3rd-and-long situations for a good chunk of the game.
The Lions were able to hold star rookie running back Bijan Robinson in check, as Robinson only ran for 33 yards on 10 carries after entering the game with 180 rushing yards in the first two weeks. The Falcons shredded the Packers on the ground in Week 2, but the Lions were ready to stop the run and Atlanta's offense made too many negative plays throughout the game to sustain drives.
The Falcons also had problems protecting Desmond Ridder, as the young QB went just 21-for-38 and took 7 sacks on the day. Ridder has now been sacked 12 times this season, often a result of holding on to the ball too long in the pocket.
With the loss to the Lions, the Falcons move to 2-1 and will travel to Jacksonville in Week 4 to take on a Jags team that is 1-2 after being upset in Week 3 by the Houston Texans.