ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons are -6 in the turnover margin in the last two weeks.
Against the Detroit Lions, they were still able to sneak out of Ford Field with a victory thanks to a replay review and a 10-second run off. But on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, they weren't able to get out of the hole they dug themselves in.
The Buffalo Bills beat the Falcons 23-17. Last week Matt Ryan had three turnovers. He threw three interceptions, but on two of them, the fault could be deflected more on the receivers. This week, the blame is almost all on him.
In the third quarter, Ryan was hit as he threw, and the referees ruled that he lost control despite throwing the ball forward. Tre'Davious White returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. He later threw a deep, jump ball to Taylor Gabriel, but it was picked off by Micah Hyde. Later, a pass intended for Nick Williams was tipped and picked off.
The Bills had 13 points off turnovers.
The reigning MVP admitted it is nearly impossible to win games when you're -3 in the turnover margin.
"We like to work as hard as we possibly can to try and make to try and not make those things happen. You know, we all make mistakes at certain points. I certainly have made a ton of mistakes throughout my career," Ryan said.
A lot of mistakes, yes. But he didn't have a lot last season. Going into last week's game, Ryan had thrown 309 passes without an interception.
Ryan was also struggling, however, because he didn't have his top two receivers. Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu each left the game with injuries, and didn't return in the second half. With Jones and Sanu out, Ryan's receiving corps gets considerably shorter. Gabriel is just 5-foot-8. While he has his speed, he can't exactly jump up and get balls. Justin Hardy had a touchdown reception in the fourth quarter, but also had a couple of drops.
"It’s disappointing. We’re better than that. I’m better than that, from an offensive standpoint in terms of taking care of the ball. We gotta make better decisions. I do, to give ourselves a better chance to win games. It’s tough to overcome," Ryan said. "It was a little too much to overcome."
Hardy defended his quarterback and said the offense just needed to clean up its schemes and protect the ball. Running back Devonta Freeman had similar sentiments.
"We ain't going to be perfect every time," Freeman said. "I think we just gotta finish better. Point blank."
Quinn didn't have any problem with Ryan's decisions to go deep. He wants to see more attempts like that in the future. He also said Ryan continues to put the team in the right spots.
Whatever funk the offense is in right now, he believes it will be corrected. A bye week will help.
"I do know this, that’s a part of our game we can get corrected. And we will," Quinn said. "It is disappointing to have that happen two weeks in a row. I don’t have a reason why-- we didn’t emphasize it more two weeks ago compared to this week. It’s always a part of our thinking because it’s such a big factor in winning."
But the defense hasn't helped the turnover margin. They haven't forced a turnover in the last two weeks.
"We don’t look at it as an offensive stat or defensive stat. We look at it as a team stat," Quinn said.
"We really just have to keep doing out there," safety Brian Poole said on trying to create more turnovers. "Really just coming to work. Just play hard and trust our training."
The Falcons will certainly have some time to reflect over the course of the next two weeks before welcoming the Dolphins to town.