ATLANTA -- It is starting to feel like 2015.
The Atlanta Falcons have lost two consecutive games after jumping out to a 4-1 start to the season. Last season, the Falcons were 5-0 before spiraling out of control to finish 8-8.
On Sunday against the San Diego Chargers at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons scored three-straight touchdowns in the second quarter to build a 17-point lead. The Chargers began chipping away at that lead before halftime thanks to Melvin Gordon, who had two rushing touchdowns. Gordon had a touchdown catch in the fourth quarter to put the Chargers within three points, and it was the only touchdown in the second half for either team.
Everything else was field goals, including a 33-yard field goal by the Chargers, capitalizing off a Matt Ryan interception, to tie the game and send it to overtime.
The Falcons had the first possession in overtime. They moved the chains once, and then came fourth down.
Even though they were at midfield, head coach Dan Quinn decided to go for it. The ground game had been strong, picking up 130 yards in the game. Except this play would go backwards.
Ryan handed it off to Devonta Freeman who was met in the backfield almost immediately by Denzel Perryman, who had picked-off Ryan earlier.
Six plays later, the Chargers kicked another field goal to win 33-30.
"We had a real belief we were going to make it, and keep the drive going, keep extending with it. Just a gut feeling that I went with. It didn't work, we can second guess it. That's easy to do. It was more of the mindset that I have such a belief in the guys and go get aggressive and get that half yard that we needed. When we didn't, that was a costly mistake for us.," Quinn said.
"It was just really a message of how much I believe in our team," he added.
Quinn wanted to be aggressive and doesn't apologize for doing it.
Neither do his players, who expected Quinn to keep the offense out on the field to convert.
"If we get in a situation like that in the next game, we're going to do the same thing," Freeman said, who had 15 carries for 58 yards. He also had five catches for 42 yards.
"I always like to go for it on 4th-and-1. Try to convert, keep the chains moving," Freeman said. "I just say we've got to finish, finish better. That's all it is."
Ryan completed 22 passes on 34 attempts for 273 yards and one touchdown to Jacob Tamme. Ryan said he expected nothing less from Quinn's play call to go for it.
"That's the way our entire team is. We want to attack and be aggressive, and as players, it's our responsibility to go make it right, and go make the plays."
There's plenty of other things to focus on-- the defense's Jekyll and Hyde-like day, penalties and lack of red zone efficiency-- but for the second week in a row, the Falcons are finding themselves hung-up on one play that cut their late-game heroics short.