The mood in the Atlanta locker room was far from jubilant after Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Neither was it defeated.
“For sure it’s uphill,” Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. “We know that. When you go into a locker room, it’s emotional and guys are upset. … Honestly, all our focus, all our energy and intent are right into this week’s preparation. That’s the best thing we can do now.”
Atlanta (4-6) lost to the Cowboys on a field goal as time expired. It’s the four time the Falcons have lost when the opponent scored on its final possession.
The Falcons must now win the remainder of their games to have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs. The push begins on Thursday night at New Orleans. The team then finishes against Baltimore, Green Bay, Arizona, Carolina and Tampa Bay. Only the Baltimore and Arizona games are at home.
“We have been in position, but we have not been able to finish,” said defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. “Ain’t no way around it. It is what it is. You’ve got go back to work or you’re going to sulk. I ain’t sulking.”
Coach Dan Quinn said he had no problem with the team’s effort on Sunday, but said there needs to be a better ability to close out games.
“I told the team in the locker room that preparation was right; the mindset was right and that's tough when it goes the other way,” Quinn said. “We found ourselves in lots of close games. This year we played as it comes down to the end and we must close in those situations. So, knowing that's an area for us that not only have we targeted, but we've got to get the job done.”
The team is expected to get a lift, both emotionally and physically, by the return of middle linebacker Deion Jones. The team’s leading tackler hurt is foot in the season opener against Philadelphia and has missed the last nine games. Jones was activated from the IR last week and worked out with the team. He was on the inactive list on Sunday.