Atlanta Falcons slump to 17-16 loss to San Francisco 49ers


After a 5-0 start, the Atlanta Falcons have slumped into its bye week with a 17-16 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers, which drops the Falcons to 6-3 on the season.

San Francisco had Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, no Carlos Hyde, no Reggie Bush, no Vernon Davis and no Anquan Boldin. Atlanta had Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones. The result? The 49ers put up 17 points, the Falcons 16. Just as everyone predicted.

But maybe we should be predicted these offensive struggles for Atlanta, because it’s nothing new. Kyle Shanahan’s offense has been in a slump since the Week 6 defeat to the New Orleans Saints. Against the league’s No. 23 run defense, the Falcons managed just 17 on the ground. They may not have turned it over, but Atlanta was 5-of-15 on third down.

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Unacceptable. So what’s next?

The Falcons are now on bye week, and the lightning 5-0 start has faltered into 6-3. The playoffs looked a lock, the No. 1 seed in sight, but now the Falcons look incapable of beating anybody with real problems to fix.

Dan Quinn will be frustrated with his team’s performances in recent weeks, and it will be down to him and his coaching to staff to determine what’s wrong, why it’s going wrong and how to put it right. The easy portion of the schedule is over. After the bye is Minnesota and Indianapolis at home before hitting the road for three straight weeks.

Atlanta has a week off to regroup.