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Smith doesn't regret passing on field goal

12/8/2013

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith didn't second-guess his decision to go for it on fourth down rather than have Matt Bryant attempt a 51-yard field goal with two minutes remaining in Sunday's 22-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

The Falcons failed to convert on fourth-and-5 from the Packers' 33-yard line as Tony Gonzalez couldn't come up with a pass from Matt Ryan. Green Bay cornerback Jarrett Bush defended the pass well, which affected Gonzalez.

Bryant missed a 52-yard field goal attempt earlier in the fourth quarter, which factored into Smith's decision.

"Well, we had missed from the [34-yard line] on the prior attempt and it was about 2 or 3 yards short," Smith said. "… So we did not think that we had an opportunity there to kick the field goal. And that's why we went for it on fourth down."

The elements no doubt factored into the decision. It was 9 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of minus-1 at snowy Lambeau Field. Bryant came up short on several attempts during warmups and did the same on his one attempt.

"We felt like, going in warmups, that was right at the line for us to kick it," Smith said, referring to the missed 52-yarder. "The ball, he hit it good. The ball just didn't carry. It's tough to judge when you starting talking about hitting cold balls."

Bryant didn't question his coach's choice not to go for the second attempt, although Bryant obviously wanted to redeem himself. But Bryant felt good about his initial try.

"As soon as it left my foot, I thought it was in all the way," Bryant said. "And then I happened to look up and see the guy waving 'no good.' So, I was kind of surprised because that was probably the best ball I hit, counting the extra points. From the sideline, they said it looked like it got to a certain point and just kind of stopped.

"If I had that one over again, I think I could have made a few little adjustments here and there. Today was a tough day from that kind of distance, in my opinion."

Bryant said the wind was "weird" Sunday, yet he still felt confident about how he hit the 52-yarder. In terms of the adjustments he could have made, the kicker offered a simple solution.

"Swing harder," he said.

Sunday marked just the fourth time Bryant had kicked outdoors this season. He is now 2 of 4 from 50-plus yards this season.

Packers kicker Mason Crosby made field goals of 40, 33 and 25 yards.