- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOUSTON -- It was bad enough the Atlanta Falcons couldn't really get into an offensive rhythm in Saturday night's 32-7 loss to the Houston Texans. They also didn't communicate or tackle well on defense, had failures on special teams and committed costly penalties.
Falcons coach Mike Smith tried to sum it up the best he could.
"It was very obvious that we didn't play well in any phase of the game tonight," Smith said after the game. "We had breakdowns in all three phases. We had way too many penalties; weren't able to convert on third down; we're able to get off the field [defensively] on third-and-long; had a punt blocked [and] returned, field goal blocked.
"Not anywhere close to the level that we need to play and perform at. We've got to get much better."
The Falcons were 3-of-11 on third down, including 0-of-4 by quarterback Matt Ryan and the starters. The defense gave up 323 yards to a Texans team that got shut out in Arizona last week.
"We didn't tackle well," Smith said. "We had some mental errors where the rotation was not in the right direction. And you're going to give up some big plays. [Defensively], we had some third-and-long, longs that we didn't convert on. We had that one explosive run where we lost leverage on the backside. So those are areas that we have to address.
"It was not the type of football that we know that we're capable of playing or the type of football that we're going to play."
Last week, Smith was upset after his team was penalized nine times for 82 yards against the Miami Dolphins, including a holding call that wiped out Antone Smith's 76-yard touchdown run. This week, the Falcons were penalized 10 times for 89 yards and had a touchdown by rookie running back Devonta Freeman taken off the board.
"We had way too many penalties there, especially in the second half," Smith said. "We were called for offensive holding a number of times to call back positive plays. And those are areas that we've got to address."