- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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"This is a production-oriented business, and we didn’t get it done,’’ Smith said while reflecting on his team’s 34-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
The Falcons, at 2-6, haven’t gotten it done most of the season. Turnovers and penalties plagued them in the loss to the Panthers, but Smith focused on one of those aspects more than the other.
"Well, you can’t turn the ball over four times," Smith said. "And one of them being a pick-six … it’s very hard to win football games when you have four turnovers. That’s probably the most glaring thing that stood out."
The Falcons also had seven penalties for 59 yards, including a holding penalty on Garrett Reynolds that wiped out a Steven Jackson touchdown. But one penalty -- an illegal procedure whistled on right tackle Lamar Holmes -- should have been called on a receiver instead, based on the film review.
"The penalties were critical penalties," Smith emphasized. "Especially on third downs. We had some third-down penalties that kept us exposed out there on the defensive side in terms of having to play more plays. And we can’t do that. We’ve got to get off the field."
When asked why Ryan has thrown seven interceptions over the past two games, Smith refused to point the finger solely at his quarterback.
"Guys, we’ve got to take care of the football," Smith said. "Possession of the football is nine-tenths of the game. That’s what you’ve got to do when you’re on the offensive side of the ball: You have to possess the football. And it’s not just the responsibility of the quarterback. It’s the responsibility of everyone on the offensive side, including the coaches in terms of making sure that we take care of the ball.
"We’re going out there every time we play the game to win the game. And we need to play within the scheme of the game. Our guys need to make sure that they understand the game plan and how we’re going to do it in terms of routes, protections, and reads. And we all have to be singing out the same hymnal, so to speak, for us to be successful on the offensive side of the ball."