Falcons drop ball on chance to win

December, 8, 2013
12/08/13
7:40
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Harry Douglas could have used the weather conditions as an excuse. Instead, he took full responsibility for not coming up with a critical play when his team needed it the most.

Douglas
Douglas
The Atlanta Falcons receiver had a chance to set up a possible game-winning field goal had he caught a deep pass from Matt Ryan late in Sunday's 22-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers. But Douglas dropped the ball down the left sideline with 17 seconds remaining.

"It's always frustrating; if you're a competitor, it is," Douglas said. "You just have to make plays. I knew it was going to be open. I've just got to get my eyes on it."

A few missed opportunities were the difference in the Falcons blowing a 21-10 lead falling to an unthinkable 3-10 rather than stringing together back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Of course, Matt Bryant's missed 52-yard field goal attempt was the most glaring, although Bryant felt he kicked the ball as well as he could under the circumstances.

The Douglas drop was even magnified by the fact that Ryan was intercepted by Jarrett Bush on the very next play, essentially ending the game.

And even sure-handed tight end Tony Gonzalez failed to come up with a timely catch after the Falcons elected to go for it on fourth-and-5 from the Packers 33-yard line with two minutes remaining in regulation. Bush made a solid play on the ball, which affected Gonzalez's ability to corral it.

"I've caught that ball a bunch, and it would have been a great catch," Gonzalez said. "I looked at the replay and [Bush] made a good play. I give him credit. But that's one of those … I'd love to have it back."

Bush talked about the play from his perspective.

"To play a great player like Tony Gonzalez is always a challenge," Bush said. "I just did my due diligence studying him and knowing what he likes to do, route wise and scheme wise. It paid huge dividends today."

The Falcons had a handful of dropped passes on a day Ryan completed 20 of 35 passes for 206 yards. He threw touchdowns passes to Drew Davis (36 yards) and Gonzalez.

If only Ryan could have connected with either Douglas or Gonzalez in the end.

"I feel like I need to make a better throw," Ryan said of the fourth-down pass to Gonzalez. "It was good coverage and they defended it well, but I feel like I need to put it in a better spot for him to be able to make a play on it."

Several Falcons players said the wind picked up in the second half, but they didn't use it as an excuse for going scoreless over the final 30 minutes. The only play pointed to as being truly affected by the weather was Bryant's missed field goal.

"It was cold, but you can't blame it on the weather," Gonzalez said of the loss in general. "You've got to make the play out there. We are all out there having to play in those elements.

"It's going to bother me. It bothers the hell out of me that I wasn't able to make [the play]. But I've made it before. And I know next time, I'll make it. No doubt."

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

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