By Chris Vivlamore
FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons coach Mike Smith said he and his staff underwent an extensive self-examination during the early part of the bye week. The group specifically looked at three areas of deficiency: offensive first-down efficiency, third-down defense and penalties.
The Falcons are tied for 15th in the NFL with 47 penalties, for 388 yards, through seven games. They’ve been called for 58 infractions, and 11 have been declined. They committed 11 penalties for 80 yards against the Lions.
Last season the Falcons had the fewest penalties in the league with 58 through 16 regular-season games.
“We have not been able to overcome penalties,” Smiths said. “That’s one of the reasons we haven’t been able to sustain drives as we would like.”
Smith said the team has seen a spike in the areas of personal fouls, offensive holding and defensive offsides.
“In my mind, those