FLOWERY BRANCH — When the Falcons travel inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, that’s usually time for their fans to prepare for a touchdown celebration.
Perhaps, that is why so many fans and players seem to have taken the Falcons’ loss to New Orleans so hard when a potential game-winning drive stalled at the 2-yard line.
The Falcons are one of the top teams in the NFL in red-zone touchdown efficiency and scoring.
On six of their red-zone trips against the Saints, they scored five times, including three touchdowns.
On the season, their efficiency rate is 56.4 percent, which ranks 11th in the league.
The top 10 teams are New Orleans (71.4 percent), Denver (68.7), Green Bay (67.8), Tampa Bay (66.6), Baltimore (65.5), New England (65.1), Carolina (62.5), Detroit (61.7), San Francisco (61.5) and Houston (56.4).
The Falcons’ red-zone scoring efficiency (touchdowns and fields goals) is 89.7 percent, and they rank second in red-zone points, with 192.
“We want the touchdown percentage up higher,” running back Michael Turner said. “We need to score touchdowns, especially against these offenses that we are going to play. We have to put up points.”
Over the past three games, the Falcons have scored in the red zone on 42.8 percent of their possessions. For the season, they are scoring 42.8 percent at home and 64 percent on the road.
Arizona’s opponents are scoring in the red zone 45.8 percent of time, which ranks ninth in the league.
HEAD COACH MIKE SMITH ON THE RED ZONE OFFENSE: “(The numbers) are not as good as we need to be. Our red zone efficiency and touchdown efficiency is not what we need to be. We talked about it last week on Wednesday about the team we were facing was number one, and we had to go out and match that because they were going to do a good job. They’ve done a good job. We’ve got to improve. We can’t work and get those empty yards, get down in the red zone and not come away with touchdowns. We want to finish every drive. Our goal is to finish every drive with it ending not in a field goal, but ending with an extra point.”
WIDE RECEIVER RODDY WHITE ON THE RED ZONE OFFENSE: “We’ve just got to get our red zone offense better. For the last two or three weeks we’ve been struggling down there and not going in there and cashing in on touchdowns. That’s been a big concern for us. We’ve got to get a whole lot better in that area of the field. That’s an area where we are supposed to excel.
RIGHT GUARD PETER KONZ ON THE REDZONE OFFENSE: “You read into (the numbers) that you need to improve, it’s plain and simple. I don’t think you have to over complicate things. You just have to get a better push up front. I think as a team, we just have a lot more focus in that particular area since we know were are struggling with it. We’ll do that in practice and we’ll fix it.”
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