Five straight losses have dropped the once promising 5-0 Falcons to 6-6, and now the effort of Dan Quinn's crew is being called out by opponents.
During an interview with the Buccaneers Radio Network after his team's 23-19 Week 13 win over the Falcons, Tampa Bay defensive lineman Gerald McCoy said that he didn't think Falcons players were giving full effort on the field. McCoy specifically singled out a 20-yard fourth-quarter run by Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston on a third-and-19 to keep the Bucs alive.
"Go back and look at the play and look at Jameis' speed, and how he was playing, as opposed to look at the Atlanta Falcons and the speed they were playing at," McCoy said in the interview Wednesday, via Joe Bucs Fan. "Even when he started running again, guys were just jogging. You could just see the difference in how he was playing opposed to how the other team was playing. I mean, you just, we want it, man."
McCoy wasn't the only one calling out the Falcons' defense for coasting on that play and allowing Winston to break four tackles and pick up the first down.
"Worst play defensively for us all year," Quinn said to reporters on Monday, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "When I watched it for the second time it was really frustrating, and one that makes you sick when you watch it to see a play like that and not have the type of mindset to go get it at the end."
"It was bad ball, let's just put it that way," Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith said. "That's the difference in the game."
The Falcons, at the time of the run, led by by three. But four plays later Winston hit Mike Evans for a 6-yard touchdown to give the Buccaneers the go-ahead score with 1:47 left in the game. Tampa Bay, like Atlanta, is now 6-6.
This Sunday, the Falcons defense has an even tougher task welcoming Cam Newton and the undefeated Panthers to Atlanta.