There is not much to glean from the Falcons’ 17-0 defeat to the New York Jets at Metlife Stadium Friday night. However, the team committed 10 penalties, costing them 71 yards. The lack of discipline was at the forefront of discussion after the game.
“I was so looking forward to this game,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said after the loss. “A big evaluation opportunity on a number of guys at a number of different spots, and I thought we missed our mark in some instances… I thought the penalties in this game cost us where it created some difficult field positions to convert so that maybe we didn’t get the looks that we wanted to. That part of our game we certainly need to clean up.”
Seven of the ten penalties were from the offense. Two penalties were based on the new rule based on lowering the helmet to make a tackle.
While attempting to make a block in the open field, rookie running Ito Smith dropped his helmet and made what appeared to be incidental contact with his helmet to the midsection of a Jets defender.
The officials flagged Smith for lowering his head to initiate contact. The infraction carried a 15-yard penalty. Although the tackle did not carry any malicious intent, the rule does not require malicious or unsportsmanlike conduct to take place in order to be flagged. The rule is as follows:
“It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.”
That same penalty was later called on Falcons safety Damontae Kazee. The San Diego State product finished with 11 tackles (nine solos).
“We’ve got a lot to work on,” Quinn said. “I’m encouraged by their youth and speed and everything, but I don’t think we played as well as can. That’s to be expected sometimes in your first game. More than that, I don’t like the sloppiness, I don’t like the penalties. We could be better at the ball and go after it. Those were two of the things at the top of the list going into the game where I thought we missed our mark.”
Meanwhile, quarterback Matt Ryan was 1/1 passing for -2 yards in three plays. Running back Devonta Freeman, wide-receiver Julio Jones, kicker Matt Bryant and offensive lineman Ty Sombrailo did not participate in Friday’s game.
The Falcons return to Atlanta and will take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in week two of the preseason. Kickoff is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.