FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Coach Dan Quinn says there’s no reason for the Atlanta Falcons to worry about a penalty that wasn’t called late in Sunday’s narrow loss at Seattle.
Cornerback Richard Sherman pulled down Julio Jones’ right arm as the All-Pro receiver tried to catch a long pass over the middle and set up a potential game-winning field goal in the final 2 minutes.
But other than asking the NFL to look at the play and blame an official, there’s nothing left for Quinn and the Falcons to do.
“I was certainly ticked off as a competitor, but I’ll let them comment on the play,” Quinn said Monday. “The message I gave to the team, and I wholeheartedly believe, that it does not come down to one play. We had opportunities in that ballgame to make game-winning plays, game-statement plays earlier and we didn’t do that. It just so happened on that one that it all got magnified.”
When Atlanta (4-2) returns Wednesday to prepare for this week’s home game against San Diego (2-4), Quinn will focus instead on improving quarterback Matt Ryan’s pass protection, creating more turnovers and sacks and helping cornerback Robert Alford avoid pass interference calls.
Ryan, the NFL’s passing leader, was hit 13 times and sacked four times. He knew facing Seattle’s tough eight-man front was a difficult assignment and the Seahawks, led by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, didn’t disappoint.
“For me, I don’t worry about that,” Ryan said. “You just pop back up and go to the next play. That’s kind of always the way I’ve approached it, and I don’t think you really ever change that.”
Just to make sure his franchise star was OK, Quinn spoke with Ryan on the plane before the team’s charter flight to Atlanta.
“I thought what a great mindset for a guy, knowing what was going to be expected, he stood in, took some shots and none bigger than some in that third quarter and he was ready to go again,” Quinn said. “He’s a hell of a competitor. He was somebody from a toughness standpoint that totally embodied why you love this game and being a part of this team especially.”
Quinn is eager to see his defense recover more loose balls. After causing three fumbles Sunday, the Falcons have eight this season, but only one that’s resulted in a takeaway.
Atlanta moved quarterback Russell Wilson off his spot just five times.
“We had one sack on the blitz, but still there was that conversion on a third down that Russ had” on the winning field-goal drive, Quinn said. “It’s improving, I can tell you that.”
Alford has been penalized four times this year and was flagged for 17 yards on Seattle’s touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, but Quinn said it’s too soon to consider benching Alford.
“He’s working hard at the technique, but at that moment of truth when the ball’s in the air, let’s go play the ball,” Quinn said. “Make your play that way instead of using your hand for a foul.”
Notes: Quinn said LT Jake Matthews wasn’t attempting to injure Seahawks DE Michael Bennett with a cut block on a third-quarter touchdown. Bennett limped off the field, didn’t return and criticized Matthews after the game. “It was not a cheap shot in any way by Jake,” said Quinn, who was Seattle’s defensive coordinator and Bennett’s position coach from 2013-14. … Quinn had no injury updates on DT Derrick Shelby (calf), CB C.J. Goodwin (hamstring), or WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion symptoms). … Quinn said Jalen Collins, who has practiced the last two weeks after serving a four-game suspension for violating league rules on performance-enhancing drugs, could make his season debut against the Chargers.