sunny.png
Friday October 22nd, 2021 3:41PM

Ted Lasso's positivity needed by both Falcons, Washington

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ATLANTA (AP) — Arthur Smith is trying to channel his inner Ted Lasso.

Coming off his first win as an NFL head coach, Smith wants to bring some much-needed good vibes to an Atlanta Falcons franchise that has endured plenty of heartache over the years, not unlike the TV show's fictional English soccer team.

For that matter, the Washington Football Team could use some of Lasso's positivity.

The Falcons (1-2) host Washington (1-2) on Sunday in a matchup of teams that are fortunate to have the woeful New York Giants in the same league.

The winless Giants have served up the lone win for both teams.

At Smith's midweek news conference, a hand-written “Believe” sign had been taped to the wall. On his way out of the room, Smith tapped the sign twice, just as Jason Sudeikis' character does on “Ted Lasso” to motivate his downtrodden team.

At least Smith has something to build on this week.

After two lopsided losses, the Falcons pulled off an ugly 17-14 victory over the Giants. Younghoe Koo won it with a 40-yard field goal as time expired.

“It’s important, because you don’t want to keep coming in on Monday” trying to rationalize losses, Smith said. “At least you've got something to break through and say, ‘Hey, look, here’s what happens when we play together and we’re able to finish the game.’ Clearly, we’ve got a ton of work to do ... but it is I guess refreshing, and you do want that to pile up because that momentum is real.”

Washington is coming off an ugly 43-21 setback to the Buffalo Bills, who ripped apart a defense that was supposed to be a strength for coach Ron Rivera's team.

The Bills put the game out of reach with a 93-yard, 17-play touchdown drive to start the second half, devouring more than half of the third quarter.

Rivera said this game will determine “whether or not we’re resilient, whether or not we can put things behind us, we can learn from what happened in the past and use it going forward.”

“It’s an opportunity for us to take a step,” he added. “It’s going to be a very competitive game. Both teams are in the same situation.”

Beyond the Ted Lasso motivational tactics, some things to watch for when the Falcons face the Washington Football Team at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

HEINICKE HOMECOMING

Washington's Taylor Heinicke will surely hear some cheers on Sunday, even though he's the visiting quarterback.

Heinicke is a native of suburban Atlanta and will have plenty of supporters in the stands.

“They’re a big part of who I am today and you know why I’m here," he said. "It will be really cool to go out there, hopefully put on a good show, go get a win. It’ll be good to get a win in front of those guys.”

Asked what kind of quarterback he was at Collins Hill High School, Heinicke quipped, “Small, weak arm, slow. I had a bunch of good receivers, so they made me look good.”

MATTY ICE

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is still getting a feel for Smith's offense, especially when it comes to pushing the ball down the field.

Ryan has completed nearly 71 percent of his throws, but he's averaging just 235.7 yards per game through the air. Over the past decade, he averaged 287 yards passing.

“Even when you have a lot of the same guys, every team is different. Your identity and who you become is different. It takes some time to sort through that," Ryan said.

“I think that we’re growing toward who we wanted to become. We’re not there, we got a lot of hard work in front of us to get there, but we’re working toward that.”

SECRET WEAPON

Cordarrelle Patterson drew little attention when he signed a one-year contract with the Falcons in the offseason.

He's quickly become the team's most dangerous offensive weapon with his ability to line up at multiple positions. He has 13 catches for 153 yards, 85 yards rushing on 21 carries, and a 23-yard average on four kickoff returns.

“He's made a huge impact for us,” Ryan said. “We’ve asked him to do a lot of things.”

NO DEFENSE

Washington’s defense that ranked second in the NFL last season and came in with high expectations has struggled through the first three games. It was burned for 481 yards by the Bills.

A big concern is the lack of a dynamic pass rush, even with a defensive line full of first-round picks.

Reigning AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Chase Young has yet to get a sack, Washington is counting on him and Montez Sweat to create more pressure and take the edge off the secondary, which has been exploited in a big way so far.

Coach Ron Rivera wants his young edge rushers to stay the course and rely on what they do best.

“That’s one of the things that we’ve talked about as a team is when things get tough, you got to go back to your base fundamentals,” Rivera said. “The things that they do best it’s using their speed and strength and their quickness more so than it is to try and be cute or something like that."

___

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963 and his work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paulnewberry

___

AP Sports Writer Stephen Whyno in Washington contributed to this report.

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Racial protests reckoning: Maryland police reform laws begin
Several far-reaching laws aimed at boosting police accountability and transparency are set to take effect in Maryland this week
1:30PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Powell sees inflation cooling, evading 'difficult situation'
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Thursday that current high levels of inflation are likely to fade next year and won’t prevent the Fed from pushing toward its goal of full employment
1:29PM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Romania daily cases soar amid low vaccinations
Romania recorded 12,032 coronavirus cases, its highest daily infections since the start of the pandemic
1:23PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Falcons face Washington in matchup of 1-2 teams
The Atlanta Falcons will go for their second straight victory when they host the Washington Football Team on Sunday
12:18PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ga Tech faces Pitt looking to build on biggest win in years
Georgia Tech is coming off its biggest victory in years
12:17PM ( 1 hour ago )
Giants sign troubled tackle Isaiah Wilson to practice squad
The New York Giants have signed troubled tackle Isaiah Wilson to their practice squad
12:01PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
SEC schedule: Expansion likely impacts FCS, non-league games
The Southeastern Conference is already changing with Oklahoma and Texas preparing to join in a few seasons
3:43PM ( 22 hours ago )
Brady vs. Belichick? Numbers don’t lie but it’s not simple
Without Bill Belichick, Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl and is on pace to throw a career-high 53 touchdown passes at age 44
3:37PM ( 22 hours ago )
NLRB lawyer: College football players are employees
The National Labor Relations Board's top lawyer says college football players and some other athletes in money-making sports are employees of their schools
1:59PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Attorney: Removal of Spears' father is 'a loss for Britney'
An attorney for Britney Spears' father says his removal from control of her court conservatorship is “a loss for Britney.”
1:05PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Gloria Estefan says she was molested at music school at 9
Gloria Estefan has revealed that, at the age of 9, she was sexually abused by someone her mother trusted
12:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
Dubai opens Expo 2020 to a world still reeling from pandemic
Dubai is opening Expo 2020 in an extravagant ceremony that was delayed a year by the coronavirus pandemic
12:11PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Entertainment
LEADING OFF: Yanks' Cole faces Jays with wild card in sight
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole makes what might be his final start of the regular season in a critical showdown against Toronto
1:54AM ( 1 day ago )
LEADING OFF: Yanks' Cole faces Jays in potential last start
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole makes what might be his final start of the regular season in a critical showdown against Toronto
11:50PM ( 1 day ago )
Torrey Pines goes to Saturday finish to get off NFL Sunday
The PGA Tour is moving the Farmers Insurance Open off a big NFL Sunday
5:29PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online TV News
Fried, Riley power Braves past Phils; magic number down to 1
Max Fried pitched seven strong innings, Austin Riley drove in three runs, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2 to move within one victory of a fourth straight NL East title
10:41PM ( 15 hours ago )
Hurricane Sam bringing a rough surf weekend to US East Coast
It's going to be a rough weekend in the water for beachgoers along the U.S. east coast
5:48PM ( 20 hours ago )
Braves survive scary ninth inning, hold off Phillies 2-1
Charlie Morton threw seven scoreless innings, Jorge Soler hit a two-run single and the Atlanta Braves escaped a ninth-inning jam to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 and move closer to their fourth consecutive NL East title
11:20PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Rams are unanimous top team in latest AP Pro32 poll
The Los Angeles Rams are the unanimous top team in the latest AP Pro32 poll
5:44PM ( 1 day ago )
Tom's Two Towns: Tampa, NE abuzz as Brady prepares to return
Tom Brady hasn’t played an NFL game in New England since Jan. 4, 2020
2:13PM ( 1 day ago )
NFL's greatest toes on turf off to memorable start in '21
NFL kickers have never been this clutch this early in a season, but one of the best — Matt Prater of the Arizona Cardinals — came up short and paid the price in Week 3
10:11AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Racial protests reckoning: Maryland police reform laws begin
Several far-reaching laws aimed at boosting police accountability and transparency are set to take effect in Maryland this week
1:30PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Powell sees inflation cooling, evading 'difficult situation'
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said Thursday that current high levels of inflation are likely to fade next year and won’t prevent the Fed from pushing toward its goal of full employment
1:29PM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Romania daily cases soar amid low vaccinations
Romania recorded 12,032 coronavirus cases, its highest daily infections since the start of the pandemic
1:23PM ( 27 minutes ago )
More than a statue: Cooper explores the Vanderbilt legacy
After years of avoiding it personally, CNN's Anderson Cooper explores in a book the complicated legacy of the Vanderbilt family — what he calls America's version of “The Crown."
1:16PM ( 34 minutes ago )
GOP governor cuts ties with former Trump adviser Lewandowski
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is cutting ties with political adviser Corey Lewandowski after the longtime confidante to former President Donald Trump was publicly accused of sexually assaulting a GOP donor
1:16PM ( 34 minutes ago )