FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons may need to use more 'no-huddle' offense
Quarterback Matt Ryan is excellent in the no-huddle offense.
He was taught to operate it as a rookie by former offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and quarterback coach Bill Musgrave back in 2008.
However, the outside zone scheme that the Falcons run under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan calls for a lot of running by the offensive linemen as they get to blocks and try to create holes, seams or creases for running backs.
The no-huddle, as a steady part of the offense, wears out the offensive line.
Therefore, the Falcons only use it in the traditional sense as a hurry-up offense. Once they fell behind 31-13 against Tampa Bay, they went to the no-huddle and promptly scored a touchdown.
Despite trailing, the Falcons got out of the no-huddle on their next two possessions, which yielded a field goal and a turnover over on downs.
"Either way we feel comfortable," head coach Dan Quinn said. "We didn't feel like it was necessary at that time. We thought we would come up and get the stop and give the ball back to them."
But the defense didn't make a quick stop after the no-huddle touchdown drive. Tampa Bay picked up two first downs and took 4:03 seconds off the clock.
The Falcons got the ball back with 1:45 left.
"We didn't get the stop right away on defense," Quinn said. "At six minutes I didn't feel like it was into that spot. We had all the stuff going for us, so it wasn't until we fell way behind in the clock that we had to.
"I understand your point on it, but we felt like we were in a good spot with the plays that we had against them."
Ryan also defended not going to the no-huddle more often.
"Obviously, that's something that will come up," Ryan said. "Hindsight, we scored with maybe 4:50 left, something like that. I thought the timing of it, we were moving pretty quickly."
Ryan is not going to publicly call for more no-huddle, but the Falcons have to acknowledge that it works for them.
"Whether we were huddling or not huddling, we were moving pretty efficiently," Ryan said. "I think we got the three points with enough time, there's no question about that. We just had an opportunity late in the game and didn't make the plays."
The Falcons fell behind because the rushing attack was shut down by Tampa Bay.
Freeman was seen talking to Falcons minority owner Warrick Dunn. The two have been friends since Freeman's days at Florida State.
"Just keep your head up," Freeman said when asked what advice Dunn gave him. "You have a long season. It's only one game. It was big game, but every game is a big game."
Freeman was not sure how the Buccaneers totally stymied the rushing attack.
"They had good defense," Freeman said. "There were holes. We had a game plan and they had a game plan, too."
One of the Falcons best-looking plays was a fake toss sweep to Coleman and then a shovel pass to Freeman. It was technically a pass play.
"We are just trying to get better any way that we can score the ball," Freeman said. "It doesn't matter if the ball goes to me or Matt (Ryan) on a quarterback sneak or to Julio (Jones). It doesn't matter. We just want to get in the end zone."
--Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones left the game in the middle of the rally with an ankle injury, but he returned.
Jones, who caught four passes for 66 yards and scored on a 25-yard catch-and-run, originally suffered the left ankle injury against Miami on Aug. 25. He didn't practice for nearly two weeks, but he insisted that the ankle was fine after the 31-24 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
"I'm good," Jones said. I went back out there."
Jones said he was not worrying about the injury lingering on into the season.
"It's good," Jones said. "I'm good to go. There's nothing to worry about."