Marcus Mariota’s mistakes prove costly for Falcons in season-opening loss

If they had picked up the first down, the game would have been over.

“Yeah, that was 100% on me,” Mariota said. “We had a great look for the game we called. I tried to cheat and come back a little faster to have the opportunity to read it a little better. It’s something you take for granted. Unfortunately, that kind of slipped our minds, and that’s entirely up to me.

Mariota completed 20 of 33 passes for 215 yards without a touchdown or interception. He finished with a passer rating of 79.7.

He also rushed 12 times for 72 yards and a touchdown.

ExploreSaints come back to defeat Falcons, 27-26

Rookie Drake London led the Falcons in reception with five catches for 74 yards.

“There’s a lot to learn for me personally,” London said. “For us as a unit. For us as a team. So, just go back and watch the movie. Try to perfect my craft and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Mariota felt London, who missed three weeks of training with a knee injury, played well.

“I think he had a great day,” Mariota said. “For us, it’s not a surprise. We saw this throughout camp. We have seen this in OTAs. So I think it’s a great stepping stone, but that’s the wait.

“That’s the standard we’re going to hold it to. But I love playing with these guys. They keep finding ways to open up, and you just have to find ways to get it to them.

Tight end Kyle Pitts has been targeted seven times. He had two catches for 19 yards.

Mariota completed passes to eight different receivers.

The Falcons want to improve on that performance.

“I would say the biggest difference was just finishing in the red zone,” said Mariota, where the Falcons were 2 of 4 against the Saints. “We had opportunities – multiple opportunities to get in there and score touchdowns and put the game away. We allowed them, as an offence, to stick around.

Mariota, who was the No. 2 overall player selected in the 2015 NFL Draft, was 29-32 as a starter with the Titans. He was benched during the 2019 season.

Mariota has played the past two seasons as a substitute with the Raiders.

He signed a two-year contract in March after the Falcons traded Matt Ryan to the Colts for a third-round pick.

The Falcons rushed for 201 yards on 38 carries but still managed to lose.

“I think if you ever run the game as well as we do, make plays in the passing game, obviously we have to find ways to score more points,” Mariota said. “I think we did a great job moving the ball.”

The Falcons’ revamped offensive line paved the way for the running game. This added even more intrigue to the decision to throw the ball on fourth and first with the game on the line.

“The guys up front did an amazing job throughout the game controlling the line of scrimmage, and when it comes to that in this league, if you don’t score points in the red zone, you leave the door is open and you have to pay homage to the saints,” Mariota said. “They found a way in the end to win the game.

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Atlanta Falcons 2022 NFL Schedule

September 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26

Sept. 18 at the Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m.

Sept. 25 in Seattle, 4:25 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Cleveland, 1 p.m.

Oct. 9 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

Oct. 16 vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m.

Oct. 23 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

October 30 c. Carolina, 1 p.m.

Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.

November 10 at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.

Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.

Nov. 27 in Washington, 1 p.m.

Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.


December 18 in New Orleans, TBD

Dec. 24 in Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.

Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD

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