FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Dan Quinn dismissed Atlanta Falcons players for their bye week on Monday with instructions to rest, heal and come back ready to ''let it rip.''
There are plenty of signs, especially on offense, that the team needs the open week.
The Falcons have lost three of their last four games, including the first two-game losing streak under Quinn, the first-year coach. A 5-0 start provided a cushion that leaves the Falcons (6-3) in the chase for a wild-card playoff spot, but only if they can reverse their sudden downturn.
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Atlanta has averaged only 16.75 points in its last four games, including Sunday's 17-16 loss at San Francisco. Their only win in that span was a low-scoring 10-7 decision at Tennessee.
Quinn fielded several questions on Monday about his decision to kick a field goal when trailing by four points with the ball inside the 49ers 2-yard line and 3 minutes remaining.
''I don't regret the decision,'' he said. ''I certainly regret the outcome. I always want to be decisive in terms of the way we go about it. At the time, I thought that was the best decision for us to go and win the game.''
Quinn said his plan was for Atlanta's defense to force a punt and give the ball back to the offense with an opportunity to win the game. Instead, the 49ers ran out the clock, thanks to a key third-down run by quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Quinn insisted his decision to call for the field goal and put the game on his defense did not reflect a lack of confidence in his offense. The Falcons have struggled to move the ball in the red zone in recent weeks.
Devonta Freeman, who leads the NFL with 11 touchdowns, did not have a carry in the final possession. He had a 17-yard touchdown catch but was held to 12 yards rushing on 12 carries, easily his least productive day as a starter.
''Much credit goes out to that defense,'' Freeman said, adding he supported Quinn's fourth-down call.
''It was one of those things when coach thought we were going to get the ball back,'' Freeman said. ''We believe in him. I believe in him.''
The bye week will provide time to look back with regret at the losses to the 49ers and Tampa Bay the last two weeks.
''We have such high expectations for ourselves,'' said linebacker O'Brien Schofield. ''We're not looking at the 6-3. We're looking at games we allow to slip away from us because we weren't executing as well as we can.''
Perhaps most surprising was the Falcons' offense was contained even though Atlanta had no turnovers and only six penalties. The Falcons had 12 turnovers in their previous four games.
''It is a step back for us because the last couple of weeks we haven't been scoring,'' said wide receiver Roddy White. ''We thought that we would get off the slide this week and score a few touchdowns but that wasn't the case. So, we have to go back to the drawing board.''
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