Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith said that he wanted to finish the regular season “the right way”, but may have ended it completely the wrong way.
He kept his starters in throughout their 22-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which saw two key players leave with injuries.
Starting cornerback Dunta Robinson left in the 1st quarter with a head injury and did not return, and veteran DE John Abraham had to be helped off the field after suffering an ankle injury in the 4th quarter.
Atlanta has home field advantage throughout the playoffs and this could surely come back to bite them if both injuries are serious enough.
In playing his starters, Smith was looking to build some momentum going into the playoffs. Now, he’s left with a loss and two key injuries. Not a good way to finish.
"You want to go out and play your best," Smith said. "To go out there and not play your best is counterintuitive to guys in that locker room and it's counterintuitive to us as football coaches."