Falcons coach Mike Smith hopes his defense is finally starting to understand how to create takeaways.
Despite being eliminated from playoff contention in a Week 11 home loss to New Orleans, Atlanta has four interceptions and eight fumble recoveries in three games since.
Strong safety William Moore, rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant and defensive lineman Jonathan Babineaux were the top catalysts in helping the Falcons recover five fumbles and pick off two passes in Sunday's 27-26 win over Washington.
Smith, though, stopped short Monday of praising the defense too much, particularly considering that the Falcons are still too susceptible to mistakes.
Atlanta began the game ranked fourth-worst in NFL turnover margin, and the abundance of what Smith calls explosive plays had contributed to a fourth-worst ranking in average points allowed.
''The first (point of emphasis) is winning the turnover battle and the second one is winning the explosive battle,'' Smith said. ''You put those t...