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Mike Smith: Atlanta must stay true to core principles

SHARE Mike Smith: Atlanta must stay true to core principles

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Coach Mike Smith says the Atlanta Falcons take pride in three core principles.

Win the turnover battle. Win third downs. Win time of possession.

The Falcons did none those in Monday night's 17-14 loss to New Orleans and missed a chance to clinch the No. 1 playoff seed and win the NFC South.

They still can accomplish both of those goals with a victory Sunday against Carolina, but Smith sees a long list of problems that need correcting.

Foremost is eliminating unforced errors.

The coach says said Tuesday the mistakes "unfortunately happened at the worst time," but Atlanta must overcome those plays later in the ballgame.