Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith expects some negative reviews for his team following a 27-26 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Sunday's season opener.
"You'll continue to write our obituary," he told reporters. Who cares? We have 16 games."
He also said, "You buried us in May. Bury us again. We don't care. We'll get back to work."
It appeared as if reporters would be doing anything but burying the Falcons when they jumped out to a 26-10 lead in the fourth quarter and were in full control. While there were multiple scoring chances that saw the home team settle for field goals instead of punching it into the end zone, it was an impressive showing by the defense.
And then it fell apart.
The Saints scored 17 unanswered points to end the game, with Jameis Winston finding Michael Thomas for two touchdown passes and Wil Lutz drilling a 51-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining that proved to be the game-winner.
There were some positive developments for a Falcons team that is expected to struggle this season. Marcus Mariota didn't throw an interception while running for 72 yards and a touchdown, rookie wide receiver Drake London flashed his potential with five catches for 74 yards, and Cordarrelle Patterson ran for 120 yards and a score.
Yet it wasn't enough down the stretch.
Atlanta is in a daunting division with the Saints and a potential Super Bowl contender in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so losing at home when the Falcons seemingly had the game in hand simply cannot happen if they are going to make the playoffs.
The Falcons will look to change the narrative in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams.