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Falcons are 6-0, but all is not well in Birdland

The SportsXchange

The bye week could not have come at a better time for the Atlanta Falcons.

While they are the league's only undefeated team and are 6-0 to start the season for the first time in franchise history, they have some glaring issues -- and they know it.

After letting middle linebacker and tackling machine Curtis Lofton leave in free agency, the Falcons have a leaky run defense. Also, with the shift to an all-out passing attack, they no longer can run the ball effectively.

The Oakland Raiders entered Sunday's game as the league's worst rushing team, but they gashed the Falcons for 149 yards on the ground and would have been over 200 yards if a couple of runs were not nullified by penalties.

The Falcons could muster only 45 yards rushing, and 15 of those came on a scramble by quarterback Matt Ryan.

"We're looking at something beyond just winning right now," running back Michael Turner said after the Falcons edged the Raiders 23-20. "We're trying to be special, and special teams don't play like that."

The Falcons are clearly a pass-first team now, but they know they'll need to run the ball at some point in the season.

Turner had 11 rushes for 33 yards against the Raiders, and he has just one 100-yard game this season.

"I'm not sure why it's going like this," Turner said. "It's great to be 6-0 and everything, but we can't just assume we're always going to be able to get an interception or a last-minute field goal every time. At some point, we're going to have to run the ball. We've got to be able to knock it in (the end zone)."
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