The next challenge for the winless Atlanta Falcons is imposing enough that it might not afford them an opportunity for another fourth-quarter collapse.
After blowing two-touchdown leads in the final period each of the past two weeks, the Falcons could have trouble getting ahead Monday night when they visit the unbeaten Green Bay Packers.
"I know the first three weeks haven't been what we would have wanted," Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said. "That's for sure. But I still have a lot of faith and a lot of belief in this football team, that we're capable of winning and winning regardless of who we're going against."
Green Bay is the first team in NFL history to have at least 35 points and no turnovers in each of its first three games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Packers have averaged 6.9 yards per play to lead the NFL.
"I feel like it's not realistic to think we'll have 40 every game, but it's not unrealistic to think we can do it, either," receiver Davante Adams said.
The Packers have trailed in each of their games this season, which could offer Atlanta reason for hope.
Then again, getting ahead hasn't been a problem for the Falcons. Staying in front has proved much more difficult.
Atlanta led the Dallas Cowboys 20-0 in the first quarter and 39-24 with five minutes remaining before falling 40-39 on a field goal as time expired, thanks in part to the Falcons' inexplicable failure to recover a slow-rolling onside kick.
The Falcons followed that up by falling 30-26 to Chicago as the Bears scored 20 unanswered points in the final 6 1/2 minutes. The collapses brought back reminders of the Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl to cap the 2016 season.
"There's anger, obviously," embattled Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. "There's frustration that goes along when you don't play well. For us losing two games that, in the regular season, is as tough as it gets. You get tested, but you also find out a lot and learn a lot from those (losses).' And that's what I saw from our team."
Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur expects the Falcons' recent misfortune will only add to their incentive.
"We're going to have a very hungry Atlanta Falcon team coming in here that, no doubt about it, should be 2-1 right now," said LaFleur, a former quarterbacks coach on Quinn's staff in Atlanta. "And they're not, but that's life in this league. Every game comes down to just a couple of plays here and there that can really change the outcome."
All eyes in Atlanta are on Quinn. The sixth-year coach came into 2020 knowing he would likely need to guide the Falcons to the playoffs to keep his job after two straight 7-9 seasons.
Players have been vocal in their support of Quinn, but their opinions won't matter if the losses keep piling up.
"Look at what he's done here," defensive back Blidi Wreh-Wilson said. "He's always got our backs. He's a really great coach. This is a tough spot for the team. A lot of things are being said. We just need to stay together."
The Falcons have given up a league-worst 36 points per game, and now they are dealing with injuries to at least five regular starters on defense heading to Green Bay.
"Yeah, it's a lot of pressure, you know? It's a lot of pressure," defensive tackle Tyeler Davison said. "We're 0-3. We shouldn't be 0-3 right now. We lost two games that we shouldn't, and that puts pressure on us. We're in the NFL. Our job is to win. When you're not winning, you're under pressure."