(SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Falcons have gotten used to winning ever since Matt Ryan showed up in Dixie as the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
In fact the Falcons haven't lost three straight in the Ryan era, a factoid they hope to keep intact when they host the rebuilding New York Jets on "Monday Night Football."
Atlanta opened the 2012 season by winning eight straight before finishing 13-3, and landing a play or two short of the Super Bowl. This time around the Falcons lost three in September and come into this game in full desperation mode after a furious comeback fell short in a 30-23 home setback to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots during Week 4.
Ryan connected with star tight end Tony Gonzalez for an 11-yard touchdown to cut the Patriots lead to 10 with fewer than five minutes to play before Atlanta recovered the ensuing onside kick and kicker Matt Bryant made it a one score game after booting a 25-yard field goal.
The Falcons defense held from there to set up a potential game-winning drive inside he final two minutes. Ryan was able to connect with Julio Jones for a 49-yard gain down to the Patriots 13-yard line on the first play of the march but, four plays later, his fourth-down pass to Roddy White fell incomplete.
Ryan completed 34-of-54 passes for a career-high 421 yards and threw two touchdowns to Gonzalez. The veteran tight end made a game-high 12 catches and finished with a career-best 149 yards for Atlanta, which has dropped consecutive games in the same season for the first time since Weeks 13 and 14 during the 2009 campaign and is now 1-3 for the first time under head coach Mike Smith.
"We've had opportunities, and we haven't made the most of those opportunities," Smith said about his team's disappointing record. "We, as a coaching staff, and as a team, have to learn from those mistakes we have made in the first four games and move on and get them corrected. It's a long season, it's just the end of the first quarter, and we will learn from the mistakes we have made and move on."
Moving on means taking aim at New York and its rookie quarterback Geno Smith.
Smith threw for 289 yards and a touchdown, but lost a pair of fumbles and was picked off twice in a 38-13 drubbing at the hands of the Tennessee Titans in Nashville during Week 4.
The Titans turned four Jets' turnovers into 28 points in that one.
"It was one of those days where not much went right, with me in particular," said Smith. "I put the ball on the ground way too many times."
Smith's afternoon got off to a rough start when Alterraun Verner picked off the rookie's first pass from scrimmage and was pushed out of bounds at the Jets' 18. Things only snowballed from there.
Tight end Kellen Winslow led all Jets receivers with six receptions and 73 yards while the New York run defense was the one bright spot, holding the explosive Chris Johnson to just 21 yards on 15 carries.
Monday night's matchup marks the 11th meeting between the Falcons and Jets with Atlanta leading the all-time series 6-4, including a 10-7 win over the Jets in 2009 at the old Giants Stadium.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Despite possessing a multitude of weapons the Falcons have been unable to convert in the red zone on a consistent basis. Atlanta failed to score a touchdown on five of its six possessions inside New England's 20 in Week 4 and now ranks 29th in the NFL in red-zone production at a paltry 38.9 percent.