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What Your Falcons Had To Say After The Saints Game

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Game_Onair_RobH_640x480_091613 Rob Hamilton
Rob Hamilton has spent the last 22 years in Broadcast Media across the...
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HEAD COACH MIKE SMITH

Opening statement:
“I felt like the effort in the ballgame was good and gave us a chance to win the football game. I like how we started the game; we liked how we started the football game. I felt like we played well in spurts. Again, there were some situations in situational football that we didn’t win. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the outcome that we wanted.”

On how he was trying to work the last drive:
“Well, if we would have gotten some yardage on third down, it opens up your playbook. There is not a whole lot of great fourth and fifteen or fourth and fourteen plays. We felt a like field goal and then get an opportunity on the plus side of the two minute with three timeouts, get an opportunity to get the football back and field goal wins the game. Unfortunately, we did get the football back, we missed the field goal, we got the football back but with only a desperation play left with five seconds.”

On giving up big plays to Jimmy Graham:
“We did. Again, there are some situations that have been our nemesis all season long. Explosive plays are one of them. We’re not where we want to be in terms of playing defense, in terms of explosive plays. When you give up an explosive play, you’re going to give up points on that drive; it’s just statistically the way it is. We’ve got to get better at it. Again, there are always positives, there are negatives in every football game, but I did think the guys gave the effort. We just didn’t execute all the plays we needed to execute.”

On the offensive line:
“We’ve got to continue to work with the guys that we have. We’ve got some opportunities to maybe bring some other guys up that haven’t been active. There are a number of things. We’ve got to be better schematically. We’ve got to make sure we’re putting them in their best positions as a coaching staff in terms of the things we’re asking them to do. Entirely too many pressures on the quarterback in the football game tonight.”

On fighting through some of the adversity:
“Absolutely, much better. I thought that we responded to some momentum changes, to some adversity in the football game, but still not good enough. When you don’t win, it’s not good enough.”

On going for it on the third down:
“Yes, you always go through that mental process in terms of the decision you have to make, but there are not a whole lot of fourth and fourteens. We felt like the field goal, we had I believe 2:28, so we had a timeout before the two minute. We used the two minute as a timeout, and we were going to have an opportunity to get the ball back with the offense to only have to kick a field goal to win. Matt Bryant has kicked a lot of clutch field goals for us and given us an opportunity.”

On how to get Darius Johnson to bounce back from the red zone fumble:
“Darius is a strong young man, who has come a long way in a short time in terms of undrafted free agents. Plays like that are going to happen. Unfortunately, it happened at a very bad time for our football team, but he will bounce back. The guys in that locker room will help him. That play did not lose the football game for us. There were many plays that were factors in us not winning the ballgame.”

On Darius Johnson’s play overall:
“I thought Darius did a very nice job. He did a great job in his matchup. They were matching their corners and most of their coverages, so he was going against the same guy almost every snap. I thought that he did a nice job in his match up. He was one on one the majority of the time.”

On what the official said to you on the Matt Ryan hit in the first quarter:
“That was not a penalty, because there was not a flag thrown. Again, we will have to wait and see what happens later on in the week. The explanation I got was it wasn’t a penalty. They didn’t see any contact to the head or neck area, and of course what they see is what it is.”

On the turnover opportunities:
“There are plays that you’ll say ‘gosh that is the season’… we are breaking on the ball, we are going to intercept it, two guys aggressively going towards the football. The tough thing was we injured one of our players and he had to miss some time because of that collision as well, guys trying to make plays in those situations.”

QUARTERBACK MATT RYAN

On the second to last drive of the ball game:
“We were backed up and I think we did a nice job, after the first play was a sack, of getting ourselves back into it. We got a couple yards on the second down situation and then came up with a big third down conversion with WR Roddy [White]. I thought he did a great job; he kind of broke off the route and just kind of played ball for the third down conversion. That kind of got us going. We just stalled out. That’s the disappointing part on that last drive. We had opportunities and we were moving it down there. We felt like we were going to get the job done and we stalled out. We’re disappointed that we didn’t get it done.”

On dealing with the pressure form the Saints’ defense:
“It’s just one of those things. You have keep playing. I actually thought that our offensive line did a pretty good job tonight. We came out and were physical early on. I thought that they fought really hard. We got the run game going which was good for us. Credit to those guys pushing upfront. Collectively, there were just too many mistakes and not enough big plays. In order to win games, especially against a good football team like New Orleans, you have to do that.”

On the sack by DE Akiem Hicks and his thoughts on the no-­‐call:
“That’s not for me to say. The officials do the best that they can out there and the game moves fast. You just have to keep playing. It’s a physical game. Hits are going to be physical, but again, it’s not for me to decide [if it should have been a penalty].”

On sacks halting the offense’s progress:
“That was one of those things throughout the game [that plagued us]. We had a couple of different drives stall for different reasons but its just part of the deal. We have to find ways to extend more drives and to score more points and I think that has to be the focus for us.”

On the play of WR Darius Johnson and what to say to him after his fumble:
“It’s tough. That’s part of the growing pains of coming into your own. I think you have to feed off the positives of what he did tonight. He came out and had a bunch of catches and made some big conversions and made some big plays for us. It’s tough because, when you’re down there and you’re in an area where you feel like you can score some points, those [turnovers] hurt. All in all, I think you have to remember that he’s five games into it and he’s playing very well for us.”

On some positive takeaways from tonight’s game:
“It’s tough to find a lot when you’re not winning games. I think the emergence of Darius, the way he’s been playing for us and stepping up with the absence of WR Julio [Jones], I think that’s a positive. Same with the offensive line, their attitude and their effort of stepping up early on and getting the run game going was a positive for us. The defense did a great job as well playing against one of the best offenses in the league. They kept them out of the end zone as much as they normally score, so I thought they did nice job also. Offensively we have to score more points than that.”

On the mentality of the team going into that second to last drive:
“I think we get in that huddle and you look around and we feel confident. And we moved it. We started from our own eight-­‐yard line and we started moving it and got it in our plus territory. So when you’re out there and you’re actually moving it I felt like everybody was positive, upbeat, and excited about it. We felt like we were going to win. It’s disappointing when you don’t come away with the outcome that you want, but that’s part of the deal.”

WIDE RECEIVER HARRY DOUGLAS

Thoughts on tonight’s game:
“We came up short, then we started fast. We did some good things, but we have to find a way to win at the end. Defense did a hell of a job stopping the Saints offense. We just came up short tonight.”

Play of the offense:
“We did a great job of taking what the defense gave us. Darius (Johnson) did a great job tonight. Running backs did a great job running the ball tonight, and we did a great job making plays. But like I said, we have to make even more so that we can to be victorious.”

Getting ready for Buffalo next week:
“We can always learn from this game. We can always get better on both sides of the ball, better as a team in general, and better as individuals. We have a couple of days to relax and get our bodies right. We had a short week. But we had a great week of practice last week, and we’re going to try to carry it over into this week so that we can more plays to win against the Bills.”

FALCONS TIGHT END TONY GONZALEZ

On how frustrated the team is after the loss:
“It’s frustrating. I’ll tell you what, the enthusiasm was there. The fight was there. I loved the way the guys were playing, especially the offensive line, just getting after it. It was a
total change of attitude from the last three weeks. We’ve been kind of getting blown out. Going up against a good football team like this, I’m proud of the way the guys played. We just got to make those plays. We had them right where we wanted them. It seems like it was going to come down to a turnover, and that’s what happened. We were right in their territory and at least get some points, but that’s how it goes. That’s football. They came up and made a play when they had to, so give them credit.”

On not being discouraged after the other team makes a big play:
“That’s what we’ve been kind of doing the past three weeks. We’ve had something bad happened to us and we can’t respond to it. We lose confidence. We lose the momentum. Even though we’ve been moving the ball up and down the field – I’m speaking offensively, and really as a team – that’s how it’s gone for us. I think we responded pretty well. We had them right where we wanted them. It hurts. That’s not the reason we lost the game, that turnover, but it certainly doesn’t help us win the game. Darius (Johnson) played well. He played outstanding; that’s the best game he’s had all year. He’s got a bright future. We’ll learn from that because we have to learn from it. I’ll tell you what, if we can keep the same attitude that took going into this game I think we’re going to come out on top more often than not the rest of the year.”

On why the team was motivated to play well today:
“Because we’ve been getting embarrassed. I hope that’s the reason why. We’re a better football team than what we’ve showed these past three weeks. I think the way we played today was back to that old Falcons style football, obviously we didn’t come out with the win, but I’m happy. I’m encouraged by it. We still lost. It’s a bad taste in our mouth. It’s not the outcome that we wanted. We’re not accepting it. It’s not, ‘Hey we made it close against a good football team.’ That’s not the attitude that we’re taking; we’re still disappointed, but at the same time, I’m happy the way we played. If we keep that same attitude, like I said before, things are going to be looking up for us in the future, no doubt.”

WIDE RECEIVER DARIUS JOHNSON

On the drop on 3rd down:
“That was a key play that I should have capitalized on. It was a little behind me, but that’s a catch I can make. I just didn’t catch it.”

On not seeing the defender on the fumble:
“He made a good play on the ball. I didn’t see him. I should have had it tucked high and tight but he made a good play and knocked the ball out.”

On feeling confident tonight:
“I played the best game I’ve played all year in the first half but we just didn’t come out on top. Matt (Ryan) started finding me early and got me in a groove. I just tried to catch the balls that came my way.”

On the loss:
“It’s pretty frustrating. We know they’re a good team but we played them well and thought we had the game in our hands. But they’re a strong team and I give it up to them.”

On season not going as planned:
“I think we just need to pay more attention to detail. The little things. You live and learn. Being one play away or the play we need to make and don’t make, it’s tough. But we’re learning as a team together, we stand together, so we should be alright.”

RUNNING BACK STEVEN JACKSON

On running the ball tonight:
“Like any running back, you want to be in a rhythm and stay in a rhythm.”

On positive takeaways from the game:
“I thought we saw improvement in the run game. I thought the offensive line did a good job of coming out fast and giving me some room. I thought we moved the ball and unfortunately, at inopportune times we made mistakes and that’s what ended up hurting us.”

On attempting the field goal at the end:
“I was just so frustrated at the time. We fought and really wanted this one and to let this one get bye, hurts.”

On season not going as planned:
“To be a professional you have to be able to withstand the good and the bad. We just got to come out, when we step back on the practice field, prepare for our next opponent and put this one behind us. At the same time, when we look at the film tomorrow, we need to highlight those mistakes we made and get them corrected.”

FALCONS DEFENSE TACKLE JONATHAN BABINEAUX

On the tough loss:
“Yeah, we had a short week of practice this week. We had a great week of practice. Great preparation coming into the game, we fought our tails off, but we just came up short in the end.”

On why things aren’t going the team’s way:
“I have no idea. The men in this locker room are fighters to the end, and we’re going to continue to do that throughout the season. Hopefully, we can get this thing turned around next week.”

On limiting the momentum of the Saints during the game:
“I think we did a great job against a high powered offense that scores a lot of points. We did a lot of good things tonight, but we left a few plays out there and that’s what determined the game tonight.”

SAFETY WILLIAM MOORE

If you knew going into this game that your team would keep the Saints under 21 points, would you be satisfied:
“Of course as a defense you want to shut every team down by limiting points especially a team like the Saints. On one hand, I think we did a pretty good just surrendering 17 points to an explosive offense. We just didn’t make enough plays as a whole to pull out the victory. We will keep working to get better and find a way to win ballgames.”

Have you ever been with a team that shows so much resilience but can’t find the necessary breaks to win:
“We just keep coming up short. I can’t say that I am use to it in terms of losing close games like the one tonight. As a veteran on this team, I have to be a leader and keep telling the guys to stay positive and keep working. I feel like we will turn this around as long we keep putting in the necessary work. It’s only a matter of time.”

SAFETY THOMAS DECOUD

Did this game feel like a typical Saints-Falcons contest:
“I believe so. We are two good football teams that like competing against each other. For some reason or another, they always seem to come down to the last minute. We just have to find a way to win against this team.”

Are you concerned at all with the number of missed tackles by the defense:
“For the most part, I would say we did a pretty good job with our tackling on defense. I mean we gave up only 17 points to a stellar offensive ball club. Having said all that, I still think we can do a better job tackling on defense and limiting yards after catch is something we can clean up moving forward.”

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