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Transcripts: Falcons vs. Seahawks

Posted Jan 13, 2013

Head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan spoke to the media after Sunday's thrilling 30-28 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC divisional round.

ATLANTA FALCONS HEAD COACH MIKE SMITH

Opening statement:

"Wow. We talk all the time about playing a 60-minute game and finishing those games, and that’s exactly what we did today. I like the way we started the game. I like the way we played the first half. Obviously, the second half of the ballgame we did not play our best. To give up a 20-point lead is something that you have to concern yourself with. Seattle is an excellent football team. They never quit and we had one hell of a game. My hat’s off to them. Our quarterback, guys and ladies, is a special player. He did a great job there on that last drive. I know his nickname is Matty Ice. I feel like we have two Matty Ices. We got Matty Ice Ryan and Matty Ice Bryant. Matt Bryant has done some really big things for us."

On that final drive:

"It’s something that we practice all the time. We have situations that we work end of game situations. We work the end of game situations multiple different situations last week when we were Falcons-on-Falcons. We work on it every Friday and Saturday. We knew that we had two timeouts. We knew that there was 31 seconds after we returned the kick. We knew the yardage that we needed to make. We made a nice throw to Harry. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get out of bounds so we had to use a timeout, which changed the scenario a little bit. Then we hit Tony on the route in the middle of the field. Called timeout and got Matt out there to kick it. The next question is going to be the kick afterwards. We did not execute exactly how we wanted too. These things happen in a ballgame. We were able to go out there and play those last two plays and get the win."

On there being a greater sense of euphoria or relief:

"It’s just another football game. Lots of people talk about. I’m very happy for our football team, 61 guys in there are on our football team and 53 on our active roster and then the eight practice squad guys. I’m happy for the entire organization. My mind goes right to we get to get ready and we got to figure out how we’re going to play better than we did in the second half of the ballgame today. That’s where my mindset is. It’s already flipped the switch. We’ve got a good football team. I had an opportunity to watch them last night. We’ve got a good football team coming in here. I’m happy for fans here in Atlanta as well."

On what’s going through his head when Seattle was coming back:

"What’s going through my mind? First thing is when we get the ball back with the offense, we got to sustain a drive. Then we sustained a drive, we lose some time off the clock. That’s the first thing that goes through your head. We threw an interception. There were some tangled feet on the interception. The one thing, and I know people say I use certain words too much, but that group is a resilient group. That is a resilient group. They don’t quit. There is no quit with that football team. Just like the team that we played today. There is no quit in them either."

On the protection on that last drive:

"The protection was very good. They did add rushers. It wasn’t a drop eight situation and they did add rushers. We played our rules and were able to block it up and Matt was able to get the ball to Tony. That’s the appropriate guy to catch the ball in that situation."

On TE Tony Gonzalez’s contribution throughout the whole game:

"I can’t tell you how happy I am for Tony Gonzalez personally. He just did what he’s done his entire career. He went out and played the game the way it’s supposed to be played and the way it’s supposed to practiced. He’s a big reason that we’ve had the success that we’ve had on our football team. Watching him practice rubs off on everyone on our football team, not just the wide receivers, tight ends and offensive players. He affects everybody. He’s a special football player and he’s a special human being."

On containing RB Marshawn Lynch:

"Our number one must this week was to stop the run. Tried to make sure that 24 didn’t get going. We knew that three was going to have an opportunity to scramble with the football. We didn’t do as well as we’d of liked in that. Of course, we gave up way too many pass yards. The number one must going into the week was to stop Marshawn Lynch. The guy’s up front won the line of scrimmage in the run game."

On the Seahawks receivers getting so open:

"We did not play very good coverage. We did not play the layers routes. There was a hole that we were not taking care of. We need to make sure we’re playing deep to short and we were not doing that in those situations. Depth is something that we have to address. Way too many passing yards, way too many yards with the quarterback scrambling as well."

On QB Russell Wilson:

"Early in the week, and I took this from Mike Nolan, I asked him who did he play like. He said Fran Tarkenton. Of course, you tell the players Fran Tarkenton, half of them don’t know who he is, but he’s a special player. He is used extremely well. He did a great job extending plays. We knew going into it, it was going to be tough for us with the recovered guys. We said it all week long. I believe there was 145 snaps in 17 games that he extended plays when I watched the entire season. We knew we had our hands full. He’s an outstanding quarterback."

On being nervous before K Matt Bryant is about to kick a field goal like that:

"I don’t even concern myself when Matt lines up to kick. I’ve seen him too many times kick in pressure situations, and he lined up and kicked it through the pipes again."

 

 

ATLANTA FALCONS QUARTERBACK MATT RYAN

On the game winning drive the final 31 seconds:

"We’ve been in these situations before throughout the year, and in the last couple of years. I think the big part was that we got a good kickoff return and started off with good field position. In those situations we always talk about getting that first play and getting going. Our offensive line did a great job with pass protection and Harry Douglas ran a great route, he really did, and made a tough physical catch, he took a pretty good shot as he was coming down with the football. I think that started it, and then, at that point when we knew we have about another ten or fifteen yards to go to put us in field goal range, Tony [Gonzalez] is Mr. Reliable. He’s so consistent; he did a great job with the route and created separation to give me a good window to throw it. At that point Matt Bryant came out there and knocked it right through the pipes. It was a great way to win."

On the shaky second half:

"I thought we started really well in the second half, we had a great drive coming out of halftime. We knew coming into it that it was going to be tough, that’s a very good defense. I think the one that thing that threw us off schedule was just the interception in the fourth quarter. That was just a bad play on my part and something that I can’t do. Luckily, we made enough plays after that to come out with the win."

On controlling his emotions late in the game:

"I think your past experiences kind of harden you. I think they make you a little tougher in those types of situations. We know it’s a tough thing to do; it’s difficult to win in the NFL this time of year because you’re playing against the best teams in the league. With that in mind, if you have an opportunity with time still on the clock then you feel like you can get it done. I think that’s kind of the way that everybody felt going on to that field, just that as long as we can get that first play then we have two timeouts to move the ball down the field and we have a great kicker that everybody trusts. We just felt confident."

On getting his first playoff win:

"I think the one thing that I’ve learned in my five years, and specifically in the postseason, is that it’s hard. I mean it is difficult to do. We knew coming into it this week that it was going to take 60 minutes of our best football to come out with a win and that’s kind of the way the game shook out today. I thought that collectively as a team, and as a coaching staff, nobody flinched. We just kept battling, kept doing what we do, and that’s just kind of been the makeup of our team this season."

On talking to his team before the final drive:

"It’s kind of the same message that I say in those situations every time I go out there. It’s not a big fire and brimstone speech. It’s more of just, ‘let’s go out there and do our job. We’ve got time, we’ve got the timeouts, we need to execute.’ I thought everyone did a great job of that today."


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