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What They Said: Falcons vs. Raiders

Posted Oct 15, 2012

Moving to 6-0 isn't supposed to be easy. On Sunday, the Falcons showed just how difficult it can be, requiring a huge play from a playmaker and more late-game heroics from two guys named Matt.


    • Sunday's win over the Raiders moved head coach Mike Smith into a tie with Dan Reeves as the winningest coach in Falcons franchis history. Smith's 49th win came six games into his fifth year as the Falcons head coach. Asked how he felt about his accomplishment after the game, Smith refused to accept more credit than he deserved, instead sharing the honor with everyone and he won't be using the upcoming bye to party to his accomplishments: "It's not my victory, it's the Atlanta Falcons victory. There are lots of guys and lots of people in that locker room that aren't here that have contributed to wins. It's all about the Atlanta Falcons. My focus is on one thing and that's trying to make our football team the best that it can be. We'll spend a good part of this bye week doing that."

    • Before Matt Bryant kicked his game-winning 55-yard field goal, he kicked one that didn't go through and didn't count because the Raiders called timeout just prior to the kick. Smith said he's encouraged Bryant to proceed with his kick in the "icing" situation and Bryant thinks it's a little bit of a help: "Yeah, in my opinion there are more good things that can come out of calling a timeout. I mean if you make the kick, you just conjure up that feeling of repeating that. If you miss then you know how to make adjustments, and that's good for everybody. Whether it be the snap, the hold, or the kick, whatever it may be,, it gives everybody a chance to either correct or reproduce the same thing."

    • In a game full of a lot of ugliness, the Falcons' Asante Samuel made one of the prettiest plays. His fourth quarter interception was returned 79 yards for a touchdown. Following the game he said it's not how the game looks, it's how it's finished that is ultimately important: "It wasn't pretty. It was really ugly, especially the first half. We all recognized that. We started off bad but we bounced back in the second half. That decides a champion; you got to do whatever it takes to win."

    • Sunday wasn't Matt Ryan's best day, but late in the game he was able to shake off all the disappointment and drive the Falcons to another come-from-behind win. It's the third fourth-quarter comeback in a row this season and the 19th game-winning drive of Ryan's career. He's aptly named "Matty Ice" for his calm play late in games and after the game he discussed what it takes to pull off the unexpected: "I think there is a sense of calm among us. Obvously you don't want to be in those situations and you want to play better the first three or four quarters of the game and get it wrapped u p, but that's the nature of the NFL. There's going to be a lot of games that are going to come down to what you do on the last drive of the football game, and we've been in these situations before. I think everybody is comfortable confident and, in a certain way, settled. We know what we need to do and we just go out there and try and do it I think having had the experience we've had, in the past, helps you in those situations."

    • Raiders QB Carson Palmer was the final line of defense against Samuel's interception return for a touchdown. He failed to make the tackle, but his failure to see Samuel lurking as the play unfolded was just as critical. Following the game, Palmer gave Samuel all the credit in simply making a great play: "I didn't think he was going to make the play he did. You have to give him credit, he made a good play, but I can't put us in that position. I need to at least make the tackle. It's a mistake I can't make. It's a mistake I made that costs us the game. It can't happen."

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