Julio's 'Intent was Right'
On Sunday, Julio Jones became the first player in NFL history to record a second 150-yard, two-touchdown game in the postseason. Although he sat out two practices last week due to a toe injury, head coach Dan Quinn was always confident his star wideout would make a significant impact vs. Green Bay.
"I knew he'd play well. I could tell on Friday his intent was right," Quinn said. "The type of competitor that he is – so I thought he played well. I thought he played one of his best games. It's away from the ball that sometimes you don't see. We see him when he catches it, but there's other times where he's away from the ball, the way he's trying to go get his block, the way he's trying to run his route when the ball may go somewhere else when he's double-teamed to his side. I think it's the intent that he brings to the game. Yeah, I was very impressed yesterday."
Defense Showed its Depth
Facing one of the league's best offenses, the Falcons did an admirable job disrupting Aaron Rodgers from start to finish. Ra'Shede Hageman and Tyson Jackson recorded one sack apiece; Dwight Freeney led Atlanta in pressures with six. CB Brian Poole got in the Packers backfield a number of times, as well, and registered a pair of QB hits.
Getting Rodgers off his spot was key: When Atlanta pressured him, he completed nine of 17 throws for 120 yards, zero touchdowns and an interception, according to Pro Football Focus – good for a 51.1 QB rating.
"Just having that versatility, guys who can play defensive end, defensive tackle (is important). And anytime you play good quarterbacks, you better have enough rushers to keep going, keep changing, because you've got to keep attacking," Quinn said. "And I was very pleased for those guys. Defensively overall, the effort, the strain, the communication, they did a very good job."
Making the Super Bowl Not the Reward
After winning the NFC title, Quinn said the Falcons felt "the appropriate amount of excitement" as they celebrated in the Georgia Dome. Atlanta made sure to enjoy the moment, but at the same time, everyone understood the ultimate prize is still up for grabs.
"We know that this game … gives us a chance at the next opportunity, so that's what I wanted our team to feel like. And it did, where the game, going in the Super Bowl is not the reward. It's playing really well and winning. So we're going to have a hell of a challenge and have to battle for it. But they knew, when you win that one, you have a chance and an opportunity that comes next. That's what I hoped I'd feel from our team and I did."