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Defensive steps up in win over San Francisco



CAUTION TO THE WIND:Even though quarterback Matt Ryan had a career best day in passing yards (329) and Roddy White set personal and Falcon bests for receiving yards with 210, Smith said the coaching staff did not make a philosophical or game-planning decision to open up the passing game.

"No, I don't think so," he said. "Each week we go into a game plan and we have 'X' number of plays we're going to run and have up and we're going to have 'X' number of shots -- when I say shots I mean taking shots down the field. Sometimes the coverage dictates that we're going to be able to take those shots and sometimes it doesn't.

"[Offensive coordinator] Mike Mularkey and his staff did an outstanding job in game-planning. I think Matt read the defenses extremely well and the guys blocked up front and we're able to get the ball vertical. Of course, the 90-yard completion [to White] was about an 8 or 9-yard completion with an 80-yard run by Roddy."

Smith said he thought one factor in the offense's production was field position -- a credit to the defense and special teams. The Falcons' offense started with the ball on the 49ers' side of the 50-yard line four times.

WHAT WENT WRONG:About the only two things that Smith could criticize his team for on Monday were facets of the game for which he did not need to review the video tape.

The Falcons were penalized eight times for 90 yards and fumbled three times, although they recovered two of those fumbles.

Eight of the penalties were called on the Falcons' offense, including three false starts, one personal foul, one unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a few holding calls and illegal blocks.

"Those are things we have to get fixed and we don't like dumb penalties," Smith said. "Aggressive penalties, that's a whole different thing that you have to deal with. We don't like dumb penalties."

As far as the fumbles, Smith saw it as a positive that the Falcons recovered two.

"We had guys running to the football and protecting our ball," he said. "… It's not always just the ball carrier. It's the job of people blocking to stay between them and the guy they're blocking. It's important for us to harp on that."

FUN AT WILLIAMS' EXPENSE:Smith was joking when asked about Brian Williams' interception. In four games, Williams has an interception, a 53-yard fumble return and a blocked punt.

"We would hope he would be able to catch it cleanly and have more than the minus-2-yard return," Smith said, "but Brian is a guy that understands the game."

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