The Atlanta Falcons kicked off the regular season in the Georgia Dome against the Philadelphia Eagles in a Monday Night Football matchup. Here are photos from the game.
Coach Dan Quinn**
"What an awesome finish. That's a huge part of what we want to do in terms of the practices and all of the preparation that goes into it, but the finish is a huge part of what we're doing so it was great to have that tonight. Certainly turnover is going to be a big part of it. I think we ended up even tonight, but none bigger than Ricardo Allen at the end of the game to get the tip. It went right back and forth like we thought it would. I was certainly pleased with the offensive line, which ended up with zero sacks and over 100 yards rushing. We give a lot of credit to Philly. We knew they would just battle back. They are really well coached and a really good team, so we knew we would have our hands full at the end. We thought it would come down to the finish, just like it did."
On what he learned about his team today:
"I think the thing we learned the most is that, number one from the competitive side, that there are some terrific competitors here. Julio Jones had two touchdowns and over 100 yards. The way Matt Ryan keeps battling and going for it. From the offensive side, you just have a sense where the competitors are and our best way to feature them. Defensively, I thought in terms of us starting, I like that. I think we need to continue to work on affecting the quarterback. We hit him some but didn't sack him. It certainly going about the ball, so we got two today in terms of turnovers and tackling. That's certainly our area of emphasis for this week."
On the Philadelphia Eagles tempo:
"They've got such a unique style about how they play. They're really committed. That's one of the things I most respect about Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly and their staff. They have a real style about how they play and they don't back off, so we knew we would have our hands full going all the way through the game. They can score in a minute. A couple of times they took it down and we had trouble stopping them on the certain number of plays. We have a lot of respect for them and their style and how they play. You can't necessarily simulate it, but you do have to have your cleats in the grass and be ready to go attack and that's certainly our mindset."
On the final offensive play:
"We had a pass-option alert that was with it. We ended up going with the run, but we had a pass option that went with the play."
On whether or not QB Matt Ryan has the ability to check out of that if he wants:
"Yes, he does."
On the special teams play by Levine Toilolo on the punt:
"There were some huge hits by Matt Bosher for hitting on some long ones. Those guys have been doing that the entire camp, so it's no surprise. They had such a good camp, and they're so well prepared. They came in and executed just like we thought they would do. We knew it would take the whole way offensively and defensively. Play a complete game for us to be at our best, and that's what we took tonight. We knew we were going against a really good team and it took all of us."
On WR Julio Jones coming in and out of the game during the second half:
"We're just going to keep featuring guys. He'll usually be out there on the third downs when the time comes. We'll roll receivers, running backs, defensive linemen. We just want those guys to continue to attack on every play and play at the fastest pace we can, so it's hard to go every play when you're doing that."
On what he appreciated the most about what Jones was able to accomplish tonight:
"I think it's just that he doesn't back down. Any challenge there, he's ready to go. It's one of the things that I most respect about his game. He's one of those kinds of competitors that is ready for it every time. He's the guy that wants it thrown to him and wants to take the last shot. I can't say enough about him as a competitor."
QB Matt Ryan
On the final offensive drive and the decision to run the ball on third and one: "We had a little success with that play going into it. It's one of those things that when it doesn't work out you'd always like to have something else up. Overall tonight, I thought Kyle [Shanahan] called a great game. Obviously you want to convert, but we've got to be better in that situation"
On the play of the offensive line: "I'm really proud of the way those guys played. I thought they did an awesome job."
On managing the flow of the game: "Regardless of what's going on out there, you have to be prepared for it. I thought we started off really well. The interception before the half with William Moore and then us being able to capitalize on that was huge. One area on offense that I've got to be better is you can't turn it over and then you've got to finish when you get opportunities in the red zone. We'll get better and we'll continue to improve, but games shake out the way they do. You have to keep playing."
On Julio Jones: "Julio [Jones] is an awesome player. He shows that basically every time he steps on the field. I thought he had a great night tonight. He pressed vertical a few times and showed his explosiveness there. In the quick game, he was able to catch it and get yards after contact. He's as good as it gets and we're lucky to have him."
On the improved running game:
"I thought our offensive line did a great job tonight and I thought we ran the ball really well. I'm excited about the two young backs that we have. Tevin [Coleman], for his first NFL game, went out there and he didn't hesitate. He played really, really well. I thought when Devonta [Freeman] was in there too, both those guys finished runs tonight. They showcased what they're all about. I think it's one of those things we can continue to get better with, but our offensive line and running backs did a nice job."
On the playcalling:
"We stayed ahead of the chains really well. First and second down was really productive with the run game and the pass. The area we need to improve is third down."
CB Desmond Trufant
On Ricardo Allen's maturation:
"He's grown a lot. He's always working. He went from corner to free safety, and it looks like he has been playing there his whole life. He has a lot of big things ahead of him."
On the defensive energy this season compared to last:
That's definitely coach Quinn; everything he does is about energy. We're always working hard, playing fast, and it showed tonight. We believe in ourselves and know we can do big things, so we can't wait to play each week. We feel like we can win each week."
Biggest difference between last year and this year:
I think just the brotherhood, The team is really close together right now. We really believe in each other and believe in the system, so we're out there battling for each other, and you can see it out there on the field."
S Ricardo Allen
On his game clinching interception:
"They don't want to throw to my corners, so they want to throw it to the middle of the field. Our defensive line was getting a lot of pressure, and when he went to crunch down and tried to catch the ball, it was tipped up and landed in my lap.
Why he went down after the play:
"Two minutes. We go over it everyday. Its one of the things we go over everyday. We preach finish, and we're ready for everything they can throw at us with two minutes. I knew they didn't have many timeouts left, so just get down and give our offense the ball to finish it off for us."
LB Paul Worrilow:
On Eagles running a lot of short underneath routes:
"We expected that coming in, when he's feeling pressure, or cant get the stuff down field that ball is going to come out in front of us, or in the soft spots of the zone. So the emphasis was on tackling, and making them pay when they catch that easy ball down there."