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Quotable: Falcons vs. Jets


Head Coach Mike Smith

Opening Statement:
"Good afternoon guys. That was a fun football game. We talked all week about it being a physical football game and I thought it was that. We played a very good football team, a physical football team, but we came out on top there in the end. We fought and had to scratch to do it, but we got the job done. I felt like our defense played a very good game today to create the three interceptions and two sacks. It was a hard fought football game against two really good football teams."

Q: On the decision to go with QB Matt Ryan.
A: "The decision to play Matt (Ryan) was a decision we made right, prior to the football game. Matt got some limited work during the week and we said we were going to play the guys that give us the best opportunity to win the football game, so we decided to go with Matt and Michael Turner. Those two guys had been out and missed some time with us. Unfortunately, Michael (Turner) did not get out of his first carry and took a shot to his ankle. I thought Matt came in and operated the offense against a really good defense and took the ball down the field on that last drive and made a big-time throw to Tony Gonzalez. He read the coverage, saw what they were in and he delivered the ball where it was supposed to go."

Q: On stopping Thomas Jones and the Jets' running game.
A: "The key for us, and we said it all week, was that this was going to be a physical football game. It was going to be a two chin-strap game and we knew that coming in here and we had to fit the run and it was an attitude. I thought our attitude and preparation all week was good and we fit the run extremely well. This is the number one rushing offense in the NFL and in this kind of weather it tends to go towards the rushing offense, but I thought our guys did a great job containing the run. They fit it up extremely well."

Q: On his team's ability to hang around and keep things close.
A: "We knew it was going to be that type of game. We had to keep scratching around. The offensive staff had to work the entire ballgame to try to figure out how we were going to be able to move the ball and we just kept scratching around and we finally got to make some plays (in the end)."

Q: On the team's mood entering the game knowing it had been eliminated from playoff contention.
A: "Guys, I never even mentioned it to this football team. It had no bearing on who was going to play today or what we were going to do. The first time I mentioned it to them was after the game today. They are aware of it, but it's our job to go out and play the game of football and have fun and when I say have fun that means we're playing the game the way it's supposed to be played, and that's what this team did today."

Q: On whether he noticed anything different in the Jets' defensive schemes that allowed his team move the ball down the field.A: "No, I think we made some plays. It was a nice completion there to Jerious (Norwood) and a big-time run on Jason Snelling on that drive. We just kept scratching and like I said, we found some things that we thought could work and the big run on Jason (Snelling), I thought was a big-time play. We felt like we had a chance on that play and we did."

Q: On what defense he thought the Jets were in on the go-ahead touchdown.
A: "You'll have to ask Rex (Ryan) about that."

Q: On whether TE Tony Gonzalez was the primary receiver on the touchdown.
A: "He was most definitely our primary receiver."

Q: On whether wind was a factor today.
A: "The wind was a big-time factor today. If you weren't standing there on the field, you didn't know how that wind was blowing. Balls are going in certain directions. They are getting knocked down on certain sides of the field and then when you're going with the wind it also affects it. It was a vicious wind and if you're not familiar with it, you're going to have some throws that are errant."

Q: On whether he thought QB Matt Ryan's timing was affected by the time off.
A: "He was definitely rusty because he has not participated and you would think that his level of play wouldn't be up to it, but I thought Matt (Ryan) did a very good job coming in. He had very limited snaps during the week, on Thursday and Friday, but I thought he did a good job against an outstanding, and I repeat, outstanding defense. That's the number one defense in the National Football League and after seeing them live and in person, they're a good defense."

Q: On CB Brent Grimes' play, specifically his two interceptions.
A: "He had two really big interceptions. Brent's (Grimes) play throughout the season has been fairly steady and it was nice to see him get the opportunity to make some game-changing plays and I thought both of those plays he made were game-changing. There was the one in the first quarter and then the one to seal the game at the end."

Q: On what defense he thought the Jets were in during the go-ahead touchdown and what he thought Matt Ryan saw.
A: "Again, I'm not going to talk about (Rex Ryan's) strategy. Now, just in terms of Matt, he read the coverage and the coverage dictated he was to go to number 88 (Tony Gonzalez). He went to 88 and 88 was able to make sure that he finished his route in the end zone and it was a touchdown."

Q: On the offensive line's performance.
A: "We have to feel very good about it. We were short-handed. We've had some guys that were banged up and didn't practice and again, that is a team that prides itself on putting pressure on the quarterback. It was a big challenge for our offensive line, but I thought they kept our quarterback very, very clean the entire game. I'm not sure how many times he (Matt Ryan) was pressured or hit, but I do know that there were no sacks given up. Schematically, we had a very good scheme in place to keep our quarterback clean."

Quarterback Matt Ryan

Opening statement:
"Our offense has done a great job all year. We were able to make some plays on that last drive to come away with a win, so I'm excited for everybody in the locker room. Everybody enjoyed it, and with that, I'll open it up to questions."

Q: On the thoughts in the huddle before the game-winning drive.
A: "Just continue to do your job. Not much needs to be said. We've got a lot of veteran guys, a lot of experienced players. Really good, talented players that know that we can take that ball down the field at any minute. We just needed to make the plays that we hadn't been making earlier in the game. I thought one of the clutch plays was when Roddy (White) converted across the field. He made a great catch. Adjusting to the ball in the wind is not an easy thing to do and he did a great job on that one. It kept the drive going and we got the 15 yards on top of that from a personal foul, so a play like that was a big play. Everybody was confident. We felt like we were close throughout most of the game, but we were able to make the plays when we really needed them."

Q: On if he was able to stay patient because they were able to hang around.
A: "I think so. Our defense was playing so well today that it could keep us patient and calm on offense. We felt like the entire game we were within one score. Then when we blocked the field goal, that was a great special teams play. We blocked the field goal, we needed seven points, and we felt like we could win. We had plenty of time, went down, stayed patient throughout the first three quarters and on that last drive we were able to make some plays when we needed them."

Q: On what he saw on the game-winning touchdown play.
A: "It was a great call from Mike Mularkey upstairs. We had motion come across and nobody went with the motion. We figured we were probably going to get some kind of zone coverage and ended up getting the coverage we thought we would get. There's no better runner of that route in this league than Tony Gonzalez. He ran a perfect route and was in the right spot – the split in the zone – and I threw the ball high and away and he brought it down. That's what he does in those kinds of situations. He seems to step up and make plays. The beauty of the play call would have been that if they squeezed it, we had Roddy (White) coming across the back line. When you have two of your biggest threats highing and lowing some defenders, it's a good play call, so it worked out well."

Q: On having Tony Gonzalez on the team.A: "Without a doubt, he's made a huge difference for us the entire year. In the red zone, on first and second down, third down, he's been a great player. There's no getting around it and it's been a lot of fun to play with him this year. My only complaint is that he's not 10 years younger so we could play 10 or 15 years together."

Q: On when he knew for sure he was going to play.
A: "I felt good about it all week, but things change day to day. I felt like I did everything I could to get ready and then Smitty (Coach Mike Smith) told me before the game I was going to go, so really it was a game-time deal."

Q: On if he felt any rust after missing a couple of games.
A: "Not too bad. I think there were some throws that I would have liked to have made better, no question about it, but that's every game. My rhythm felt good, my timing felt good. Considering everything we played in today – there was some wind out there – I felt like we did a nice job in the passing game. We had no turnovers, which anytime you play in these types of situations, in these kinds of conditions, it's going to be important, and I thought we did a great job with that."

Q: On how pumped up he was before the game.
A: "Yeah, it's tough when you're out for a couple of weeks. There's nothing like playing a game and I was excited to be able to get back today. I love playing this game and I had fun with it."

Q: On how his injured toe feels.A: "It feels good. After the win, it feels good."

Q: On how Tony Gonzalez was so open on the game winning play.
A: "I think it's good design of the play by Mike Mularkey, understanding what they do in those types of situations. But then again, it's hard to describe how good he (Gonzalez) is at getting open in tight situations. He runs routes so well that people don't get a good read on what he's going to do. He's a great player and great players make pretty good plays."

Q: On having contributions from many different players on the game-winning drive.
A: "That's our offense at its best, when everybody's getting a touch, everybody's doing some different things, and guys did step up in that drive and make some different plays. Jason Snelling made some big plays the entire day. He's been doing it all year, coming in in different situations and running the ball hard. He's so good at pass protecting, something that often gets overlooked, but Snell's done a great job for us. Everybody stepped up and made some contributions on that last drive."

Q: On the offensive line.
A: "It was another great performance by our offensive line. That's a good defense too. That's a very good defense to go against and our offensive line did a great job of protecting the entire day. Running backs in protection did a good job. Anytime you have no turnovers and no sacks, it gives you a pretty good chance on offense."

Q: On what he would call the coverage the Jets defense was in on the game-winning play.
A: "In those types of situations, it's touch to I.D. It was a basic kind of zone coverage. We call it like a red-two or red-eight, somewhere around there. That would be our idea of the coverage, but again, it was just a basic zone coverage."

Tight End Tony Gonzalez

Q: On the team's effort after being eliminated from the playoffs.A: "Anytime we step on the field, we are supposed to play hard. It's what we get paid to do and what we love to do. Also, coach (Mike) Smith said that 'Everyone thinks you are going to lie down because you have nothing to play for but as a man show some pride. You owe it to the fans and the organization to play (hard).' And that's what we did today. It was a heavyweight fight. They gave us all we can handle, and we gave it back to them. Luckily, we came out on top."

Q: On the game winning touchdown.A: "It looked like they went zone. Throughout the game, I was getting jammed all the way down the field. They did a really good job of taking me out on that final drive. On the last play I said to myself 'Oh my God, I think they are going zone here.' And I thought I might have a shot to get open. Sure enough they went zone, I did a turnout and Matt (Ryan) put it right on the money."

Q: On if he was surprised by the play call.
A: "No that's one of the plays we usually go to. We have a bunch of them. I think they were anticipating a slant because that's what we won the game on against Tampa Bay."

Q: On the Jets defense.
A: "I give them a lot of credit, they were stopping us every single time. It was tough to move the ball against them."

Q: On the Jets defensive play call on the touchdown.
A: "I think they went with something they are comfortable with. I wasn't surprised by the call, I was happy because I knew it gave me a chance to work my route. I was just glad it worked out. It was just a good win by all of us."

Q: On being patient in the game.
A: "It's always about being patient. It's the National Football League. You are going to go against really good football teams. They are the number one defense in the league for a reason. I was impressed, they have some really good football players on their team. The game could have gone the other way. On third down (Darrelle Revis) had a chance to intercept the ball, but that's the way it goes in the NFL."

Q: On the Jets using different defenders against him.
A: "I expect that. On third downs, that's when they were jamming me and had coverage over the top. That's why you have to give Roddy White a lot of credit. He came up with a big play for us, especially after they contained us most of the game."

Wide Receiver Roddy White

Q: On Darrelle Revis's play.
A: "He did a pretty good job. He's always around you. He's like a nat. He never gets away from you and he never does bad things like sitting on routes or guessing. He's obviously doing a good job watching film. He just needs to continue doing what he's does doing and he's going to be a good player in this league for years to come."

Q: On the wind.
A: "It seemed like every time Matt (Ryan) threw the ball it wasn't going where he wanted it to. So we couldn't really open up and throw the ball like we wanted. Anything over 10 to 15 yards was going to go towards the sidelines. We did a good job running it and when we needed plays we made them. On the last drive we just wanted to continue to attack the middle of the field and keep the chains moving. They (the Jets) did a good job covering the flats. It was a good job by Matt Ryan controlling the game and hitting the spots he needed to with the ball and we wound up scoring on fourth down."

Q: On the Jets play.A: "They were blitzing a lot. Any time a team does that they leave gaps wide open and Matt did a good job finding who was open."


GAMEDAY LIVE:Complete Falcons-Jets coverage from * GAME CENTER:Stats and more on the game from * MULTIMEDIA:Game highlights, interviews and more * FIRST TAKE:Matt Ryan, Coach Smith and others chat exclusively with Dave Archer * GAME NOTES:Official game notes kept in The Meadowlands press box * THE BEAT BLOG:John Manasso tracks the game quarter by quarter * J. MIKE'S MISSIVES:Additional thoughts on the game from the editor * FORUMS:Talk about the game with other fans on FalconsLIFE * IMAGES:Photos of the Falcons-Jets game from The Meadowlands

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