"That was a hard fought ballgame out there today. I really can't tell you how proud I am of how, not just the 45 guys that dressed out, but the 53 guys on our roster and practice squad that prepared this week to go play a very good football team. It's a resilient group. I've been saying that all season long. I like the way that we hung in there. We didn't get the outcome that we wanted and we fought through some adversity throughout the game. Those guys fought their tails off."
Q. Can you talk about the fourth quarter and the two opportunities you had?
A. "We had an opportunity to possess the ball twice in the fourth quarter. We had the interception where we made a bad read. But I want to say that Chris (Redman) played an outstanding game and we had the interception there. Then we were able to get a stop on a short field. I thought the defense did a nice job. They came out and did what they had to do. On the field goal attempt we were able to win that down. Then, as we got the ball back, I thought we used the clock well. Unfortunately, the fourth down completion did not give us enough yards to keep the drive going."
Q. Can you talk about the play of the defense today?
A. "Well that's a very good offense and I thought the guys fought very, very hard throughout the game. We didn't get as many stops as we would have liked to but this is a team that has moved through some very good defenses all season long."
Q. Can you talk about the decision to not play Matt Ryan and Michael Turner?
A. "Those are decisions that we came to, and I came to, and we talked to the guys. Again, as we go through the process of making those decisions, first and foremost, we're going to make sure that our guys are as healthy as possible and can play efficiently. That was a decision that we made this week."
Q. Was that fourth down play supposed to go to Jason Snelling?
A. "Well, no. You go through the reads. Every play has a progression that the quarterback is going to go through. Unfortunately on that one we ended up short on the completion."
Q. Was that a first option or second option?
A. "I'm not going to talk about what was the first option and what was the second option. Again, we didn't get the yardage on that fourth down play."
Q. On that previous possession with the wildcat formation, what was the thought process behind that?
A. "We had two trick plays that were big plays in the ballgame. Earlier in the ball game was the reverse to (Eric) Weems, the catch on the quick screen wheel route by (Brian) Finneran, and we felt like this was a play that would get us some big yards after the kickoff return. We went into this game with a game plan and we executed the game plan. It was part of our game plan."
Q. What did you see on that Brent Grimes interception with the pass interference?
A. "I saw pass interference, because I saw two flags out there on the field."
Q. Were you surprised about the fake play at the end?
A. "It was surprising. I thought that they would try to go up six but that's a decision that the Saints made over there on their side."
Q. How impressed were you with Michael Jenkins coming back after that dropped touchdown?
A. "Well, with Michael Jenkins, I think that was a big comeback. He had an opportunity to make a play earlier in the ballgame. I told him when he came off the sideline that 'you're going to get another one come your way.' He made the best of that opportunity. It was a great play by Chris (Redman). We caught them in a blitz situation and the protection held up and he completed that ball. It was nice to see Michael get that catch."
Q. You got into the redzone three times. It seemed impossible for you to get into the endzone.
A. "Well it was. There were three scores by both teams in the first half. We kicked field goals, scored two touchdowns and kicked a field goal. I think that really was a big point in the ballgame. That's a very potent offense. When you play an offense like that, you feel pretty good when you hold them to a field goal because they are playing very, very efficiently right now. My hats off to that football team."
Q. Can you talk about your secondary and how they're playing right now?
A. "There was not as many explosive plays in the ballgame today. I thought the young rookie, Christopher Owens, had an explosive play over there on their sideline on a third and four in the first half. He did some really nice things. I thought that Brent (Grimes) held up well. We were without Chris Houston in the ballgame. I felt like we kept it in front of us for the most part."
Quarterback Chris Redman
"I think our team played very well against the New Orleans Saints today. We fought all the way until the end. It was a good game, but we fell just a little bit short."
How did you feel after knowing you would get the start at quarterback?
"We all had confidence in each other. It was a good game and it was evident that everybody gave it their all. We're proud for everybody for hanging in there and we have to give New Orleans credit."
On the throwing the 2nd half interception:
"It was a situation in which the Saints defense was in zone coverage and I tried to make a throw in a small window. They just made a great play and I tip my cap."
On the unsuccessful 4th and 2 play late in the fourth quarter:
"It looked like Jason Snelling was in a good position to get the first down. But again, the Saints made a great play to stop him from getting any yards after contact. The first down was there for the taking, but we came up short on our execution."
On the Michael Jenkins touchdown:
"Our offensive line had good blitz pick protection on that play which enabled me enough time to look down the field to find Michael. Speaking of our offense, I think we all did a heck of a job of executing play after play. Michael, Jason Snelling, and Eric Weems stepped up and played a good ball game. It was good to see those guys stepping up and filling the roles we needed."
What is the overall emotion of the team after the loss?
"We always think we have a chance and we all understand there is a lot to play for. We are going to continue to prepare and play hard throughout these last three games. I think these guys are a special group. We will not stop fighting."
Running Back Jason Snelling
Describe the last play in the fourth quarter and your attempt to reach that first down:
"It was an angle route to get two yards. They (Saints) read the route, and played it very well. I just came up short and couldn't make the play."
Were you aware of your position and your distance to the first down?
"It was a read and I was doubled on the play. I was aware of my position. That play was one of our bread and butter plays on third down. They (Saints) read it well and made a play on the ball."
What are your thoughts on this team's ability to fight back against arguably one of the best teams in the NFL?"I'm not surprised. This team has a lot of resolve. Even in the games where we come up short, we always keep fighting. That is the mentality that we have, and coach (Mike) Smith expects nothing less. Coach Smith takes a lot of pride in coaching, and we rally around that. We kept fighting out there and kept it close but we came up short in the end."
Tight End Tony Gonzalez
Is there such as thing as a moral victory?
"No, not at all. I feel that we had a shot, and we didn't get it done. I can't speak for the whole team but I don't care for moral victories. I've been apart of games like this before, and you can't make the playoff's with moral victories. We had the opportunity to get that score in the end but it just didn't go our way."
Can you tell us about that final fourth down play?
"We ran it a couple times and hit it big in the past but it was one of those things were they (Saints) sat all over it. It's tough but you have to give them credit. They came up with the play when they had to."
I understand that you don't take moral victories but is there something to be said about this team's ability to never quit?
"We're never going to quit. Our ability to never quit is indicative to the style of coaching that coach (Mike) Smith brings to this team. We're playing football. Quitting is unacceptable for this team. If we quit, it wouldn't be fair to our teammates, it wouldn't be fair to the fans, and it wouldn't be fair to me, and it definitely wouldn't be fair to the organization. It is important that we go out there and finish every game. I like that about this team. Now, we just have to get in to the habit of going out there and winning a game. We're really close. I think it's coming,"
Cornerback Brent Grimes
Describe they play where you made the pick (interception) then the call came afterwards.
"I had man coverage on. He ran a go-route. I turned and went for the ball, to try and make a play on the ball. It was a tough play. As a team, we have to fight through stuff like that and just keep playing. We have to try to make the stop."
When you turn and find the ball, and catch it. Do you automatically assume that there is not going to be a call, because you turned on the ball?
"I just turned and made a play on the ball. What you said is how it was. Like I said, we just have to fight through situations like that as a team."
Did the coaches back you up after that?
"I could see everybody arguing the call, or whatever. But there's nothing we can do, it's just a tough situation."
How would you describe your guys play against this high-powered offense?
"As a defense, we are proud of our performance. We just had to make a couple more plays and maybe the outcome would have changed. That's an explosive offense as you have seen all season. We hung with them. It just didn't work out for us in the end."
Defensive End John Abraham
What do you think about the overall defensive effort against the best offense in the league?
"We knew this game was going to be tough and we played them well. In New Orleans, we felt like we had a good chance to win this game. It just came down to the last seconds of the game. We have to give them props, but we felt this is a game we should have won."
When they settled for three as many times as they did today, does that leave you with something going into these last three games, or not?
"Not really, because we really thought we could win this game. It's different if we had no chance to win, and we want to be the kind of team that just plays with people and stays on the field with somebody. That's not how it was at all. We wanted to win this game. Personally, it hurts. I know for everybody it hurts. There's nobody laughing or joking right now. Nobody's happy about it.
Can this team put something back in the tank? The schedule says you still got three, and you still have to show up.
"And we're going to. The team never quits and that showed in this game. We're going to try and do the best we can these last three games. Hopefully we'll get these last three wins. The season's not over with. We don't feel that way at all. We still have three games. We signed up for it, and we're going to play."
Linebacker Curtis Lofton
Do you take some solace that you played well against arguably the best offense in this league?
"You kind of use this as momentum for the next game. We did a lot of things well, but we also did some things poorly. So, you have to get in the film room and just keep burning away."
What do you think you did well?
"We forced them to field goals. We got off the field on third downs a couple of times. The bad things we did, sometimes we just stayed out there too long."
MORE FALCONS-SAINTS GAME COVERAGE:
GAMEDAY LIVE:Falcons-Saints coverage from AtlantaFalcons.com * GAME CENTER:Stats and more on the game from NFL.com * FALCONS FIRST TAKE:Mike Smith, Chris Redman and others talk with Dave Archer * MULTIMEDIA:More video and player interviews from AF.com * GAME RECAP:John Manasso takes a look at the Falcons offense * J. MIKE'S MISSIVES:More thoughts from the AF.com managing editor * THE BEAT BLOG:John Manasso tracks the game quarter-by-quarter * GAME NOTES:Official game notes from the Georgia Dome press box * TRANSCRIPTS:Falcons players talk about Sunday's game | Saints * IMAGES:Exclusive photos from Sunday's Falcons-Saints game * INACTIVES:Game inactives and official starters listed pregame * FORUMS:Talk about the game with other fans on FalconsLIFE