Q: Not only last year's game, but growing up, did that mean a lot to you last year winning against Chicago?
A: "Yeah, because I got to go back home. We had a bye week the week after, so I got to go talk some trash in the local barbershops and things like that, but it meant a lot. I have a lot of people back home that root for the Bears and they want to see me succeed also, but it's one of those tough games."
Q: The Bears have a lot of pride don't they?
A: "I know they want to bounce back from last year's loss, but that was last year. Both teams are totally new and different this year. It's going to be a good challenge. We're both 3-1 and its going to be a great game."
Q: What seemed to click last week for you guys?
A: "We just came out with a different attitude. We just wanted to get the job done and have control of what we can do. We had to just do those things correctly and good things can happen like last week. Hopefully we can continue that and ride it on out."
Q: How much is the offensive line responsible for bringing that attitude?
A: "They're the ones who get it started. The line of scrimmage typically controls the tempo of the game. And the one who wins in the trenches typically wins games."
Q: How would you describe their attitude?A: "It was nasty and that's what you need. They had a lot of fire to them and they played great."
Q: The Bears have one heck of a defensive line, talk about those guys.
A: "It's going to be a great matchup, our o-line versus there d-line. They have Tommie Harris upfront and Ogunleye on the outside. It's going to be a tough challenge for us and hopefully we will come out with the win."
Q: Does it matter playing in the Sunday night game?
A: "It is a little bit more intense playing in those primetime games, but that's what makes the games fun. There are going to be a lot of people watching, families are going to be together watching Sunday Night Football,* *and we're the only game that's going to be playing at that time."
Kicker Jason Elam
Q: What stands out about last year's game against the Bears?
A: "It was a pretty special game because I think that it really kick started us and really gave us a real push. It kind of got us on a roll there."
Q: You've been in the game long enough to be on the other side of things. That can be terribly deflating.
A: "Oh yeah I'm sure, we kind of felt like we had given the game away. They're a good team. They went down there and scored on us and it looked like we were just going to give it away. We were able to, fortunately, get back in that one and I know that they probably went home just really deflated and feeling like they gave that one away. So, it is two good teams and it should be a good rematch. We definitely have to be ready for them. Jay Cutler is a phenomenal quarterback and I got to play with him while I was in Denver. He can do some pretty special things. They have a lot of talent, a lot of Pro Bowl guys on that team, so we definitely have our work cut out for us.
Q: That's a rare arm isn't it?
A: Yeah he's extremely strong. I got to play with John Elway out there and he (Cutler) is right up there as far as arm strength, and that's saying something. So, like I said, they've got a lot of talent and hopefully we can put another one together like we did in San Francisco. We have a lot of confidence right now. The guys are playing great and our coaching staff is putting together a great game plan for us. So hopefully we will be ready for it."
Quarterback Matt Ryan
Q: Last week was a huge overall win for the Falcons.
A: "Yeah last week was a big win for us going on the road. We had great field position as an offense by plays from our defense and our special teams. We had good drive start positions and when you have that you have to take advantage. But we're done with that now. Our focus is on to the Chicago Bears, put that game away, learn what you can from it and try to apply it to next week.
Q: You guys are on the other end of the bye week this week. What are the nuances there?
A: "They will be a little bit rested, but I never put too much stock into the bye week and coming off it. I think that everybody shows up week in and week out prepared to play. Teams do a great job in the NFL of getting ready to go regardless of whether or not they're coming of a bye week. We know Chicago is going to come in here ready and fresh and that it's going to be a tough matchup for us."
Q: How important is it to get that quick start that you had last week?
A: "I think that every week we would like to start off fast, but it's not going to be the case when you go against good defenses and Chicago is a good defense. We would love to start off fast, no question about it, but that is going to be a tough thing to do. Our biggest focus is to prepare right now and to do everything we can during the week to get ready to play on Sunday."
Q: Could you replay the last 11 seconds for us last year and get that out of the way?
A: "That was a good play for us last year. We had the squib kick and got it out and then completed the out route with a couple of seconds left and Jason came out and made a field goal. So it was a big win, but that's done, that was last year. This is a different team coming in here this year and we're a different team at this point this year. We know we have a tough team coming in and a tough matchup, we are just doing everything we can to get ready to play."
Q: Did you like that call when it came in?
A: "Last year? Yeah, you have to believe that in those situations that you're going to make the play. I felt like it was a good call and we got it done."
Q: Which was a better throw, that one or the one that you made against Virginia Tech?
A: "They were both good throws. I don't know if you can pick one, but they were both good plays."
Q: How fun is it going to be playing on Sunday night this week, then the primetime game in Dallas and then a Monday night game in New Orleans?A: "I think that it's going to be fun to play on Sunday night. None of us have looked past that game at this point to worry about the rest of the season, but it's our first opportunity as a football team this year to play on a nationally televised Sunday night game so we're excited about that."
Q: Talk about your offensive line and the job they've done this season, particularly last week against San Francisco.
A: "Our line has done a great job. Really for the past two years it has been a lot of the same five guys over the past two years getting the job done week in and week out. They're physical and they do a great job in the run game, specifically last week going against a good front seven. They stepped up, opened up some holes and provided me with some great time in the pocket to be able to throw the ball downfield. And when you do that, when you have an offensive line that can protect and give you some time, we have the weapons on the outside who can take advantage of that. So it really starts up front for us. Those guys kind of set the tempo for what we do as an offense."
Q: Are they a little more physical than maybe they're given credit for?
A: "I think that they are physical and I think teams around the league know that they're physical just from turning on the tape. I don't think that offensive lineman get enough credit for what they do."
Q: The Bears really come hard after the quarterback and you have to be ready for them.
A: "We definitely do. Their front four is one of the better front fours in the NFL. Those guys get great pass rush. There effort in the passing game is impressive to watch on tape but, with that said, our offensive line is going to have our work cut out for us. But I am sure those guys will be up to the challenge and do a great job this week."
Q: Is a measure of pride that the franchise has come to the point where they're scheduled for a Sunday night game when that wasn't the case when you walked in the door here?A: "Yeah I think that it is great to be on the national stage and to have everybody watching. That's where we want to be as a football team, we want to get into these kind of situations throughout the year. I think since Coach Smith has been here he has done a great job of implementing a positive culture and everybody showing up to work, working hard day in and day out. If we do that, if we take care of those little things the big things will take care of themselves and guys have really bought into that."
Tight End Tony Gonzalez
Q: Everyone recognizes the 24-hour rule, but when you do things as well as you guys did last weekend can you build on it?
A: "Yeah you can build on it, of course. Especially after we watched the film, we still left some plays out there on the field that might have been a little bit different. You can't dwell on it, it's just one game. I said right after the game that if we played that game again this week I don't think that the score would've been that lopsided because they're a really good football team. So we just have to get back to the drawing board and get ready for a great football team coming in here this week."
Q: With what Roddy and yourself did last week, that probably gave some defenses a lot to think about doesn't it?
A: "Well that's one of the things that got me really excited when I first got traded -- being able to play with guys who can stretch the field like Roddy and Jenkins. Then, obviously, run the ball effectively in with Turner in the backfield. Then it's going to open up things underneath. So it is kind of like a defense is going to be like who do we want to take away? But, going against a defense like this, Chicago, they definitely have their reputation with the things that they've done in the past. They're a really good defensive football team. They're going to have something special for us coming off that bye week so it's going to be tough for us and hopefully we can get the job done."
Q: Does the national stage on Sunday night mean much to you?
A: "You want to go out there and play well because everybody is watching. You've got your whole family watching. You've got your fifth grade teachers watching you, you've got your P.E. teacher from school watching you. It is one of those things where you want to go out there and put on a good performance. It's going to be fun, it's going to be a lot of fun."
Linebacker Mike Peterson
Q: Talk about what it feels like to be back home.
A: "It feels good to be back home in front of the fans to give them something to cheer about and get excited on Sunday."
Q: How about playing on Sunday Night Football?
A: "We're just trying to give them a good showing. Go out and try to show everybody Falcon football."
Q: Talk about Chicago's offensive players. Matt Forte runs it pretty hard, they like to work the tight ends and they've got a couple of wide receivers in Hester and Knox that have some pretty good speed.A: "They have a real explosive offense. The running back runs hard, the tight end and wide receivers, a lot of explosive guys. We definitely have our work cut out for us but I think we're up for it and we're not backing down."
Q: You put a lot of heat on Shaun Hill, what were the differences in the defense in the New England game and the game in San Francisco?
A: "Basically you've got to give credit to the guys up front. They were getting off the ball and once they were getting off the ball and disrupting it makes the linebackers and secondary's job that much easier."
Q: In your three wins the defense has forced sacks and turnovers. In the one lose you didn't get any sacks and you didn't win the turnover battle. What does that say to you?
A: "It's a known fact that if you cause turnovers and get after the quarterback, the better your chances are to win."