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Transcript: Mike Smith Monday News Conference

Opening statement:

"The game yesterday obviously we didn't play up to our standards in any phase. We finished watching the tape, and we need to get these corrections completed and move on to get ready for the New York Giants."

On the first steps of moving on from a game like this:

"The first thing you have to do is make the corrections from the tape of the game yesterday. Believe me, there were plenty of them in all three phases. You make those corrections, and then you have to start to prepare for the New York Giants and start game planning for them. It's a simple process that you go through. When you get the outcome you want with a win it's basically the same thing. We're not going to change that. We just did not play good football yesterday."

On having a letdown after the Saints game:

"We weren't the type of team we wanted to be. That's for sure. We were very flat when we came out, especially there in the first half. We couldn't convert our third downs, and we couldn't get off the field defensively on third down. Through their first two drives they had run 27 plays and we had only run five or six. You kind of get behind the eight ball when you can't get off the field on third down. We've got to be much better on both sides of the ball on third down."

On the issues on third downs being reoccurring issues or game-specific issues:

"I think they were game specific. Teams are trying to defend you differently the last two weeks. Again, it's such a fine line on third down. It's a fine line on winning and losing the game in the NFL. It's a fine line and we did not execute physically sometimes. We have a third and five and we run a four yard route. It's a completion but it's a punt. Then there are some mental things in terms of producing what you need to do on third down."

On being the most flat in a game since you have been here:

"We didn't play well. I don't want to categorize and rank them. When you don't win, you usually don't play well. We didn't start off the game like we needed to in all three phases. That was a big factor. Then we couldn't get off the field on third down and when you can't get off the field on third down you're going to expose yourself to offensive snaps. That's a very explosive team. All three of their touchdowns came off of explosive plays. The first one, the 24-yard completion, then the 72-yard run, and then we also had the 40-plus yard completion on the screen pass. Three of their touchdowns that they scored were off explosive plays. As we have been talking about all season, you have to limit the explosive plays."

On worrying about the prolonged ruts that are happening on offense:

"Anytime you're not efficient you're concerned and it's not just the offense. It's the offense, defense, and special teams. You've got to be concerned about it when you're not playing up to your abilities, and I don't think we played up to our abilities yesterday in any phase, not just the offense."

On the defense against the Panthers:

"Defensively, we didn't do a whole lot of good things in the ballgame yesterday. Probably the most significant thing that we did was we were three for three when they got the ball in the red zone. When they got the ball down in the red zone we played some good red zone defense, but when you give up three explosive touchdowns, there is your 30 points. 30 points is way too much to give up."

On WR Julio Jones being targeted 11 times and only having five catches:

"We look at it, of course. I think that there are factors involved in how many times guys are going to be targeted. There are factors involved in how many times there are going to be completions. We look at all those. The thing that happened for us yesterday is that we weren't able to slow them down. We weren't able to get a whole lot of snaps. We didn't get to rush the ball as many times as we would like."

On the review of the two-point conversion play:

"I saw the same thing that I saw yesterday and that's why we challenged it obviously. It was not a completion because the official called it an incomplete pass. We'll leave it at that."

On the Panthers doing something yesterday that surprised them:

"Absolutely not. There was nothing in terms of scheme. They were the better team yesterday. When you win the football game, you're the better team that day and they were the better team. I think that they played a very intense, physical football game and got the win. My hat's off to them. They were the better team yesterday. There's really not a whole lot more you can say about it than that."

On the message to the team after the game and going forward:

"The message is real simple. We didn't play our best. We didn't play up to our capabilities and up to our standards. We've got to get back in here and to the office to get the corrections and come out here on Wednesday and prepare for the New York Giants. They're playing very good football right now. The last two weeks they've played outstanding football and it's going to be a big challenge. They're right in the middle of the playoff hunt. There is one spot that's been basically determined in the NFC and there are five that are yet to be determined. I think over the next three weeks there are going to be a lot of things that are going to take place in terms of who's going to be seeded where and who's going to get in the tournament. That's what makes the final quarter so interesting."

On the importance of the game next week:

"It's very important. There are a lot of things that are going to happen over the next four weeks that affect the Atlanta Falcons and affect probably eight or nine other teams in the League. That's what makes it fun. We've got to go out, first and foremost, and play our best football here in the fourth quarter. We said that last week leading into it that was our goal to come out in the fourth quarter and play our best football of the year. Obviously, through the first game of the fourth quarter we did not do that. We didn't get that accomplished yesterday."

On CB Asante Samuel dressing but not playing yesterday:

"Asante was active in the game yesterday on the 46-man roster, but he was only going to be used in an emergency situation. We determined that if we had to play him because we lost players and were down in DB's he would've gone in and played. We did not want to go into the game on our 46-man roster and only have seven DB's dressed. It was only going to be in an emergency situation. We felt like it was in our best interest for that game and the games going forward that Asante not play in the ballgame. S William Moore was inactive. We felt like he was not ready to go in the ballgame. Asante I think will be practicing on Wednesday, and we'll make a determination on William to see how he runs with the trainers tomorrow."

On the team's getting hot now go on and have success in the playoffs:

"In recent history, the last two years, the teams that have won the Super Bowl were teams that got hot at the end of the season and that carried over into the postseason. I really can't speak too much beyond the last two years in terms of that. I would imagine it's the case. The team's playing their best football at the end of the season are usually the teams that get to where they want to be in the last ballgame."

On the new stadium:

"I don't concern myself with the stadium. That's so far down the road I'm looking at the New York Giants on Sunday. I know that that's something that's way down the timeline."

On it helping prepare for the Giants when the Panthers do some similar things on defense:

"That was a good front four that we faced yesterday. They have a very similar style in terms of defense, so for our offense, yes, it will help us. On the flip side of it, it's two completely different types of offenses that we'll be facing. That's a very unique offense that we faced yesterday, and we didn't do a good job of slowing it down."

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