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Transcript: Mike Smith postgame news conference


Falcons head coach Mike Smith spoke about the all-important final drive, Matt Bryant's focus and the blocked punt early in the game during his postgame news conference Sunday.

Opening Statement:

"OK guys, we all know you've got to play through 60 minutes. It's always great to win the battle of wills and that's what that was. It was a battle of our will against their will. We obviously didn't play our best game today. We've a lot of things that we have to correct but I really like the fight and the resolve of our team. It showed on a number of occasions today, to throw that interception and have them running in, going to score to have WR Roddy White run down the field and strip that ball out, was a huge play. It was an effort play. Then to have offensive linemen running 70 yards basically from where the ball was snapped, again I don't know exactly who got it, but from what I've been told it was OL Harvey Dahl who recovered the fumble underneath that pile. That says a lot about what this team is all about. We made lots of mistakes, we've got lots of things that we've got to correct but we're three and one through the first quarter of the season. We will look at the film and move on to Cleveland very, very quickly."

On White and QB Matt Ryan on the last drive:

"Roddy and Ryan were on the same page. I thought he had some good throws. I thought he had a good throw in the fourth quarter there on the sideline with the route and then he had one in the middle of the field as well. You've got to make plays when they are presented to you. I thought that Matt, again this is just another step in his maturation process as a quarterback and it's another step in the process of our team learning what it takes to go out and be successful week in and week out."

On what his thoughts were during the last drive of the game:

"Once we knew that we had the ball back, it was very important for us to try to figure out how we were going to manage the clock based on the plays inside, inbounds, whether we were going to work to come up to the line and kill it or use timeouts. That was probably my thoughts. I was just trying to play mental gymnastics with the numbers in that situation. I knew that we had three timeouts when we got the ball back after the turnover. It gave us a lot of flexibility in what we could call."

On K Matt Bryant kicking a game winner two weeks in a row:

"I don't know what he's got. I know he's got blood in his veins, but I tell you what, he's got the attitude that you've got to have in this league as a kicker. To come and have two games in a row with basically the last play of the ballgame, I know there was a kickoff afterwards but the last play of the ballgame to kick it through the pipes says a lot about his perseverance as a football player."


On the blocked punt for a touchdown:**

"Ninety percent of the time, and I don't know this to be a fact, I'd like for somebody to verify it, but 90 percent of the time in a football game if you get a punt blocked for a touchdown, you're probably not going to win the game. That was something that we were able to overcome. It was a blocking error obviously. The guy came right up the middle. We saw very quickly when we came over to the sideline what had happened, we made the correction, and we moved on. That's what you've got to do in terms of coaching. That's what it's all about. We cannot have punts blocked. We know that, everybody in the stands knows that."

On coming back from getting behind 14-0 early:

"I think it just talks about the resolve of the men in that room. It's about those players. That's what it's about. They have resolve. Whatever the score is they've just got to move on to the next play. That's kind of how we've tried to approach it, just like we approach the season as the next game. We know that there's going to be things that happen in our favor and we know there's things that are going to happen against us. When we have things that happen against us, we've just got to put that play behind us and move on to the next one. I thought we fought back from that 14 point deficit."


On S William Moore starting the game:**

"William started for us this was his third game. We're going to make our evaluations each and every week based on who we feel like gives us the best opportunity. S Erik (Coleman) has fought his tail off to get back, you know he's still not 100 percent. All of our decisions are going to be based on who we feel will give us the best chance to win each and every week. William did a great job. Great play on the interception there in the third quarter. Then Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder and his staff did a great job, we had a blitz there were we got the intentional grounding and pressure on QB Alex Smith. That was a big play for William as well."

On White not being as active as he has been earlier in the game:

"They know that Roddy is our No. 1 receiver. Until I really watch the tape, I know that there were some things that they were doing. Obviously, it was an emphasis point on their defensive staff to try to take 84 away. There at the end of the game, he made the plays that we needed to have him make."

On whether the 49ers looked like a team that came out wanting it more:

"We try to tell our guys each and every week what happened last week or what happened last year has no bearing on what's going to happen today. Everybody in this League gets ready every Sunday, there's 16 opportunities. We don't talk about it, we've got to go out and prepare each and every week. How they prepare that's up to how they prepare, but we've got to go out and do what we need to do."


On LB Stephen Nicholas filling in for injured LB Sean Weatherspoon:**

"He had to play a whole lot of plays. Stephen had not played a number of snaps. Sean was not able to go. We made a decision prior to the game that he wouldn't go. I thought Stephen has started for us in the past. That's a great issue to have to deal with. When you've got guys that go down the next man has to come and step up and do his job. From what I saw on the sideline I thought that Stephen made some plays."

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