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Transcript: Mike Smith postgame news conference


Falcons head coach Mike Smith was again impressed with the play of wide receiver Roddy White after White finished with the second-most receiving yards in a game Sunday

Opening Statement:

"I know it's a cliché, but you've got to play the game for 60 minutes and when you do that you're going to get an opportunity to get the outcome that you want. I felt like we started fast and were in control of the ballgame the first, second, and fourth quarters. The third quarter was a little bit Halloween-ish in terms of it wasn't a treat, it was a trick. I thought that our guys played extremely hard for the entire ballgame. They never put their heads down. They showed a lot of resiliency in terms of the adversity that took place there in the third quarter. You can't give up an explosive touchdown on a third down and 10 situation. You can't have the ball stripped and run back for a touchdown. The momentum definitely changed and I think that we fought back and got the momentum back in our favor there in the fourth quarter. We're five and two here at the break, we all would like to have a 7-0 record, anybody that's going into their break this week. But we've been able to fight, scratch and get five wins. We look forward to taking some time off, evaluating our team on a number of levels, and get some guys healthy to start the second half of the season."

On the play of WR Roddy White:

"You saw Roddy made some spectacular catches there, the one handed (catch) on the sideline early in the game. Wonderful play on the two-point conversation. Roddy probably to this point has been our best player on our football team through our first seven games. I don't think there is any doubt about that. He came into this season in the best shape he's ever been. He's working hard and you are seeing the results of that hard work during the offseason out there on the field. "

On how Roddy came back scored a touchdown and conversion after having the ball stripped:

"I think it talks about his resiliency and his ability to overcome an adverse situation. He was just fighting for extra yards. It was a very good play by their defensive back to strip the ball. You give them the credit. He was able to put that one behind him. That's one thing, when you're a receiver or a quarterback or a player that's out front all the time, you've got to be able to put those good plays and bad plays behind you and move on to the next one. Roddy has been able to do that."

On whether he saw the defense playing different due to last week's helmet-to-helmet hit issues:

"No I didn't, in terms of helmet-to-helmet contact you're basically talking about a defenseless player and there are five categories of a defenseless player. I thought it was a hard fought game. Bengals head coach Marvin (Lewis) and his staff did a good job in their preparation. I didn't feel any difference. It was very aggressive football by both teams out there today."

On falling behind in the third quarter after having the lead at halftime:

"There wasn't a concern because it's something that has never happened to us in terms of our football team. As I said, I think it's a learning lesson. It's a lesson for us as a team to find out how we can overcome those situations because believe me, when you're up 21 to three at halftime and then you go down 25-24 when you start the fourth quarter, it says a lot about our guys. I don't believe that they were over confident one bit. They know it's a 60 minute game and they were able to make some plays there in the third quarter. They won the third quarter, we won the other three."

On whether S Thomas DeCoud's hit was helmet-to-helmet and whether that is just part of the game:

"There's no doubt about that. Again, when you're a runner and that means that you've caught the ball and have taken two steps now you're a runner and there is no rule concerning helmet-to-helmet contact. Helmet-to-helmet contact is only on a defenseless player."

On the importance of players performing well when filling in for injured players:

"When a guy is down, the next guy has to step up. That's something that I think this team has done, not only today but for the three years that we've been here as a staff. They understand that every man, at some point in time is going to be needed that's on our 53-man roster. Of course you always want to have your best players out there, but when you get into week five, six, seven, eight and beyond injuries are going to be a factor and other guys that are playing in backup roles are going to have to step up. I thought the guys that had the opportunity to do it this week did it."

On S Thomas DeCoud's injury:

"They would not allow Thomas to come back in the ballgame. Again, I don't know how, I know it was a head injury. I don't know what they're calling it right now. Both he and FB Ovie Mughelli were out after their injuries. I have not met with the trainers yet. I know that both of those guys at halftime were ruled out of the football game."

On RB Jason Snelling stepping into the fullback role when Ovie went out:

"It's something that Jason has had to do in the three years that we've been here and he continues to do it effectively. He had to line up and play fullback in our personnel groupings that normally Ovie would be manning. It again speaks to the ability for him to play a number of positions. Jason is a guy that can fullback, tailback, and I believe he knows our offense well enough that in a pinch he could go out and play some of the other positions as well."

On whether the Bengals are have the most talented receiver core that we have faced:

"That's a very talented group. Both of those wide outs that were out there today are guys that have had great careers. We knew that it was going to be a challenge for us. We knew that they were going to make their plays. Our biggest thing was that we wanted to try to keep the ball with those two guys in front of us and not let them throw it over our head. I think we had mixed results in that regard today."

On the play of the offense:

"I thought that the offensive line kept the pocket clean and that's very important to be successful in throwing the football you've got to keep that pocket clean. It's not necessarily giving up sacks, it's keeping the pocket clean where the quarterback can step up and go through this progressions. I thought that they did a good job. Again, the run blocking by the offensive line was effective. We got RB Michael (Turner) going with I think over 120 yards rushing today. That's what we want to be able to do. We want to be able to run the ball and throw the ball. I think QB Matt (Ryan) was right at 300-yards passing thereabouts and when you run the ball for 120 yards with your number one back. Then Roddy, 11 catches 201 yards, that's a wonderful game for Roddy as an individual. I think that the group as a whole was able to be very, very resilient. I know I've said that a number of times but I'm really proud of the way that those guys fight through the things that are presented to them."

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