Transcript: Mike Smith Postgame News Conference

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Falcons head coach Mike Smith said he wanted Devonta Freeman to set the tempo with the run game Sunday, and he did with yet another 100-yard game

Opening statement

Our goal each and every week is to come out and get a win and we were able to do that today. We got our eleventh win of the season. I felt we played pretty well in the first half of the game, not as well there in the second half obviously. I thought we were able to create some scores off of turnovers and shorten the field for the offense which was big. We won the game and we've got to quickly move on to Seattle and with that I'll open it up to questions.

On the fast start

It was huge for us. We said we wanted to start fast and finish. I thought we got the first part of it right. We didn't get the second part, but it was a very good start for us to create the turnover. From my vantage point I believe there were a couple of guys that knocked the ball loose on the opening play and we were able to create the turnover and I believe it was three plays later turned it into seven points.

On Michael Turner's big day

I thought it was very workmanlike with Michael in terms of him running the football. I thought we kept taking the run. We wanted to set the tempo. They did some things to load the box and there were some negative yardage plays but all in all I thought Michael ran extremely well and we got a couple of nice blocks out on the perimeter from our wide receivers this week.

On getting pressure on Clausen

It was the best pass rush that we've put on all season. It was great to see Jonathan Abraham for his career go over one hundred sacks, but I thought it was a good plan that Brian VanGorder and his staff put together in terms of trying to pressure the quarterback. We felt like if we could get him into passing situations we could have an opportunity. We liked the match-ups in some of the O-line D-line matchups.

On the play after the Falcons secured a 14-0 lead

We didn't play very well after we jumped up on them. That's something we've got to make sure we take a good, hard look at and address because we started fast but we weren't able to sustain it and do it consistently. We talked all week about being consistent in everything that we do.

On the attack mode in second half

They were doing a nice job in the second half in stopping the run. They were loading up the box and if they're going to load up the box then we're not going to try to bang our head against the wall. We're going to take what they give us and that's really what took place in the second half.

On the game-changing fourth down stop

Yeah it was, it was a nice fourth down stop for us. It changed the field position and allowed us to move the ball down then score.

On the variable to clinch playoff berth tonight

Is there really? We don't concern ourselves with what other teams are doing. We try to concern ourselves about what we're doing and hey, if it happens it happens. The thing we've got to do is make sure we get ourselves ready and get to Seattle as quickly as possible. This will be the third road game we've played and four out of the last five have been on the road and that is a difficult chore. It's something that we have been talking about since we started our journey with the game against St. Louis.

On leaving earlier Friday to allow for time change in Seattle

Yes, we will be leaving Friday. We'll work out at our normal time in Flowery Branch and take a flight and arrive on the West Coast around 11 o'clock and get our guys in bed and have a workout there at the stadium.

On being good on third downs

I think we've done a very good job distributing the ball on third down and you mentioned the different options. The defense is going to dictate where the ball is going to go and Matt (Ryan) has done a very good job in getting the ball to the right guy. He's going through his reads. He's going through his progressions and I think that's why we're one of the top teams in the NFL in third down efficiency.

On putting pressure on the QB

It's very important to us. You've got to affect the quarterback. It doesn't always come in the stat sheet. Today it did. We were able to sack the quarterback five times. It's very important to affect the quarterback, get him off his spot and not let him get comfortable. I thought we were able to do that for the most part today.

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