Transcripts: Smith, Ryan Press Conferences

Head coach Mike SmithOpening Statement:

"I think that this game today lived up to the rivalry. This is what this rivalry is all about. I thought that it was a very hard fought game, had to go beyond 60 minutes. I like the way that our defense showed up with the interception in the end zone, and the strip there in overtime. Those were very critical plays. We talk about it all the time, it's the ultimate team sport, football is, and I think it showed up that the Atlanta Falcons are very good football team. That was good team that we faced, in the New Orleans Saints. Remember this, I think we stuck together and relied on each other. There were a number of things that were very well played, and there were some things that we got to get fixed – offense, defense, special teams and coaching. Starting with me, so we'll get those things fixed, and we'll move on to the Cincinnati Bengals."

On Matt Ryan:

"I thought Matt may have played his best game as an Atlanta Falcon. He's played a lot of games for us, and made a lot of plays, but I was really impressed with his ability to extend some plays today, moving in the pocket and actually getting out and running the football. He was able to extend some plays. I thought he was very, very accurate. When you have almost 570 yards of total offense and 448 yards through the air, your quarterback's playing well."

On Jake Matthews' ankle:

"No. I don't have any word. He wasn't able to return the game. That'll be something that over the next couple of days we will be able to update you guys on, probably Wednesday."

On William Moore's statement about making big plays and causing turnovers:

"It was a great strip there. William is such a strong, safety. He attacks the ball well and it was the difference in the game. I can't say enough about our kicker.

On Matt Bryant:

"We talk about Matt (Ryan) and all of the offensive plays that we made, but if that guy doesn't do that there at the end of regulation, and there in the overtime kick the ball from 50+ yards it's going to be a different outcome. It was a great handle by the holder, and a great snap by the snapper. Our guy put it through the pipes and that was difference in the game."

On his decision to kick the ball after the turnover in overtime:

"Our thought was we have a line of demarcation that says we are very confident that if it's a clean snap and a clean hold that we can kick it from a certain yard line, and we were well within that range. We felt like we had the opportunity to try and get some yards, but we were not going to put ourselves in an opportunity where we could've had negative plays."

On using all four running backs:

"I thought it was done very well, in terms of our rotation with our running backs. I think that we've been talking about it all offseason, so I don't think that it should've been a surprise. I'm sure it wasn't a surprise to the New Orleans Saints, but we've got guys that deserve touches that play the running back position. There were some big plays. The Antone Smith play was huge. Devonta (Freeman) had a big first down for us, and again I'm sure there are some plays that don't stand out right now, but we're going to keep rotating our players. That's why I said we don't have 11 starters. We've got 14 or 15 on both sides of the football."

On Jacquizz Rodgers' touchdown:

"What an unbelievable run. Jacquizz bounced off three or four tackles. I think the way that we attacked offensively with the tempo of the game; we wanted to control the tempo. I think it paid dividends for us on the offensive side of the football. It was an unbelievable run; he probably made five people miss on that play."

On his general thoughts on the offensive line:

"We had to switch some guys, and you don't blink. The next guy goes in and he plays. We concerned ourselves with adding depth in both of our lines, and when someone goes down the next one has to step up. We only gave up one sack, if my memory is correct. I didn't think that Matt got too much pressure, and I thought that they did a nice job."

On losing close games last year, and how it feels to win a close season opener:

"Well, it feels great. Let's first make that clear, it feels great. It'll feel great for a few minutes, and then you're going to start running through in your mind, 'ok could've done this, and could've done that.' In this League it's about winning close games. Twenty to twenty-five percent are three points are less, 55-60% depending on what year, are one score or less. We're going to have lots of opportunities to have those types of games. That's what the NFL is all about." 

On the five or six plays that won the game:

"We had some big explosive plays. We had some big plays on defense. The Robert McClain interception was huge. It was a game of five or six plays that determined the outcome."

On the comeback win:

"Those are things that you don't really focus on, but for us to go down the field right before halftime and get the field goal was great operation by our offense. They did an outstanding job. For the next three days, unfortunately, you guys are going to analyze all of it. Have at it. We're on to the Cincinnati Bengals in about an hour and forty-five minutes.

Quarterback Matt RyanEfficiency of the offense:

"The first drive wasn't the way we wanted to start. We had an opportunity on the third down; I just missed a throw to Devin on the shallow cross. We had a chance to convert that third down. After we did that, we got into that second drive. We overcame some penalties, some mistakes that we made, and we were able to make some plays to score points. I thought that was huge. I think the drive before half to get three points, to be able to move the ball down…a great play by Roddy, to catch that pass in one-on-one coverage. Then to be able to back that up coming out of halftime, going down and putting seven points on the board. There was a momentum shift at that point. Certainly, that is what we needed to win this game."

On his stat record tonight:

"It's a great honor. No one has more respect for Steve Bartkowski than I do and what he did for this organization. He's become a great friend since I've been here in Atlanta and a great mentor. I'm very proud to be in good company. It's a really great honor.

On if he is conscious of how many yards he is throwing in a game:

"No, not really. When you are out there playing, you kind of see the situation of the game and you just try to go out there and make the plays you need to make in order to win. Today, I thought, passing-wise we did a great job. Obviously, we got some weapons on the outside and that creates some good matchups for us. One of the biggest things for us that was a positive today, one of the reasons we won the game, our efficiency running the football. We were in 11 personnel and 10 personnel a lot of the game and we were able to spread them out and get good looks for our backs and we stuck to it. Credit to Dirk (Koetter) and Mike Tice and our offensive line. Our offensive line did a really good job."

On leading that rushing attack:

"I added to it, I didn't lead it. I added to it today and was able to make a few plays. Sometimes you have to do that as a quarterback, try to extend plays and make some things happen with your legs. I was able to do that."

How did you feel out there today:

"I felt good out there today. I thought we had a really good plan coming into the game. Dirk and our offensive coaches did a good job of putting together a game plan that put stress on their defense. We have some talented guys on the outside, we took advantage of it. I felt good out there today and I think one of the reasons we are able to put up the kind of numbers we are was because of the play of our offensive line. I thought they did a fantastic job in the pass protection and in the run game all day."

On the division rival: "It's a good start. We've got a long way to go. That's one thing that I have learned in six years previous to this, is it's a long season. You can't get too high and too low after week one. It's certainly a good start for us in the division. It's what we wanted to do. We'll enjoy it tonight but we've got to get back to work. We're going against a very good defense against Cincinnati next week. We'll enjoy it tonight."

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