Head coach Mike SmithInitial comments:
"I think it's fairly obvious that this is not the type of performance that you have to have to win a football game. I thought we got beat in every phase of the game. My hat's off to Cincinnati — they did an outstanding job in game-planning. They beat us in offense, defense, special teams and coaching. We've got to get back to work as quickly as possible. We have a short week with a division game coming up at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so we're not going to get an opportunity to make the corrections that we need to address like we would normally do on a seven-day week, but we've got to get going and get moving on our next game."
What was the problem with stopping the running attack?
"They won the line of scrimmage, and we did not tackle well. They were running downhill, we had a very difficult time tackling No. 25 early in the ballgame, and we have got to improve our rush defense, and we have to improve our total defense. You can't get give up 485 yards week in and week out and expect to win. You've got to get stops, force punts, you've got to be able to change the field position, you've got to get some three-and-outs, and we did not accomplish that today in the ballgame."
On the explosive plays over the middle:
"We did not tackle well, and tackling is not always just about the contact. We took some poor angles, we got out-run, and there were times that you would think that those would not be big plays. We did not pursue well; I don't think we used our teammates in terms of leveraging the ball. As well as we thought we tackled last week, it was not a very good performance this week."
On Robert Alford's play against Mohamed Sanu's TD catch:
"Yeah, there was no middle of the field defender there — that was an all-out blitz. He undercut and didn't win. There was a sequence there where we were very fortunate to be down 10-3 at halftime. There was a sequence there where we got a stop defensively. The second time we come out, we get them in third-and-long, we give up the explosive touchdown, and then we turn right back around and give them the ball back on the turnover on a pass that was tipped in the air. And then we couldn't get the stop. They kept fighting, but it wasn't good enough."
On the Falcons' physicality:
"It's a concern. That's a good football team. They've been to the playoffs the last three years. They've won their division. Experts talk that it is probably the most physical division in all of football when they talk about the AFC North. I think that our pad level has to be better across the board, and we've got to be able to knock the running back back. There were too many yards after contact from standing on the sideline. By the time I get back to Atlanta, I will have a much better idea because I will at least got to see half that game."
On Matt Ryan's protection today:
"I think the protection was not as good as it was in Week One. They've got some guys that can run at you, they did some good things schematically, and it wasn't as well. Obviously, we weren't able to get the ball down the field and create explosive plays. They did a very good job of mixing up their pressures — two deep, three deep. Like I mentioned earlier, there wasn't really anything that you can say we won that in this game."
On Julio Jones being slow to get up in the second to last series:
"He went back in and played. I have not had an opportunity to visit with the trainers, but he did go back in and play. The guys played hard. We just didn't get it done."
Talk about the end of the game penalties:
"You can't be frustrated in this game. This is a game in which you've got cut it loose, but you've to play within the game. We just did not do the things that we needed to do, and that's something that will be addressed. We cannot have positive plays taken back because of personal foul penalties. The game's chippy, whatever, you've got to turn your ears off."
Quarterback Matt Ryan
What are your overall impressions?
"Tough day. We certainly didn't play the way we wanted to. We knew coming in here that they were a good football team with a very good defense, and we felt like when we had the opportunities to make a play, we needed to make them. We didn't do that today. It was a tough loss, but in this league it's about bouncing back. It comes quickly for us this week — we play Thursday. We'll take a quick look at this game and try to make some corrections and move on."
Do you think it's a good thing to have another game so quickly?
"Sometimes after a loss, you like to be able to move on. Maybe it is a good thing we're going Thursday."
On one of the pressure plays, it looked like the defensive lineman was going for your knees. Did you interpret it that way?
"When you're out there playing, you just keep going. There wasn't a penalty and it's not for me to decide."
What was the biggest difference between last week and this week?
"It's hard to pinpoint one thing. We just need to play better and the way that we're capable of. We didn't convert on third downs, and you have to be efficient on first and second down. We didn't play well across the board, but hats off to them. They had a good plan and came out and played really well."
What did you talk about at halftime?
"We were right in the game at the half. We came out and turned the football over three times in the second half. You're not going to win, when you do that. I've got to be better than that, and hopefully we can improve that for next week."
Did you get hit on one of the interceptions?
"I don't know. The ball didn't go where I wanted it to. That's the way it goes sometimes. I felt like we had a good chance on the ball down the middle for Harry (Douglas). I didn't put the ball where I wanted to. You've got to be able to overcome those mistakes, and we weren't able to do it today."
Talk about the offensive line standing up for you when they felt you got hit late by Dunlap:
"It's one of those bang-bang things. It's not for me to decide if the play was legal or illegal. I appreciate the guys having my back, as always. It is what it is — you have to move on"
How will you get off to a quick start versus Tampa Bay, considering the quick turnaround?
"We'll have to look at the film on Tampa. The biggest thing for us right now is getting rest and putting this behind us. We'll get to the facility tomorrow to watch film and find a way to start fast and play better."