Transcripts: Smith, Ryan Press Conferences

Head coach Mike Smith
Opening statement:

"Felt like, today, we played good football. In all three phases we were able to finish, something we have not been able to do. Defensively, I really felt we [put] a good game plan in place. The coaches did a very nice job. We were able to put pressure on the quarterback. We hit him 11 times, sacked him four times and created some turnovers there in the second half. It was definitely a team win. We stated early in the week that our goal was to be 1-0, and we got that accomplished. We'll get on the plane, get back to Atlanta and go for our next 1-0 week."

On the game-clinching drive:

"I thought there were some outstanding throws and some outstanding catches. I thought we did a good job of protecting our quarterback as well. Playmakers made plays when they were presented to them for the most part. I feel like we can do a little bit better in certain situations."

On being opportunistic:

"You've got to take advantage. When you get a first down, it doesn't really matter how you get it. I thought the guys did a really nice job. I thought that we won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football in the game today."

On the play of running back Steven Jackson:

"I thought Steven came out right from the beginning, and I think you saw how we started the game and what we tried to get accomplished. You've got to win the line of scrimmage in the NFL, and I thought that we did that today."

On the pass rush:

"We had critical plays on the defensive side. Those sacks in the first quarter, you don't remember them. You remember them in the last two or three minutes of a football game. That's when you really want to make the play when you're rushing the passer [and] they're driving down the field, without timeouts, trying to get back in the ball game."

On the interception by safety Dwight Lowery to seal the game:

"He came over and said that he caught it. We couldn't see it from the view that we had, but came over and said he caught it. With the new system in place, the league did a very good job with what they're supposed to do. They were able to overturn the play on the field."

On the team getting settled during the bye:

"For the players, I'm glad that we had the week to get them healthy. For the coaches and people in the building, I think, we wanted to get back and play as quickly as possible. I thought we did a very good job in our preparation, and we've committed to these guys and to doing everything in our power to put them in the best position to play. These guys just need to go out and make their plays, and we did that today and got the outcome that we wanted."

On getting caught up in the media:

"It's not a problem at all. This is a big-boy's business. You're judged on wins and losses, and we've got half of a season to play. I can assure you we're doing everything in our power each and every week to go 1-0."

On the matchup with Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans:

"I think he had some big catches in the game, and he is a tough matchup. I think he's probably one of the most improved players in terms of watching him from week three to this week. He's a very physical player, and he's going to create a lot matchup issues for lots of defenders."

On being defensively consistent:

"We have been playing, even though the numbers may not dictate it, a little bit better over the last five or six weeks on defense. I think it really showed today. The guys were able to make plays when they were presented. We put pressure on the quarterback, and we were able to sack the quarterback. We were able to create some interceptions and when we do that, you're going to like what's happening not only to the defense but your whole entire football team."

Quarterback Matt RyanOn the game:

"Obviously, you know, in the fourth quarter, we go down by one, but the response drive – the going out there, running the football effectively, throwing the football effectively and then ultimately being opportunistic and being able to punch that in and then get the two-point conversion on top of that, I think those are the drives you have to make in order to win football games and I think it was a good step for us in the right direction."

On wide receiver Harry Douglas' two-point conversion reception:

"It was a strong catch. When you're in the tight red zone and you have a two-point conversion play, it's going to be tight coverage. We knew that going in. We had a little deal that we have going all the time and tried to put it in a spot where he could make a strong catch, and Harry did it."

On the run game:

"I thought we ran the football really effectively today, I thought our offensive line did a nice job and I thought Steven Jackson played extremely physically. He went out there, running between the tackles and did a great job for us. Hats off to him, I thought he played really well, and hats off to our offensive line."

On capitalizing on opponent penalties:

"That's part of the game. When you get a call that goes in your favor, you have to capitalize on that, specifically in the red zone. I think we were two-of-four down in the red zone today. That was big for us to be able to punch it in and get a touchdown after we got the penalty – I think it was hands to the face or something like that – the defensive penalty. That was huge for us."

On playing coming off of a bye week:

"Sometimes after a tough loss like we had in London, you'd like to be right back at it out on the practice field, trying to correct the mistakes that you made, but I thought it came at a good time for everybody. Maybe get away for a little bit, refresh, recharge the batteries, and I thought everybody came in with a really good mindset after the week off. I thought we one of our better practices of the year on Monday with an extra day of practice. That was kind of the mindset all week. I think it came at a good time and I think we handled it the right way."

On his feelings after the game:

"Joy. It had been too long since we'd won a game. It's always better when you come out on the right end. So we'll enjoy it tonight, but we also know with the way the division is shaking out, we're right in the mix. We've got a long road in front of us – seven games to go – but we've got to try to knock them off one at a time."

On the NFC South:

"We know where we stand and what's in front of us. We still have three division games and four other games and a lot of things can happen during that timeframe. We can't worry about all the other stuff that's going on. We have to try to focus on ourselves and try to be 1-0 next week."

On Atlanta's offensive line:

"I thought our offensive line did a great job today. Hats off to those guys. Having some continuity week-to-week, I think, was really good for those guys. I think James Stone, at center, it's such an important position for us in terms of getting those guys on the same page. I think he's doing a tremenouds job. And Ryan Schraeder coming in at right tackle. I think the five of those guys being able to play a couple weeks back-to-back and having some time during the bye week to work together, I think that's very good for us moving forward."

On where this win positions Atlanta:

"Every win you can get is big. And certainly with the way the divison has played out so far this year, it keeps us right in the mix. We've got to keep the same mindset going forward, try to knock these wins out one at a time and hopefully at the end of the year we'll have enough to keep playing."

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