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What They Said: Falcons at Saints

Head coach Mike Smith on Sunday's loss to the Saints: "This obviously was a game we had a chance to win, but we made far too many mistakes throughout the game. Even there in the end we had a great chance but we just didn't get the outcome we wanted. With that being said, we know it's just the first game of a new year. It's a long journey and we're anxious to get back to Flowery Branch to get the mistakes corrected and move onto the next ballgame. You've got to do that, so as a team you've got to put this one behind you. Our motto around here has always been 'stop the streak at one' and that will be our mantra all week long."

Smith on improvements needed after Week 1: "Well we have to protect the quarterback a lot better than we did today, but there are a lot of things we have to do better. He (Matt Ryan) was hit entirely too many times today and that's one of the things we have to correct. From the very beginning for any position group they are a unit and not one specific person. It's a unit and they have to grow together as a unit to protect the quarterback better than they did today."

Smith on the play of RB Steven Jackson: "I thought we were able to run the ball effectively at times and there were times when we could've done it better. I think he's a great addition to our offense and I think he shows what he's capable of doing in the scheme that we are running."

Quarterback Matt Ryan on the team's play: "We came down here and I think we handled the environment really well. But we just didn't play overall as well as we'd like to. I think for the most part the differences were real small. They made the plays and we didn't today. We've got to learn from this and improve."

Ryan on the third-down pass at the game's conclusion: "The third down play was just one of those things. Steven (Jackson) ran a great route; I let it go and kind of got bumped around. Even though it was the right call we just didn't make the play and then certainly we didn't make the play on the fourth down."

Steven Jackson on the Saints defense: "They did a good job of mixing personnel up. When opportunities came up they made the plays to keep us off the field and in the end of the day that was the difference."

Jackson on Ryan's third-down incompletion: "When my number is called I expect to make plays. Difficult, easy, whatever; that's the expectation I have for myself. I don't live in a 'what if' world, I expect to make the play. I expect to make the play. I dropped the ball, I dropped the ball. Yeah it wasn't the easiest catch, but I'm not a person who makes excuses. But as we grow together, and as the guys see me play over the next couple of weeks, I will make the tough plays. Football is a game of inches and that's the expectation I have of myself."

Tight end Tony Gonzalez on the interception to end the game: "It was like they were covering me all day, like brackets – a double team. We tried to throw it over the top; somewhere along the backside with Julio (Jones) back there, but give them credit – they made the play. The ball was up in the air and I liked my chances, but we were just a fingertip away. So for that give them credit."

Center Peter Konz on the play of the O-line: "I thought the communication on the field was good today and I thought everybody fought hard and we never gave up. But at the end of the day it comes down to making one play, so we are going to make our corrections."

Defensive tackle Corey Peters on the defense: "We did some good plays out there today and some bad. Being a perfectionist you always want to do better. We've got to cut out the explosive plays they got on us but what we have to do now is get back and look at the tape and definitely fix what we didn't do right out there today."

Cornerback Robert Alford on returning to Louisiana: "This place (Mercedes-Benz Superdome) is real loud and it was very different from college but it was good to see a lot of family and friends out there cheering me on. Even though it was my first game I felt comfortable out there and I am glad I have a game under my belt."

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