What They Said: Falcons vs. Steelers

Falcons head coach Mike Smith's Week 15 evaluation: "Like all of you that watched the game, we felt like we had lots of chances to have a different outcome. We have to take advantage of the opportunities that we have in all three phases. I think that we normally have been a very good team in the red zone, and we were not able to convert and score touchdowns there. When you do that you put yourself behind the eight ball when you're playing a good football team like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Overall, we didn't play well enough to win the ball game. Consistency throughout is something that we're still striving for as a team. We will move on to New Orleans and get prepared for a very interesting two weeks, not only in the NFC South, and for the people here in Atlanta, but for the people around the NFL."

Smith on making up for Julio Jones' absence: "We had a plan, and we had some opportunities to make some plays in the first half of the game there in the first quarter. We just didn't make them. I think they're very close plays, and you've got to make those close plays."

Falcons QB Matt Ryan on if the team views the next two games as the start of playoffs: "We can't worry about anything other than this week. Sometimes that is playoff-type mentality. We know what's in front of us. We know what we've got to do. We've got to win next week. We've got to have the best week of practice that we've had this year, prepare as best we can, and cut loose when we get down to New Orleans."

Falcons WR Roddy White on becoming the franchise leader in career TDs after Sunday's 4-yard score: "I really didn't think about it. I was focused on the game, trying to get us a win, but when you break records and stuff, you realize what you did after the fact, after the season is over when you go back and look at it. Right now, I'm focused on this playoff push. I want to get into the playoffs and have a chance to make it to the Super Bowl."

White on the team's final two weeks of the regular season: "It's on us. We have 53 guys who have to go out there and execute the game plan and win. Smitty's been giving us motivational speeches week in and week out about what we need to do, and we're not carrying it to the field. We as the 53 players have to figure it out. We don't need coaches to come in here and tell us to do this and give us a motivational speech. We don't need that. We need 53 players to play up to their potential and win the football game."

Falcons WR Harry Douglas on the miscommunication with Matt Ryan on the interception: "It was one of those plays where they played a funky coverage and the guy just jumped the route." 

Falcons WR Devin Hester on the team's mindset for Week 16 against the New Orleans Saints: "It's a must win and a chance to fight and see who will be number one in our division. We're going against a great team this week and like always, we've got to prepare for it and hopefully we'll come out with a W. It's a blessing to be in the situation we're in. We just need to keep playing the game and God will put us in the right position."

Falcons tackle Jake Matthews on the hit against Matt Ryan (that resulted in a roughing the passer penalty): "Honestly, I was very pissed off. As an offensive lineman, we take great pride in protecting the quarterback and never want to see him take a hit like that. We have to make sure to clean up those types of mistakes. That is unacceptable."

Falcons RB Steven Jackson on the team's next two games: "The playoffs start for us right away. We're coming in Monday, correcting the things we didn't do well in the game and getting ready for the New Orleans Saints. It's going to be a tough one on the road, but we'll be ready for it."

Falcons LB Paul Worrilow on the Falcons still controlling their own destiny: "Yeah, that is the situation that we are in. Obviously, a win would have put us in better shape, but it does fall down on us and we have to get a win next week."

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