NEW YORK – Cornerback Brent Grimes snuggled Mark Sanchez’ third interception as he went down to the turf.
It was his second of the game and he now leads the team with four.
“I just read the receiver and made a break on the ball,” said Grimes after the 10-7 victory over the New York Jets.
Grimes was playing right cornerback for Chris Houston. He’s been in out of the lineup this season.
He opened the season playing outside in the nickel package after Brian Williams was acquired. When Williams went down, Grimes started there fulltime before the team started shuffling him, Tye Hill and eventually rookie Christopher Owens.
Grimes got a chance to get back on the field after Houston pulled his hamstring.
He’s had a tough year, but appears to be finishing it strong.
“Two real big interceptions, Brent’s play all through the season has been fairly steady,” said Falcons head coach Mike Smith. “It was nice to see him get the opportunity to make some game-changing plays. I thought that both of those plays that he made were game-changing.”
It was Owens who got beat by Cleveland Browns castoff Braylon Edwards on the 65-yard touchdown.
Grimes didn’t want to have a let down just because the Falcons were eliminated from the playoffs.
“That always hurts, but you have to go out and compete,” Grimes said. “We went out and played the game and
competed even though we heard some news that nobody wanted to hear.”
CHIN STRAPS WERE NECESSARY: The Falcons didn’t like Jets coach Rex Ryan telling them they’d better button up their chin straps because it was going to be a physical game.
“I heard about it last night,” right tackle Tyson Clabo said. “I hadn’t heard about it before that, but that’s just talk and that’s not what we are about.
“We are not about running our mouths and doing all of that. We just show up and play.”
Clabo didn’t like the comment, but conceded that Ryan was correct.
“I’ll give their defense credit, it was a physical game,” Clabo said. “There was a lot of hitting going on. A lot of jawing. They came ready to play defensively. He was right. We needed to bring our chin strap and I think we brought them. We didn’t back down.”
GAME TIME DECISION, FOR REAL: More than two hours before kickoff, Matt Ryan was dropping back and rolling out under the watchful eyes of Smith, general manager Thomas Dimitroff and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.
After that workout, the Falcons made the decision to play Ryan over Chris Redman despite the fact that Redman had received most of the work during practice last week.
“The decision to play Matt was a decision that we made right prior to the football game,” Smith said. “Matt had got some limited work during the week. We said we are going to play the guys that give us the best opportunity to win the football game. We decided to go with Matt and Michael Turner.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We kept scratching around and finally made some plays,” Smith said of the Falcons game winning touchdown drive.
PICKING UP THE BLITZ: Ryan got his cage rattled a few times by the blitz-happy Jets, but was not sacked.
“I feel very good about that,” Smith said. “We were short handed. Some guys were banged up and didn’t practice. That was a team that prides itself on putting pressure on the quarterback. It was a big challenge for our offensive line, but I thought they kept our quarterback very clean. . . .Schematically, we had a very good scheme in place to keep our quarterback clean.”
DAVIS ON THE BLOCKED FIELD GOAL: Chauncey Davis‘ blocked field goal was a key play in the game to set up the winning drive.
“We are taught to get off the ball, take three steps and get your hands up,” Davis said. “We got that good push and I got my hands up. It was just in the way of the line of the ball.”