The aftermath: Coach Smith breaks down the 34-18 win

Mike Turner Seattle

The Falcons' Michael Turner (center) rushes against Seattle in first half action. AP

SEATTLE — Here’s what Falcons coach Mike Smith had to say after the game.

HEAD COACH MIKE SMITH

(Thoughts on the game…) “We knew coming into this game what was at stake. I can’t tell you how proud of the way that the guys not only played today, but how they have handled the last five weeks. We have had four out of five games on the road, three consecutive. They showed a lot of maturity in how they have handed it.

Coming west is not an easy thing when it’s the fifth game of this journey that we have set out on. We knew that special teams would be key for us today. I thought that our kickers did an excellent job of kicking the football as well as punting. Leon Washington was somebody we were very concerned about. I thought that we neutralized him during the ball game. I think that was very key to the field position.

We all know that winning in this league is not an easy thing. Each and every week you have got to get yourself and your team prepared and I think that we have done a very good job of that. With that, we have to move on to our next opponent. We are going to take 24 hours, catch that flight and move on to New Orleans.”

(Thoughts on clinching a playoff birth…) “I’m very happy for our team, our fans, Mr. Blank, Tom and our entire organization. We have clinched a playoff birth but there is still a lot of football to be played. There are two games left, there is a lot out there that is going to affect a lot of teams throughout the league. That’s what our focus has to be. We cannot content ourselves with where we’re at today. That’s were we want to be tomorrow and the day after.”

(How important was it to get the three Seattle turnovers in the third quarter…) “I thought our defense did an outstanding job in terms of the third quarter. They (Seattle) had three consecutive drives that ended in turnovers that created a short field. I thought that we came up with some very big plays in that third quarter. That really changed the momentum of the game.

We started out slowly as a defense on that first drive. I thought after that, we got back into what we needed to get done. I thought there was a little bit of a lull in the fourth quarter as well. Overall, when you get three consecutive drives that finish with turnovers and you get the ball on the plus side of the 50, you’re usually going to like the outcome.”

(How big was it scoring right before the end of the first half…) “It was huge for us. We knew going in that when we got the ball, we wanted to try and score because we knew that we were going to have the ball on the first drive of the second half. We felt that if we could at least get the ball to the 35-yard line, that was our line to make for a field goal attempt. If we could get at least three points out of it, it would really help us.

It was a great throw and a great catch by Michael Jenkins. Getting that touchdown right before the half was very big for our team in taking that momentum into the third quarter.”

(Thoughts on some of your players saying this was a business trip…) “The team was serious in our preparation all this week and was very business like when we got on the plane. It was very business like. We spent two days here in downtown Seattle. It was all business like. That’s the thing that I really like about our team. They understand where we are at and what we need to do. The older players are mentoring the younger players, so they understand the importance of it.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter

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80 comments Add your comment

TXDawg

December 19th, 2010
10:48 pm

WingMan

December 19th, 2010
10:49 pm

Excellent job Falcons. It was just as I thought it would be. My preseason prediction was 12-4. Looks like we will beat that.
Congratulations!!

merbertmoover

December 19th, 2010
10:49 pm

merbertmoover

December 19th, 2010
10:49 pm

TXDawg

December 19th, 2010
10:50 pm

It’s been a long time coming (and I might add that this is The Real TXDawg, not the imposter).

I would like to thank God, my mother, and all those who failed to post before me for making this possible.

Go Falcons!! I’ll be waiting on you in Arlington, TX (not Dallas Bob Costas…..get it right)

TXDawg

December 19th, 2010
10:51 pm

….oh yeah, I forget to thank DLed for posting this article.

Thanks DLed!

Jerry

December 19th, 2010
10:51 pm

Jerry

December 19th, 2010
10:52 pm

lol what a game we have monday

D. Orlando Ledbetter

December 19th, 2010
10:54 pm

TXDawg — You are most welcome.

Roscoe

December 19th, 2010
10:55 pm

What’s this I’m seeing about the league fining a Panther’s player for throwing an elbow at an out of bounds Falcon during a punt return???? On top of that the league is trying to keep it quiet!!!!

Roscoe

December 19th, 2010
11:06 pm

+According to Fox Sports Jay Glazer, D.E. Tyler Brayton of the Carolina Panthers came off the bench to throw an elbow to the head of an out of bounds Atlanta Falcon during a put return. The League is quietly investigating.

Super job Falcons. Does this qualify a a complete game?

Reid Adair

December 19th, 2010
11:11 pm

I love Coach Smith’s attitude, and it’s clear he has passed that along to the players. Everyone’s focus is on the next game, and that is great.

Roscoe

December 19th, 2010
11:15 pm

Sorry about that I had not seen the story on Tony Gonzalez, when I wrote about the out of bounds hit. That was covered in the other article.

TXDawg

December 19th, 2010
11:20 pm

Seriously, I think I’m going to head over to the Mandalay Bay and see what the Falcons odds are to win the Super Bowl. Hopefully, it’s still enough for me to make some money off of them.

JONESBORO SLIM

December 20th, 2010
12:12 am

SAINTS FANS

Tick Tick Tick ……..BOOMMMMmmmmmm

Gray

December 20th, 2010
12:22 am

My only thought is why are the starters still on the field when the game is over. All we need is for Ryan or Turner to twist an ankle or a knee to help stop this great season the Falcons are having.

MyrtleDawg

December 20th, 2010
3:11 am

Gray,

Did you see the Eagles come from behind to beat the Giants today? I’m not saying the Seahawks=the Giants, but in this league you have to play to win for 60 minutes. And the way Matty was throwing in the first half, I’m definitely okay with leaving him out there to get back into a solid groove for the Saints.

Falconian

December 20th, 2010
6:33 am

I am not sure how the Falcons did not win the South yesterday? If we lost our last two games and the Saints win out, would they hold a tie breaker at that point?

Terrell

December 20th, 2010
7:30 am

Falconian,
If we lose out and they win out we would be 4-2 and they would be 5-1 in the division

BirdDawg24

December 20th, 2010
8:16 am

defense was a little off against the run in the first half. we got lucky on the snelling fumbles. ryans interception was a bad. i have to say. Brent Grimes u r the man ! Weems great job on returns. roddy came through in the clutch. seriously these guys just find a way to beat u and they never give up. I am darn proud of the Birds. Finish what you started guys ! Win the Superbowl! I Believe !!!

True Falcon Fan

December 20th, 2010
8:50 am

Best 3rd quarter play by the Falcons this season…. Very impressive Smitty; folks don’t worry about the 2 point conversion by the Hawks that’s toypical Pete Carroll play.

“Pete’s a dirt bag” he makes off the wall play calling look “totally unbeleivable, “Be very thankful he turned down AB & TD” when they came calling before Smitty was hired in!

Very good WIN!

Saints NEXT

GOG FALCONS GO

Ackshun

December 20th, 2010
9:05 am

WOW….. don’t know what we paid Samuel L Jackson for the “Rise Up” spot, but it was definitely worth it!

Chop Buster

December 20th, 2010
9:11 am

Congrats Falcons, way to take care of business. Great game! Let’s keep the pedal to the metal and show these Aints that it was no fluke when we beat them earlier in the season. Nothing can stop this team except the team. Let’s give Brees his boys a good ole fashion butt whipping in the Ga Dome!

Just saying..

December 20th, 2010
9:21 am

If we beat NO, does that put them out? Wouldn’t want to play those guys twice.

Mike is back

December 20th, 2010
9:23 am

MC, Great analysis…Can you ask LD…why the HAWKS STOP RUNNING THE MOTION OFFENSE…the ball stop moving…AND GONE ARE THE DAYS…WHEN WE HAVE SEEN SOME HARD BACK SCREENS.

It’s simple…we are back to our old habits… what does he plan to do about that??

Falcon James

December 20th, 2010
9:50 am

I just got to say the falcon look pretty good. We just got to put that first drive defense let down behind us. I think this was the first time all season the defense came out to play in the third quarter. the pretty much look strong during the whole game. That Grimes is something special. Way to go Falcon!!

JOeDirt

December 20th, 2010
9:53 am

Dannnnnnnnnnnnng, these Falcons got balls! All said.

alanfalcon

December 20th, 2010
9:59 am

Cograts for staying the course, you have fought for and created your on destiny, quite frankly the National media doesn’t seem to get it that a team such as you from the owner to the guys that carry the bottles have created the sucess that you are now enjoying.

GO FALCONS AND GO SOUTHERN RUSH. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chubbyboy

December 20th, 2010
10:24 am

The Falcons beat the Saints or Panthers they clinch the Division…If they lose their remaining two games and the Saints win out; The Saints clinch due to having a better division record I believe

Dirty Bird Zone

December 20th, 2010
10:33 am

Here comes the playoffs!!!

Decatur Falcon

December 20th, 2010
10:51 am

I am proud of the Falcons, they played a great game. I am glad to see our secondary is playing better each game. Grime keep it up, and D. Rob keep putting fear in the quarterback heart. I feeling they will win against them, everyone on NFL Network saying that this was a trap game for the Falcons. I am starting to tone them out, because they don’t know what they are talking about. The Falcons have two games left, we have to win out, and it is not going to pretty these last two games. GO FALCONS!!!

Brent

December 20th, 2010
11:06 am

I believe it’s spelled berth, not birth. Where is a good editor when you need one.

moddyd

December 20th, 2010
11:33 am

@ Just Saying..

Wouldnt want to play them THREE times. But if we beat them all Three times it would be freaking awesome!! Go Birds! Falcons Fever!!!

JONESBORO SLIM

December 20th, 2010
12:58 pm

Well I see the fair weather fans are on board…I wonder where they were earlier in the season…anybody heard from “STB4″?…he’s more than likely in here under a different name…If the Falcons are going to beat the Saints the defence needs a strong push up the middle so that Bree can’t step up in the pocket…if the push is there he will be force out of the pocket throwing the timming off the play….

Greg Mendel

December 20th, 2010
1:00 pm

Considering the depths of 2007, making to playoffs twice in three seasons is a hell of an accomplishment for any team. For 1966-vintage Falcon fans, it’s a miracle. The defense has played beyond expectations, and my only fear is that the defense is about a season away from being as devastating as it needs to be to survive the playoffs this year. I don’t mind being surprised, though.

What WON’T surprise me is, if the Falcons survive the playoffs, get to the SB, and win the SB, they still won’t get any respect (outside Atlanta) for doing at as team that wins football games without prima donna showboaters.

BOB

December 20th, 2010
1:21 pm

Three keys for the Falcon’s playoff success:
1. Improve the vertical passing game. Playoff caliber teams are going to take away the short routes by jamming the receivers and upsetting their timimng. This leaves them vulnerable to deep routes once the receiver can break through the press coverage.But to date,the accuracy and timing has not been there for the Falcon’s.
2.Ryan has to not lock onto his receiver prior to the ball being snapped in third down situations. Yesterday, the commentators remarked on that very poit after the interception. I am certain I was not the only person taking note of those comments.
3.Diversify the running game. Turner is being worn out between the tackels and it appears to be affecting his “burst” . Someway, somehow the Falcons have to be able to turn the corner inorder to prevent the 8 man fronts they are certasin to see going forward. Pounding between the tackles is great for clock management when you are ahead by 2 touchdowns. But it much less effective when you are 2 touchdowns behind and need to slow down the pass rush.

JONESBORO SLIM

December 20th, 2010
1:51 pm

Here’s something that everyone can chime in on..”Tell me the NAMES OF THE WORST TV ANNOUNCERS & COLOR PERSON….Here’s my pick Rob Pitts..”the guy thinks he doing radio or we are all blind decribing everything on the field”…”He’s walking off the field on his own”…”hey Dog we can see”…….Now tell me yours

chprince

December 20th, 2010
2:24 pm

Falcon’s win over Seattle seems tained to me and nothing to brag about. Anderson’s faskmask fumble was so obviously ignored by NFL refs as usual, —it was nohting shot of charity for floundering Falons. I would be more worried about their fortunes– and all the bla-bla about the superbowl seemed a big fantasy to me…You can see the huge picture of Jumal Amerson’s face mask forced fumble on Seattle Times Sports page for yourself..

gbal

December 20th, 2010
2:29 pm

Just blows my mind the ATL gets so little national attention given their great run this season…

ESPN.COM – Home page…. ZERO mention of the Falcons. No Piece whatsoever….

THEN click on the NFL tab…. Again, headline or mention whatsoever on the Falcons..

Giant – Yes
Jet – Yes
Seatle – yes
Steelers, Colts, Saints… Yes, but no mention of the Falcons other than the box scores along the top of the page…

Pretty amazing – I hope this is bulletin board material … They ignore us but we continue to take care of business.

JONESBORO SLIM

December 20th, 2010
2:39 pm

chprince….Get over it…it happen to this team for years….besides when you’re a winner the calls will go your way

Falcons Chic

December 20th, 2010
2:40 pm

D-Led – can you tell us more of the team nicknames? Here are the ones I have heard about. tho’ they may not be the actual ones used in the locker room

Svitek – Cheese
‘Spoon – ‘Spoon
Babineaux – Babs
Douglas – HDTV
Roddy – Rowdy

That would be a great blog piece if we happen to have a week off before our first playoff game.

JONESBORO SLIM

December 20th, 2010
2:46 pm

gbal…I for one am glad the team doesn’t get the nat’l media attention…because this would mean all those sorry media services would be down here taking the focus off the teams main “Goal the playoffs”

Singletary

December 20th, 2010
2:58 pm

Jonesboro Slim, my pick for THE WORST TV ANNOUNCERS & COLOR PERSON is Matt Millen. After a decade of his ineptitude ruined the Detroit franchise, I’d call him unqualified. Yes, he can string together a sentence, but it’s usually so vanilla as to be useless to the educated viewer. Cris Collingsworth is also on my yuck list because he’s always sounds like he’s your big brother who makes more money than you. I guess I’d have to call it patronizing. I think Ditka should be retiring soon, as Madden did.

On the other hand, Sterling Sharpe; he’s funny, fast & accurate. Jamie Dukes is really smooth. Of course no one is funnier than Sapp & Deion. Howie Long is terrific, and Gruden is “growing on me” but he’s probably going back to coaching, right?

In this time of diversity hiring, don’t you think it is inappropriate to have no one in the SNF booth but white guys (like me?) In it’s whole history, I don’t think there’s ever been anyone “upstairs.” I remember Lynn Swann, but I think he was always on the sideline.

Any other thoughts?

Greg Mendel

December 20th, 2010
3:08 pm

During lunch, I watched ESPN NFL highlights. Barely a mention of the Falcons (one highlight), but plenty about the Eagles, Saints, Giants, Pats, etc. It’s annoying, and frankly, incompetent sports programming, but I’m content with the Falcons flying under the radar. We need to be taken for granted during the playoffs.

What puzzles me is WHY the Falcons are ignored. We’re tied with the Pats for most wins. I think it’s because the Falcons simply aren’t flashy — loud, obnoxious, celebration-divas. Whether Bret Favre plays tonight interests me even less than whether Lindsay Lohan will be in or out of jail tonight. Even less than finally discovering who Lindsay Lohan is.

RiffRaff

December 20th, 2010
3:09 pm

gbal – Seems pro teams in the northeast get most of the attention. I’m ok with that. As long as the Falcons win. I still remember John Madden’s dumbfounded reaction when the Falcons beat the Vikings on Morton Anderson’s field goal in the NFC Championship Game (January 17, 1999).

JONESBORO SLIM

December 20th, 2010
3:13 pm

Singletary…. I’m sorry I’m just getting back to you …I’m looking at the History channel but I agree with you except Deon Sanders comes over like a loud rapper… and you’re sure right about Dikta he needs to retire…and Jawarski…well?

JONESBORO SLIM

December 20th, 2010
3:20 pm

Greg Mendel….you’ve answered your only quesition…the Northeast section of the country makes up largest segment of the tv audience from Boston to D.C. that means $$$$$…….also keep in mind the North and South (gray & blue) are still at war….

Greg Mendel

December 20th, 2010
3:24 pm

Off-topic, Jonesboro Slim, but is there any history on the History Channel anymore? I used to watch it all the time, but now the only “history” I see appears as shows about truck drivers, pawn shops, lumberjacks, etc. For some reason, they show “Planet of the Apes” now and then.

When the History Channel debuted, about all they had was a documentary on the Battle of Stalingrad, that they ran over and over. I kept watching, wondering if the Nazis would finally win it.

JONESBORO SLIM

December 20th, 2010
3:33 pm

Greg Mendel……I know what you mean..I guess they’re cutting back on their budget…but right now they showing a documentary about the “Anti-Christ”

Falcon Fan

December 20th, 2010
4:39 pm

Regarding the Falcons getting no media attention…just on ESPN online and posed a question to Gary Horton of Scouts, Inc. Here’s the question and response:

“What’s the general consensus around the league regarding the Falcons… for real or a fluke?”

Gary Horton
“I think they are absolutely for real, but I know exactly what you are saying. When I watch them each week, they almost lull you to sleep because they are not overly flashy, but they just don’t make mistakes and they are probably the most sound team in the NFL. They are very methodical. They are very well coached and they just don’t give away games, which probably makes them not a lot of fun to talk about, but the reality is that they are in a position now that they could theoretically not have to get on a plane until they go to the Super Bowl. With them playing at home leading up to the Super Bowl, they’ll be a tough team to beat, because they won’t do it for you.”