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