The aftermath: What the players were saying . . .

Matt Ryan stepping into a throw against Seattle. (Associated Press)

Matt Ryan stepping into a throw against Seattle. (Associated Press)

SEATTLE — Here’s what the players were talking about after the 34-18 win over Seattle:

QB MATT RYAN

(On his overall impressions…) It’s a good win for our football team.  Coming on the road three straight weeks and then finishing it with a West Coast trip.  It’s says a lot about our guys, how focused we stayed.  I thought the special teams did a great job giving us good field position all day, and we were able to capitalize on some drives.

(On the defense providing good field position in the third quarter…) That was huge.  Our defense came up with a couple of turnovers, gave us short field, and we were able to capitalize and put points up. That’s what you want to do offensively.  Hats off to our defense today.  Grimes and Willmore were making some really good interceptions, giving us great field position.   But also our special teams Weems gave us really good field position on the first drive, and it was good for us to get a response to their score early.

(On his touchdown throw just before the half…) They were bringing some pressure there later in that drive.  We kind of moved the ball pretty effectively against that coverage, and they started to bring pressure.  They did that on the third down.  We held up just long enough and Jenk [Michael Jenkins] ran a great route.  I just tried to put it out there and give him a chance to catch it.  He ran underneath

Atlanta's Jason Snelling (44) fumbles while being hit by Seattle's Will Herring. The Falcons kept possession on the play. AP

Atlanta's Jason Snelling (44) fumbles while being hit by Seattle's Will Herring. The Falcons kept possession on the play. AP

it and came up with the play.  A really good effort by Jenk; a really good route.  A really good job by our offensive line holding up against that pressure.

(On clinching a playoff berth…) It’s good.  Obviously we wanted to give ourselves an opportunity to continue to play.  We still feel like there’s work to do in the next two games.  That’s where our focus is at right now.

(On what worked well on offense…) We just kept battling.  We didn’t come out and hit many explosive plays early, but we just kept getting first downs.  We executed on third downs really well.  We executed on fourth down early really well.  When you convert two fourth downs in one drive, that’s huge.  We stayed consistent.  We didn’t do anything real stupid today.  I had the one turnover that wasn’t very good before the half that led to some points for them, but we responded to those things.  That’s what you have to do in those situations.  You’re going to make mistakes, but it’s all about how you come back from them

(On Tony Gonzalez passing Jerry Rice with 60 catches in 12 straight seasons…) That’s unbelievable.  It’s just another notch on his belt.  He’s had an unbelievable career.  I feel like I’ve been watching him since seventh or eighth grade.  He’s been dominating for that long, and it’s amazing to see.  I’ve been fortunate to have him on our offense and on our team the last couple of years, so I’m happy for him.  He deserves everything that comes his way.  It certainly is an incredible achievement.

(On taking the air out of the Seattle crowd…) It’s always tough to go on the road.  This is certainly a tough environment to come play in.  It’s a loud stadium.  The fans here were great today.  They were loud most of the first half.  That’s what you want to do when you’re on the road – you want to make some plays to try and take them out of it so you can communicate a little bit better.  We were able to do that in the second half.

WR RODDY WHITE

(On Atlanta’s overall performance…) I think we’ve got a special group around here.  We just never lose focus.  We stick to our guns.  We go out there and execute.  We just execute the game plan the coaches are handing out and go out there and try to win.

Atlanta's Jamaal Anderson (left) goes in for the quarterback sack on Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck (right) in the second half. The sack caused Hasselbeck to fumble the football, which was recovered by the Falcons for a touchdown. AP

Atlanta's Jamaal Anderson (left) goes in for the quarterback sack on Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck (right) in the second half. The sack caused Hasselbeck to fumble the football, which was recovered by the Falcons for a touchdown. AP

(On Matt Ryan’s play…) He played well today.  When we had our chances – we pretty much had good field position all day – we just cashed in when we had our chances.  We got into the red zone and scored some touchdowns, which is really good for us, because we were kind of struggling getting down there, kicking field goals and things like that.  I think we improved in that area today.  We converted some third downs, and some fourth downs that we needed to continue drives, so I thought that we did a pretty good job of that.

(On responding to Marcus Trufant’s injury…) When we see that they have one of their guys hurt, we’re going to go after the [new] guy.  That guy’s like the third corner on the team, so you always go out there and take advantage of the guy you know can’t play as well as the other one.  When we see him out there, we just go after him.  Mike [Jenkins] finished that drive off with a touchdown.  In this league, you look for mismatches.  When you get them, you take advantage of them.

(On the value of getting that late score in the second quarter…) It was huge, especially before the half.  They had just gone down and kicked a field goal and tied the game.  It was our chance to go out there and get us a score, then get the ball back at haltime and go score again.  It was really good for us.

(On the challenge of winning on the road…) It’s tough.  You’ve got to be mentally focused, mentally tough.  So many things can happen on the road.  You get these ebbs and flows in the game and you get upside-down, you turn over the ball here and there, and teams usually take you down.  But we just did a good job of staying focused throughout this whole stretch.  I think that was a key thing for us. Stay focused, stay on task, just do what the coach tells us to do.

(On surpassing 100 catches for the season…) It’s special.  Any toime you get the chance to catch 100 balls in this league – I never did that, so I’m really excited about that.  We’ve just got to keep grinding.  We’ve got two more [games].  We’ve got to finish the season off strong and get home field through the playoffs.

RB MICHAEL TURNER

The Falcons' Michael Jenkins (left) watches as Roddy White (second from left) chest-bumps Harry Douglas (right) after White caught a second-half touchdown pass against Seattle. AP

The Falcons' Michael Jenkins (left) watches as Roddy White (second from left) chest-bumps Harry Douglas (right) after White caught a second-half touchdown pass against Seattle. AP

(On controlling the clock…) I think we found our rhythm there a little bit and we had a great opening drive of 14 or 15 plays and scored. When our team needs us, we step up and make big plays. Everybody all around put in a great effort to keep the ball and control the clock, that’s one of our strengths.

(On winning on the road…) That’s one of our challenges. We love to step up to challenges. Our team is big enough and tough enough to go out there and handle any situation out there and come out with a win.

TE TONY GONZALEZ

(On recording 60 completions for 12 straight seasons…) It’s incredible. I mean, seriously. That’s one I can look back and say, ‘Wow, Jerry Rice? I broke a record of his?’ That’s something I thought would never be possible but it’s good. I have been very, very lucky to stay healthy. That’s a big part of it just staying healthy. I’m sure a lot of guys could’ve done it but staying healthy is the biggest part of it.”

(On the defense…) The defense just really stood up for us today in that second half. They made things a lot easier on us, giving us such a short field and we were able to capitalize on it. It was good.

WR MICHAEL JENKINS

(On his touchdown reception…) Matt said he didn’t even know what happened. I think he got hit and they told him on the ground that it was a touchdown. But he threw a great ball. It was right there.

(On winning on the road…) It was big. Three in a row on the road. I think four out of our last five on the road. It just shows the character of our guys. It doesn’t matter where we play at.

RB JASON SNELLING

(On the win…) To go out there three times on the road and get three victories is really big for us. I was really excited with what we put together this year. We have got a lot left to go but we are real pleased where we are at right now.

(On team effort…) This team is a family and it shows with how we have been playing this year. To come out there and have the resiliency game to game and win the close ones, it was just an all around complete game with offense, defense and special teams.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter

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57 comments Add your comment

TXDawg

December 19th, 2010
10:52 pm

Again…..first!

TXDawg

December 19th, 2010
10:54 pm

Twice in one night, what a day! First I kick butt in my fantasy league semifinal round (76-21…so far, I still have the Chicago Defense) Wow…..I need to take some of this luck down to the casinos while I’m here in Vegas.

gabeaux

December 19th, 2010
10:55 pm

anytoime? editor!!

Reid Adair

December 19th, 2010
11:10 pm

You read these quotes, and you certainly get the feeling that they are fully on board with Coach Smith’s philosophy and attitude. There was a time, not very long ago, when qualifying for the playoffs alone would be celebration. This team seems focused on two more regular-season games. I like that.

JD

December 19th, 2010
11:15 pm

Big BIG Monday night game coming up, then who cares after that unless we need the win against Carolina to lock up home field advantage. M Bradley’s right – right not the Eagles have our number and we’ll have to deal with that offense again to get to Dallas….

Good spot to be in right now, lets not sit on our butts and get complacent. Let’s be smart about the next 2 and we’ll give Philly all they can stand when they get to our house…..

KimZ'sPackage

December 19th, 2010
11:57 pm

JFant29

December 20th, 2010
12:03 am

ESPN, NFL Network, Fox, CBS, NBC we know you all do not want our Falcons in the Super Bowl. But can we please get a little air time, it is almost like were are not in the league. Get over yourselves.

mackdawg22

December 20th, 2010
12:03 am

you keep reading these quotes and you hear the word “us” and not me…that my friend is a sign of a team focused on the team and not the individual…good sign for these falcons

patrick

December 20th, 2010
12:27 am

Didnt we clinch the NFC South….even if we lose last two and New Orleans wins last 2 we hold the tie breaker…..why are we not celebrating that?

patrick

December 20th, 2010
12:32 am

Matt Ryan now has 32 career wins as a starter in his first three seasons, the second-most wins of any quarterback to begin their career since the merger, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Ross

December 20th, 2010
12:33 am

Not a miserable damn word on the various sports media channels, blogs, slogs, bogs, and hogpens. Nothing. Nada. The Falcons do not exist. We are all dreaming this.

Ueeediot

December 20th, 2010
12:36 am

Patrick, if we lose the last 2 and Aints win the last 2 then the Falcons would be 4-2 in the division and the Aints would be 5-1. We need to win another game.

kaminari

December 20th, 2010
12:43 am

I think Matt needs two more to pass Marino for most wins in the first three years of his QB career. But somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

The Falcons defense really responded well to that first slap in the face drive of theirs. Did you see what happened to the Saints defense today? And the announcers were saying it’s a better Saints defense than last years. I’m really curious to see what they bring to the dome next week. It feels so good to be up two with two to play. Thus far this is the best Falcons team ever. For sure!

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Lesa

December 20th, 2010
1:11 am

It’s so nice that my favorite team is composed of true professionals, who are staying humble and hungry. Week in and week out they get the job done. I really believe we are headed for the Super Bowl. GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!

YoungerThan ThatNow

December 20th, 2010
1:33 am

Well, maybe all the other teams will not be thinking “Falcons” either during the start of the playoffs, and then… BAM!!! That’s the sound that will be ringing in their ears when they walk into the Georgia Dome to face a team that nobody outside of Atlanta has talked about. In this case, flying under the radar could be to the Falcons advantage… and any advantage in the playoffs is a good advantage.

This team has taken on the personna of Coach Mike Smith, and that’s a wonderful thing. Just take it a game at a time and take care of business when that time comes… every player virtually says the same thing that Coach Smith preaches in the “Falcons Gospel”… and I’m a believer too!! I love the obvious and humble support of Mr. Arthur Blank… if there’s a better owner in the league I would love to meet him. He’s involved, always there to lend a hand… or write a check… but does NOT interfere with the football operations. The team individually follows his wonderful example of being a giving part of the community… and oh how I wish that he owned the Braves.

Stay tuned… this is gonna be huge!! GO FALCONS!!!!

patrick

December 20th, 2010
1:39 am

Ueeediot
December 20th, 2010
12:36 am

Patrick, if we lose the last 2 and Aints win the last 2 then the Falcons would be 4-2 in the division and the Aints would be 5-1. We need to win another game.
=========================
no, you dipshiiiit. We dont NEED to win another game……….IF NEW ORLEANS LOSES ONE MORE. ……YOU IDIOT

Supes

December 20th, 2010
2:01 am

Problem will be solved when the Falcons beat the Saints on Monday Night Football Dec 27th at the Dome.

Falcons will clinch the NFC south and the Saints will have their “other loss”.

I still don’t see us dropping the finale to Carolina, even if we play the subs the entire 2nd half.

Charming Harmon

December 20th, 2010
7:22 am

The next 2 games are division rivals and I say,

“Welcome to the ICE HOUSE”!!!!!!

Samuel Jackson

December 20th, 2010
7:45 am

dean

December 20th, 2010
8:09 am

I confess that I also thought we won the South Div. yesterday. Last week all I kept hearing was if the Falcons and Saints ended up tied, the Falcons won the Div. What changed? Bad scoop from “The Experts” last week?

After last night’s GB-Patriots game (even though NE won), I really believe the Falcons should be S.B. favorites. Of course, being the NFL, anything can happen.

Whatever happens, I’m very, very proud of our team and the entire organization.

FalconFanInBoston

December 20th, 2010
8:54 am

DOL,
Traveled to the game from Boston MA for the weekend and had field passes and greats seats from a work connection. Have been a fan of team since I was about 6 back in 1976. Great game. Great stadium. Really good fans who didn’t give me any grief about my Falcons’ jersey. Funniest moment of the day was walking through the press tunnel and almost bumping into DOL. Hope you enjoyed the game as much as I did.

True Falcon Fan

December 20th, 2010
9:08 am

Hey “BOSTON” wouldn’t be a beautiful thing to see a Falcons / Patroits SB?
First i want to see a Philly in ATL for the NFC championship game.

Saints NEXT

GOG FALCONS GO

ClassyBirds

December 20th, 2010
9:35 am

I don’t care if we aren’t getting any respect – we just keep winning with balance, class and excellent game plans. Coach Smith sets the tone and Matty Ice provides the on field leadership. Mikey Turner just quietly goes about his business. Brent Grimes and the rest of the D continue to get the job done. The offensive line is the best in the NFL, period. Thanks, Mr. Blank, Mr. McKay and Mr. Dimitroff for building us a team that we can really be proud of! Business as usual next Monday night as we dismantle the Saints on national TV to lock up home field advantage. What an excellent year for our Birds!!

ClassyBirds

December 20th, 2010
9:39 am

Sorry! Forgot to mention our receivers! Tony G, Roddy, Jenks, Finneran, Douglas, Peele, Palmer & special teams ace Weems – a solid group of weapons for Matt to choose from!

GA ALL DA WAY

December 20th, 2010
9:46 am

Deion Sanders did give us a little love after Micheal Irvin stated that the Eagles were the best Team in the NFC. We must seek out revenge if in fact we host the Eagles in the Playoffs for the embrassing lost 34-17 in Philly. I think that this organization will have something speacial for that date with destiny. However, we must continue to focus on one game at a time.

Hamp

December 20th, 2010
9:51 am

just don’t take the foot off the gas

musicgeekmusic

December 20th, 2010
9:51 am

What has Trent Dilfer got against the Falcons? He NEVER says anything good about them. “They don’t do anything great, they just do things good.” Direct quote from Sunday. Did someone on the team beat him up and take his lunch money? Oh well, why care about a guy who is the definition of a journeyman QB? He has a Super Bowl ring as an afterthought; had nothing to do with the Ravens actually winning.

Falcon James

December 20th, 2010
9:58 am

Nice win Falcon!!!

G

December 20th, 2010
10:23 am

*musicgeek

Its because Trent Dilfer is a douchebag

musicgeekmusic

December 20th, 2010
10:39 am

G
I thought I detected a heavy whiff of the douche from Dilfer.

JeanE

December 20th, 2010
11:23 am

It was a great win because after that debacle of an opening drive to score by the Seahawks, the old Falcons would’ve folded. Not the new Falcons. Still don’t like the playcalling or the personnel usage, Mularkey drives me crazy. Why is that smurf Harry Douglas in there all the time? He can’t block and he was in there on a running play. Use Finn, did Mularkey notice how Matt Flynn in GB relied on 35 yr old Donald Driver??? Finn has still got it, use the man for more than special teams! Other than that, good game. Thought Ryan started a little slow and off target but as he usually does, he improved and was solid at game’s end. Now go get those Saints!!

F-Troop

December 20th, 2010
12:59 pm

I agree. Finneran is much more valuable as a receiver than HD at this point.

Until HD figures out how to get decent separation, Finn is the more experienced and reliable guy. He’s lanky but still very athletic and a bigger target.

how2fish

December 20th, 2010
1:20 pm

Thought it was great yesterday when Howie was the “guest” and was talking about how Turner just wears a D down in the latter stages of the game…Just as Turner picked up 10+ yards and a first down carrying half the Seahawks D with him. Great win and the game Monday nite is HUGE!!

Prof

December 20th, 2010
1:48 pm

Ledbetter – how did you not find out about and report the illegal hit against the Panthers against the Falcons? It was a dirty hit to the head while one of the Falcons was running through the Panthers’ sidelines on a punt.

ESPN scooped you!!!!

Get the story off ESPN and check into it with the Falcons.

The Panthers’ guy got up off the bench, ran up and decked (forearm to the head) the Falcons’ cover guy. He gets (quietly) a $15K fine for that!!!!! That’s BOGUS.

Prof

December 20th, 2010
1:56 pm

Joycee Banicheck

December 20th, 2010
2:54 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if Brayton didn’t get a little payback in week 17. Hopefully no one gets suspended…

Chop Buster

December 20th, 2010
3:14 pm

Did anyone notice Harry was getting ready to take the kickoff yesterday late in the game? I would like to see Harry returning to see how close to 100% he really is. This team is in control of their own destiny. Don’t believe the Aints hype! This team will get after Brees in our house and there will be no question because we will win outright.

Chop Buster

December 20th, 2010
3:16 pm

We need to really beat the Panties down when they come to town for that Brayton incident–that the NFL and Carolina kept quiet. We will be on turf and run that poor QB of theirs in the ground.

Kane337

December 20th, 2010
3:22 pm

patrick
December 20th, 2010
1:39 am

Ueeediot
December 20th, 2010
12:36 am

Patrick, if we lose the last 2 and Aints win the last 2 then the Falcons would be 4-2 in the division and the Aints would be 5-1. We need to win another game.
=========================
no, you dipshiiiit. We dont NEED to win another game……….IF NEW ORLEANS LOSES ONE MORE. ……YOU IDIOT
=========================

Patrick, if the Falcons lose the last 2 games and the Saints win the last 2 games the Saints win the division. The Falcons would be 4-2 in the division. The Saints would be 5-1 in the division. Saints would win the tiebreaker. That is why the Falcons haven’t won the division yet.

Randy_O

December 20th, 2010
7:30 pm

I hope the Monday night game is not a let down. I’m saying that the Saints may not play key personnel because the know they can’t win the south with the Falcons playing Carolina then last game of the season or the Falcons win Monday and then rest the starters against Carolina. Either situation the Falcons are right where they need to be and playing in the Dome is our preference!

Top Cat

December 20th, 2010
8:06 pm

Wasn’t it NO who embarassed us on MNF a few years ago?(2006?) Birds have not gotten national respect since!…Time for redemption! And this is the group to get it!TEAM , Top-to-bottom! Let’s stay humble, and kick butt! GO FALCONS!!!

scott

December 20th, 2010
8:12 pm

RISE UP FALCONS!!

falcondawg

December 20th, 2010
9:00 pm

patrick, chill out man we will win the next two. but idiot is right. we win 1, aints loose one any combination we win the div. we loose 2, they win 2 buddy we are on the road. it s’s not that hard to figure. simple math. it will be alright dont sweat it.

Checking in

December 20th, 2010
9:01 pm

Its quite obvious that this blog site is indicative of the lack of appreciation from the sports press and from the city of Atlanta itself. Most people lost respect for the pheasants after the way the owner handled the bbick situation.

Most people want to talk about that superstar but Ledbetter has gagged this blog site and censored this great mans support from the city that will always love him. If the fall cons face his team in the playoffs he will find as much support from this town as he finds in phil….

go… number seven God be with you!

Checking in

December 20th, 2010
9:04 pm

The pheasants could win the super bowl and the city would not care….

chprince

December 20th, 2010
10:30 pm

Surely─ since Falcon win over Seahawks was aided by the poor judgment of NFL referees─ it is obviously tainted. More than anything else, Flacon fans should think of the victory over Seattle Seahawks a favor done to them; no so much of your football team’s grand achievement, but default win, handed to the Falcons by blithering referee from NFL. Something very similar happened against Seattle Seahawks at the 2006 Super bowl against the Pittsburg Steelers. Just last year NFL referee Bill Leavy apologized to Seahawks on Aug 8th 2010, for his bad calls that favored Steelers at a critical time in the game, enabling Steelers win the superbowl. Ignoring Falcon Jamaal Anderson’s facemask foul against Seahawk QB Matt Hasselbeck turned the game in favor of Falcons─ at a critical time─ otherwise closely contested game. There is big photo of Jamaal pulling on Hasselback facemask on the Seattle Times sports page today. I invite Falcon fans to see the photo—and judge for themselves, the credibility of Falcon win over Seahawks…

Nah

December 20th, 2010
10:59 pm

chprince, uh, did you see the score? It really wasn’t close, my friend and I think you’re lucky it wasn’t worse.

Mularkey

December 21st, 2010
6:49 am

Jean E, You want my job?

Mularkey

December 21st, 2010
6:50 am

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