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
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.
(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
(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