EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Here’s what Falcons coach Mike Smith had to say after the game.
Obvioulsy, the game [didn't go] the way we wanted [it] to go today. We didn’t make enough plays offensively, defensively or on special teams to get the outcome that we wanted. We struggled in several areas of the ballgame today. They won the battle of the line of scrimmage and that was one of the ‘musts’ we had to accomplish and we didn’t get it accomplished today. With that, I’ll open it up for questions.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OFFENSE?: We weren’t able to put the ball in the end zone. We pride ourselves on controlling the line of scrimmage. I thought it was evident that we couldn’t get it done throughout the ball game. Even though our quarterback was sacked once or maybe twice officially. He was harassed all day and we weren’t able to get our running game going. There were two opportunities where we needed to convert on fourth-and- less than one. I have all the confidence in the world in that group and we didn’t get that done.
ON WHY HE WENT WITH THE EMPTY BACKFIELD ON FOURTH-AND-ONE (SECOND TIME): It was less than a yard. It was about a half of a yard, maybe even less than that. That was the play again, we go through and we sequence those things out all through the week. We felt that was the play we had up and we just didn’t execute. We felt like, at any point in time, we ought to be able to move the football less than a half a yard with a quarterback sneak.
ON IF THEY THOUGHT ABOUT THE FIELD GOAL: It was considered because of the score at that time. You could have gone ahead and attempted the field goal, but I felt and we felt as a staff and as a offense that we could move the ball. We wanted to [get] seven points just like we did earlier in the ball game. On the first one, we were just about at the range with our kicker [for] the attempt. On the second one, it was definitely inside [his range] and we could have had a go at it if we wanted to attempt the field goal.
ON THE FOURTH-AND-1 THAT HE DIDN’T GO FOR IT: My thought on that is that we had a little bit more than a yard. It wasn’t a yard or less. It was a crucial time in the ball game. There were a handful of them that stood out in the ball game. I think one of the areas was the short yardage or not being able to convert on that third down and we ended up about a yard to a half a yard short.
ON WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OFFENSIVE LINE; DID THEY BLTIZ MORE?: I don’t think they did. They are not a big blitzing team. I think they were opportunistic when they did blitz. But they did win the line of scrimmage and there is no doubt about that. It was very evident as you watched the ball game in person. [When] we watch the film, I think we’ll see that being confirmed.
ON THE GIANTS BEING ABLE TO RUN THE BALL: We had a couple of misfits there in the first half on the first score where Brandon Jacobs broke [loose for a 34-yard run]. But I was surprised there especially at the end that they were able to run the ball the way they did.
ON BRENT GRIMES NOT PLAYING: You want to have all of your best players. Brent was not able to go today. We made a decision based on how he was feeling this morning. He was not able to go. You want to have all of your guys. But again at this point in the season you’re going to have guys that are injured and other guys are going to have to step up. We’d like to have all of our starters out there, but unfortunately we were not able to. We lost [safety] William Moore early in the ball game as well.
ON WHY THEY DIDN’T THROW ANY DEEP PASSES: Their pass rush, I thought they did a very good job [of] putting pressure on our quarterback and we weren’t able to hold up to get the ball down the field. We weren’t able to throw the ball deep throughout the entire game. There were very few opportunities to throw the ball down the field.
ON HIS EMOTIONS IN THE LOCKER ROOM AFTER THE GAME: Disappointed. Disappointed in the finality of it. When you are in the playoffs it’s tough to have that meeting. We did not play very well. I think it was evident by the scoreboard and by the performance that we put out there. It’s not the type of football that we want to play. We’ll start on the 2012 season tomorrow. That’s the way that our coaching staff will pursue this. It’s the next season already. We’re going to learn from this. We are going to learn from every game that we play and try not to be in this situation again.
ON IF HE THOUGHT THE FALCONS TOOK A STEP BACKWARDS THIS SEASON: I don’t. We didn’t play consistent football. I think that our roster, we made some moves and we’ve got some guys that are going to be very good football players for years to come. Unfortunately, the record wasn’t as good and we ended up not playing beyond the first game of the playoffs. That’s a disappointment. It’s a disappointment for every man in that room; players, coaches and staff. It’s something [where] we’re going to do everything in our power, starting tomorrow to get it better and get it fixed.
ON IF HE’S CONTEMPLATING ANY CHANGES ON THE COACHING STAFF: I’m not going to make any decision on the personnel or the coaching staff. We just finished the game 15- 20 minutes ago. We will always have a complete evaluation of everything we do in our football operations and that starts tomorrow.
ON NOT WINNING THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE: At the core of what we want to do as a football team, we said it the first day that we got here, is that we want to control the line of scrimmage. Be able to control it and run the football, to control it and protect our quarterback because that is at the crux of what we believe will lead us to success. And we did not do that today. It’s a concern when we did not have the outcome that we want.
ON GOING 0-3 IN THE PLAYOFFS: You get what you earn in this league. We earned a 10-6 record in the regular season, we were 0-1 in the playoffs. We did not play our best game and we are going to, starting tomorrow, do everything in our power to rectify the 10-6 record from the regular season and the 0-1 record in the postseason. That is the only way I know how to approach it and I know as an organization we will approach it.
ON WHAT THEY COULDN’T DO IN THE GAME: There were a number of things. In the ball game today I don’t know if there was anything that you could take and say gosh we did this very well for the entirety of the game. It was a lot like our season. We were very inconsistent. We were very inconsistent through our entire season. We played some plays good. We played some that were not so good. That’s really the story of our 2011 season.
ON HOW THE GIANTS STOPPED JULIO JONES AND RODDY WHITE: I thought they were doing a good job of getting their hands on them at the line of scrimmage. There were certain things that they did schematically at certain times in the game where they were not allowing the free releases and again that will allow the defense to play the shorter passes because they are not able to get down the field.
ON RODDY WHITE’S DROPS AND IF THEY WERE A PART OF THE INCONSISTENCIES: That inconsistency starts with me. I take full responsibility for it. Every man in that room, we all put ownership on it. People talk about having signature games and you’ve got to have your signature win. We put our name on every game that we play in the National Football League. Every man in that room puts his name on that game when we play. Whether if it’s the first game of the season or the 17th game of the season. We are all responsible for it.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog