NEW ORLEANS — Falcons coach Mike Smith touched on the short yardage offense, Matt Ryan’s play and Asante Samuel’s unsportsmanlike penalty after the Falcons were handed their first loss of the season on Sunday.
Here’s what he had to say:
OPENING STATEMENT: “I felt like this was a hard fought football game in terms of the effort. We made way too many mistakes in all three phases. I felt like we had many opportunities. We have to convert when we get in these third-and-1 situations. I know there were two early in the ball game that we didn’t convert. We talked about having to score touchdowns in the red zone. We have to do that when we are down there. With that, I’ll open it up for questions.”
Q: Could you explain the problems with the short-yardage offense?
A: “We had two third-and-1s. One we tried to run. The other we tried to throw it. We are not getting the surge that we need to on the run plays. We’ve got to be able to move the line of scrimmage in those third down-and-1 situations. Those are to the advantage of the offense. We are not getting that done right now. We didn’t get that done today.”
Q: At 28-24, did you consider going for a two-point conversion?
A: “No. There was still 13 minutes to go in the fourth quarter. You don’t even start looking at that two-point chart until you are seven or eight minutes into the fourth quarter. If you miss that two point conversion then you are flipped on the other side of it in terms of the score. You look at the (card) with about seven or eight minutes left usually on two point conversions.”
Q: Was it the inability to convert on short yardage that led to the passes at the end?
A: “Yes. We did not run the ball very effectively. They did a nice job with their penetration and knocking the line of scrimmage back. It wasn’t always blitzes or stunts. They did a nice job of penetrating in the backfield.”
Q: How unfathomable was it that you wouldn’t get a touchdown right there at the end?
A: “They have been playing a lot better defense and a lot better as a football team over the last four weeks. They had won three out of their last four. They are playing with a lot of confidence. When these two teams meet you can throw the records out the window because it’s going to be a hard fought battle and unfortunately we didn’t do enough to get it done today.”
Q: Did you talk to Asante Samuel after his penalty that compromised the second drive?
A: “I certainly did. Those are what we categorize as not the type of penalties that we want to have. We want aggressive penalties. Instead of having the ball on the 12, it knocked us back out to starting the drive on the 27. We can’t have those types of penalties. We want to play penalty free football on special teams. We had one early. We had one in the third quarter and we had one there on the last punt. In terms of getting the ball in good field position (that hurts). We had a chance and we had a 10 yard penalty which basically knocked the ball much farther back from where we’d like to start with no timeouts on that last drive.”
Q: How frustrating was it not scoring that touchdown when you had the ball on the 1-yard line?
A: “It’s very frustrating whether if it’s 1-yard or 10-yards when you don’t win. It’s frustrating because that’s why we are playing the games. We want to get the win. We were close and we weren’t able to get that accomplished. We’ll learn from that. We’ll evaluate it as a staff. This will be something that we learn from as we move forward.”
Q: How were they (the 32nd ranked run defense) able to shut down your running game?
A: “Again, I’m going to have to watch the tape. But we definitely did not run the football with the efficiency we need to or wanted to or thought we could. That’s for sure. We’ve got to not have those empty yards in terms of not getting touchdowns out of them. We moved the football and when you get down in the red zone you want to be efficient all of the time and there were two times that we did not score touchdowns when we were down there.”
Q: Were you all just getting pushed back off the ball?
A: “Until I get an opportunity to watch the tape. I’ll be better able to speak on that. But obviously, we did not win the line of scrimmage in our run game at least from what I saw from the sideline.”
Q: Did you think Matt (Ryan) was going to pull out another one?
A: “You have got to be comfortable with the ball in Matt Ryan’s hand there at the end of the ball game when we needed to go down there and score. We just didn’t get it accomplished. My hats off to the New Orleans Saints. They won the football game.”
OTHER RECENT STORIES
Mike Smith says no major injury for Peria Jerry