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Postgame Quotes: Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints | 2023 NFL Week 18

Quotes from the New Orleans Saints win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 18 of the 2023 NFL season.

Check out the game action shots from the New Orleans Saints game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 18 of the 2023 NFL season.
Check out the game action shots from the New Orleans Saints game against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 18 of the 2023 NFL season.

Opening Statement: "It was a good team win. I want to start off by apologizing to Arthur Smith and the Falcons. That was not a play that we intended to run down there to finish off the game. That's not who we are. That's not how we operate. We should have taken a knee, so I want to apologize to them. We have a good rivalry, and it's a heated rivalry, but there's a way we go about doing our business. I wasn't happy about that. Other than that, I was happy about a lot of things that happened in the game. I didn't like the way the game started, busted a couple of coverages, gave up a couple of explosive plays, which can't happen. We made some adjustments. Then, we played better from then on out. I thought our offense was awesome. I think they did a great job moving the ball down the field. We were able to capitalize a lot in the red zone. We were able to create some explosive plays. I thought Kendre Miller played well. I thought the receivers played well. A.T. Perry, I thought, did some good things in the game. I thought Derek (Carr) played well. There were a lot of good things that happened in the game, and I was proud of the way our guys came out and responded in a must-win situation."

On the final Saints touchdown: "We should have taken a knee right there. They asked me about getting Jamaal (Williams) a touchdown there at the end. I said I wanted to take a knee. We put victory (formation) out there. The guys kind of wanted to give him a touchdown. They did that on their own. That's not acceptable."

On Arthur Smith's frustration postgame: "He should be."

On if the on-field exchange was regarding the touchdown: "That's what it was."

On who made the call: "Look, I think there were a lot of guys who wanted to get Jamaal (Williams) his touchdown. Honestly, I'm not sure exactly what was going on behind that, other than they wanted him to score a touchdown. Let's move on. Let's go to something else."

On assessing the season: "It's too early to assess the season in its totality. I think we will soak this one in a little bit, and then we will have time to reflect and see what we thought."

On Derek Carr's performance: "I think (Carr) operated the offense (well). I think we had good tempo in and out. I think he got us into the right checks. I think he threw the ball accurately, particularly some of these deep throws. I think he operated the Saints offense like we expected him to operate (it).

On the QB draw fitting into the game plan: "It's something you have in there. Obviously, nobody's expecting to see that with (Carr). Based on some of the looks we've seen, we thought we can make a play on it. Actually, made a play on us in practice the other day with the same play, and we weren't expecting that either. It's just part of the game plan. I think Pete (Carmichael) and those guys did a really good job putting together a game plan, and I thought our guys did a good job executing it."

On the offense's improvement throughout the latter half of the season: "I think the offense really started to come around toward the latter part of the season. I think our quarterback being healthy was a big part of that. I think (Carr) played much better in the latter part of the season. As we do with everything, we're not going to make any snap judgements to anything. We're going to take a minute to reflect on everything from the season. Then, we're going to make any decision we feel like and I feel like are best for our team and our organization."

On the defense's performance: "With the exception of the first couple of drives with a couple of mistakes, I thought we did a pretty good job up front controlling the line of scrimmage. I thought we made it difficult for them to throw the football. I think our guys kind of settled in after those first couple of explosive plays and played much better."

On the conversation with Alontae Taylor, having him move out of the lineup for a while and his response: "I think (Taylor) responded well. It is never easy. That's hard to deal with, but it was a decision I felt like was best for our football team to give ourselves the best chance to win in this game. We made the move, and look, he came back in and responded. He made a big play in the game. I think in the heat of the moment, he wasn't happy about it. Then, after having a little bit of time to let the game play out, he understood where we were coming from."

On finishing the season strong: "I'm pleased with the way we finished the season. I'm not pleased with the way the record played out overall over a 17-game season. That's not what we aspire to be, but I was proud of the way our guys continued to respond and continued to fight back. I'm proud of the way they finished the season."

On WR A.T. Perry: "It was good to see. (A.T. Perry)'s a good, young player. He's made some plays. I thought our receivers made some contested catches today, which that's a big part of this league and playing in this league. You're not always going to be wide open. Being able to make some plays in a contested environment, I thought was big. I think it was A.T. that got the pass interference call in the end zone, too. There were a lot of big plays that he made."

On Perry's youth: "Part of the process is getting young players, drafting young players, developing young players, and it is a process. It's not an overnight occurrence. I was pleased with some of the things I saw him do."

On if the Saints have gelled in the locker room across these last few games: "It is hard to say what the reasons why would be. I do feel like we have played better in this last little stretch of the season. I'm sure there's a lot of contributing factors to that. I felt like our guys had confidence in these last few weeks that they were going to go out there and play well, and they did."

On the offensive keys to improvement over the last five games: "Again, I think a lot of it goes back to the health of the quarterback. I think the quarterback has been as healthy as (Derek Carr)'s been all season. I think we've seen what he can do when everything is operating the way it needs to operate – when he's healthy, when he's protected. When guys are making plays around him, he can play at a really good level. I think we saw that over the last part of the season. When your quarterback is playing well, your team is playing well. I think that was a big factor."

On the offensive explosion to end the regular season: "About probably the same way it would feel if we had this type of explosion to start the season. It feels good. You like to see that, but it' is one game. We will feel good about that one. Then, we will see if we get another opportunity."

On Kendre Miller's performance: "Hopefully that gives (Miller) some confidence. I know that gives me some confidence. He made a couple of guys miss today. That was really good to see. He ran really hard. He protected the football. Anytime you have young guys, particularly late in the season, and you have young guys that can step up and make plays, regardless of whether we get in or not, I think that gives us confidence as we move forward."


On his interception that was almost a touchdown: "To be honest, I was just glad we won. Whether I made that interception or not, I liked the way our offense played today, how the dome was loud, and how we rallied on defense. I was good with just that. Obviously though, the interception felt good."

On how he has been in the league for a while: "I got a lot of miles on my legs for sure. I still love it and it's still really fun, especially making plays like that."

On defensive adjustments: "We didn't change anything, but we played tougher. We gave up that big play on the first drive for 50-60 yards, then Alontae (Taylor) and I missed the tackles for a big touchdown on the second drive. You take those two plays away, for the most part, we were making those guys earn it. I'm proud of the way we responded and bounced back."

On how the team finished the last five games 4-1: "That's cool. We would have wanted to play like that earlier in the season so we wouldn't have to be in this situation, but we never gave up and we pushed through adversity. That's really all you can ask for."


On how he flat about his performance: "I had to get my get back to be honest. When we played them the first time, I had a fade ball and I made a false start. This time, I had a feeling DC (Derek Carr) was going to throw it so I had to be ready and I was."

On his preparation made his success: "I stayed focused throughout the whole week. DA (Dennis Allen) talked to us this week and said it was a playoff game, so everybody had to dial in and do their job. I was just trying to make the most of my opportunities when they came to me, and I think everybody had the same mentality."

On his connection with Derek Carr: "It's definitely grown over the weeks. He has trusted me more week after week. We always talk and make sure we are on the same page. He needs me to go out there and make plays, so that's what I try and do for him."

On how the offense closed the season today: "It was great. It has been up and down throughout the season, but I still believe in all of our guys. Hopefully there is still some opportunity out there so we can have a chance to get to the postseason."

On how his confidence is right now: "My confidence has always been high. Everything for me starting in the NFL is like starting all over. You have to work hard, and you have to work even harder to make plays when it counts. I just try and make the most of my opportunities."


On what sticks out about how the offense played today: "I haven't seen all the stats but we only had a couple of penalties today. We always moved the ball well, but we just had silly mistakes. It was a clean football game all around."

On what the plan is for later on watching the games: "I have some family in town, so I'll just hang out with them and watch a couple of games closely."

On if he thinks this is a playoff team: "Yeah, for sure. It is hard not to go back and think about some of the games that we lost. It is hard to be in a situation where you do not control your own destiny. We can't dwell on that stuff though, and DA (Dennis Allen) talked all week about controlling what you can control. I was really pleased and happy with the coaches and everyone about how we handled this week and game."

On if he thinks they played better football down the stretch: "Yes, definitely. It's hard to think about a game that was better than this one as a whole. It's a nice feeling to win like this, but it's tough that we need some help to get into the playoffs."

On the growth of A.T. Perry: "First off, I'm just pumped for him. He made some great plays today, but I'm not surprised. This is what we have been seeing all camp and all year long. We always kind of talk about how there is no defense for a perfect pass, and when you have a receiver like him it's almost impossible for a defense."

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