Transcript of Atlanta Falcons Coach Mike Smith's postgame comments Sunday following the New Orleans Saints' 23-17 victory at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
"This obviously was a game we had a chance to win, but we made far too many mistakes throughout the game. Even there in the end we had a great chance but we just didn't get the outcome we wanted. With that being said, we know it's just the first game of a new year. It's a long journey and we're anxious to get back to Flowery Branch to get the mistakes corrected and move onto the next ballgame. You've got to do that, so as a team you've got to put this one behind you. Our motto around here has always been 'stop the streak at one' and that will be our mantra all week long."
On the last drive:
"I thought it was a well executed two-minute drive until we got inside the 10-yard line and we had some opportunities to make the plays and we did not get them done. And again when we play the Saints it's usually a hard fought game and it turned that way again today. My hats off to Sean (Payton) and his staff; they did a great job and they got the outcome they wanted."
"Well, we have to protect the quarterback a lot better than we did today, but there's a lot of things we have to do better. He (Matt Ryan) was hit entirely too many times today and that's one of the things we have to correct. From the very beginning for any position group they are a unit and not one specific person. It's a unit and they have to grow together as a unit to protect the quarterback better than they did today."
On the final play:
"Well I'm not going to talk too much about it. We felt we had a good play called. There were a lot of options called and we had to move down into the second option and until I really see it on the film I really can't comment on it at all."
On the Saints' defense:
"That was not their 2012 defense. You know every year it's a different team. Rob Ryan is their new defensive coordinator and he came in and they made some plays and they were able to put some pressure on our quarterback. I don't think you can compare what their defense was last year to this year. It's a new season and it's a new unit for them."
On Stephen Jackson:
"I thought we were able to run the ball effectively at times and there were times when we could've done it better. I think he's a great addition to our offense and I think he shows what he's capable of doing in the scheme that we are running."
On the Saints offense:
"They are going to move the ball and they are very good and very efficient moving the football. The last two years he (Drew Brees) has thrown the ball for 5,000 yards so he's a very good quarterback. I thought – but I don't know until I watch the tape – that they made some very good plays out there. That's a very good offense and they create some match up issues for anybody."
On options on the last play:
"I'm not going to talk about what the first option was. Again, it's about strategy and it (the final play) is going to be analyzed 5,000 times in the next three days."