Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints ● Monday, December 26, 2011
ATLANTA FALCONS COACH MIKE SMITH
"We are obviously are disappointed in the way that we played in the ballgame tonight. We didn't really play well enough in any phase of the game to give ourselves a chance to win. We didn't make enough plays. There were some opportunities early on and then it kind of got out of hand there at the end.
(on major issues) "We were 0-for-3 in the red zone. We didn't score touchdowns when we got down there. We really had a tough time in the first half of the ball game stopping them on third down. They were eight for eight on third down, and we had some very favorable down and distances…third and 8, third and 10, third and 12, third and 13, and we weren't able to get them off of the field. That was really the thing that happened there in the first half. I thought that special teams played well through the first 30 minutes. In the second half of the ball game, they broke the real long kickoff return with (Darren) Sproles when they ran it down to the 13 yard line. That's kind of where it got out of hand.
(on penalties) "We had way too many penalties. The penalties were very lopsided, in terms of the penalties committed against our team. Some of them happened in the red zone, and that knocked us behind the sticks early in the ball game as well.
(on not having much pressure on Drew Brees tonight) "We had some opportunities to get him on the ground there twice in the first half and he was able to get out. If you don't get pressure and affect Drew, he's going to make the throws. That's what he did today.
(on Drew Brees' record-breaking performance) "Drew Brees has had an outstanding season in terms of the number of yards that he has thrown for. My hat's off to Drew. I congratulate him. That's a long-time record here in the NFL. He accomplished that tonight against us."
(on the loss) "We were not on the top of our game in any phase in terms of our football team in my mind. We just didn't play very consistently. It's not the type of effort that you want to have with so much on the line with what the outcome could have meant to our football team."
ATLANTA FALCONS PLAYERS
QB #2 MATT RYAN
"We have to get a lot better in the red zone. We needed a lot more touchdowns than the field goals we got out there. For some reason we just didn't play our best football tonight. All we can do now is have a great week of practice and get ready to play Tampa next week and then get ready for the playoffs after that."
(on Drew Brees' record) "I'm really happy for Drew. He's a great guy and a tremendous competitor and someone who works really hard to achieve what he did tonight. He's really dedicated himself to play the position at a high level and what he did tonight is really well deserved. And watching what happened at the end of the game was really exciting. He obviously is re-writing the record book and I am really excited for him."
DE #55 JOHN ABRAHAM
"The main word tonight was missed opportunities. That's what this game was all about. On the defensive end we dropped a few balls we should have had and I even missed a sack or two that could've made a difference.
"I don't know why we came out a little sluggish but we did. And in the end they got the momentum and held onto it. When their offense and a guy like Drew Brees gets on a roll it's a real hard thing to stop. I mean he was hot today and on fire. But I still thought we did a great job of breaking up a few passes. Like I said we should have had more interceptions and that's what I mean about us leaving a lot out there."
S #28 THOMAS DeCOUD
"We have a lot more expectations than just getting into the playoffs. We have a goal as a team to get into the playoffs and make a deep run and not just be satisfied with making the playoffs.
"We are looking forward to possibly playing them (Saints) a third time. We are aware of where we stand and nothing would be better than to return down here and take a final shot at them."