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Mike Smith, Matt Ryan discuss their loss

Postgame quotes from Falcons Coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan

Coach Mike Smith
Opening statement: "I felt like the effort in the ballgame was good and gave us a chance to win the football game. I like how we started the game; we liked how we started the football game. I felt like we played well in spurts. Again, there were some situations in situational football that we didn't win. Unfortunately, we didn't get the outcome that we wanted."

On how he was trying to work the last drive:

"Well, if we would have gotten some yardage on third down, it opens up your playbook. There is not a whole lot of great fourth and fifteen or fourth and fourteen plays. We felt a like field goal and then get an opportunity on the plus side of the two minute with three timeouts, get an opportunity to get the football back and field goal wins the game. Unfortunately, we did get the football back, we missed the field goal, we got the football back but with only a desperation play left with five seconds. "

On giving up big plays to Jimmy Graham:

"We did. Again, there are some situations that have been our nemesis all season long. Explosive plays are one of them. We're not where we want to be in terms of playing defense, in terms of explosive plays. When you give up an explosive play, you're going to give up points on that drive; it's just statistically the way it is. We've got to get better at it. Again, there are always positives, there are negatives in every football game, but I did think the guys gave the effort. We just didn't execute all the plays we needed to execute."

On the offensive line:

"We've got to continue to work with the guys that we have. We've got some opportunities to maybe bring some other guys up that haven't been active. There are a number of things. We've got to be better schematically. We've got to make sure we're putting them in their best positions as a coaching staff in terms of the things we're asking them to do. Entirely too many pressures on the quarterback in the football game tonight. "

On fighting through some of the adversity:

"Absolutely, much better. I thought that we responded to some momentum changes, to some adversity in the football game, but still not good enough. When you don't win, it's not good enough."

On going for it on the third down:

"Yes, you always go through that mental process in terms of the decision you have to make, but there are not a whole lot of fourth and fourteens. We felt like the field goal, we had I believe 2:28, so we had a timeout before the two minute. We used the two minute as a timeout, and we were going to have an opportunity to get the ball back with the offense to only have to kick a field goal to win. Matt Bryant has kicked a lot of clutch field goals for us and given us an opportunity."

On how to get Darius Johnson to bounce back from the red zone fumble:

"Darius is a strong young man, who has come a long way in a short time in terms of undrafted free agents. Plays like that are going to happen. Unfortunately, it happened at a very bad time for our football team, but he will bounce back. The guys in that locker room will help him. That play did not lose the football game for us. There were many plays that were factors in us not winning the ballgame."

On Darius Johnson's play overall:

"I thought Darius did a very nice job. He did a great job in his matchup. They were matching their corners and most of their coverages, so he was going against the same guy almost every snap. I thought that he did a nice job in his match up. He was one on one the majority of the time."

Quarterback Matt Ryan
On the second to last drive of the ball game:

"We were backed up and I think we did a nice job, after the first play was a sack, of getting ourselves back into it. We got a couple yards on the second down situation and then came up with a big third down conversion with WR Roddy [White]. I thought he did a great job; he kind of broke off the route and just kind of played ball for the third down conversion. That kind of got us going. We just stalled out. That's the disappointing part on that last drive. We had opportunities and we were moving it down there. We felt like we were going to get the job done and we stalled out. We're disappointed that we didn't get it done."

On dealing with the pressure form the Saints' defense:

"It's just one of those things. You have to keep playing. I actually thought that our offensive line did a pretty good job tonight. We came out and were physical early on. I thought that they fought really hard. We got the run game going, which was good for us. Credit to those guys pushing upfront. Collectively, there were just too many mistakes and not enough big plays. In order to win games, especially against a good football team like New Orleans, you have to do that."

On the sack by DE Akiem Hicks and his thoughts on the no-call:

"That's not for me to say. The officials do the best that they can out there and the game moves fast. You just have to keep playing. It's a physical game. Hits are going to be physical, but again, it's not for me to decide [if it should have been a penalty]."

On sacks halting the offense's progress:

"That was one of those things throughout the game [that plagued us]. We had a couple of different drives stall for different reasons but its just part of the deal. We have to find ways to extend more drives and to score more points and I think that has to be the focus for us."

On the play of WR Darius Johnson and what to say to him after his fumble:

"It's tough. That's part of the growing pains of coming into your own. I think you have to feed off the positives of what he did tonight. He came out and had a bunch of catches and made some big conversions and made some big plays for us. It's tough because, when you're down there and you're in an area where you feel like you can score some points, those [turnovers] hurt. All in all, I think you have to remember that he's five games into it and he's playing very well for us."

On some positive takeaways from tonight's game:

"It's tough to find a lot when you're not winning games. I think the emergence of Darius, the way he's been playing for us and stepping up with the absence of WR Julio [Jones], I think that's a positive. Same with the offensive line, their attitude and their effort of stepping up early on and getting the run game going was a positive for us. The defense did a great job as well playing against one of the best offenses
in the league. They kept them out of the end zone as much as they normally score, so I thought they did a nice job also. Offensively we have to score more points than that."

On the mentality of the team going into that second to last drive:

"I think we get in that huddle and you look around and we feel confident. And we moved it. We started from our own eight-yard line and we started moving it and got it in our plus territory. So when you're out there and you're actually moving it I felt like everybody was positive, upbeat, and excited about it. We felt like we were going to win. It's disappointing when you don't come away with the outcome that you want, but that's part of the deal."

On what the official said to you on the Matt Ryan hit in the first quarter:

"That was not a penalty, because there was not a flag thrown. Again, we will have to wait and see what happens later on in the week. The explanation I got was it wasn't a penalty. They didn't see any contact to the head or neck area, and of course what they see is what it is."

On the turnover opportunities:

"There are plays that you'll say 'gosh that is the season'....we are breaking on the ball, we are going to intercept it, two guys aggressively going towards the football. The tough thing was we injured one of our players and he had to miss some time because of that collision as well, guys trying to make plays in those situations."

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