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Quotes from the Atlanta Falcons - Week 12

The Atlanta Falcons spoke to the media following the Thanksgiving day game against the New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons - Mercedes-Benz Superdome - Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018 - Atlanta Falcons

Opening Statement:
"I told the team, (it's) the most challenged we've been over the last three years. It can be frustrating and confusing for sure. The storyline was pretty simple though at the end in terms of the ball(game). I thought the team played hard and the energy was right, the fight was right, but we didn't play well in terms of our execution and certainly our ability to create takeaways and take care of the ball. If you looked at the final, I thought they were able to stop the run and we did not do a good enough job defensively to make that the factor in the game. I said we needed to finish drives in the end zone and we had three turnovers in the red zone. For us what's next is a long weekend. We've got to reset and we've got work to do to play like we need to play and how we're capable of playing. At the end of the day, (there's) a lot of work for us to do to get our game right. It's a pretty simple storyline."

On three lost fumbles in red zone:
"When you have one it feels like a lot, but when you have three down there, I thought that was the real story of the game. We knew that would be a factor coming in, and it was."

On regrouping after Saints score 17 straight points:
"Well I thought we had a chance and then we figured a two minute at the end of the half to see if we could go and then have the ball again to start the half. So as poorly as we'd played early on, I knew we really had a chance to get right back in the game defensively, excuse me, right back in the game starting with the ball. Not scoring on the opening drive I thought that was a setback for us. We said we were going to be aggressive on fourth down. I think we ended up with six of them on the night, four out of six. Not being able to get our run game established that adds to the (lack of) balance. I thought our play action plan, what we needed was going to be right but when we didn't match that in our run game, I thought that was one of the real factors they were able to control the clock some with their run game. I thought that, along with the turnovers, was the real story of this game."

On Saints' play action tonight:
"Yes, they definitely took some shots to the seam and the big touchdown, I think their first touchdown pass, was one that we see quite a bit of the time. At the end of it, it wasn't the pass game that did us in today. I don't know what they ended up throwing for but on a day where he (Drew Brees) throws for under 200 yards is usually ones on the other side that you sign up for but what you don't want are four touchdown passes."

On not being able to establish the running game:
"It made it challenging for sure. I knew they would play well against the run and we would have to have some passes to try and open up the run game, especially on the play action side of things. I thought that part of it went according to plan. What didn't was the ability to convert some of those runs. We knew we would have to have some passes to set up the run in this game, but they played so well against the run but not to get that part going was a factor in this game."

On offensive line problems:
"We'll go back through it (film) hard and look at it. (We will) See if there is a change that needs to be made and will. Nothing will stop us from what we need to do to get the job done. Not saying we will, but it'll give us something to take a look at."

On not playing Deadrin Senat tonight:
"He actually played a little bit better against Dallas but it was more of a factor of how many pass rushers we could get up and get going. He's been up for about 15, 16 snaps and we wanted to add the fullback back into it. It was just a coaching decision on what we thought would be the best to win the game. It was no stretch on him. I told him that too from a performance side of things."

Quarterback Matt Ryan

On how tough the loss was:
"Yes, it's very difficult. Obviously we're disappointed with how the game shaped out tonight. I thought we did some good things offensively, but when you turn the football over four times against a really good football team that's playing with a lot of momentum, that's too much to overcome. We need to be better than that as we move forward. We've got an extended weekend here to get some rest, but also to take a look in the mirror and find ways that we can all be better and that's what we need to do."

On if he saw the safety come through during his fumble:
"Yes, I have to take a look at it. I didn't know where it got tipped from. I can give you a better answer after I've had an opportunity to look at it."

On the uncharacteristic amount of turnovers tonight by the offense:
"Well, I do not know where it came from. You know that hasn't been our style up until this point. Credit to New Orleans. They did a good job of taking it away, but we've got to be better than that offensively. We had opportunities to come away with a lot more points than we did tonight, but when you give them the football especially in the low red (zone) when we have opportunities to come away with points, it's tough to overcome."

On how to move on after this week from the game:
"Well, I think the mindset after tonight with the long weekend, is for each of us individually take a look in the mirror and see what we have to do better to help our team play better than we have up until this point. And that is what I am going to do. And then when we get back to work Monday, it is about going out and having the best Monday practice that we have had. But to make it any more, you know, long-sided than that, I think you cannot do that as an athlete. You have to stay in the moment. You have stay in present with what you're doing. And that what my message would be to those guys."

On what the message to the players hanging their heads, specifically Calvin Ridley after his fumble:
"I did not really say anything. We got the ball back pretty quickly after him – after that on the sidelines. I'll have an opportunity to sit down with him. One thing that I have learned in playing for as long as I have, is sometimes those things are going to happen. You're going to have nights like tonight. But what makes you a great professional is how you're going to respond to nights like tonight and how your process, getting yourself ready to go during the week is, you know, better after having an outing like that. That's what would be my message is to him. It's about controlling what you can control and getting yourself prepared and doing all the things you can so that when you're in that situation again, the result the outcome is different."

Cornerback Robert Alford

On the rivalry here on Thanksgiving:
"I mean, it was good. We knew it was going to be a battle, like you said. There's been a rivalry going over decades. I mean, we came in to it looking to win, but we got a lot that we've got to improve from this game and just come back battling."

On what they did during the first half to keep Drew Brees in check:
"There's just something that we've got to go back and watch on film and see what we fell short at, at the end of the day. I mean, you can't take it from him. Drew is a heck of a quarterback in the NFL. At the end of the day we fall back on what we could improve on."

On what Alvin Kamara did to be so successful against the Falcons defense:
"Just the ways that they use him. They use him as a running back, as a receiver. Pretty much just as a dual guy. So when you studying guys like that, you have to be on your P's and Q's and you have to just study them down to the T and make sure that when you face him, that he gets nothing.

On moving forward here after this game:
"We're going to move on. This team that we have here, I mean, we have a great group of guys here. We never hold our head down. As long as there's still ball to play, we going to battle. We're going to come back on Monday and battle our tails off against each other and come away with a win on Sunday."

Wide receiver Julio Jones

On putting the game in to perspective:
"We have to take care of the ball better. Offensively, that's about it. Guys, we came out. We fought. But turnovers will kill you every time."

On what he said to Calvin Ridley after the game:
"That's just between me and Calvin. He'll be good."

On his message to the team after a game like this:
"We just have to keep fighting. That's it. We'll see what our guys are made of. When you're going in to battle, you want somebody to – it's rough right now for us. You do not want guys to quit and this is the time where you get to see what guys are really like."

Mood in the locker room:
"We know we are a better team than what we put out there today especially offensively. I can't speak for defense. I didn't see what they was doing out there and things like that. But I feel like defense did a great job for us today. The only thing I can speak on is the offense. I feel like we just got to do a better job at protecting the ball."

His take on the Saints defense and their performance tonight:
"They played well. They stopped us, but, we stopped ourselves. Like I said, we gave the ball away and things like that. We just got to take better care of the ball.

On his thoughts after not being able to score like usual through the past few weeks:
"For me, it is never frustrating. I love football. I love playing with these guys week in and week out. It is just, when you do not get the results that you work hard for and things like that – I just love to go to battle for them.

Linebacker De'Vondre Campbell

On where the team goes from here:
"We just have to keep battling."

What's going on in your mind big picture:
"Nah, we're worried about tomorrow. We're worried about next week. The only thing we can live for is tomorrow."

Takeaways from this game defensively:
"I mean, we're a team. It doesn't matter how we play. Defensively we lost. We just got to go back to the drawing board and make corrections and move on."

On mentality to players that are upset:
"Like I said earlier. We just have to keep battling. We can't turn on each other. We a team. We win as a team, we lose as a team."

On the difficulty stopping the running game today:
"I mean, it wasn't difficult. They just made some plays honestly."

On if they were more confident playing Drew Brees due to it being the second time playing against him this year:
"Man, we see him twice a year so we know him as an opponent. He's just a great player and he made a couple great plays."

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