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Saints players react to the season finale loss to Atlanta

Quotes from the Week 17 defeat

Check out the Saints battle the Falcons in their final game of the 2016 season.

WIDE RECEIVER MICHAEL THOMAS

On what he is going to do with the ball that he caught to get him 1,000 yards receiving:
"I'm going to give it to my dad for his birthday. I wanted to go out with a bang to start the year. We didn't win so I didn't start it off on the right note. We will be ready next year."

On whether he saved any of the balls from throughout the season to mark some of your accomplishments:
"Yes sir, I did."

On what he's going to do with those:
"Give them to my father. All of them."

On whether he sensed that he had it in him this year to break all these club rookie receiving records:
"I believed in myself. I played with a chip on my shoulder and will never lose it. I felt like I got slept on during the draft process but everything happens for a reason and I am here today. I never gave up and I feel like it shows a lot of character but I'm going to keep building on this year. I'm just going to put this behind me and try to build on it."

On how did it felt to actually get it done:
"It felt great as you always want to finish with a victory in the playoffs. As a young player, I learned a lot this year and we fought to the end of this game against a really good team. We were down by a lot at halftime but we really responded and almost came all the way back. That's what I love about this team. That's what I'm used to. That brotherhood at Ohio State. Fighting till the end and that's what we did."

RUNNING BACK MARK INGRAM

On reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the first time:
"It's bittersweet. It's extremely disappointing that we aren't going to the postseason and that we finished our third straight year at 7-9. I'm definitely proud of reaching 1,000 [yards] and I have to thank my offensive line, the tight ends, the fullback and the receivers as they have been blocking superb all year. And thank the coaches for having faith in me to call the run. It's a team achievement and a team accomplishment. I have to thank the Lord as it hasn't always been bright. I was able to accomplish something that I have been wanting to do my entire career. I'm excited for it being the first time and excited for there being many others."

OFFENSIVE TACKLE ZACH STRIEF

On Michael Thomas' rookie year:
"He is super competitive. He has such a desire to be a great player almost to a fault. I have to calm Mike down sometimes because he wants it so bad. You put that on top of talent and ability and all of those things the guy has a burning desire to be a great football player and it shows on the field. You see him almost play recklessly because he wants it so bad. The same way in practice and in camp. To do anything that Marques Colston did here is special. He is going to have a great career here."

On whether Sean Payton has given him any assurances about his future:
"No. We don't talk those things. First off none of us talk about that right now and second of all I have said it five times this week and I'm tired of saying it about commenting on a source without knowing who the source is."

LINEBACKER CRAIG ROBERTSON

On Atlanta's offense style of play affecting the defense:
"It wasn't them; we just didn't play the way we were supposed to play. We made a couple of mistakes, and when you make mistakes in the NFL, they go for touchdowns, and that is something we can't continue to do."

On Devonta Freeman's touchdown:
"The offense blocked very well and he made a good cut. When a guy makes a good cut like that, you just have to try and get him down. He's an elite running back and has enough speed, so when he gets into an open field he is going to be gone; so you just have to get bodies in front of him to slow him down."

DEFENSIVE TACKLE SHELDON RANKINS

On the acknowledging the end of the season:
"I was thinking about that, especially with my abbreviated season, it's over. A lot of these guys are going to go their separate ways; it's not like in college where you're still around each other 24/7. It's going to be a little different, but it's also going to be a good time to get my body right and my mind right and come back next year ready to dominate."

On injuries:
"Everything is ok; just more of being safe than sorry type of thing. It's just a little tweak of my Achilles, a little strain, nothing major."

CORNERBACK STERLING MOORE

On Atlanta's offense:
"It was one of those things where we knew we were coming to challenge, and we wanted to play a lot of press-man, so they were hitting their underneath. As far as on the outside, your back is turned so you kind of don't know what is going on. They clamped on very well, so we had to do a better job of getting off of the blocks, so it's something we defiantly have to work on."

On covering Julio Jones:
"Facing him alone is difficult. Anytime you have a guy facing the MVP contention, plus playing the way Matt Ryan is, it's difficult. There were passes out there where Matt is throwing it before Julio comes out of his break. They just have that type of chemistry. It's always a challenge but if you're a corner, and you're a starting corner in this league, you want that challenge."

On comparing the Falcons to the Saints:
"The way they played today in the first half, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in this playoff run. They are clicking in all ways; everything is working for them. Their third and fourth receivers are getting catches, fifth receivers are getting catches, both of their running backs are a problem in the backfield. So if you don't match up right, it can be a problem like how it was for us in the first half."

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