ATLANTA FALCONS HEAD COACH DAN QUINN
"As a team, we want to thank the fans. The energy tonight was great. We asked for it during the week, and they certainly answered. I hope everyone gets to use the hall pass we put on there, it's good until noon. Today you've heard me talk about resiliency and what we stand for as a group of guys, and that really came out tonight. With the team during the week, we talked about if would we be at our best at two-minute and four-minute times today. I had a sense it would be that way with this game. The situations were going to be important in the two-minute and four-minute, and we certainly performed better on third downs tonight on both sides. I thought that was the story of the game. All the way to the end we went for it, and I thought Deion Jones made a terrific play to cap it off. We had a sense it would go all the way down to the end."
On the vantage point of the interception:
"Yeah, I can't wait to see it. Anytime you have to take a while to land, you know you're up there. He definitely went up and reached for it. In terms of his ability to go make plays, it showed up again tonight. That's part of the preparation and that's part of him, the athlete. Those guys on defense stood up and showed a lot of resiliency."
On how the defense at the end of the game:
"We didn't know which phase it was going to come down to at the end. We hadn't even talked about that. It was going to be Matt Bryant going after, trying to kick one to win it. Was it going to be the two-minute offense to go after the touchdown, or would the defense have to get a stop to answer? It wasn't all pretty. There were things for us that we'll clean up moving forward. Tonight, we knew it was going to be a hard-fought battle. I thought the team, on a short week, did an excellent job in their preparation to get ready. Like I said, I love this team and what they stand for as a group of guys."
On whether he felt like the Falcons had a well-balanced attack on the ground:
"It certainly felt that way, and that was part by design. We're at our best when we're able to feature the runners in their way and get our play-action game going. We'll go back and look at it again tomorrow. That's always by design with us, as well as having a chance to be physical in the run game.
On his thought process behind declining the penalty:
"I thought they were going to kick it. You don't get those do-overs to go. I know how good they are. I thought that here's a fourth-down stop, and they would kick it to tie it. That's why we were trying to use the timeouts there. That was really the only reason. We didn't want to move it back some and give them a chance at a potential first down. So, I really thought they'd kick it. That's why we declined it. I thought about it because I knew how close it was. In that situation, they had to choose whether to go tie it or go for it. They made the call, went for it, and we weren't able to stop it."
On whether he thought he should've taken the penalty:
"Yes, 100 percent. I didn't call timeout. It was definitely one that I thought through. After that, you make your decision. Then you say let's go for it and see where it goes from here. We had a good third-down stop on the play prior. You take your best shot and your best play to go for it."
On how he feels when the offense is struggling:
"I don't think of it in that way. I understand where you're leading with that, but it's the connection with the team. There are games that we need to score 35 to win it, and we'll do that. If there's a game that you need less to go win it, we'll do that too. So, yeah, it would be awesome if both sides were no scores or high scores. Most important to me is the connection they have between one another. Whether special teams needs a boost offensively or defensively, that's the connection I look for amongst the team. I just had a sense that this one would go all the way down to the end. Certainly, the turnovers were a factor in the game. We thought we had a chance at the end of the half to get some points. Coming back out, that's something we'll look at and work on."
On what he was thinking on the sideline after the three turnovers:
"The big thing is the next group that has to get their mindset together. We gather that group up on the sideline and talk about any alerts that could come up. I thought it was an excellent play by Julio Jones on the tackle during the return. Without his tackle, that one probably would've gone back further. I'll look at that one, but I I saw his speed go and chased him to make a good play for the tackle. That speaks of who he is as a competitor. My initial response is what's next. You're initially pissed and bummed like everybody, but then you think about what's next and how we attack from here."
On how Deion Jones has progressed as a leader:
"Number one, I think he's tackling better. From the football side of things, he's bringing his feet and he's really improved as a tackler as the season has gone on. From a football technique standpoint, I see that part of his game coming together. He has the quickness at linebacker to make alerts and make calls based on film study. That is the natural progression you would hope. You can call it instincts, but part of that is also the work you put in. This play might happen based on this formation or on this look. You see that from him. The really good linebackers have those traits. Sometimes, when they get really good, you have some plays that you think will go one way and it goes elsewhere. This division has some good linebackers and he's certainly one of those."
On how Deion Jones is adapting to his new role:
"It's the versatility between Marquand Manuel and Jeff Ulbrich. They know how to feature him best and make sure he's in the roles that he can do, whether it's man-on-man on backs or playing in zone coverage. Those are the things that we love about his game, so we try to feature him in those roles as often as we can. We try to put De'Vondre Campbell and Vic Beasley in different roles. We try to feature the guys in things that they do really well."
QUARTERBACK MATT RYAN
On how he felt after tonight's win:
"I feel good. We got the job done. Obviously, it was an up-and-down game. It was a battle, for sure. We made some mistakes. We were able to overcome them. But, good teams find ways to win and that's what I thought we did tonight. Our defense stepped up and played extremely well. I think New Orleans has been averaging 30-plus points a game. For our defense to step up and play the way they did tonight was impressive. I thought our offensive line played extremely well. We ran the ball efficiently. We ran it physically. I'm just proud of the way the guys competed for four quarters and got the job done. Great play by Deion Jones at the end of the game."
On whether he saw Deion Jones' interception on the screen:
"I was standing on the side. I had a good angle of it. I was kind of standing at the far end of the sideline watching it. That's one of those plays as a quarterback where you want to be aggressive and give your guys an opportunity to make a play in that red zone, but Jones is a special player. I think he's going to be a guy that a lot of people know about for a long time. He's a really good player and made a great play right there."
On what caused his interceptions:
"I think the first interception was a bad play. In that situation, where we're at on the field, I've got to throw the football away. I thought he was getting held. I thought we'd get an opportunity for a call, but I've got to be better than that and throw the ball away. At the beginning of the second half, those happen. Sometimes those physical mistakes happen. Then on the third in the end zone, you want to give Julio opportunities. I didn't throw the ball nearly high enough where it needed to be and I've got to make a better decision in that situation to know we have three points on the board. I'm disappointed in a couple of plays, but that's part of it. Sometimes it goes that way, and you've got to keep battling and keep your mindset right. I was pleased with how I did that, and I was pleased with how our entire team did that."
On how he moves forward after an interception:
"I've had worse games. Yeah, I've thrown five before. I think it comes with experience. I think that comes with confidence and belief in yourself. Sometimes that's how it goes. That's the case in all sports. There are nights that are like that, but those don't define the outcome of the game. How you respond to those situations defines who you are as a player and who you are as a team. I thought that was critical for us as a team tonight to be able to respond on both sides of the ball. To make plays and to just gut it out and find a way to win."
On how the run game brought the offense back on track:
"I thought our offensive line did a great job the entire game, but specifically in the second half we ran the ball effectively. Our running backs ran hard. Very physical. They did a great job. Our wide receivers were blocking hard on the outside and that's the reason we won. We were able to move the ball very effectively on the ground and that's a big reason why we won tonight."
On what he learned from this game:
"We'll look at the film and take a look at some of the things we did well, some of the things we didn't do well, how they played us and make certain adjustments in a couple of weeks. But, I'm looking forward to next week. At this point, this time of the year, all that matters is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 10 or 11 days. We'll get to the Saints in two weeks."
On whether this was a must win game:
"Luckily, we don't have to figure that out. I don't know. Obviously winning is much better than losing."
On whether the strong run game helped his confidence after the interceptions:
"The run game is always good, picks or no picks. Running the football is always a good thing for an offense. It helped us tonight. That's for sure. I thought our offensive line did a great job. The running backs ran hard and it was a big reason why we won the game."
On the offense controlling the clock throughout the game:
"I thought we moved the ball really well the entire night. We had a couple turnovers that kind of got us off schedule and we should have come away with more points in those situations. But, it's huge. Their offense is prolific and very good. I thought our defense did an excellent job the entire night battling and making plays. But, it's always good to have it. It's always good to possess it. They can't score when you've got the ball."
WIDE RECEIVER JULIO JONES
On his touchdown-saving tackle before the half:
"It's just a mentality. You've got to think, it's the offensive line and the quarterback, so I've got to go out there and make a play."
On how big this win is tonight going forward:
"Oh it was a big win for us, a great team win. The defense played great for us. Offense, we still need to get better."
On Deion Jones' game-clinching interception:
"Deion had a phenomenal game today. He was really flying around. He was a madman today, and I appreciate playing with him."
On why he yelled 'I told you' after he made the tackle:
"They were just going two-man on me, and I knew the guy was going to sit heavy inside. He still grabbed me in like a bear hug, and there wasn't holding or anything called on the play, but I just wanted another play because I had seen it coming. I knew he was going to sit heavy inside on me."
On how the offense bounced back from Matt Ryan's interceptions:
"We don't care about that. It's one play, one play, one play. That's the way you go about the game, good or bad. That's just the mentality that you have to have. Next play, next play, you can't dwell on the play before."
On his mentality heading into the rematch in two weeks:
"I'm looking forward to it, but right now we're going to take this small break and worry about Tampa."
WIDE RECEIVER MOHAMED SANU
On catching a touchdown and giving the ball to his son:
"It was pretty cool. It was awesome to have him right there at the end of the end zone, so it kind of touched me. I shed a couple tears on the sideline. That's me, that's my junior, so it was so awesome."
On what this win means for the team:
"It's big. It was a short week. We prepared hard. There were a lot of ebbs and flows of the game, but we stuck together and everybody fought hard."
On how the offense bounced back from Matt Ryan's three interceptions:
"Matt's cool, calm, and collected. Some of those were mishaps, and we just bounced back and stuck together."
On the game clinching interception:
"Actually, it was quick. I was looking down and when I looked back up I just heard everybody go crazy, so it was awesome."
RUNNING BACK DEVONTA FREEMAN
On the win:
"It was like riding down the street, and you have to keep focused on where you're going, and not what is happening with your destination. There are going to be bumps and bruises in the road. In this game, we had turnovers, but it's all about how you finish, and that's the main thing."
On Wes Schweitzer recovering the ball:
"I'm so thankful for [Wes] Schweitzer. That was a good play, and I appreciate that. We got the win so I'm happy."
On whether he saw Sean Payton making choking gestures:
"I saw it. He is a good competitor, so his competitive side came out, but I don't let that bother me."
On the effects of short week:
"We knew what we were coming into after the last game we played. We just had to prepare the same, and we treated it normal. It was a good process for us."
On reverting back to the run game due to turnovers:
"In football, you're going to have turnovers. They are going to do something good, and we are going to do something good. They are in the NFL for a reason, but we had to finish."
LINEBACKER DEION JONES
On the Saints going for it on fourth and one:
"I knew it. I just kind of felt like they wanted to get a win. Drew [Brees] is a great quarterback and they can trust him. We just had to stand up and make the most of the opportunity. We had to finish strong."
On the defense coming together down the stretch:
"It's great. We always talk about being closers and being bad on the field. That is just a product of how hard we work and I'm proud. We have to have the offense's back when we step out there."
On his interception:
"I knew I was isolated and I thought Drew [Brees] knew that. When the tight end looked back, I looked back and the ball was right there. I just tried to make a play on the ball and I happened to catch it. It was a long way down but I held on to it. I was just thinking to hold on to the ball. It's all about the ball. Once I realized that I had it, I knew it was going to be a long way down. I felt my feet in the air and I just wanted to hold on to it and get up with the ball. I just opened up my eyes and all my brothers were standing right there."
SAFETY KEANU NEAL
On Deion Jones' interception:
"I just saw him leap and take it. It was awesome. I knew he had a crazy vertical. He's a freak athlete."
On the defense finishing the game:
"It was cool. We put it on our shoulders. Like Q [Dan Quinn] said, the offense passed on the baton to us and we took care of it."
On fighting for the division:
"We knew this was a must win. We came in the same way we do each week. Each week is championship week. We focus on the team at hand. Obviously, that was New Orleans so we got ready for them and it was part of championship week. Guys start turning it up as the regular season is coming to an end."
SAFETY RICARDO ALLEN
On Deion Jones' interception:
"That was an amazing catch. He flipped upside down and caught the ball. He landed on his neck. That was a great play. I don't know how he caught it but I appreciate him catching it."
On forcing turnovers:
"Every week we always talk about turnover margin and how important the ball is. It was great that we finished it on the turnover. It was "Turnover Thursday" and we ended up getting the win."
On looking ahead at the rest of the season:
"We still take it one day and one game at a time. We never look too far ahead. We can enjoy the moment right now and then when we get our ten days off and focus on the next team. You can't look too far ahead and you can't be thinking about the playoffs right now when you are still in the regular season."
On the defense coming together:
"Last year we didn't put out the show that we wanted to. This year we came back and wanted to put it on our shoulders. We didn't want the offense to have to score 40 points to win every game even though they are capable of it. We want to go out there and ball. That's what we did."