Falcons head coach Dan Quinn
On still being in the playoff chase after winning at Jacksonville: "Yeah, that part getting right back into it was great. It was definitely a really tough stretch highlighted by a really good game up in Carolina by you guys. So for us to have a good outing last week and playing the style that we think is more accustomed to how we'd like to play this past week, it was good to get back on track so to speak."
On the key to snapping six-game losing streak last week: "Really, there's a couple things. I'll kind of take you through both sides of the ball. Offensively, I thought we played with better balance. You know, our run pace, staying on schedule, our third downs weren't quite so long and we played well on third down. So, some of the drives were able to keep extending, so I think that was a real factor. And then defensively, we knew we had to play better at the line of scrimmage and we did, which led into some better third down opportunities defensively, and that's where we played much better defensively. So, it was about the ball. We had one takeaway, they had one. Ours ended up being a long one, an interception return that ended up in a field goal, but that was the real factor that we thought why we played better. We had been in a number of close games and weren't able to finish, so it was very, much more like us to have the finish that we're more accustomed to doing."
On 38-0 loss to Panthers two weeks ago: "I think I was most frustrated, I'll tell you a couple things. First, defensively, the explosive plays. It's been part of our game that we took great pride in, so for us to have that many explosives especially just right off the bat where we kind of put everybody into a hole, that was a real factor for sure. And then my frustration was, we felt like we were out of whack trying to play from way behind and that part was sure frustrating for me."
On Cam Newton as an MVP candidate: "Yeah, I think it's very deserving to be in that conversation and I think so many of them, here's why. He's had some opportunities at the end of the game to come through and help the club win and whether it was a throw, a pass, a scramble. And so, it's kind of those moments where to finish with that hand and he was able to capitalize on it, and I think that's a real sign of a guy who's really valuable. I think those are the examples that you kind of get to demonstrate that, so I think he is for sure in the conversation with a number of good players for sure, but it's those moments that usually define it for me."
On the Panthers' defensive front four: "Number one, I think they've got some really unique guys and I think the way that Sean (McDermott) and the guys are featuring them, you know how they play Charles (Johnson), Kawann (Short), I think, for an inside player, he is a real factor. That's been my experience. Sometimes when, even when you're outside, you're really ripping and roaring, it's the inside guys that make the outside rush totally come alive. So, he's for sure been one. Kony (Ealy) has been one. I just thought it's the mix of guys that are going and then when they do pressure, you definitely feel the speed with Thomas (Davis) or Luke (Kuechly) or Shaq (Thompson) or whoever the blitzes are, you can totally feel the speed. I think it is a little bit of a combination from the rush. I think they know how to feature the uniqueness of the players and then when the pressures do come to affect the quarterback, you definitely feel the speed."
On facing a 14-0 team at home: "I think there is a lot of truth to that. I've got some good experience with that coming off some good years in the past when you win a championship sometimes the next year you've heard that talk, you get their best shot. During the season I don't know if I experienced that quite as much because it's during the regular season, we haven't even reached the playoffs yet, so it's hard to say that in my opinion, but what I can tell you is they're playing really well, no doubt, they're 14-0, that's no big surprise. As far as best shot during the regular season based on what you're currently doing, I don't have an opinion on that, I do know they're playing really well though."
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan
On what Atlanta did to beat Jacksonville: "Yeah, you know I thought it was good for us to start fast. To come out early and be able to score on the first drive and maintain the balance that we wanted to maintain throughout the game, I thought that was really important for us. And then we were able to find a way in the second half to get it done, to finish out the game the way that we needed to, so that was fun to be a part of that and a good team win for us."
On Julio Jones needing 26 receptions to break NFL single-season record: "Well, I don't think it will change our gameplan at all. You know, obviously all year he has been an important part of what we do. I don't think there's any emphasis to try and get him the ball any more or any less. I mean he's one of the most unselfish guys I've been around. I was trying to say yesterday that I wouldn't put anything out of the realm of possibility with him because he's such a great player and such a talented guy and that was really all I was trying to say with that."
On his state of mind following a shutout loss to Carolina two weeks ago: "Well, you know what we've done the last 14 games don't really make a difference at this point. It's about what we're going to do this week and so from a confidence standpoint I believe in our guys, I believe in myself, that we're capable of going out there and playing our best ball this week. As far as rebounding from the last game that we played against Carolina, it was a tough day and credit to them, I mean they've played really well all year long. But we have to focus on ourselves and play our best football and being as efficient as we can possibly be on the offensive side of the ball while at the same time finding a way to get into the end zone."
On tackling the Panthers' pass rush: ""We certainly have to come out and be really solid up front and try to win the line of scrimmage. That's important. When you go against this defense they're very physical on the front four, they've got great linebacker play, sideline to sideline and then they're really solid in the back end. So we have to be rock solid up front and I think our guys will be up to the challenge."
On the Giants' offensive success versus Carolina: "I thought the Giants did a great job, basically in the last quarter-and-a-half of creating explosive plays and you know, against Carolina that's difficult to do. But, they made some plays happen and I think that's the reason that they were able to get back into that game and we have to find a way to get that done too. Find a way to create some explosive plays because when you have to go two, three yards at a time, they're very, very solid on the defensive side of the ball so that has to be a point of emphasis for us."
On fellow Boston College alum Luke Kuechly: "I did not overlap with Luke at BC (Boston College), but I've gotten to know him, obviously followed him while he was there. But, I've gotten to know him since and Luke's a great guy and an awesome player, but really good guy off the field, really good person and obviously a great representation of Boston College."
On Carolina clinching the division in Atlanta two years running: "It's never fun, that's for sure, when we don't finish out the way that we wanted to. But, again hats off to them, they did a great job."
LAST TIME THEY PLAYED
View the top photos by photographer Kent Smith from Carolina's game against Atlanta.