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Postgame Transcripts: Week 8 at Atlanta

Interim head coach Steve Wilks

Opening Statement: 

"We didn't find a way to finish. We had too many opportunities to win this football game, and we didn't find a way to get it done and that falls on me. We've got to make sure we're smart enough, something to learn from, celebration penalty, a big play like that we've got to keep our poise. It was a great job with DJ [Moore] coming up with the big play, great pass by PJ [Walker], but as a team we just got to make sure we're smart and ready to take it to the next level, next step. When you look at the comparisons for us rushing the football, I thought we did a great job, 169, they had 167 which was too much. We've got to stop the run. We knew that coming into the game. Pretty balanced when you look at third down conversions, they were 6-of-12, we were 5-of-13. We've got to find more opportunities to be able to convert and move the chains and keep the drive alive." 

On his message to WR DJ Moore after the game: 

"I think as a whole, we've got to be better as a team and DJ is smart enough to understand that's something to learn from. Very talented player, glad he's on our team, but moving forward that's something that we'll learn from and won't make that same mistake." 

On his message to K Eddy Pineiro after his two missed kicks: 

"It didn't come down to that, of course it would've given us the opportunity to win, but offense, defense, and special teams, we could've had it way before then. With me, I'm encouraging him and trying to build him up. I told him, 'Hopefully we give you the opportunity to come back and win it for us,' and unfortunately, we didn't." 

On what made him feel that QB PJ Walker was going to get it together after pick six in the first half: 

"You've got to get into a rhythm. You've got to have confidence in who you have in there early on, and I wasn't about to pull him that early. I didn't really think about it to be honest, and as coaches we've got to continue to put guys in the best positions to be successful, and I thought upfront what we were doing as far as moving the pile and creating a line of scrimmage, we just had to create some balance." 

 On whether he felt K Eddy Pineiro was in his own head following the missed extra point: 

"I have no idea as it regards to what was in his head, and to be quite honest I have to look at the tape to look at the whole progression of exactly what happened." 

On whether he feels inclined to look for a new kicker: 

"I'm not inclined to elaborate on anything like that. Do I want him to make those kicks? Yes. Do I want the guys to make the proper blocks and catches? Of course. We've got to all get better, even me." 

On how he keeps the spirits up after a loss like this: 

"This is the National Football League; I told the guys 'We'll see our true character and who we are as a team in how we come in there and work tomorrow.' It was tough but we got to get ready for Cincinnati, and how we come tomorrow and make the corrections we need to make, build on the things that we did well, and get ready to go on the road and play a real good football team."   

On whether he'll do anything different in this week's practice to help the team: 

"No, I think our approach has been great. We come to work and work hard each and every week, and we put the pads on, on Wednesday, that's not going to change, and focus the details, and it's all about the little things. At this time of the year, you get so caught up in scheme, and my mindset is always about the fundamentals and technique, and that's what we got to continue to harp on. We've got to find a way to finish the football game." 

On what caused RB D'Onta Foreman to have such a successful game: 

"I think it's just the mere fact of getting into a rhythm, he's a guy that has to get into a rhythm. I thought the offensive line, once again, did a great job and coming off the ball and creating a new line of scrimmage, and giving him the avenues and opening up the holes where he could see it. I liked his performance; I wish we were able to get a little bit more to the point where it's going to help us win football games early." 

On what he saw during the play where QB PJ Walker threw a 62-yard pass to WR DJ Moore: 

"It was something we had talked about on the headsets, and really trying to create a scissors concept with the receivers and hopefully we can get one of the receivers to try to split the secondary which he did. PJ did a great job, gave him time to be able to sit back there and see it, I thought it was great route and good ending with DJ coming down with the ball." 

On explaining the scissors concept given to receivers:  

"What we call a scissors concept, where one receiver runs a corner route and the other runs a post." 

On what caused the defense to struggle during the second half: 

"I got to watch the tape and see exactly what happened to see it in detail. I know a couple of times we weren't tackling well, may have gotten out of our gaps, as we sit here and talk about it and see it on the sidelines. In full I've got to look at the tape."   

On the stakes being high for Sunday's game: 

"As I just told those guys, 'It's a lot of football left.' We missed an opportunity today, could've had an opportunity to win this game and be first place, but the season is not over. The opportunity for us to win this division is still there, we're not going to look ahead towards Thursday night, we're going to still stay the course and continue to do what we do which is taking it one game at a time and trying to win the day and we'll do that tomorrow in preparation getting ready for Cincinnati." 

On the positives that came from this game: 

"I think the guys—we didn't give up; we didn't give up. The guys continued to fight throughout the whole game, particularly same thing in overtime. We, once again, have got to find a way to finish though, that's the key."

QB PJ Walker

On the support he receives from his teammates: 

"The support I get from these guys in the locker room is insane. I couldn't ask for a better group. You can just see the fight in all of us. We all feed off each other's energy. If I'm out there playing well, I feel like everybody else got to be out there with a lot of energy and juice and playing well as well, and I think that's the key thing to this team, to continue to get better and continue to grow. It's not a one-man show out there. It's a whole team out there dominating, playing football, playing good football." 

On the chemistry he has with his receivers:  

"Just giving those guys the opportunity to get the ball in their hands. Letting them make plays. We've taken some shots with DJ, even Terrace Marshall. Just giving them the ball and giving those guys one-to-one opportunities to make plays and you can see it that they can do it, so why not continue to do it? Just go out there, get those guys the opportunity and see what happens." 

On WR DJ Moore's penalty for removing his helmet: 

"He will learn from it. It's a lesson to learn from. I think it's something that we can all learn from as a unit. We can just let something catastrophic like that hurt us. He will bounce back from it; we will all bounce back from it and continue to get better. I think we got one hell of a team in that locker room that got a lot of fight, and a lot of pride." 

On insuring that K Eddy Pineiro is ok:  

"I walked into the locker room and just told him to keep his head up. It's not on him. I made a mistake for the other half you know; you can't make that up either. That's seven less points in the game that we could have had capitalized as a team. Those things happen and you'll get another opportunity next week. Go out there and do it." 

On the confidence he has as a quarterback when the run game is working well:  

"It gives me a lot of confidence. Just knowing that he's going to get downhill and make those tough runs. He's a tough dude. He's physical, he's a bruiser, he's a bruiser back there so you know just giving the ball to his hands and giving him the opportunity to do his thing is something that we look to do more moving forward." 

On whether this was the craziest game he's ever played in: 

"This is it right here. This is one that I will probably remember for a long time. We will continue to get better, play and continue to fight. There's a long season left, and we still got a lot of games left man. It's a lot of football." 


On scoring a game-tying touchdown with 12 seconds remaining: 

"It was a spectacular fade. I dropped the one beforehand and I let it loose, but I got to understand it was still time on the clock and you can't do that." 

On when he realized what happened during the play: 

"When I seen everybody sprint on the field and jumping around. Then I looked at the clock out the corner of my eyes and I was like oh shit and that was that." 

On what he was reflecting on on the bench after the game: 

"What would happen If I didn't take my helmet off and go back to what happened, that was about it." 

On whether he talked to K Eddy Pineiro following the game: 

"No, not yet. You can't jump down and do that right after the game. When they know what happened and we all know what happened it's hard to recoup." 

On how tough it is to not close out the game: 

"Real tough. You know everybody was out there competing, going back and forth with them so at the end of the day, they came out with the win. You just have to finish and execute, and I had that penalty on me and that was kind of major." 

On his touchdown and penalty afterward: 

"I just had a post. PJ started scrambling and I didn't see the ball in the air yet and then he launched it. I reaccelerated it and just made a play. That's all I could remember after that I just remember the flags and the ref coming up to me."


On whether the failed extra point got to his head when lining up for the kick in overtime: 

"I just missed the kick. I just have to make the kick and I know it hurts. I love this team and I know they have my back and I know it's not going to define me as a kicker. Everybody misses kicks and unfortunately mine was today and my time was today. I'll bounce back and be ready to kick" 

On whether he felt he overcompensated when missing the kick in overtime to the left: 

"I just came across it. My hips came across it and I should have kept my hips forward." 

On getting words on encouragement from Johnny Hekker: 

"He told me I'm a great kicker, he's been around some good guys and he was just super encouraging. He's a great punter and it just hurts and it's frustrating. We have a good team and I wanted to come through for them and today I didn't." 


On what went well for him during the game: 

"I just played my game. The line did great moving those guys. I just tried to play my game, be physical, run hard and make those guys have to tackle me. I just felt like we started to wear them down as the game went on. I felt like that was the plan. We have to see them again in about a week and a half, so we just have to stay together, continue to believe in each other and get these wins." 

On his reaction to DJ Moore's penalty following Moore's touchdown: 

"To be honest, I wasn't worried about the penalty. I was more worried about winning the game. Things happen and I still believe in those guys. There's no finger pointing, no hard feelings, it's just the way the game goes. I'm sure a lot of people didn't feel like we were about to throw the ball 62 yards and get a touchdown. It's just the way things go. I still love these guys, their fight, and the way we continue to battle. Nobody gave up and nobody quit. That's all you can ask for." 

On how the team plans on refocusing and bouncing back for upcoming games: 

"Just stay together. That's all we can do. We have a lot of football left. We have to continue to believe, continue to fight and continue to come to work each and every day, preparing the right way and find a way to pull out these games when they're close." 

On losing a close game with lots of emotions: 

"This one hurts. We just have to go back and watch the film and see what we could've done better. No one play defines the game. We have to watch film to figure out what we could've done better, how we could've made more plays to win the game. We just have to stay together."

View best in-game photos from Carolina's Week 8 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

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