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Atlanta coach Mike Smith, post-game, 11.22.09

I was really proud of the way our team played and continued to fight. They showed a lot of resolve. We were not able to overcome a number of mistakes that we made. We were able to keep our composure and, especially there in the fourth quarter, get some stops defensively, get the ball to the offense, and we were able to take this game into overtime. We ended up a little bit short. We’ve got to get home, make the corrections, and get ready for a three-game home stand there at the Georgia Dome.

Q: Coach, can you talk about the play of your defense in the second half? The secondary, in particular.

A: We gave up a lot of passing yards. That’s very obvious. Way too many passing yards and again, it’s team defense, it’s not just the secondary. It’s a combination of the secondary, linebackers, and defensive [line]. We’ve got to make plays on third down. We continued to struggle on third down. It’s a combination of a number of things, but we cannot give up those types of yards in the passing game and expect to have the success that we want to have.

Q: Can you talk about the job Matt [Ryan] did in that last drive to tie the game up?

A: I though Matt did a very good job. [He] bounced back from a first half where we didn’t have the numbers and statistics that we’d like. He threw the ball well. He operated in and out of the no-huddle offense, which is something that we had planned to do and wanted to do. I thought there were very well-executed drives there in the second half. It was a hard-fought game. Those guys on the other side played extremely well. They’re a good football team. My hat’s off to Coach Coughlin and his staff, but I’m proud of the way our guys played.

Q: With Tony Gonzalez, was there a difference between the first half and second half other than statistics? Did you guys do anything different?

A: No, I didn’t. They did a nice job taking away Tony in the first half and in the second half Tony was able to get some balls his way and make some catches. I thought that touchdown pass at the end was outstanding. What a wonderful throw. There was only one way one guy who could catch it. That was our guy. It was great execution by those two men.

Q: Did Matt loosen up in that regard? Some of those throws were unbelievably tight throws.

A: That’s a young quarterback out there that’s going through a learning process. When he’s hitting and throwing and hitting the ball on all cylinders, he can fit the ball into a lot of small windows.

Q: How did Snelling do stepping in for two injured players?

A: Well, it was great to see Jason be able to come in. We were down two running backs. Michael [Turner] was not able to go, nor was Jerious [Norwood]. Jason has always, when called upon, has come out and played well for us. I thought that he ran the ball hard. I thought we did a nice job blocking up front.

Q: First half, do you think Matt was over-thinking?

A: No. They had a plan of how they wanted to defend us here in the first half. They had two weeks to prepare for this game and I think after going through the first half and seeing how they were going to defend us, we made some really good adjustments there at halftime, and I thought Matt became more and more comfortable here in the second half.

Q: How do you feel you handled their relentless pressure and blitzes?

A: I thought that our guys did a nice job. I believe that we gave up two sacks, if I’m not mistaken, and they were coming after us from all angles. Bringing secondary blitzes, linebacker blitzes and I thought they did a good job. I thought Matt, as the game wore on, did a nice a job moving in the pocket and creating extensions of the play.

Q: Why is putting points up on the board in the first quarter a continuous problem?

A: We have started fast over the last three ball games in terms of getting points. It’s something that we talk to our players all the time about, wanting to start fast. It’s just something that we have to continue to work on.

Q: Can you talk about the miscues? It looked like Jenkins had a touchdown in his hands and the missed field goal are the obvious ones.

A: There were miscues throughout the entire game. The players, the coaching staff, we’re all in this together. I’m not going to say this guy or that guy having a miscue. When we have those mistakes, we’ve got to correct them. We win this game as a team and we lose this game as a team.

Q: You’re 5-5, you have six games to go. What did you tell your team?

A: What I told our team is that we’ve been through a long road in terms of the last six weeks. Four out of the six games we’ve played have been against teams that have been coming off the byes. I also told them that we are looking forward to having a three-game home stand. We have three games at home in the Georgia Dome. I know that our guys are a little bit road weary at this point in time, so I told them we’ve got three games at home and it starts with Tampa Bay. On Wednesday, let’s come to work with a positive attitude and get ready to right the ship and get on the winning trail.