Here’s what Falcons coach Dan Quinn had to say after the 35-28 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Oakland Alameda County Coliseum.
Quinn: “I thought this game was filled with resiliency. We knew it was going to be a tough fight, and knew it was going to be a tough environment to play in. We had a difficult loss last week, we had to bounce back and go right back to work knowing we had a tough opponent coming up and coming out here to play in Oakland. The finish was going to be a big deal for us today. I thought our team was filled with resiliency. No bigger time – we had a special teams penalty that extended a drive, went to a score, fell behind, but I was very proud of the way the guys wanted to just continue to fight. We knew it was going to be a hard fight – and they certainly did. We’ve got to clean up some of the mistakes that we made, and we’ll do that, but I have to say I was pleased with the fight, the attitude, the mindset that we have collectively as a team. It’s a very strong brotherhood this group has, and that will carry us a long way. We’ve got a lot of stuff for us to clean up on, but the fighting spirit, the attitude that we played with today, that’s something to be proud of. With that I’ll open up with your questions.”
Q: What worked for the offense getting the three red zone scores in a row?
Quinn: “It was a big day for the offense. Even showing the resiliency when we had the turnover down there – we came right back on the next series and had a good one again. The guys really executed the plan. We had a real design of how we wanted to go about it – both in the field and in the red zone – and I thought the guys just kept attacking. We’re a very fit team, and it was a hot day, and our group kept going and kept attacking, I thought that was a real factor in this game.”
Q: Scoring on six of seven possessions, what worked for you offensively?
Quinn: “We felt we would speed it up a little bit at times. It was a hot day today, and we knew we would have some (opportunities) for our runs based on the looks that we would have. I was very pleased with the fight in terms of the running backs. There were some big plays out there for us today; big catches by (Falcons WR Mohamed) Sanu, another one by Julio (Jones) – when he plays with that type of aggression, he’s a hard guy to deal with.”
Q: When do you choose to go no huddle as opposed to having a huddle?
Quinn: “We certainly do – and just to clear this up because this has been a big topic of conversation… We do use no huddle. It may not be in the shotgun format where you see it all the time, but often times we’re under center, we have hand signals that we do. We love using it often times within a drive – we have a big play, we get back on the ball again where we have runs and passes. Some people would think of two-minute as a no huddle, we’re not into that mode in a two-minute, but we do use no huddle. We used it last week and we featured it a little bit more in this game.”
Q: What did you think of Matt Ryan’s performance today?
Quinn: “We thought he played a terrific game today – really nailing the plan all the way through from our first and second down plan. Honestly, the offensive line needs to be given a lot of credit today. They totally nailed it and that starts right up front with Alex Mack and the communication that he has to give to it. We featured a lot of different things – our screen game, the keepers, the shots down the field – it’s a wide variety of things we like to feature. It’s not all the same every week. Some things are going to be best for the certain opponent we’re playing – but I certainly was pleased with their effort today.”
Q: Any reason in particular you used such a wide variety of offensive targets today?
Quinn: “It was good to see (Falcons TE Austin) Hooper have a couple nice catches, Levine (Toilolo) had one off a tipped pass that resulted in the first down, so when a number of different guys can get in on the action, it really makes it the most challenging on third downs when there are different guys who get targeted. We know who our feature player is, but the running backs did a really good job today, and like you say with the tight ends today.”
Q: What happened on the tip pass?
Quinn: “(Falcons WR Justin) Hardy down in the endzone…he’s a real competitor. So we would not be surprised if there was a ball in the air, who would come down with it. (Hardy) would be somebody that you would put your money on to say he’ll find a way.”
Q: Is that tipped ball catch going to be a new play?
Quinn: “We’ll put that in for the first time when we get back. Honestly it was an excellent fight, and the guys showed a lot of grit today. They showed a lot of determination and resiliency so we were really pleased with the flight.”
Q: What did you think about the play of your linebackers?
Quinn: “Well we had to come back and I thought (Falcons LB Sean) Weatherspoon did a nice job and took over a lot of the playcalling inside with (Falcons LB De’Vondre) Campbell down. We for sure missed some tackles and certainly on the last series it felt that way, but all in all, I thought for him, he was one that really impressed me stepping up. I thought Kemal Ishmael was another one who really played a really physical game today. As we went through it, we expected (Weatherspoon) to play well. He’s certainly a proven player and one that we counted on and he certainly came through today.”
Q: What happened with the too many men on the field penalty?
Quinn: “Yeah, that was certainly a hard one. [Falcons WR Justin] Hardy was down and he went back in the game, and it was a coaching error that we’ve got to get corrected. We thought he was out, he put himself back in. So poor communication all the way through.”
Q: What were your thoughts on the pass interference calls?
Quinn: “Yeah the man-to-man one went to (Falcons CB Desmond) Trufant. It looked like he had a grab on him. The one that was to [Falcons CB Robert] Alford deep in the end zone…from our angle, we certainly couldn’t tell. It was all the way back, and they thought he gave [Crabtree] a push. Going against guys who are receivers like that, there’s going to be battles up in the air…but you can’t do it with a push. We’ve got terrific guys that we go against each day, so it shouldn’t be a surprise playing against big guys. It’s something that we’ll look at for sure. I can’t even tell you specifically on Alford’s if we think it was a foul. Obviously they called it so they saw something.”
Q: What did you see on the long Amari Cooper touchdown that got called back?
Quinn: “Yes, out of bounds, yep. It looked like that. (Raiders QB Derek Carr) was outside the pocket at the time… so we saw (Cooper) clearly go out of bounds, I couldn’t tell if he was pushed or not.”
Q: How pleased were you to see Eric Weems’ return there?
Quinn: “Yeah, he’s such a fan favorite in our locker room. Guys absolutely want to battle for him. For his return, so many of the guys had the block and that’s who we also get excited for. So they got him and sprung him. We’ve got the term, ‘Who’s going to set it off?’ and often times, he’s the guy on special teams with the return, with the tackle inside the 20 – we count on that from him, and he delivered again today.”