On the morale of the team: ”The way we talk in the locker room we still have our spirits up. We know we are not this 4-10 team. We know we are better. We just have not been finishing and we have not been good in certain areas of football right now. It is us.”
On reaching his personal goal of 1,000 receiving yards this season: ”Like I said before, I wish the season was going right because this would feel a lot better. Numbers are numbers. I want to get the wins. I want to go to a Super Bowl. I want this city to be behind us. We are really doing this for you all and we are trying to get to the Super Bowl.”
Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett on the loss to Tom Brady and the Bucs after leading 17-0 at halftime.
GRADY JARRETT, DEFENSIVE TACKLE
On the reason the team has struggled to close out games: ”It is hard for me to put my finger on it. I am in the building every day of the week. Guys and coaches work their tails off day in and day out. We got to do better. I do not have an answer for you and I am certainly not giving you an excuse. At the end of the day we got to do better.”
On the difference between the first and second half defensively: ”Giving up some big explosives. That was the biggest thing. Playing Tampa they like to live off making those big plays. We limited it in the first half, but they came to life in the second. We could not get off the field in crunch times. The play where I forced the ball out, the knee was down. Just some things did not go our way. At the end of the day we got to be able to respond and make the necessary adjustments. That is what they did to have a better second half. We got to come out hot and cannot give up touch downs on the first opening drive of the half. It is a big momentum thing. Offense, defense, and special teams, we all got to work together to be better.”
On the spot of the ball on the final play of the game: ”I did not think it was close on the halo board. I did not think it was close seeing it on the field. At the end of the day you want the opportunity to play the down, to play the fourth down. There is no telling what could happen, but it is unfortunate things did not go our way. It has been the story of it.”
On what the win over Buccaneers QB Tom Brady would have meant, given a win would have damaged Tampa Bay’s playoff chances: ”More than worrying about Tampa’s playoffs, whatever they have going on, it is about us trying to win games and be the best organization we can. At the end of the day it is about us handling our business. Nothing else was on my mind versus beating Brady. All of this other stuff, we want to win. The Atlanta Falcons want to win. We want to beat the Buccaneers because they are on our schedule. All of that in between stuff is fluff and I am not thought about it. I know Raheem [Morris] has not thought about it. We want to win the next game. All the fluff in between, we are not worried about it. We are trying to be better and get some wins.”
On whether there was a feeling of “Here we go again”: ”Not necessarily because every moment is a new moment. It is unfortunate that it went down how it did. I believe we could have won that game. I try to push my teammates to believe that. Guys are out there trying their best, but we came up short. There was not time for ‘Here we go again.’ We had to go back to work. I think you could see that with some of the efforts between myself and other guys. Guys are just trying their best.”
On what the defense can learn in the final two games: ”That we can go out there and compete. I think it will be a good test to see how bad guys want it. We just go out there and put their best foot forward and never relent. We will take it from there and see who we are made of.”
Falcons rookie cornerback A. J. Terrell on the loss to Tom Brady and the Bucs.
A.J. TERRELL, CORNERBACK
On the reason the defense was successful in the first half on Sunday: ”Going out there with the game plan and executing everything we were going through in practice and making the plays when they count.”
On missing the presence of some defensive players this week: ”We got a few people down on defense and on offense. The coaches say you have to come out there and you can only play with who you have. Everybody got to go out there and make some plays. Nobody points fingers like that. We are out there for one job- that is the win.”
On the reason for the team’s struggles to finish games this season: ”That is just something we have been struggling with this year. We have to execute and play a whole game of four quarters and just win.”
On whether he agreed with the spot on the final play of the game: ”I do not think he got the first down. It is what it is. I just control what I can control.”
Falcons free safety Sharrod Neasman had his first career sack in the 31-27 loss to the Bucs.
SHARROD NEASMAN, FREE SAFETY
On the team’s defensive performance in the first half: ”I think the defense was just clicking on all cylinders. I think we came out and executed well in the first half. We were just in tune with each other and things went our way. We got it done.”
On what changed in the second half defensively and the reason Buccaneers WR Mike Evans had so much success in the second half: ”We came out and talked over some adjustments to make. It’s nothing that we really changed. We just kept playing ball. They just found him a way to get him the ball. They started throwing it to him. I think he might have had a pass interference where he got some yards on that. They just started targeting him regardless of if he was covered or not.”
On the adjustments the Falcons were trying to make in the second half: ”We didn’t have any adjustments to make if they didn’t come out and make adjustments of their own. After they came out and made their adjustments, we came out and said we can play this like this. Unfortunately, we didn’t play well enough on defense to get the job done, myself included.”
On the spot of the ball on the final play of the game: ”I only saw what was shown in the stadium. From that angle, it’s hard to tell. It’s not my job to critique and look at the angles. It’s my job to play football. I just went out there and tried the best of my ability to stop them. We thought we had stopped them short. Those guys have all the camera angles. They took a look at it. From their understanding, they said it was a first down. It is what it is.”