Falcons’ Grady Jarrett: ‘When it counted, we stepped up’

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

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Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett collected his first sack of the season, helping Atlanta stop the Giants' offense during crucial moments.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

Here’s what three Falcons said after the 17-14 win over the Giants Sunday.

In addition to quarterback Matt Ryan, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, tight end Kyle Pitts and wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus spoke to the media after the game.

ExploreArthur Smith: ‘Glad we got the win’

Here’s what they had to say:

Q: How big a win was this for the football team?

A: “It was a huge win today. It felt good. It took all three phases of the game. Offense, defense, special teams - (Kicker Younghoe) Koo coming in and the end to win it for us. It was definitely good to come out of here with a win.”

Q: They were sustaining drives and then (inaudible). You all had some fight together at the end to get the ball back.

A: “Yeah, definitely had some fight there to get the ball back there at the end, but we have to get them off the field a little faster. But when it counted, we stepped up and got the offense the ball back.”

Q: How big was that defensive stop in the fourth quarter and what keyed that?

A: “It was huge. It was crunch time. Guys were on their job and where they were supposed to be. It was nut-cutting time (laughs). I was trying to think of something else to say (laughs). But we stood up. It was good for us to go out there and put up and now carry this momentum going forward.”

Q: When you did that swim move to sack Daniel Jones, what was that like?

A: “It felt good to get that nice swim move. That’s one of my moves that I like to use a lot and it was open. So, I took it. It felt good to get that first sack of the year. I almost got close a couple other times. It gives me motivation as a rusher to continue going forward and motivate the guys. I’m proud of Dante (Fowler Jr) to get a game-closing sack. Guys are rushing good, and we just want to continue to do better.”

Q: How do you think the defensive line played as a whole in terms of containing the rushing attack and also the quarterback?

A: “In all aspects of it, I will have to review the film. But being in the game, being in the moment, I know guys played hard and played their hearts out. We just want to continue to build off their performance.”

Q: Arthur (Smith) said when the Giants scored the touchdown and the two-point conversion that it could have easily been another, ‘Here we go again,’ moment. Why was it not this time?

A: “Because we believe in this team that we have. They went down and scored, like we knew they would. All that, ‘here we go again…’ we still have to play the game. If there’s still time left on the clock, we still have a chance.”

Q: What was it like for you all the last two weeks? You have 20-point losses and you come out of that. What changed?

A: “I would say anything has changed. We just adjusted. The things that were hurting us were fixable. I think we did a good job of that with our preparation, in believing in ourselves, just knowing that we can get over that hump, and continue to push. Getting this first win is definitely a step in the right direction. We want to go a long way. We want to continue to get better and go back to work.”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

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Falcons rookie Kyle Pitts comments on contribution during the final drives of the 17-14 win over the Giants in New York.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

Kyle Pitts, tight end

Q: (Falcons Quarterback) Matt (Ryan) talked about how you had to stay patient, and you were able to do some stuff with (Falcons Wide Receiver Calvin) Ridley and you, but he was able to get to you to late in the game. How did you stay ready for when you did finally get some opportunities?

A: “That’s just something we practice all week, just competitive excellence. Whenever your number is called, being able to make a play. I just waited until the opportunity came my way and made something of it.”

Q: Do you try to not get frustrated because the coverage is kind of taking you away?

A: “Definitely, I don’t get frustrated. There’s 10 other people on the field that can contribute and make a play, so I know if someone’s double-teaming me or there’s three people around me, somebody else is open.”

Q: What were you seeing that they were doing to take you away?

A: “Just having somebody over the top, someone kind of underneath.”

Q: Is that something – do you think that over time that’s something you can learn to get past? Or like when that happens, that’s just kind of the nature of football and you’ve just got to try to get past that.

A: “That’s kind of like the nature of football. You can’t really control that or practice for it.”

Q: On the pass interference, what happened on that play? That was a big play that set up the touchdown there.

A: “Just fighting through contact. He was kind of holding my arm, so the ref had seen it and threw the flag.”

Q: On the big crosser, did you know Matt might be coming to you on that on the final game-winning drive?

A: “Just when I turned my head, I’d seen the ball. I was running my route and wanted to win my matchup and when I’d seen the ball, I wanted to make an opportunity to make the play.”

Q: (Falcons head coach) Arthur’s (Smith) talked a lot about the belief in this team that he’s preached to you guys. How much does getting a win help reinforce that message and make you actually believe that?

A: “It’s good. He preaches a lot about our effort and like your everyday habits. Just being able to come out and train your mind and we want to win every day. So, for us to get our first win here on the road, hopefully, we keep it going.”

Q: How nervous do you get – or do you get nervous when you see the ball coming towards you and you know this could be like kind of to put you guys in a better position to win. Do you kind of slow-motion the ball as it comes to you or is it just normal for you at this point?

A: “It’s just football. I don’t really think of it like let the environment or the situation kind of make or break me.”

Q: We got to ask Arthur about his first win as an NFL coach, what about your first win as an NFL player? How’s that feel and how different does today feel than maybe the past two Sundays?

A: “It was very exciting. I appreciate Coach Arthur for the great game he called and as a player, it’s a little harder to win in the NFL I feel like, so just every week you can’t take anything for granted. But when we came out with the win, it was pretty exciting.”

Q: When you’re going three quarters without even a pass being thrown your way, how do you go about staying focused? How do you go about trying to make yourself in every play? How do you mentally do that?

A: “Just staying the course. Every play, taking it play by play and not worrying about that. I know, god-willing, opportunities will come my way, but it’s not about me. There’s 10 other people on the field that can contribute and can help us score.”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

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Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus comments on his two catches and touchdown play in win over Giants.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

Olamide Zaccheaus, wide receiver

Q: What was it like on the sidelines when the kick went through for you guys to pull out the win?

A: “It was ecstatic, man. It was a hard-fought win. (Falcons Kicker Younghoe) Koo is just really reliable. I’m happy that he knocked it through and got us the win at the end.”

Q: On your two catches on the drive right before the half, you held onto the first one and then what happened on the touchdown play?

A: “Really, it was just focusing on the ball. Being fearless over the middle. Catching the ball over the middle, you are probably going to take a hit most of the time, so just really focusing on the ball. Matt (Falcons QB Matt Ryan) staying in there getting the ball to me, he’s a tough guy and a tough quarterback. On the touchdown, it was just making myself available to him so that he could find me, and he found me. That was a big drive for us at the end of the half.”

Q: What has it been like the last three weeks around this team and around the organization when you guys are losing games the way you have?

A: “I think it’s just having a consistent mindset to get better each and every day and that is was Art (Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith) has been preaching to us. I feel like we have been doing a good job of that the past three weeks. We’re just staying even-keeled no matter what is going on and just having a tough mentality to keep pushing through and keep getting better each day.”

Q: What would he say to you exactly?

A: “That’s exactly what he said; to keep having the right mindset.”

Q: Did he talk to you about that either at halftime or during the second half when you guys would come to the sidelines when things weren’t going well?

A: “He is always preaching that every day. Everyday it’s about the mindset and just getting better, improving each day and just stacking success each day and getting better each day.”

Q: He talked about after the first game that he didn’t like how things went sideways in the second half. What was that following week like?

A: “It was just more intentional; I felt like we saw what we were capable of, especially, early on in that game (in Week 1) and then we fizzled out a little bit. Like I have been saying, just keep being consistent with our mindset when things went rough or when things were going well, just keep grinding away and keep grinding away and grinding away.”

Q: In terms of maintaining that mindset, how important was it to get a win to have some validation for that to keep going?

A: “I think it was big for us. I think it’s just about believing. Having trust that what we’re doing and what works for us, and this is big for us. Not only for us, but for the whole organization, the fan base and all of that stuff. I think it’s good for us and like I said, we just have to keep going and have the right mindset each and every week.”

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Atlanta Falcons Schedule

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington FT at Falcons, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m.

New York Jets vs. Falcons in London, Oct. 10 at 9:30 a.m.

Bye Week

Falcons at Miami Dolphins, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m.

Here’s the rest of full schedule.