Falcons’ Jake Matthews: ‘We have to step up as an offense’

LANDOVER, Md. — Here’s what the Falcons said after the 19-13 loss to the Commanders on Sunday:

JAKE MATTHEWS, left tackle

On his emotions after the loss: “Frustrated, there’s no doubt. We had all the confidence in the world that we were going to score at the end and win that game. Got to give them credit, though. They stopped us at the end, and we didn’t get it done. It’s frustrating, for sure. A lot of the guys are upset.”

On Washington possessing the ball in the second half: “Football is a team sport. They (the defense) gotta lean on us, and when that kind of stuff happens, we have to take advantage of opportunities and score. We had a shot. We were down there, and unfortunately the ball didn’t go our way. We have to step up as an offense.”

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On where the frustration was coming from: “We expect to win. We have a lot of pros on this team and guys that care a lot and work hard. It’s safe to say I can speak for everyone when I say that we’re very frustrated about it. All we can do is bounce back and win next week. It’s a long year and this one’s frustrating.”

On games coming down to the final possession: “Well, that’s kind of the NFL, you know? Every team is really good, anyone can win any given Sunday. The teams that make the playoffs and play well are the ones that can find ways to pull out a win at the end and unfortunately we didn’t do that today. There’s still a lot of football left to be played, so we have to correct this stuff and move on and get back to winning.”

On his message to the team as the season is winding down: “Get back to work and control things we can. Next time we’re in that situation, we’ll have learned from it. I’m pretty confident we’ll punch it in and be on the other side of this thing. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel or do anything crazy, we just need to keep executing, fix the little things that stopped us today, and then we’ll be in good shape.”

GRADY JARRETT, defensive end

On the loss: “There are five more games this season. We have to put our best foot forward. We put ourselves in this position. It’s going to be up to us to get out of it. We just have to go back to work.”

On the key to rebounding: “If you’re going to line up and be able to play on Sunday, you need to have that mindset. If you don’t (have it), you’re in the wrong place. As a competitor, you should want to put your best foot forward. Win games when you get to play them. There should not be too much hooray. It should be some easy ‘want to’ to get back to work and get better.”

On the run defense: “Too many missed tackles. I’ve got to run back and see the film. But maybe too much leaky yardage. A couple of mushed plays that could have went the other way. We just have to be more stout across the whole run defense, whether if it’s (the defensive) line, the linebackers or however it may be. Even myself, just be better. We just have to review this tape and get better.”

On the missed opportunity: “You can’t lie and say it was not a missed opportunity because it was. But, at the end of the day, we still have life. We still have stuff ahead of us to be able to strive for. We went all the way to the end. We felt good about our chances coming into this game. For it to go down how it did definitely hurt. We’ve got to go back to work. We can’t sit here and sulk in this for too long. We have to get back to work. It’s one of those losses where you want to get back on the field quick. Get the taste out of your mouth and be excited to play next week.”

More on the loss: “All losses are tough. Being at the highest level of professional football that there is, you can’t win all of them. But, at the end of the day, we don’t plan to take L’s. You don’t know they are going to come or when they will come. You’ve got to be able to respond.”

LORENZO CARTER, outside linebacker

On the run defense: “We do have to play stouter. We can’t give up all of the big plays and the explosive plays. Especially on the ground. That’s something that we’ve taken pride in all season. We gave up too much this game.”

On the close games: “That’s the NFL. That’s why I let the young guys know, especially after these tough losses. You never know what play, which series or what play, what call. You’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity because ... at the end of the day, it’s going to come down to one or two plays, one score or less than one score.”

On the late three-and-out: “That was huge, but it wasn’t a surprise for us. We know what we have to do, especially at the end of the game when it comes down to (crunch) time and it’s time for you to go make a stop. I think we’ve done a good job all year, when it comes down to it, we make those stops. Earlier in the game, it would make it a lot easier if we bow up and make those stops earlier.”

On Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who played at Collins Hill: “He was a little bit older than me, but he’s still a GCO (Gwinnett County) guy.” (Carter played at Norcross.)


On the loss: “We all certainly want to finish that game. We had control and were in the driver’s seat. We want to end that game with a win, obviously. So, we’ll see how much better we can get from it and pull whatever we can learn from this one and move on to the next week.”

On thinking about different plays when he was called for a run as an offensive lineman: “Nah. That’s not my job to even consider anything like that. We have a lot of coaches that are really talented and watch a lot of films and know what to do and we trust them 100%. So, whatever the call is, we’re going to run it and try to execute to the best of our ability.”

ARNOLD EBIKETIE, outside linebacker

On what the team needs to work on in late game situations: “I think it comes down to being more physical than they are. Creating more knock-backs so we can allow our linebackers some field and open up a gap and that’s what it comes down to. I don’t think it’s a scheme issue and being more physical than they are.”

On the season, with five games left: “We just have to get back to the drawing board and get back to work. We have five games left, so we need to go on a run and win all five. It’s not over; we still have a lot left to accomplish.”

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Atlanta Falcons 2022 schedule

Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26

Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27

Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23

Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20

Oct. 9 Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15

Oct. 16 Falcons 28, 49ers 14

Oct. 23 Bengals 35, Falcons 17

Oct. 30 Falcons 37, Panthers 34 OT

Nov. 6 Chargers 20, Falcons 17

Nov. 10 Panthers 25, Falcons 15

Nov. 20 Falcons 27, Bears 24

Nov. 27 Commanders 19, Falcons 13

Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.


Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD

Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.

Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD