Falcons’ Arthur Smith: ‘They came in here and ran the ball’

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Here’s what Falcons coach Arthur Smith had to say after the 19-13 loss to the Panthers on Sunday:

On his message to the team following the loss: “Really the message was you have to give Carolina credit. They played the way they had to. It wasn’t good enough on our end, starting with me on down. That’s the bottom line. They came in here and ran the ball. They shortened the game. We didn’t do enough on offense. Give them credit. Turned the ball over in the red zone. It’s usually not a good sign, and credit to Carolina.”

On whether QB Matt Ryan’s hand getting stepped on led to the offense going into a slump: “Well, you tell me particularly the way you thought it went to a slump. It happened on the drive when he threw the interception and we came back down, and you got a chance, and you’re in a 12-10 game, and you got a critical third down. We don’t make the play. We missed the field goal. I didn’t think Matt was the only thing particularly bad or great. I don’t think that had any impact on it. I think that you’re making something of something that really didn’t, and we didn’t execute better. They got after us. You got to give them credit. We didn’t make enough plays.”

On when he knew WR Calvin Ridley wouldn’t play Sunday: “With Calvin, I believe he put out a statement. I let Calvin speak for himself. It’s a personal issue. Again, I’m not going to go into many details. When we realized he wasn’t going to go this morning, we made him inactive.”

On clarifying whether he found out this morning that Ridley wouldn’t be available: “It’s a lot of things. Things can change and change day to day. You guys were all at practice Friday. Calvin said it was something personal, and it’s going to remain personal on my end. Calvin’s statement speaks for him, and when we got here today, we talked and we put him inactive.”

On whether Ridley’s absence will affect the way the offense operates for however long Ridley is out: “It’s like any other injury. No different than when we got off the plane in London. We’ve got to find a way to win. We’ve got to find a way to execute better offensively. There’s no excuses. Everybody, it’s the NFL. There’s injuries come up. Things come up. We’ve got to find a way.”

On the sequence offensively before half: “It’s simple. We ripped off a pretty good run. You’re playing the game within the game. We get the ball right of after (halftime) ... You’re looking at the end of result. We didn’t execute it. They bulled up the run. You run the first down, and right into it. Give them credit. We didn’t execute well. They had a free hitter. I’ll go back and look at the tape. I’m pretty damn sure what happened. You get a negative play, and then we went for it. You went on the third down. It wasn’t like it was run-run screen. You’re trying to make more than it is. Give them credit. When you get in there, we have three timeouts, right? Plenty of time to go down and score. It created a negative play.”

On whether he’s concerned about the downfield passing game: “Did you see last week? Well, it happened this week, too. We tried to press the ball. You have do give him credit. There’s also something that’s called a pass rush speeds it up. That’s another false narrative. We did. We tried to go right at him. Give him credit. They executed.”

On Carolina’s offense rushing for 203 yards: “They shortened the game out incredibly. Credit to them. They were physical. They ran the ball. They kept it in a lot of third-and-shorts. They went 10-for-17 on third down. At the end of the day, as ugly as that felt, they scored 19 points. We got to do more offensively. We are in the National Football League, and we have to score more than 13 points. I know it was ugly. We got to do better. We’ll look at the tape. We got to stop the run. Give them credit. On the flip side, you got to give their credit defense credit. We didn’t do enough. We didn’t do things well enough to win that game.”

On the reason the offense struggled on third down today: “We had more intermediate third downs than we did a week ago. Combination of things. I didn’t think we were clean enough. It starts with me. I have to do a better job coaching. Give them credit, and like I said, they covered us. We didn’t do a good job being open. Probably rushed through, so maybe that’s why it looked like there was intermediate. Didn’t look like he had a lot of time back there either. Good rush group.”

On whether there was a difference in the way Carolina matched up against the offense with the absence of Ridley:

“Probably a little bit. Maybe the way they matched the man. You have to ask Matt Rhule or Phil Snow that one. That would be the biggest difference to be how they matched defensively. It’s like you got to have contingency plans the guy goes out to the first play of the game. Whether it’s receivers, quarterback, tight end, better have contingency plans. If I had to guess, best educated guess going to be probably affect their man coverage play.”

On S Erik Harris’ hit on Panthers WR Robby Anderson:

“I thought it was a clean hit. I thought the refs did a nice job. Usually now, you know, they’ve done a nice job taking the launching at the head out of the game, and hit him right in the middle part. It’s a good clean hit by Erik. It’s football. It’s an emotional game, and what I didn’t want to see is all the chirping. I don’t want to see that from our team.”

On TE Kyle Pitts’ day: “They did a nice job covering. He is a rookie. Like I said, you guys want to go ahead and bronze bust for him. We went through this. They a good game plan. I’ll go back and look at the tape certainly. Tried to go after him, and they did a good job of covering him. We got a couple of plays and made a couple of nice plays. He is not going to go 200 yards every game. We have other guys that can move the football and score. Give them credit.”

On whether Ridley’s absence is related to his absence earlier in the season: “I’ll let Calvin’s statement speak for him. I’m not going to speak for another player or another coach when it comes to personal issues.”

On the reason he thinks the offense can do more and what they can do: “There are certain -- you know, that’s a part of coaching, right? We’ll go back and look at it. Like I said, they did a nice job. We made some adjustments. They made more plays than we did. We have to look at it and see where we go from here. It’s going to be that way every week. That’s a better defense when Shaq Thompson is in there. Added (Stephon) Gilmore in there. Played some man coverage. Matched him up on Kyle. So we’ll go back there and look at it. There’s a lot of ways to go. It’s one game. We have a long, long season ahead of us. 3-4. Not where we want to be, but we have a lot of football.”

On the defense struggling to contain mobile quarterbacks and whether that’s a flaw in the defense: “You’re talking a million different variables. There’s a lot of athletic quarterbacks in this league. Certainly he didn’t drop back a ton. A lot of times it can be the rush lanes. You may get in pressure. They may block you. When you play man coverage, different variations of man coverage and nobody is open sometimes, they turn their back, if they pass off a game, you may have a certain pressure called. There may be a lane, and we didn’t keep them in there. Obviously, he did a nice job extending those, that third down.”

On whether there are moments where the game seemed to turn: “It’s an NFL game. It’s a 12-10 game in the fourth quarter. We’re right there on the fringe. We don’t catch a third down. We miss a field goal. It wasn’t the prettiest game offensively. Worse we get it 13-12. Who knows? It affects the play-calling. There’s a cause and effect. The momentum is real in football, and there is a cause and effect. If you can find a way to get a lead right there, who knows, right? You’ll never know. It didn’t happen. We dropped it and missed the field goal.”

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Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

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Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

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Falcons at Saints, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 7

Falcons at Cowboys, 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14

Patriots at Falcons, 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18

Falcons at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28

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