Raheem Morris: ‘We didn’t do enough on either side of the ball’

Credit: AJC

Credit: AJC

Here’s what Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris had to say after the 21-16 loss Sunday to the Saints:

On the final four or five minutes of the game: ”We gave ourselves a chance at the end. We really had a chance down there on the 12-yard line. We knew we were going for it, we were going to give them all four downs and we would have an opportunity to try to win the football game, hopefully end up in our two-minute defense and let us win it there, but it didn’t work out that way. Matt threw a nice throw on the fourth down and gave Julio a chance. The ball fell incomplete. It could have been a call there, potentially, but it wasn’t. It is what it is, and those guys did a great job. You got to give the Saints credit. They fought through an ugly tough football game, exactly what you’re supposed to do to win games on road.”

On whether he was OK with RB Todd Gurley rushing three consecutive times in the red zone on the second-to-last drive: ”Todd is one of the better red zone runners in the game and he both got a first-down run and got a really good gain there. The second one, we like him not to bounce it. Things happen that way. You want to go down hill and try to get more yardage and try to force the first down right there, give us more turns. We were not able to do it. We got to execute better there, we’ve got to do a couple things better there to be able to win.”

On RB Todd Gurley playing sparingly in the first half but playing at the end of the game: ”We’re playing it situationally right now. He’s battled with some things, like all of us at this time of year. So situationally, like I talked about him being one of the better red zone runners in the game and certainly wanted to go him towards the end. Ito to got banged up somewhere in that quarter, I believe. I can’t remember exactly when, when he went down in the field in the turf and he went inside. So we had a chance to get Todd out there and get a chance to try to win that football game and we were not able to get it done.”

On scoring one touchdown in two games against New Orleans and whether that’s related to play calling and scheme: ”I think this team has only given up one touchdown and I can’t tell you how many quarters against a bunch of people. You got to really give the credit to the defense, first. We’ll have to go back and evaluate our stuff like we always do and find out what we can do better to try to be more successful versus this defense. But you really got to give Dennis and his crew and his defense and all those guys over there across the ball a lot of credit.”

On whether he has confidence in offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter moving forward: ”I’m very confident in our team just in general and then we never separate anybody when talking about team. The confidence that flows through us in order to go out there and dictate terms, how to win the game that we need to do, we have a lot of confidence in that. We did not do that today. Those things every week will always be looked at, they will always be addressed, but they will always be judged, and you can always play Monday morning quarterback. We refuse to do that here. We will always come out ready to game plan and go to our next opponent.”

ExploreFalcons offense again struggles in rematch with Saints

On the reason the Saints defense has had success on third down this season: ”Again, their D-line with their ability to create rush, with the ability to stop the run, when they’re allowed to play two-deep defenses, they’re allowed to play some two-man, they’re allowed to play some trap. Their DBs are very opportunistic. They make plays on the ball at a high level. They did great job with us on third down, and these guys are a really good football team. They’re a really good defensive team, and just all around they play a great team game together. Hats off to Sean.”

On what happened on the 3rd-and-2 play near the end of the game or whether he needs to watch the tape: ”No, I know they made some kind of movement inside. Gurley seen the bounce look and he took the bounce look. You don’t really want to take the bounce look in that situation. He did. He reacted as a football player would do. They were able to get him down around his ankles and get a big-time loss and create us in a 4th-and-9 situation.”

Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage goes up for a pass before diving into the end zone against the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)
Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage goes up for a pass before diving into the end zone against the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

On whether they knew they would go for it on fourth down on the second-to-last drive of the game: ”We were in four-down mentality right there. It was the at the house, you go win that game right there and you put that thing away and you finish it off on defense with the ball in your hand or you finish that thing off on defense getting a big-time stop, so that was the mentality for us on offense to go for it.”

On whether the offense did enough to be more creative and less predictable in the play calling in the two games with the Saints: ”Obviously not, we didn’t do enough on either side of the ball, offense, defense, or special teams in order to win these football games. And when you come out and play these type of games you got to do more everywhere division games, touch ones, this thing went down to the wire, the last one got out of hand in a very similar fashion towards the end. I was proud of the bounce back and how we resolved and how we were able to get back in that thing and have a chance to win, but you like to get these things in a better fashion for us.”

On why the offense struggled to get in rhythm at the beginning of the game: ”We kind of talked about this, we got to go down and we got to score touchdowns when we get the opportunity. Koo has been money for us, there’s no doubt about that, but when you’re playing a like this you got to get the ball in your favor, get some points, get it going, not let them be as one-dimensional as they want to be, with their play action pass and their ability to run the football. That allowed them to control it all the way towards the end, to the end there. And then we were able to get some momentum going we got the ball back, had a chance to go score and try to win that thing, just didn’t work out in our favor again, like I said.”

Falcons’ final four games

Falcons at Chargers at 4:25 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 13

Buccaneers at Falcons at 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 20

Falcons at Chiefs at 1 p.m., Dec. 27

Falcons at Buccaneers at 1 p.m., Jan. 3

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