Raheem Morris: ‘We have to make better decisions, better plays’

Falcons interim head coach Raheem Morris on the 20-17 loss the Chargers and the play of QB Matt Ryan.

Here’s what Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris had to say after the 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers:

On losing on the road: “You know, you can’t turn the ball over. Particularly in those critical situations, we almost killed ourselves out there but we had a turnover of our own, which was great, and the drive coming down the field, we turned the ball over. Those things just can’t happen. Too many turnovers to overcome today. Too many mistakes by us from an offensive standpoint, from a defensive standpoint — all around — special teams, all across the board we have to make better decisions, better plays on the road.”

On QB Matt Ryan’s throw late in the game: “You know I thought he missed the spot. We have to help start making room behind him a little bit, we left him there in corner, but I don’t want to take anything away from those guys. Obviously, you have to go look at it on tape — exactly what happened — but I felt like he left it behind him, tried to throw it out before and didn’t get the placement that he normally gets. I didn’t see any pressure on that play, didn’t really see what was going on there but we have to get a better throw and a better catch.”

ExploreMatt Ryan: ‘It was just a poor throw’

On the Chargers last drive: “We got beat man-to-man; we had a too high, two man defense. We played a deep cover scout on the outside breaking route. We got beat for a long play. We can’t let those things happen either. We can’t lose those battles. We want to win football games on the road.”

On the Chargers screen game being effective: “They had a really good screen game going on. They had a nice game. Some of the coming out things, they got some drives going. They were able to execute a bunch of long drives on some of those starts and the screen plays. Their running backs were involved in them, their tight ends were involved in them. They did a nice job with the screen game by creating a nice second and long for those guys.”

On moving the ball in the second half: “I think it was a little bit of both. We had a couple internal mistakes, we had one internal mistake — a big one, on the third-and-one. When you go the wrong way on the play, you have a big time breakdown. We were able to bounce back from some of the mistakes and comeback to put ourselves in a position to win and just not being able to close those things out. We got to do a better job of finishing games. Second week in a row we talk about finishing a game, particularly on the road we got to be able to get these wins on those type of moments.”

On whether WR Julio Jones is expected to be back this season: “I expect to see Julio at some point. We’ll get him completely healthy before we put him back out there. We never put a man in harms way. He’s doing everything he can right now to help his team and everything he’s able to do. He’s constantly talking to us on the sidelines, talking to his guys, coaching people up.”

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (left) is hit by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foyesade Oluokun as he throws during the first half Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (Jae C. Hong/AP)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (left) is hit by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foyesade Oluokun as he throws during the first half Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

On his impressions of rookie QB Justin Herbert: “Herbert is a really good player. We talk about his poise, talk about his ability to throw the football. We were not able to get out there and cause any real problems for him. You get out there and cause any real problems for him, we had a chance; we hit him enough, we did get him to throw the ball to us a couple times to make some plays but not enough, obviously.”

On considering running the ball instead of going for a field goal: “We were close to our line right there and we were going to make a play. We put the ball in our best players hand and he made a mistake. It is what it is and we can even second guess those things and make some different plays. Obviously, that is what we will do tomorrow and that’s why it’s called ‘Telling Truth Monday’ but today that ball was in our best player’s hand and we expected to make those plays and he expects himself to make those plays.”

On WR Calvin Ridley surpassing 1,000 receiving yards on the season today: “Obviously, it’s not the Calvin wanted to do it. Calvin wants to get winning seasons. We always talk about winning seasons. It’s not just about winning this game, he wants to be a part of winning seasons. Calvin’s a winner. He’s coming from a winner. He has the make-up of a winner. He wants to get those winning things done. He’s kind of from the same tree that I’m from. There were personal things that he wanted to do this season, and I’m happy that he was able to accomplish those things.”

ExploreCalvin Ridley sets milestone, remains unhappy with season

On Ryan’s deep pass into double-coverage that led to an interception: “He took a shot. That’s probably one that he wants back. You’d have to talk to Matt about those things. It’s something that you have to go through the progression. We’ll go back and look at it. He’ll see it on tape. Matt’s a high-character guy. He’ll be the first one to tell you when something is wrong or something is his fault. I’m sure that he will be as absolutely honest as he can possibly be about those things.”

On RB Todd Gurley’s limited rushing attempts: “Really predicated on the flow of the game. He had his normal rotation and he’s doing his normal things. He’s getting to go out there and create some things early in games, particularly in the run game. [RB] Ito [Smith] got going there in the second half, particularly later in the game. Those two guys had the bulk of the carries today.”

On areas in which the offense can improve: “Obviously, in the red zone. Today, a huge part of it was the turnovers. It’s always about keeping the ball, possessing the ball, and being able to score touchdowns. We have to do a better job all across the board.”

On the team’s ability to establish a run game: “[Todd] Gurley’s back. He was at his full capacity today. He was able to do what he’s able to do in his full role. I wouldn’t say that he is healthy. I don’t think anybody in the league is healthy, among those terms. But he’s ready to go. We have to do a better job of absolutely running the football. It has been a common theme throughout. We have to do a better job with that.”

On Ryan: “I have a lot of confidence in Matt Ryan. There aren’t a lot of things that are going to make me lose my confidence in Matt Ryan, a guy who has been an MVP of this league. He is very capable of getting it done. I trust his process and I trust everything that he is about, who he is and what he stands for. I have all of the backing in Matt Ryan that you could possibly have as a coach.”

On if the outcomes of the last two games have changed his thoughts about the team: “No. We have to go out and go through our process again. We have to physically impose our will on teams. We had a chance today and were not able to get it done. It would’ve been a nice, tough, big-time win on the road, but we were not able to get that today.”

Falcons’ final three games

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

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

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

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