Raheem Morris: ‘This is how a game should end when you got control’

Here’s what Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris said after the 43-6 win over the Raiders:

On his message to the team postgame and whether he gave out game balls to individual players like DE Jacob Tuioti-Mariner: ”I really kept it from the individual accolades and I talked about the team win and talked about the guys come out and doing what they’re capable of doing and finishing the game like that. I think these guys need a little bit of what you would call a push in the head to let them know this is how a game should end when you got control. And today to go out and be able to do those things I thought was really good for us, good for our team, and good for the organization, and definitely good for our city.”

On whether he was impressed with DE Jacob Tuioti-Mariner’s performance: ”Jacob was all over the place. He caused a couple fumbles, got a couple fumbles. Man, it felt like he was everywhere. He played special teams, he makes tackles for us. I can’t say enough good things about what Jacob was able to do for us just because of where he’s come from and the man he is. He was mic’d up today, he was wired up. Might mic him up every week now if he plays like that. He was certainly fired up and certainly played well for his team, and we’re fired up for him.”

On RB Ito Smith’s performance: ”We were really talking about focusing on running the ball versus two-high defenses, and Ito got in there in the second half and really sparked us. Broke up a couple big runs, gave us a couple explosives. You need those things when that happens. That opens up your pass game and that helps even things out to make you less one dimensional, to give us an opportunity to dictate the terms of game, which we were able to do this week.”

On the defensive performance overall, forcing five turnovers and tallying 5.0 sacks: ”You know stats are for loser, but when you get those things that work in your favor, you go out there and you get those guys to believe in themselves and believe in what they can do, those things always work out in the right favor and always in the right way for you. Today that’s what happened for us.”

On how the defense was able to limit the Raiders rushing attack: ”Our guys did a really good job. We got some big bodies in there that are able to use their hands and shed blocks and come off and make tackles. That running back, Jacobs, is very tough to tackle. We were able to get there in bunches, bunch of people in the spot to make sure we can assure that we get him on the ground. He is going to run through arm tackles. We were not able to do that. We were putting our chest on him. It was a physically fought game, another AFC win. It was awesome.”

On the key to forcing five turnovers: ”I just thought it was the guys’ ball mindset. You know, they really had a ball mindset today to go after it and really had ball mindset. Every time they had an opportunity to get it, they got the ball out. The hustle, the turn and run, all those things just kicked into play and usually when that happens and technique and opportunity meet, you get the ball.”

On an injury update overall, specifically G James Carpenter, WR Calvin Ridley and K Younghoe Koo: ”We got a bunch of guys on this team that’s warriors, man, and Carp played through an injury, and we’ll have to see where he is and see how bad it is and where he can go. Obviously Rid was able to bounce in and out of the game, so we’ll see where he goes when we get a little bit more feedback from our trainers tomorrow in the next day.”

On how the defense was able to limit TE Darren Waller: ”Foye (Oluokun), in the man-to-man opportunities, was able to cover him man-to-man. He stepped up in a big way. We were able to confuse the coverage a little bit and put a little bit on (Derek) Carr to make him have to sort his way through some of those things. He’s a really good football player, and you can’t just take him out with one guy, with one thing. You’ve got to be able to mix it up and take away that offense. They have a really good offense.”

On whether the Saints tape made it easier for him to get his message across to the team this week: ”I don’t ever want to say it’s easier to give a message. Sometimes those tough battles are fought through difficulty, and that game last week was some difficulty for us. Was able to show them and give them the truth, and when you’re able to give guys the truth of what happened and your version of the truth and let them sit on it and take it and come out to play, I think that’s what they did this week and took it into this game, and I think that really helped us this week.”

On the performance of the wide receivers today without WR Julio Jones: ”You know, whenever you’re missing Julio, as great a player as he is, you got to a have people step up. We got guys that are very capable of doing it. We saw Blake today step up. We saw Powell step up. We saw Gage step up. We saw Ridley step up. OZ was getting off rolling until he got injured. Those guys have just been stepping up all year whenever they’ve been called upon, and it’s been really nice to see.”

On whether RB Ito Smith has put himself in a conversation to get more playing time: “You know, any time you play that way you have to say yes. Ito went out there today and played really well for us. It’s not his first time playing well for us. He’s played well for us in the past, and we shouldn’t be shocked. He has the ability to do that. That’s what he does, and we should be looking for more of that from Ito.”

On what it meant to him to beat his mentor Jon Gruden and what Gruden said to him postgame: ”Any chance to go 1-0 mentality against anybody is always special, but when you go up a guy that’s humbled and to congratulate you at the half field mark and tell you congratulations and you did a good job today, that means a lot when it comes from the guy that you most respect in this business.”

Falcons’ next four games

Saints at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6

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

The Bow Tie Chronicles Podcasts:

For more content about the Atlanta Falcons

Follow me on Twitter @DorlandoAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta Falcons News Now

Atlanta Falcons coverage on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution