Falcons. coach Mike Smith discusses the 19-17 win over the. Panthers, his thoughts on being in first place and facing the Cleveland Browns next week, video by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons’ quoteboard after win over Panthers


Opening statement

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of the guys in that locker room, players and coaches. It wasn’t pretty at times, but we got some plays made in critical times and as you guys know, winning in the NFL is not easy. We’ve got a lot of corrections that we’ve got to make. We made a lot mistakes in the ballgame, but we’re going to go home and do that tomorrow. The goal was very simple this week and that was to leave Carolina 1-0 and we got that accomplished. We’ll start the process tomorrow for the exact same goal and that’s to be 1-0 at the end of next week.”

On the game-winning drive

“I thought it was guys making plays under pressure. I thought Matt (Ryan) did a very good job running our no-huddle offense throughout the ballgame. We were a little bit more in an up-tempo situation in that sequence, but it was great to see Matt and Harry (Douglas) connect. We’ve missed some games with Harry through the season and it was good to have him back out there.”


On the final drive

“There’s never any pressure in those situations. We’ve been in those situations so many times throughout our career, so we already know to stay calm, stay composed and just go out there and make the plays when they come to you.”

On being in first place

“We’re in first place, but we have a game next week. We’re taking it week by week. We have to be 1-0 next week. That’s the goal. That’s the plan. We’re not looking ahead. We’re not getting too high.”


On the game

“The game shouldn’t have been that close. We messed up here and there, everywhere, special teams, defense and offense. At the end of the day, we got the ‘W’ and that’s all that matters.”


On his interception

“It was third down, third and short. I knew it was going to be a quick rhythm gain and that he was going to try and get it out quick. I just sat on the route and broke on it and Cam (Newton) threw it, threw it right to me and then I just caught it. I’m glad it was a big play.”

On being in first place

“It’s big. There’s still a lot of work that we have to do. Now, we’ve got to keep it going. We’ve got to keep winning, keep being consistent and we’ll be right where we want to be.”

On the Panthers’ final 63-yard field goal attempt

“I knew he was going to miss it or it was going to get blocked. It had to be kicked low and we’ve got those big boys up front. They were going to get pressure. They did a great job.


On the Panthers’ defensive front

“They’re extremely talented up front. Their front seven is tremendous as everyone knows. The biggest thing is being able to sustain drives and being consistent. At times, they were getting stops on us and when they’re playing confidently, they’re quite a group to be reckoned with.”

On two wins after the bye week

“When you’re able to play with confidence, it makes all the difference. Obviously wins are what builds that. Moving forward, I expect we get more and more confident with each passing week. We need to because we have a hell of a test coming up in our season.”


On the team’s leadership

“All of our leaders on offense, defense and special teams did a great job of keeping everyone in it and making those plays. Coach Mike Smith has been emphasizing on that finish part, and getting into the fourth quarter, scoring to win the game or holding the other team out.”


On the Panthers’ defensive front

“That’s a good defensive front. They’re one of the better ones in the league. I felt like we did pretty good. Obviously, there are things we need to clean up. I’m happy we got the win.”

On the revamped offensive line

“It seems like every week, we go out against one of the better fronts in the league and that’s part of our division. There are good pass pushers and good inside guys. It says a lot. There are things we need to work on. We have three young guys and a couple of vets holding us together. It’s going well.”


On being in first place

“We’ll take it. It’s not how we wanted to finish the game, but a win is a win. The way that the season has been going, we’re happy to have any win.”

On the fourth quarter

“We need to do a better job of closing out games. Like I said, we’re happy to get the win. I wish we could just make it easier every now and again.”

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