As far as the 11 sacks over the last two games, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said, “More cowbell.”
He was referring to the classic “Saturday Night Live” skit featuring by Will Ferrell as a member of Blue Oyster Cult who is encouraged by producer Bruce Dickinson (Christopher Walken) to contribute more during a recording.
Here’s what Quinn had to say after the 29-6 win Sunday over the Panthers:
Opening statement: “Number one, I’m excited for the players. They had the focus to come and win this game. Road mentality. Division game. We all know how tough they are, but I thought tonight was a true team performance in every sense — offense, defense, special teams — complimentary football. Those are the things we’ve been working hard to establish so I thought on all three phases there were guys flying around trying to make plays. (Kenjon) Barner on the punt return, interceptions to create takeaways and field position — that’s the complimentary football that we’re looking for. Good session by the guys tonight. Focus, mindset, attitude, all phases kind of connected together and that’s the hardest thing to get so it’s good to see those guys capture that.”
» MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM: Falcons’ defense is making plays
On getting four interceptions after not having one over the past seven games: “Thanks for reminding me — definitely a drought for sure. We put the work in on that. We know that they have a chance to come in bunches and to see some of the guys get the ops to take points off the board that was a big deal today. I thought Rico (safety Ricardo Allen) in particular had pass breakups, interceptions. Any time you get a chance to intercept the ball in the red zone those are points off the board and more than anything just the communication all the way across was strong.”
On the difference in defense in the last two weeks: “I’d say for us we saw a little bit of a shift in our second half against Seattle and we started to improve and come together. And of course last week and this week. Each week it’s different. You can’t gauge what you did last week into the next one. What I loved about the guys this week, all the extra, all the things they did this week to put themselves into the space where they can play well together. Once this one’s done we’ll put all of our focus and attention onto the next one as well. With the team, the situation, all the whole stuff — give the players credit. They were the ones that really put on great preparation which led into a really great performance.”
» PHOTOS: Falcons keep Panthers out of end zone
On the defense improving to meet expectations: “I think over the last two games, two and a half games, we’ve built more style and identity that we’d like to be in all three phases. To have a chance to have a punt returned on offense, although the yards weren’t there we stayed committed in the run game. Defensively, we have to create takeaways. So today, to do that, that makes your chance of winning go up a ton. They’ve got some explosive guys and so all week we knew quite a bit of the offense goes through (Christian) McCaffrey. He’s such an explosive player — run game, pass game. I think you guys have heard me say how many explosive plays he alone had. Great speed on the outside. I thought (Isaiah) Oliver was one that stood out to me out on the outside. As much nickel as we played I really thought he was on point. I kind of expected that from the week. Secondary in general I thought did a great job staying on top and being in the space they needed to be.”
On Calvin Ridley’s performance: “I thought his week of practice there was something leading into that. We’ve talked about the guys that really had a good week. I thought Matt (Ryan) was one, I thought Cal (Calvin Ridley) was one. As his role has grown bigger and bigger over the last month I thought he’s responded. And so a big shot play today right in first quarter changed field position right off the bat, and then on the third and short play to take a shot down the field it shows the chemistry that the two of them are starting to build.”
On Matt Ryan’s performance: “I think I just don’t…how sharp he was, how crisp he was throwing the ball. I approached him on Friday and said this was one of your better weeks that I’ve seen you have. He was rippin’ it and on it, seein’ it right, so last night before the meeting we said none of this is possible without the practice squad — the looks, the effort to go so I thought those guys really put the work in to provide the looks that we’re going to get. I’m excited for our players, I credit them. I thought they did a fantastic job.”
On Matt Ryan’s ball placement: “Yeah, leveraged and throwing away and deep plays. Those are – when you have a shot and you have accuracy on a deep play, those are daggers. It’s like the NBA guy who can step way back behind the three point line and drain one when you need it, he threw some daggers.”
What else can you say about 11 sacks in the past two weeks: “More cowbell. More. It was good, but we’ve got lots of work to do so I’m happy that in the last couple there has been improvement in that area. Obviously, it’s something we spend a lot of time on and focus on. That and takeaways as well. I said we’d see where we’re at at in this four game block. Right in the middle of two road and then we come back for two more division games before Thanksgiving Day. So all of our attention, all of our focus, everything we’ve got goes right back into this week and this game coming up.”
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