Here is what Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn had to say after his team fell to the Carolina Panthers 20-17 on Sunday.
Opening Statement: “Difficult division loss for us and, in my opinion, it was the strongest of them all. We knew it was going to be a battle coming in. We expect that from our division opponents. The areas we want to emphasize – it’s completely about us and it’s our 2017 team. We’ve got eight games under our belt under the same roof and we’ve got much that we want to work on. For us, third down being one of those and we continue to work that part of the our game as we go on, but penalties were a factor for us in the game as an example of not right longer and we will address that. Difficult loss for us. It’s like I said, after eight games, right in the middle of it we expected a good division fight and we certainly got one. It was a tale of two halves today, but a sequence changed at the end of the first half and we didn’t answer enough times in the second half in all three phases.”
On last scoring drive in the first half: “Yeah, we certainly, missed some opportunities. I was pleased to see us go down the field. We took our shots. We got stopped on some third- and fourth-down plays that was certainly a factor in the game.”
Facing the Panthers running game: “You know we have prepared against this offense and this style for some time and being in the division you are accustomed to that. When you play a quarterback that has designed quarterback runs, that is definitely an added layer to your preparation. Preparation from the guys was good. There were certainly times when we didn’t execute exactly like we needed to and those were the times we get caught. There was no different form of preparation from them than anyone else that has run the football.”
What he saw on the Matt Ryan interception: “You know it was just an aggressive throw to (Austin Hooper) and the guy stepped in and made a good play on it. Past that, I didn’t get a chance to see more than that. I was disappointed we didn’t get a chance to answer defensively when those happen. Ended up in the turnover margin in the plus so I was happy about that. And then to not have it go our way that’s difficult for us, especially when we did a better job with the ball defensively. Being in that plus turnover margin in the first half, we weren’t able to do it in the second half.”
On Julio Jones drop: “I said we are coming back to you and love you and we know what you stand for and we are going to stay aggressive too. Like I said, if there was a guy you would pick on the earth to throw it to, he would be the one. He has made tons of plays, he is going to make tons more, but he was disappointed he didn’t get it, but he’ll have plenty of more chanced to.”
On not being able to convert short-yardage plays: “Anytime you don’t convert you get disappointed, especially when you think you have the right call and can execute it to go and attack. You want to stay aggressive. We did, but for us not to convert, I was disappointed.”
Was it the line not getting enough push: “You know I will have to go back and look at really before I can make an answer to it, but the play how it happened. ... We love the opportunity to go for it in those situations based on the runners and how we attack. But we didn’t get the job done at the line of scrimmage for sure and I’ll comment on that tomorrow after I look at that tonight.”
On starting off strong, but tailing off: “We said we thought in some ways it was a tale of two halves. We thougth we had some opportunities to go nail it and we missed those opportunities that we was definitely disappointing. All three phases we had our chance to go make the play to be the one that is going to extend the drive or stop a drive. Penalities, I thought today, were a factor in the game, knocking us out of some (drives) and extending some (drives). That part I know is correctable. The fact that is happened was disappointing. And like I said, I came in expecting a good division tough game and we certainly got that. We weren’t surprised that it was going to be a battle all day.”
Concerning that eight games into the season, there are still so many mistakes: “It is. We have been under the same roof, this group, the 2017 team for eight games and we are going to continue to address the areas we need to improve on. We have started some of that on third down. We were better on third down, but not at the level we can get to. But we will continue to work those areas because to me it is what is this team, what are we going to end up being and what do we need to work and improve on. And we will continue to do that.”
What needs to change with Dallas and Seattle approaching: “Well, we need to improve on third down on both sides and that is really where all of our focus will be. Just the fight that we are in, we will make the corrections we need to from this game and anything we have to change or emphasis during the week, we will do that in preparation for the next team. It’s completely about us and when you go in that way it is much easier to find the things to correct. Because when you make it all about you and how you improve, it is much easier to find the things you need to improve on.”
Did you make a point to officials today: “I did, yep. Just talked about the ones that I thought ... and they’d come back with an explanation. We have a process that we go through with the league. I trust that process completely. Educate us on what you’re seeing and what you’ve called and we’ll train the guys that way – inside our locker room. It’s not any official. It’s not. We’ll leave it up to them for ballg ames. We’re not looking for calls and we’re not bending on any calls.”
Pleased with pass defense: “The pass breakups and we played a good bit of man to man. We liked our matchups heading into the ball game. We’ll go back and look at a few, but they played aggressive. They played down on the line like we like. In this game they created some takeaways and in the second half in the run game we just weren’t able to do that. From a pass standpoint definitely improved.”
Insights from a division game: “In my opinion, it’s the strongest division in the NFL. The balance that we have, we expect all them to be battling going forward. We came in expecting a good fight and we knew that was going to be the case all the way through.