Head Coach Sean Payton
"First, I would like to update you on the injury front. (Mike)McKenzie suffered a fractured front right knee cap. It is his patella. Jon Stinchcomb injured his calf. He left the game too. Mike Karney had an MCL in his right knee. Jeremy Shockey left the game with his ankle. First off, we have to give credit to Atlanta today. They played extremely well. We got beat. We got beat in every area. Offensively, we struggled and settled for field goals early on. Defensively, we couldn’t get off the field. We gave up some big plays. We talked about that being an objective for this next week. Team-wise, we really didn’t gain an edge. We weren’t able to contain (Jerious) Norwood. The kicker and the punter did a solid job. We just got beat in all phases today. It starts with me. You have to give credit to Atlanta. They had an outstanding game plan and they came in and executed it. Obviously, this puts us in a hole. We are going to have to respond and get ready for another win."
Q: Did you think that Atlanta’s defense played similar to Carolina?
A: "No. I think we got some cover two. They did a good job of going after the ball and prohibiting big plays. I want to credit them. They forced us to throw the ball. Again, you hope you can sustain a running game with that. I thought that early on we were able to do that. We had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. We have got to work on that aspect of our game. They did a great job. They ran well, tackled well and they eliminated the big plays."
Q: Can you talk about your decision to go for it on fourth down?
A: Sure. I felt like we had a good play and I felt comfortable with it. I know that a field goal would have brought us within eight. This is again something that I take responsibility for."
Q: What do you think about the division standings?
A: "Right now, we are really just focused on getting a win. I want to get our record to .500. In a division that is playing very well, it reduces your margin for error."
Q: Did you get a sense of frustration from your guys when you went down three scores?
A: "I thought our guys were obviously disappointed, but they have a handle on what they are doing. We knew the position we were in when we went down three scores. Certainly, guys are frustrated. Collectively, guys know what we need to do. We were trying to do things to bring us back. Drew (Brees) knows what those things are. We had a chance to get back in the game. I thought that our guys stayed focused."
Wide Receiver Devery Henderson
Q: Today’s outcome was not what you expected coming off a bye week.
A: "They just played a better game than us. We just need to get our act together. It’s just how it happens sometimes. This is the NFL and if you’re not ready, you’re in trouble."
Q: The Saints have dominated this series over the past few games. It was turned around today.
A: "The Falcons are a good team and they’ve proved that all year. We expected them to perform well. The ball just didn’t fall our way today."
Defensive Tackle Sedrick Ellis
Q: Do you have any reflection on today’s contest?
A: "They just played a better game than us today. Matt (Ryan) makes their offensive line even better than they are. As a unit, they did a good job today. We didn’t get any sacks today, so we didn’t do our job and they did their job. Except for one long run, we did pretty well against the run."
Q: How did you feel you contained RB Michael Turner?
A: "Well, you can’t contain just one person. They have a lot of threats on their offense. Their offense came out today and played better than us. The same thing happened on the other side of the ball."
Linebacker Scott Fujita
Q: How bad did this loss hurt?
A: "It’s painful. We’ve been hovering around that .500 mark for quite awhile, trying to make a push coming into these divisional road games. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves, and this was our shot to get over the hump. To go on the road twice now and just get hammered is real disappointing."
Tight End Jeremy Shockey
Q: Was there miscommunication between you and Drew (Brees) out there? You seemed to be in a heated discussion at one point?
A: "No. The more time Drew and I spend with each other the better it’s going to get."
Q: You’ve owned the Falcons in head-to-head action over the years.
A: "This is a ‘show me now’ league and not what you’ve done in the past. I feel like that as well. It’s just frustrating that I have a little tweak injury. Obviously it’s not as bad as the first injury I had. But like I said, this league is all about what you do now, not what you did then. I wanted to come out and play a really good game."
"We rotated (Shockey) and Billy because of the nature of what we were doing route-wise,"
"It was just a miscommunication on the protection from the play before, so we were just
talking through it," Brees said. "It was not a big deal other than just trying to get on the
"I put that on me," Shockey said. "It's just one little play, but it should never happen. That
was really about the only miscommunication."
"It's very competitive," he said. "Everyone wants to win; everyone wants to do well.
That's how this league is. It's a good thing that Drew wants to play well, and I want to do the
same. No one was more disappointed in that play than myself."
"It's frustrating, but what can you do?" Shockey said. "I can sit around and mope about it, or I
can come back stronger than ever."
"We can only play the whole 'we had a good week of preparation' card so long," Saints linebacker Scott Fujita said. "We can only play the whole 'we got great character on the team' card for so long. It's time for people to start stepping up and make some plays. It's freaking embarrassing."
"We haven't been over .500 since '06, and I don't count us starting off 1-0 this season as being over .500," said Brees, who threw a season-high three interceptions. "I mean being over .500 with some significance."
"We felt like we wanted to walk away from this game being the ones who had won the rushing battle," Brees said. "So we came in with an emphasis on running the ball. Unfortunately, we got midway through the third quarter and all of a sudden had to play catch-up."
"I think they were able to get pressure with the four-man rush, and we weren't able to do that," Payton said. "That, I think, is important, obviously a key component of the game if you're looking at it, when you're talking about trying to throw the football and trying to convert third downs and trying to operate in the red zone. He was under a lot of duress, I thought."
"It's painful, because we've been hovering around that .500 mark for way too long now, trying to make a push, coming into these divisional road games feeling pretty good about ourselves, thinking this is our shot to get over the hump," Fujita said. "To go on the road twice now and just get hammered the way you did, in all phases of the game, it's real disappointing."
"I think if we had played today's game anywhere, I think the result would have been the same," Payton said. "I don't think we can point to this being on the road. I don't think we can point our fingers at injuries. I don't think we can point to any of those things. I think we got beat today by a team that played better than we did."
"It's a physical game, and you can never take (your health) for granted," said McKenzie, 32, who plans on rehabbing and returning again.
"It's not a 'Why me?'" McKenzie said. "You know, I'm happy, I'm blessed, I play in the NFL. You know, I love the team that I play with, I love my teammates. So I really just plan on .¤.¤. it's a lot of motivation for me to just get back out there.
"The most positive thing, I'm happy I'm alive. It's only a broken knee. It could be worse."
"It's hard," Saints Coach Sean Payton said. "I mean, it's real disappointing. His rehab process, and what it takes to rehab from a major knee injury is very long and tedious. So I was disappointed for him. And I know the rest of his teammates feel the same way.
"I just saw him in the locker room, and he's in some pain right now. He's a pretty tough-minded guy, but it's certainly a blow to our defense. And we've just got to get him healthy and get him fixed."
"Of course, it's always good to get your first kick in the NFL and make it," said the rookie Hartley, who said he felt confident during pregame warmups, when he made all his kicks, and throughout the game. "It was unfortunate, though, that it really didn't come down to (the field goals)."
Head Coach Mike Smith
Q: Opening remarks:
A: "That was an outstanding football game. We played a very explosive offensive team. For our guys to go out and hold them to no touchdowns in the first half was very big. I liked the way that we played. Our players executed the game plan on both sides of the ball. We were proficient in our special teams as well. They bounced back well. There is a lot of stuff that we will have to check on the tape and make sure we get it corrected. But, this is another step in the process of our football team."
Q: Play of the secondary today.
A: "Going into the game, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t give up explosive plays. This is a football team that leads the National Football League in offense, 20-yard plays and 40-yard plays. We did a good job. We got a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Our guys had to play coverage for a long time in terms of Drew (Brees) being able to improvise and extend plays, but they did a nice job. Most passes were contested. Our guys had a good understanding of how they were going to attack us. Dominique Foxworth played well. Chevis Jackson had a 95-yard interception for a touchdown and it was a big play. Chris Houston had an interception in the end zone. Erik Coleman intercepted the ball on the first play of the game and we were able to steal a possession there. You don’t want to give that team a lot of offensive opportunities because they are very potent."
Q: On kicker Michael Koenen.
A: "Michael has kicked the ball off extremely well. He’s done a nice job with his net punting and directional punting. Net punting helps our coverage unit."
Q: On offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.
A: "I can’t say enough about our coaching staff. Mike and the offensive staff put together a very good game plan. It was executed extremely well. Brian VanGorder and his staff did a nice job as well. We have to continue working this process. We are a young football team. Our quarterback is maturing each week. As long as he continues to develop, we will continue to add to what we can do offensively."
Q: On Matt Ryan’s play.
A: "He was very accurate in the first half. He threw some great timing routes out in the flat to our wide receivers. He made a heck of a play on a bootleg when they had a linebacker blitzing off the edge. He was able to avoid and get the pass to Justin Peelle. That was a big play. Like always, there are plays in that football game that we will have to do better and make corrections. They are a lot easier to fix when you have a win."
Q: Jerious Norwood’s 67-yard touchdown.
A: "It was an outstanding play. We got the look that we wanted pre-snap. Matt (Ryan) knew where to go with the ball. Jerious likes to run. He’s fast and he likes to run. He caught the ball in the seam and we had two nice blocks. Michael Jenkins had a nice block and Laurent Robinson had one too. Jerious had an opening and he is one of the fastest players in the league."
Quarterback Matt Ryan
Q: Opening statement
A: "I think everybody is excited about the win. It is great to win against a team of that caliber, and not to mention, a divisional foe. More importantly, we were able to execute as a team throughout the game. It is exciting that we are 6-3, and now our focus will shift to the Denver Broncos."
Q: On the Saint’s secondary coverage:
A: "It was typical for the secondary to play-off on our receivers. That is their style of defense and they were consistent with that approach. But as the game went on, their secondary started to creep up to the box to control our running game. RB Jerious Norwood did a good job of getting yards after contact which propelled us to keep running the ball. RB Michael Turner turned in his usual performance today and almost hit the century mark in rushing yards. It was great to have both of these players in the backfield."
Q: On the 1st half offense:
A: "I thought it was important for us to get off to a fast start. We didn’t score on the first possession although we had a great turnover from the defense. On the ensuing possession, we were able to pin them back with very good field position. We eventually scored on the next drive which was huge. Overall, it was big for us to get off to a good lead. The Saints’ offense is so powerful and has the ability to score on any given drive. It was important for us to put some points on the board and support the defense as much as possible."
Q: How important is the win against a divisional opponent?
A: "It is great because we put ourselves in a good position to achieve our goals. It is great to be 6-3, but we know there is still a long way to go."
Wide Receiver Michael Jenkins
Q: What are your overall thoughts on the team’s performance today?
A: "It was a great team performance. The defense came out on the first series and got an interception which set the tone. The offense came out early and put points on the board. The defense did a great job shutting down Drew Brees."
Q: How does it feel to be undefeated at home?
A: "Everyone is excited about coming to work and we are excited about playing on Sunday. We have been on the road for the last month or so and it feels good having the home crowd behind you."
Q: What happened on that pre snap read when you caught that long pass and what were you guys looking to get out of it?
A: "It was a no huddle play. Matt Ryan did a great job seeing the coverage and changing up the play. We had one-on-one coverage down the field and Matt threw the ball in a place where only I could catch it."
Defensive End John Abraham
Q: Talk about the defensive effort out there today?
A: "We played well as a unit from the safeties to the front line. We did a good job making Drew Brees get rid of the ball and make quick decisions."
Q: You guys are 6-3 in the NFC South. Is this a playoff team?
A: "Definitely. I felt that way after the first game. We are continuing to play well as a team and it shows every Sunday."
Q: Did you guys have a chip on your shoulder about playing against Drew Brees today?
A: "We just wanted to come out and play together as a team. We did a great job getting Drew Brees out of his rhythm. We put a lot of pressure in his face and kept him moving around."
Cornerback Domonique Foxworth
Q: Thoughts on today’s win.
A: "It was an important win for us. We all stepped up. We’re real proud of the other cornerbacks. Chevis (Jackson) had a huge play. Chris (Houston) had a huge play. Those are big plays that sometimes are real tough for young guys in pressure situations. More than anything I’m proud of those guys for stepping up."
Q: Thoughts on stopping the Saint’s passing game.
A: "They are the best passing offense in the League. We knew coming into this game that the pressure was going to be on us. We believe in our secondary and we have been playing really well the past several weeks. We are proud to put it on display in front of the world against the best passing offense. More than anything, I’m proud of the young guys for stepping up."
Q: Thoughts on the pressure from the Falcon’s defensive line and how it affected The Saint’s pass play.
A: "At no level have I ever played a game where the defensive line put on so much pressure. It makes our lives a lot easier. Same for them, when we are coving well, they can make a lot more sacks. The defense is so interconnected. We are all so dependent on each other."
Cornerback Chris Houston
Q: You guys made it look so easy out there, was it that easy?
A: "No it wasn’t easy at all. It was the preparation during the week with the coaches getting a good defensive plan and us buying into it. We knew they were going to take shots down the field, so we just did our best to be physical and eliminate the deep passes."
Q: On Chevis Jackson’s interception and touchdown.
A: "I knew he wasn’t going to get caught. That was a great job by him. He studied this week and knew they were going to go after him on third down. He made a big play for us and we’re proud of him."
Q: Thoughts on the importance of winning a divisional game.
A: "It sets the tone for the rest of the season. We now know we can beat anybody any given Sunday. As long as we keep going to practice, working hard, and believing in each other than anything is possible."
Safety Erik Coleman
Q: Thoughts on today’s win.
A: "We worked extremely hard and we took pride in this game. They (The Saints) have the number one passing offense in the League. We took that as a challenge and a good test to see where we are as a group. We worked hard and it’s paying off."
Q: Thoughts on his interception.
A: "It was a big tempo changer for us. We stole the possession on the first play of the game. For us, it was a great for the momentum of the game. We have been working hard as a defense. To see it pay off was a great feeling."
Safety Lawyer Milloy
Q: Thoughts on today’s win.
A: "We knew it was going to be a challenge and we were ready for it. That’s the type of team that we have and the type of team that we are growing towards."
Q: Thoughts on the divisional win.
A: "We had to get a division win. Our division is tight and very competitive. We just want to be the ones with our hands up when the smoke clears. There were a lot of people doubting us at the beginning of the season and I think we are showing what we can do."
Q: His thoughts on the secondary.
A: "Well first and foremost, they have been doing everything that I do as an older guy. They have progressively gotten better over the year and the good thing is they are going to get better.
Wide Receiver Roddy White
Q: How important was it to establish a tempo from the start?
A: "We had a good tempo going into the game. Coach wanted us to start fast, put points on the board and put pressure on the other team."
Q: Take me through the touchdown in the 1st quarter:
A: "It was a play we drew up in practice. Matt Ryan and I connected on it all week in practice. Once coach called the play, we just ran it, giving us a chance to score."
Q: What are your thoughts on the trust between you and Matt Ryan? It seems Matt throws the ball well before you come out of your breaks.
A: "That trust develops from habits formed in practice. Mike Jenkins and I always go out there and run full speed and help Matt with his timing. We can only get better, and hopefully next game, we can do the same thing."
Q: What are your thoughts on the locker room? I noticed there is no excessive celebration. You guys just come in and get ready for the next week. Explain.
A: "The veterans are here teaching the young guys how to win. They are teaching the young guys how to stay focused and how to win in this league. Hopefully, we can keep it up."
Running Back Jerious Norwood
Q: This was your first touchdown off a pass; do you enjoy catching passes for touchdowns as much as running?
A: "Yes. Whatever it takes to help the team win. If I have to catch passes for touchdowns, I’m all for it."
Q: What were you looking to accomplish coming into this game?
A: "We wanted to impose our will on the other team. Speaking for the offense, we wanted to execute, play fundamentally sound, and have fun."
Q: What were your thoughts on your touchdown play? It looks as if you started to celebrate a little too early.
A: "I had it under control. I knew he wasn’t going to catch me. It was a pass in the flat, and the guys down field did a great job blocking for me. Laurent Robinson made a great block on number 43, and there was another receiver on the outside that made a great block. Once I was able to get in between those two guys, I was off to the races."
Q: What are your thoughts on Matt Ryan?
A: "Matt did a great job! The offensive line did a great job of protecting him and he seemed to make great decisions today. We just have to keep it rolling."
Running Back Michael Turner
Q: What were your thoughts on getting a win against an NFC South Division rival?
A: "We want to win division games, but we also want to maintain our position as we make a run for the playoffs. It was also a home game, so there were a number of factors in this game that showed us that we needed to win."
Q: Your record is six and three, are you guys thinking about the playoffs?
A: "We’re trying to take one game at a time. We want to be right in the thick of things. Playoffs are not out of the picture. It’s a definite reality, but we just have to take it one week at a time."
Q: What are your thoughts on the offense?
A: "We’re rolling right now. We’ve got two more home games and hopefully we can keep this thing going."
Let's finish this off with some audio from WWL. In order, it's Sean Payton, Scott Fujita, Marques Colston, Aaron Stecker, Hokie Gajan and Bobby Hebert.