View images from Sunday's game against the Falcons.
Vikings Linebacker Anthony Barr
Q: How did it feel to get that big sack late to seal things up?
A: It was a big moment of the game and I was definitely excited. I was there to help the team, and you know, no personal agenda. It was awesome that I was able to do that.
Q: Where were you on that play? Where did you line up?
A: I was lined up over the center, and I was supposed to back up with the coverage, but I just saw the lane.
Q: Especially because you guys struggled stopping them on third down, how was it being able to get that one?
A: Yeah, it was a big moment, especially because we were struggling on third downs for whatever reason, it was good to get that one and get the offense back on the field and get those three points.
Q: Thoughts on what they were doing late on third downs?
A: I don't think they were doing anything special really. I think it's more a matter of what we weren't doing.
Q: What was it that allowed you guys to zero in on them at the end of the game?
A: We had a little bit of a lead and that let us make them be a little more one dimensional and make the pass a little more. We were able to send guys in on rushes and I think that helped us.
Vikings Defensive End Brian Robison
Q: Was that the first time you lined up against a tight end?
A: Yes, first and last.
Q: Do you like lining up against a tight end on defense?
A: No I don't because then you get three guys to you every time. They kept sending the fullback, running back, tight end. I felt like I was getting the whole arsenal every time.
Q: What do you think was the difference this week?
A: I just think that we ran out there and played our keys. Bottom line, when we do that we are a very good defense, but when we don't we allow big gains like they did in the third quarter. We just sometimes have to play more consistent as far as doing what we need to do, read our keys, and just play our kind of ball.
Q: Did they do anything different early to get those big gains?
A: No, I mean its football. Sometimes they are going to get some big gains but you just have to play your keys. We had some costly penalties, we had a few mistakes that we need to shore up, but this was definitely a group effort today. The offense definitely bailed us out today.
Q: Have you ever been in a situation where they bring a tight end out there to play tackle?
A: No, that is definitely a first for me in my years.
Q: Does that make it easier for you?
A: Heck no it doesn't make it easier. They send more guys your way then. They aren't going to let a tight end block a defensive end. They did it once and I felt it was pretty disrespectful but Anthony Barr got the sack so we were good.
Vikings Kicker Blair Walsh
Q: Game winners are one thing, you have got to like getting a 55-yarder for the win.
A: It's fun, it's fun. Anytime you can contribute to the team in a situation like that, it's awesome. As a kicker, you don't always get to play a ton in the game but today we got plenty of action.
Q: Did it surprise you on that fourth and one earlier in the game that they tried to kick that?
A: No, that's his personality as a coach; he wants to secure things and win it. He's not going to be conservative all the time, and I think he made the right call and obviously the result is what we wanted, but you know if you don't get it you give them the ball at the one yard line and that's kind of tough.
Q: Blair, a lot of people had written you guys off two games into the season, what's this win do for you guys?
A: It's the same way we always treat it. I know it's a cliché, but we're 2 and 2 and that's basically like starting over. We got a nice Thursday night game coming up against Green Bay, and this is a really important game for us, in the division, against our rival, and we haven't beaten Green Bay there in a while so we're going to come out firing.
Q: Touchbacks were a big part of the game tonight, anything to say about that last one that snuck by the pylon?
A: That was not intentional, someone up top was looking out for me on that one. You know you get lucky breaks here and there on kickoffs and that was one of them. I need to do a better job of containing myself and composing myself and hitting a better kickoff in that situation.
Q: After making that 55 yarder, and then you completed the shorter one, did you make sure you lofted that one?
A: Yeah, I wasn't going to make the same mistake that I made earlier when I missed from 49. It was a great snap and hold, and I was protected really well, and when they do their job it's really easy to do mine. That miss was on me earlier and that last kick was on all of us; it was perfect.
Vikings CB Captain Munnerlyn
Q: It looked like Josh [Robinson] had a pretty good game what did you see out of him?
A: Him and Xavier [Rhodes] came out and made plays at their position. Those guys were on their "A" game and I'm happy for those guys. They came out here and competed and they're doing what they need to do.
Q: Did you like what you saw out of your rookie quarterback?
A: Oh yeah, they put up a lot of yards and they came out on top. They saved us, I feel like as a defense we didn't play our best game, but we got the win.
Q: Did he [Bridgewater] seem any different this week knowing he was going to start?
A: No, he went through it like it was regular. It seemed like he showed no pressure on him and he's getting better each and every day?
Q: You're back and you're 2-2, you're tied with Green Bay and Chicago and a lot of people were writing you off after one or two games.
A: With all the stuff we had going on we knew people were going to write us off, but this team came out and got this started right.
Q: The third -down defense was shaky, what happened there?
A: We have to learn how to get off the field on third down. Third down is the money down and I always say that to the guys, we just have to learn how to get off the field and at the end of the day that's what it's about, making plays and getting off the field.
Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson
Q: How close were you to breaking that one?
A: I feel like I'm always close to breaking one. My time is coming and we're not going to rush anything. We had a good practice and coach [Mike] Priefer sets things up incredibly, so all hats off to him and everything he's doing.
Q: What's Teddy Bridgewater like in the huddle?
A: He's too calm. He's always calm under pressure. That's how he was in college I heard and just watching him every play and just watching how calm he is under pressure is incredible.
Q: You didn't break one, but you did an important job setting up field position in some of those critical drives, did you feel like a sense of urgency was there to make something happen?
A: It's always there. Coach [Mike] Zimmer always says if it's nine deep take a knee, but sometimes I don't want to take a knee, but I did today. I never thought I would do that and I felt so bad when I did. Every time I get the ball I want to get the offense in good position to score.
Q: It seemed like their defense was keying on you a lot. What can you say about your teammates that stepped up and had big time games?
A: You can't focus on one person, we have too many weapons on this offense. Jarius Wright had his career high, Greg [Jennings] had three catches for seventy -some yards. You just can't focus on one person. You have to worry about all these threats we have on offense. We had a heck of a week of practice and it showed tonight.
Q: How satisfying is it to see Jarius Wright have a big day?
A: It's amazing, Jarius is my boy since I got here. We have a bond like we're brothers, it's like we've known each other for ten years and we've only known each other for two years. It's a blessing to have a guy like that in the slot, I feel like no one can check him, he's so fast. He's just a great player.
Vikings Safety Harrison Smith
Q: The offense has struggled the last couple of games how gratifying was it to see them [the offense] just dominating the point of attack?
A: They played great running and passing the ball, Teddy [Bridgewater] played great, the offensive line blocked great, [Christian] Ponder came in and did a great job shortening up the game. Defensively we have to help them out more
Q: We're you disappointed at all they were able to string together drives?
A: I think we had some success on first and second down, but those third downs, we're not where we want to be on those. We don't want to give up the third- and- longs, those are the times you have to get off the field.
Q: After your interception you let a pretty good yell out?
A: Yeah, I play with a lot of passion anyways, so at that time in the game I was excited. I dropped a few last week, but by no means am I happy I got one, I need to keep doing it.
Q: You kind of went into shut- down mode. They go up 28-27 and the defense really seemed to step it up.
A: Those guys on the outside played great all day. We just need to find a way to get off the field on third down. We gave up points and we didn't play as well as we wanted to, but when it counted we stepped up.
Q: What are your impressions of Teddy [Bridgewater] making his first start?
A: There's not too many guys like him. He's a cool customer. It's very impressive to watch and I'm very happy we have him.
Vikings Running Back Jerick McKinnon
Q: It looked like you were having fun out there. They kind of suited you the way they were called wouldn't you say?
A: I would say so. Anytime I get a chance to touch the field, especially living out your dream, I'm just going to try to have fun, play loose, care for my teammates and do whatever I can.
Q: Did you ever imagine 135 rushing yards in this game?
A: I definitely didn't imagine it or think of it but you know things worked out very well thanks to our offensive line and receivers. Everyone was blocking really well and I was able to find some gaps and make some plays.
Q: How about Teddy Bridgewater, he handled things well. Thank goodness he's not hurt that bad as far as we think, how do you think he handled everything today?
A: Oh definitely, Teddy Two Gloves. He went out there and made plays all over the field with his feet and with his arm, and everybody loved what he can do and he definitely showed that today.
Q: When did you guys know that the offense was clicking?
A: I would say after the first touchdown. I think we were moving it really well. We got stopped a couple times but that didn't phase us. We came out the next possession and kept moving and kept going.
Q: After everything this team has been through how sweet it is to come home and have this kind of win and showing for your offense?
A: Definitely good. This team has been through a lot of adversity the last couple of weeks and been down on ourselves. We've been working really hard to try to get back on track to make things happen. I think we came out today and showed that.
Q: Teddy Two Gloves, huh? I know you're a Jet, is there any other nickname we should know about you?
A: I'll stick to Jet right now.
Q: Welcome to the NFL. Coming in there was so much talk about the lack of ground game the past couple games. How does it feel to come in here and get that established and show the Vikings can run the ball even without Adrian Peterson?
A: It feels real good. Matt Asiata did really good early on punching yards and doing what he does. He moved the ball forward and made people miss. I think as well as we did today it put us back on track and all we can do is reflect on the win and do it again next week.
Q: What was the difference today that you guys didn't have the last couple of weeks?
A: I'm not sure what it exactly was. After two losses in a row we really just challenged ourselves to get back on track and get a win. Coming back here today to our home field and getting a win was definitely big.
Q: How big was Teddy Bridgewater today? Did he meet your expectations or surpass them?
A: Phenomenal. He did everything the coach asked him to do. He has been doing it all week in practice making the throws and he came out today and was real calm. He just played his game.
Vikings Center John Sullivan
From the sidelines, everybody was saying he's got all day to throw. There will obviously be things that we can see on tape, little improvements that we can make. We don't have a lot of time to do it.
Q:Your group has taken some criticism, does it feel good to have this performance?
A: The only criticism that we care about is from our coaching staff. They're the only ones who know what we're supposed to be doing. It just feels good to win the game, we don't care about any of that other stuff.
Q: What did you think of McKinnon's performance?
A: Yeah he's got some juice. He's a squatty little guy but he is strong, and he picks up yards after contact, he gets small, gets up the field, and he did a heck of a job today.
Vikings Wide Receiver Jarius Wright
Q: You did more today than you did in three years with the team, talk about that?
A: I know, that's crazy… it took me three years to finally get this game. You know it came for me, and I'm just going to keep bidding on it.
Q: Was that the game plan, to throw to you a lot?
A: It wasn't the game plan, but early in the game, Coach Norv (Turner) must have saw something up there from the ball team. He would have believed in me. You know after the first two games I had, I mean to me they were two big drops, so I felt like I had to come out here and make a statement today.
Q: You and Bridgewater seemed to tie in together.
A: You know me and Bridgewater have gotten a lot, a lot of reps. Earlier in the year with Cassel being the starter, Bridgewater being the second team and I was also on the second team, so a lot of practice reps, a lot of preseason reps, so we have a lot of reps together.
Q: How does it feel to have a day like you did today?
A: You know it was real big for me. Me personally, I knew that I had it in me, but for me to come out here and show it to everybody I wouldn't say a must win, but a big win for us today. So for me to just to come out here and just show what I could do today was just real big for me.
Q: Talk about what you saw from Teddy.
A: Man, that guy is a great player. Not only throwing the ball, but he made plays on his feet. Got first downs with his feet also, made big plays with his feet. We just got to keep building on the performance we had today on offense.
Q: Talk about his poise and command in the huddle, the stuff that we can't see.A: You wouldn't think he was a rookie. You wouldn't think it was his first real game starting. The way he kind of commanded the huddle, the way he called the plays. And you know Teddy is a great quarterback, not only in the huddle, but off the field. He is a great guy and I can't say enough good things about him.
Vikings Running Back Matt Asiata
Q: The offense seemed to get into a rhythm out there right after the first drive, what does it say about this team that you can do that?
A: We just got to punch them in the mouth every time we come out, we sometimes get punched when big timers like this come up, but kudos to our offensive line for letting us be able to push it down the field.
Q: The offense was spread out tonight, whether it was a wide receiver look or you at running back, is that more fun for you guys too?
A: Yeah, it's fun when we execute and communicate on the field, we get to move the ball down the field and that's what we're trying to do, and it's all in the system.
Q: What do you see besides the poise from Teddy out there?
A: Yeah, he was having fun out there. You can see it- his smile says it all in the huddle, and that's what we like and we just have to protect him.
Q: Three touchdowns for you and 135 rushing yards for Jerick McKinnon the running backs are looking pretty good out there.
A: Jerick, he just came out there blasting and he made big plays.
Q: Do you feel that you and Jerick complement each other a little bit?
A: Yeah, I think our running back group is really tight and I feel like after the AP situation we had to just come together and play as one.
Q: Is there more of a focus on that too with a rookie quarterback, to get the run game going to kind of take the pressure off of him?
A: That's what we want is to get the pressure off of Teddy, but I feel like he didn't need it, but kudos to him.
Q: How was it to see Teddy come back after leaving on the cart?
A: That says it all about him. He wants to win, and we want to win, and we just have to have his back and punch it in to the end zone.
Vikings Tackle Matt Kalil
We're our toughest critics. There is a high expectation level for us, and how we should play. Hats off to Vladimir (Ducasse) who came in and did a great job. That's what it's about; guys stepping up and making plays and filling in for guys who have been hurt.
Q: You guys always expect to execute like you did today, but did it surprise you at all just how well you guys played today?
A: That's the game we have been waiting on. We know we are capable; we got a great starting five offensive line. We're big, we're powerful, we're fast, we can do a lot of those things, so it didn't surprise me at all.
Q: Has it been a guy here and a guy here, making it all work together?
A: I mean that's what it all comes down to. As far as an offense, and being in sync, and in unison. It takes one guy to mess up a play, and for a play to be broken. So I think as far as today goes, there was very minimal mistakes and we played as a unit.
Q: Do you feel like you guys got back on track, knowing that you have to go to Lambeau in three days.
A: Yeah it's a long season. So obviously it's good to get wins. In this league, it's tough to get wins like that, especially against a great team like Atlanta. So we will take all the wins we can get, just kind of build on this, and get our winning streak going.
Q: Personally do you feel like this is more indicative of how you can play?
A: Yeah, definitely. We know what we are all capable of doing. Like I said, we have a great starting five.
Vikings Cornerback Xavier Rhodes
Q: What were you able to do today to limit their effectiveness?
A: Just play together as a defense. We got the call and played good coverage the whole game.
Q: How much different was the pressure on Matt Ryan today allowing you guys to be as aggressive as you were?
A: It was great. He was unsure who he wanted to throw to, he was moving around in the pocket a lot and it was good for us.
Q: What does a big win do for your confidence going forward?
A: We just have to keep winning. We have to look at the next film, look at the next game, and learn from this one. Then we try to win the next.
Q: Obviously this is one of the most high powered offenses in the NFL, and you guys did what you did. Are you overall satisfied with the win?
A: Yes, we went out there and coach called the plays and we did what we had to do. We executed the calls and we felt like we did great.
Q: You had quite a challenge on your hands with the receiver you were guarding. Tell us about your mindset and your approach with that.
A: Julio Jones is a great receiver. You can't knock him because he proved himself in this league. I had to go out there and be on my peak and cover him.
Q: Would you say this is one of your best games as a pro?
A: I would consider it one of my best games but there is even more to come. I am looking forward to getting better and learning from this game in the mistakes that I made and try to get better.
Q: In particular, can you talk about the one pass break up when they went deep to Julio Jones with the one point lead and were looking to get more?
A: Yeah, I just had to make a play on the ball. I knew they would try to go deep and try to get the lead and take over so I had to make a play. The defense needed to make a play and I made it.
Vikings Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
It feels great to be back home, get that first win of what looks to be many more, and we hope to be many more. Great team effort today, looking forward to the next game.
Q: How do you feel physically?
A: I feel pretty good. Didn't finish the game the way I wanted to end it, but I'm feeling good right now. I'm able to stand in front of you all on my own, so I'm feeling pretty good.
Q: Do you think you will be able to play on Thursday?
A: That's something that's out of my hands, right now. I'm going to spend as much time as I can with Eric Sugarman and the training staff that we have here. That will be a decision that they can make.
Q: Were you worried as you were being carted off the field?
A: Not at all. I felt what happened during the play and it was basically a non-contact injury. Because I tried to make a cut and I just rolled my ankle in a funny way, but I wasn't worried at all.
Q: Do you feel like you could have come back into the game in the 4th quarter?
A: I think I could have. The situation we were in, we were up, the defense was playing great in the 4th quarter, Christian (Ponder) was able to come into the game, Christian, he's a great guy, always staying on top of the game. My hat's off to him being able to come in and finish the game for us.
Q: Aside from the injury, how did you feel about your first NFL start?
A: I felt pretty good. Anytime you have over 500 yards of total offense, it's going to be a great feeling. It was a total team effort. Upfront, I don't believe we gave up any sacks. That's always good when the quarterback is hitting the ground last. The running backs did a great job today of keeping their pads low and running behind the big offensive line that we have. The playmakers on the outside, I always talk about for me, it's not all about me. All I have to do is drop back and get the ball in those guy's hands. You see guys like Jarius Wright and Greg Jennings they make plays for this team.
Q: How much confidence did the big reception to Jarius Wright early in the game give you?
A: It gave me a ton of confidence, whenever you can just get that first completion, it allows you to establish rhythm and establish that chemistry. It's an ego booster as the game goes on.
Q: Were you surprised the fan support that you have?
A: It feels great. The fan support here in Minnesota. It's great when you have the fans on your back and supporting you. I thank the guys and the women and the children that are here and the fans just supporting the Vikings. Hopefully, we can continue to make them proud.
Q: Does 300 yards passing in your first start exceed your expectations?
A: I think it sets the bar pretty high. Coach Norv Turner, he always talks about playing the week better and playing better than you played the week before. For me, I just have to continue to try to build off of the momentum that I have and not try to get besides myself or out of my character.
Q: What was your take on the pregame speech that Adrian Peterson texted Coach Zimmer?
A: The words that Adrian texted Coach Zimmer, it was very deep. One thing that I took away from that message was – play each down like it's your last because you never know when it's going to be your last opportunity. Today, I think the guys got that message pretty well. We went out, we fought today, it was just a great overall team effort.
Q: What were you thinking after you overshot Jarius Wright on that deep ball in a crucial moment and how did you put that behind you?
A: I think that a football game is all about ups and downs. You're going to have some plays where it comes easy and then there are going to be some plays where you missed opportunities and some plays that you struggle. It's all about overcoming the previous play, putting it in the past and not letting it affect the next play. As a quarterback, I feel like you have to have a short-term memory. In that situation, yeah I overthrew Jarius, but I was confident in the play-calling, I was confident in the guys and I felt that they were still confident in me. I felt like we were just going to be able to seal the deal.
Q: How much does the injury affect you on a short week?
A: It's going to be very difficult, but it's something that happened in college. When I was in college I got hurt on a Saturday and had to the University of Rutgers on a short week, on a Thursday, also. I think in this situation I'm just going to have to put extra time in the training room, spend as much time as I can around the facility and in the training room. Try to get ready for Thursday.
Q: When is your MRI and is it just a precautionary thing?
A: I'm going to get an MRI as soon as I leave the stadium today.
Q: Did Norv Turner say anything to you that stuck with you this week?
A: Like I said earlier, he just mentioned play a week better. He always talks about not just going to play a game, you're going to win a football game. We have to have that mindset here and I felt that we did a great job of just going out today and playing with that mindset. It's not just another day of playing football. It's another opportunity to go win a football game. The guys did a great job of hearing that message and playing for one another today.
Q: Your head-first dive into the endzone, was that a nose for the goal line type of thing?
A: Yeah, just being a competitor, wanting to score worse than the other guy wants you not to score. In that situation, just tried to do whatever I could to get the touchdown.
Q: At what point during the first quarter did you really start to feel comfortable?
A: Actually, before the ball was even kicked off. I feel that we've had a great week of practice and I was able to get a good feel for the game plan, it just boosted my confidence and prepared me well for the game today. Everything just came naturally as far as the offense and the system that we have here. The guys did a great job of understanding the terminology and the concepts that we wanted to run today, it's just a great team effort.
Q: Was that the game plan to get you confidence with the short passes early?
A: Yes, like I said, you want to develop that rhythm, that chemistry early in the game. It just gives you a ton of confidence whenever you're able to hit those easy completions, because at the end of the day, after a while the deep ball is going to come eventually.
Q: Matt Asiata said that there was a punch them in the mouth mentality to set the tempo, did you feel that helped set the tempo?
A: Yes, and Matt, he's been great for us in the backfield. The situation where you talk about opportunity, Matt, he's had an opportunity to step-up for this team, along with Jerick (McKinnon), also. There's a ton of other guys along this roster, think about Gerald Hodges and Vlad Ducasse, guys who just had their number called. Coach Turner, he mentioned earlier this week also, not to blink an eye. Adversity is going to strike, things are going to happen throughout the season, but we're not going to blink an eye. We have to continue to just play well. Today, Matt did a great job of lowering the boom and getting us started earlier.
Q: Would you talk about the decision to stay in the game after your injury and go for it on 4th and goal and stay in the game?
A: That was a situation where we just wanted it worse than the opposing team. Atlanta is a great team. They've been playing great football so far this season. In that situation, guys looked each other in the eye in the huddle and told each other, "Hey, this is what we want and we are going to go get it."
Q: Are you going to sneak any champagne in with the MRI as far as celebrating your first win as a starter?
A: Not at all, not at all. I'm probably going to go get the MRI and probably go to the training and start getting treatment tonight.
Q: Did you talk the coaches into going for it on 4th down?
A: Not at all. It was a situation where we had momentum, we thought that we could punch it in and get the score.
Q: What are your thoughts on the "Teddy Two Gloves" nickname?
A: I like Teddy Two Gloves. It fits my description, play the game with two gloves. It's just great when, like I said, you have fan support and they're just on your back and you can just ride that wave and take advantage of this opportunity.
Q: What was the biggest difference in the run game today?
A: That was one of the main focuses coming into this game. Coach Zimmer, we have our keys to winning and one of the keys to winning was rushing for 130 yards. Well, we have exceeded 130 yards today and I think the guys bought into the game plan. We knew that we had to be physical with Atlanta. They're very physical upfront and in the back. The guys just bought into the game plan and trusted one another that each guy next to each other is going to get the job done.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
That was some game, wasn't it? A lot of back and forths throughout the day. I thought our guys played very hard. I thought obviously we did a good job offensively. Defensively we had a few bonehead things that we've got to fix. I've said all along - I like how this team competes, I like how it works, I like how it studies. I told them in the meeting the other day I said, "Faith is belief without proof," and we have to go out and prove it that we can do these things. Today they went out and fought their rear ends off. As long as you keep fighting, we keep trying to eliminate the mistakes that we're making, we get the kind of proficiency we did from the offense and really the special teams did a great job too. Defensively we still have some things we've got to work on. You'll have a chance to win if you do these kind of things. I think it was a great team win. Atlanta is a really good football team. They've got obviously a great quarterback, they've got lots of weapons offensively and our guys fought them all day long.
Q: Teddy had big numbers without looking to do too much. Is that him or the offense? Or both?
A: Well I think a little of both. I think we did a great job calling plays today and Teddy obviously did a fantasatic job. He put the ball in the right place; he made good decisions but I was really impressed with the running game. Even [Matt] Asiata would get three or four extra yards after contact, [Jerick] McKinnon had a big day. We were down a few guys offensively too and for those guys to come out and perform like that, it's impressive. It was hot for both teams and I know they were gassed and we were too but we kept fighting.
Q: How is Teddy's ankle?
A: He's going to get an MRI but I told him he's fine.
Q: What did you perceive Teddy's demeanor to be before he got in there and drove them down the field?
A: Teddy's the same all the time. He's always got the same demeanor. He's just amazing to be around. This kid, he's a good kid. I'm proud he's on my team.
Q: What was the difference in the running game?
A: Well we did a better job up front of moving people, did a better job hitting the holes. We stuck with it, like I said we gained yards after contact. I challenged us, I wanted us to rush for a certain number of yards and we surpassed that by quite a bit.
Q: Was the game plan to use McKinnon that much?
A: We've talked about trying to get him in the ballgame some more. He's got a lot of explosiveness and we wanted to try to use some of his speed to the perimeter. He did a couple of really good inside runs too.
Q: Could Teddy have gone back in if you needed him to?
A: You know honestly I didn't know. I didn't know he got hurt honestly because they came up and told me prior to the offensive series that he had sprained his ankle and wasn't sure if he could go or not and then they took him in to get x-rays.
Q: But the x-rays were negative?
Q: How does that work with this being a short week and Teddy being injured?
A: Well, it's a concern that it's a short week and we play Green Bay but we're going to saddle our guys and go.
Q: What was the mindset of going for it on fourth-and-goal in the third quarter?
A: For the touchdown? I wanted to score. They were moving the ball pretty good at that point in time and I figured if they're going to go they're going to have to go 99 (yards). I just felt like if we could punch this one in it would help a lot.
Q: You had a lot of screens and quick-hitters early on. Was that to get some confidence?
A: Well, we expected them to be pressuring us quite a bit, early especially, get the ball out of his hands, good throws, things like that. Obviously Jarius [Wright] had a big one.
Q: Can you talk about how Teddy wasn't able to let the game get away from him?
A: I think not so much with Teddy but the whole team. This is a process for this football team on trying to learn how to win tough games. Like I said when we played that second game, I didn't think we fought and last week we fought and then this week I think when it got down into it, we learned from last week, how you suck it up and you've got to keep fighting. I thought the rest of the team, defensively we went right out there and got a three-and-out maybe and kind of turned the momentum back in our favor. It was a big momentum game this game.
Q: Were you impressed with the way the defense turned it around later in the game with the sack by Anthony Barr and interceptions?
A: Yeah, and that's what I say, if we quit doing the bonehead things that we do - the long run was ridiculous and the first touchdown we busted that one and the third-and-15 we let the quarterback get out and he finds a guy and that's one of the great things that Atlanta does is when he starts moving around, which he can move, they start taking off. It's still all a process. We've still got so many more games to go. We're trying like heck as coaches teaching these guys the way we're trying to play and obviously they're great offensively too.
Q: How do you feel like Harrison Smith played today?
A: I think he did well. Harrison is a really steady guy. He made a couple of mistakes last week and one thing about him, when he makes a mistake he usually learns from it. He's pretty smart and he is a tough guy and he's a heck of a competitor. He kind of controls things back there a little bit.
Q: Jerick said he never thought he'd run for 135 yards this early. What can a game like this do for him?
A: Well he needs to raise his expectation levels if that's what he thinks, so I'll have to talk to him about that. Jerick, he's a lot like Teddy in a lot of ways. He doesn't get too high and things don't bother him so he just needs to continue to stay with it and he's got a chance to be a good back.
Q: Was that first touchdown miscommunication by Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Robinson?
A: It was a miscommunication. It was a fake screen play and both of them jumped the screen. I'm not sure which one messed up, but one of them obviously and we were zero blitzing so it was probably my fault.
Q: Do you want to clean up some of that but with the short week blow past the corrections period and go straight to Green Bay?
A: Yeah, we're going to get onto Green Bay but we're going to show them the mistakes. There will be time where we have to show them the mistakes that we made but we're going to get onto Green Bay starting tonight.
Q: Do you think Teddy will play on Thursday?
A: I assume he's going to play, I don't really know. Teddy is pretty dang tough. I did talk to him in the locker room after the game and he didn't give me any indication he wasn't. I didn't specifically ask him.
Q: What happened with the 10-second runoff at the end of the half? Did you have the chance to take a timeout?
A: Yeah, we could have took a timeout. I thought we were going to run the ball. You're going to take the 10-second runoff, you're going to run the ball and I was going to take the timeout if we didn't score and kick the field goal. We ended up throwing a play-action pass instead.
Q: Was that one of Rick Spielman's quizzes?
A: No, but the officials did a great job of explaining the situation to me.
Q: How good is it to have a guy like Christian Ponder if Teddy can't go?
A: Yeah, I'm going to write a book at the end of the season. Which one of you guys wants to write it for me of all of the things that have happened? I've been writing them down, these situations. It's nice to have Christian in there, a guy that's been to the playoffs and done a lot of things but that's kind of what this team has been doing right now – stepping up. Vladimir Ducasse went in there and played and Chase Ford went in there and played, Rhett Ellison, [Gerald] Hodges played for [Chad] Greenway. It's why we coach them all.
Q: Is Anthony Barr where you thought he would be at this point?
A: I think his progress is going the right way. He's obviously got a lot of things to work on. Like I said, my expectation is very high. There are so many things he can do even better when he's not thinking so much and he's doing a lot of thinking right now. He's got a chance, he's got a chance to be really, really good.
Q: Is that as good of a game as you've seen from Xavier Rhodes?
A: I have a lot of confidence in Xavier. I think he's got a chance to continue to be a very good player. He's like a lot of these guys we have on defense – so young and learning so much of trying to figure out what we're trying to do in situations and how we play the techniques and the different combinations. Jerry [Gray] is doing a great job with him but I do think Xavier is continually getting better and he's got a chance to be very, very good if he keeps working on the little things to make him really good.
Q: Do you think the connection between Teddy and Jarius was so strong because of the second-team reps they had together?
A: I don't believe so. They both got a lot of first-team reps too so I don't think that was a factor.