NFC South: 2013 Week 5 NFL Buzz

Locker Room Buzz: Atlanta Falcons

October, 8, 2013
Observed in the locker room after the Atlanta Falcons' 30-28 loss to the New York Jets on Monday:

Keeping his calm: Quarterback Matt Ryan had somewhat of a blank stare on his face as he dashed through the locker room for his postgame press conference. When he stepped to the podium, he was asked immediately about the offense’s inability to punch it in on fourth-and-goal from the 1 before halftime. "I think everybody was ready to go," Ryan said. "That would have been a big score from us before the half. ... When you have those chances, you’ve got to punch it in." Head coach Mike Smith admitted in hindsight, maybe a field goal would have been a better option.

Caught off guard: Safety William Moore tried to explain why the defense imploded on the Jets’ final drive, as rookie quarterback Geno Smith marched his team into field-goal range in seven plays, capped by Nick Folk's 43-yard game-winner: "There were a few situations where they started fast-balling us," Moore said. "It’s hard to get the personnel in. It’s hard to do stuff. It was because didn’t nobody know what they were doing. It was because they were hurrying up, and they took advantage of some of the looks that we had."

Walking wounded: Neither Roddy White nor Jason Snelling were at their lockers after the game. They were probably in the training room after leaving the game with injuries. White suffered a hamstring injury, while Snelling sustained a concussion. "I think it is difficult to see guys get nicked up,’’ Ryan said. "Thought our guys that came in stepped up and did a great job."

Rush to judgment: The Falcons sacked Smith four times, led by Osi Umenyiora with two. However, they needed more pressure on Smith during the final drive. Corey Peters had a sack, too, but downplayed the four sacks. "Honestly when you lose a game, especially the way we did ... the defense had an opportunity to be on the field at the end of the game. We’ve got to come up with a stop, keep them out of field-goal range,’’ Peters said. "At least right now, everything’s kind of a wash. We didn’t play well enough to win. I’m sure after we get to the film, we can find some positives in it. But right now, it’s really all bad."

Locker Room Buzz: Carolina Panthers

October, 6, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Observed in the locker room after the Carolina Panthers' 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

It's my fault: Wide receiver Steve Smith doesn't usually drop touchdown passes or avoid answering questions after losses. He did both on Sunday. "Blame the loss on me," he said without answering questions. "I'm the scapegoat. It's all I got."

Life Savers moment: Center Ryan Kalil had his arm around the shoulders of guard Amini Silatolu, whose right leg was wrapped and in a brace after a second-half injury that the Panthers are hoping isn't as serious as it appears.

Iceman cometh: It looked worse than it is. Bandages were wrapped around wide receiver Brandon LaFell's upper torso to support a huge bag of ice on his back. He was hurting worse from a dropped first-down pass inside the Arizona 15. "It's bad, man," he said.

Lot going on: Quarterback Cam Newton has a reputation for being a flashy dresser, but there was a lot to digest in travel attire that included a blue plaid jacket, blue sweater, red plaid shirt and red tie. It was kind of like his game that included three interceptions, a fumble and two tackles.
CHICAGO – Observed in the locker room after the New Orleans Saints' 26-18 victory over the Chicago Bears:

Brees unchallenged: Saints quarterback Drew Brees admitted he was "a bit shocked" to find out New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass ended at 52 on Sunday. Brady was expected to challenge Brees' NFL record 54-game streak when the Saints and Patriots meet next Sunday in New England.

"It's a crazy game," Brees said. "I think in my mind I just assumed that he was gonna break it, that there was no doubt. … But it just means that they're gonna be pretty salty next week, and we're gonna get their best game, there's no doubt about that."

"Smart" plan: The buzz word after Sunday's game was "smart." That was the Saints' plan to finally win at Chicago -- and they stuck to it by winning the turnover battle (1-0), the time of possession battle and the field position battle.

Evans healing: The Saints did not report any new injuries. And guard Jahri Evans said he's feeling better after a hamstring injury plagued him for most of September. Evans certainly looked good getting upfield on Pierre Thomas' 25-yard screen pass touchdown.

Slippery slope: The Saints knew the long, soft grass at Soldier Field would be an issue. But Thomas admitted it took some time to adjust and learn to stay patient. He was one of a handful of Saints who slipped early, missing out on a potential touchdown.