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Dan Quinn moved past Super Bowl, but 'not over it' -- and may never be

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Almost a month later, Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn reflected on his team's historic collapse in a 34-28 overtime loss to New England in Super Bowl LI, a loss that could linger for quite some time considering the Falcons blew a 25-point lead.

"When they ask me if I've watched it, I say, 'Yes, I am past it. I am not over it,'" Quinn said Wednesday at the NFL combine. "I don't think I ever will be, and that's a good thing. Sometimes those kinds of experiences propel you to have the types of offseasons that you'd like to have.

"The analogy I use for our team [is] we're fighters. For those who cover our team on a regular basis, you know we talk about boxing quite a bit. And we got our *** knocked down on the canvas. You get back up and you go fight again. That's kind of what this offseason is about for us."

Specifically, Quinn revisited the late-game playcalling by former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan that came under so much scrutiny following the Super Bowl. There was a chance for the Falcons to secure their first-ever Super Bowl title despite losing the momentum, but a first-and-10 at the Patriots' 23-yard line with 4:40 left in regulation and a 28-20 lead turned into a punt that led to the game-tying score, forcing overtime.

Quinn was asked if he thought that he should have demanded Shanahan, now the 49ers head coach, run the ball a few more times in that situation to milk the clock and assure a field goal try. The Falcons ran Devonta Freeman on first down, but saw Matt Ryan sacked while dropping back to pass on second down. Then a holding penalty against Jake Matthews on third down pushed the Falcons out of field goal range.

"The first [play], we had a tackle for a loss," Quinn recalled. "On the second one, we had a play going to our best player [Julio Jones] thrown by the league's MVP [Matt Ryan]. ... I was on the headset, so I own that call, too. If we complete the ball on that one and don't take a sack, that's a gutsy call and it moves the chains.

"And the next play, a consequence of being out of field goal range, we threw it, and Matt threw a really good ball to Mo [Mohamed Sanu]. And we had a holding penalty. So the consequences were real. Those are the what-ifs that you go through, and it goes down a long list. If you told me if we ran it two more times where there's going to be no penalties and gain yards, then, yeah, I would have signed up for that. Honestly, the fact that when you go back through those, you learn from them. If there's ways to do it better, we're going to find those."

Quinn, who confirmed he took over the defensive playcalling for now-departed defensive coordinator Richard Smith in Week 13 of the regular season, also discussed if playing more man-to-man coverage against the Patriots led to his defense wearing down even more so. The Patriots ran 93 offensive plays compared to 46 for the Falcons.

"I did go back and watch the second half again; we played 29 snaps of man and 27 snaps of zone," Quinn said. "So, sometimes it may look like the way we play our zone is our man-to-man. The what-if game for sure is there and say, 'Could we have changed our leverage and not played man-to-man or played zone or played it differently?' Any time you have over 90 plays, you're going to look tired. There's byproducts of that: not playing as well on third down. We didn't have a good game third down offensively for some drives to extend and continue.

"What I was pleased about in the game was we had eight tackles for loss, we had five sacks, we had two turnovers. We scored on defense. What I wasn't happy about was all the explosive plays that they had. Some were a result of missed tackles. Some were a result of they made good plays, which happens, too. But at the end of it, I always look back and say, 'OK, what could we have done better?' That's just not in that game. It gets magnified in that game because, 'All right, if we had had a different call and played zone snap when we had a man snap, would the execution have been different?' You've got to do what you think is best at the time. At the time, I thought that playing man-to-man was going to be the best way to deny the ball."


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I already talked with PMF about the 22-yard line series. I feel better. I truly believe TMQ learned from this and will be realistic in a pivotal moment like this 4' 40" 4th quarter situation next year and in years to come. He learned from the KC 2 2 POINT mistake last season and took over play calling from R Smith. He learns from his mistakes.

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I've watched the first 3 qtrs 6 times already. I always cut it off after our last td by Coleman. It really irks me to know we played a glorified role in the storied legacy of the ****in Patriots. This is pretty much what I wanna hear from Quinn. You wanna know how it eats at him and how he plans and prepares for the upcoming season.  I think 2017 is going to be huge for Quinn in terms of how he bounces back, how he keeps this young team hungry, and how to avoid any hangover or slumps. 

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Well one statement he made I cannot agree with,,  When he said no ONE PLAY can change a game... Well,, I disagree with that.. I know he's got to be embarrassed over the Blown game.. But it did come down to just one huge mistake and a couple of plays.. Bottom line is 

1. WE did not run the ball in the second half period.. If we had of.. We would have won that game easily. WE did Not Run The Ball to keep the clock running.. If we had only ran the ball a little ,, we would have won. You need to understand how much time would have gone off the clock if we had ran the ball just 4 or 5 times in the 2nd,, We would have won the game flat out..  But we should have ran it even more than a few times.. not only would it have taken a lot of time and they wouldn't have had the time to even have a comeback drive. Plus If we had ran the ball , We probably would have also won the second half as well as the first half.. Why ? You say,, Because they knew we were going to throw the ball every time.. So they nailed us.. how could they have picked a half of game to play so dumb. When it was in the 2nd half of the SB. And they didn't have a half they dumb all year... Wow.... just wow.. To be honest it was so dumb , it made me wonder if there was not more there than what we know. .. Yes.. it was that stupid.

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