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Jay Gruden, postgame: ‘We’re beyond’ moral victories

Disappointment sets in for Redskins Coach Jay Gruden as he leaves the field after the 25-19 overtime loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

On injuries:
“The only injuries we have is Matt Jones has a big toe sprain and Trenton Robinson came in and out of the game with cramps.”

On the loss in overtime:
“Yeah, none of them are easier than any of the others. This is a tough one, man. We had an opportunity. We got the ball at midfield and we throw a pass out there and our receiver slips and falls and they get a pick six. I made a point to our team this week that throughout the NFL a lot of these games are decided on bang-bang plays, crucial plays, crucial situations, and today Atlanta made a few big ones. Unfortunately we didn’t, and they got the win.”

On Atlanta’s run defense:
“I think they did a – from what I could see, obviously – they did an excellent job stopping our runs. They held us to I think two yards per carry, if that, and stuck us in second and eight. We couldn’t get any rhythm going really, and it was tough. It forced us into some third and longs again. We converted a couple, but really failed to get the momentum going with our running game and the rhythm that we like to go with calling plays. You know we have a good balance usually calling plays. Today we just couldn’t find that balance, couldn’t find that rhythm. They did a nice job stopping the run.”

On the Redskins’ defense:
“They played well for the most part. They really did. They competed. They ran around there. We got a couple of sacks there in the first half. You know there were a couple unfortunate drives there at the end. They ran the ball extremely well with Freeman there, kind of wore us down a little bit. And they got the big drive at the end of the game. There were some good things that our defense did and some things we can correct.”

The Washington Post's Keith McMillan and Scott Allen discuss the Redskins' Week 5 loss to the Falcons (Video: Thomas Johnson and Randolph Smith/The Washington Post)

On time of possession:
“It cost us a little bit. They held the ball. They great time of possession on us, you know, very similar to the Giant game. When we did get the ball, we didn’t put together a very good drive and had to punt right away. I think it wore down our defense a little bit, which really enabled them to run the ball there at the end very effectively with Freeman. So offensively we’ve got to do a better job of – if our running game is having trouble, then we’re going to have to do a better job of moving the ball with some throws and letting Kirk [Cousins] go.”

On missing players affecting the game:
“I think guys stepped up. [Jamison] Crowder stepped up and had a good game. We missed some throws here and there that could have kept drives alive. The guys competed. Our offensive line was fully intact. We don’t have any excuses whatsoever. They just outplayed us in crucial situations, and congratulations to them.”

On claiming a moral victory:
“No. We’re beyond that. I don’t think anyone has crowned these guys as the ’86 Bears or anything I think. They’re 4-0 [entering the game]. They’re an excellent football team at home. They play very hard. We play very hard. This came down to a close game, but we don’t get any moral victories in the NFL. We feel like we’re right there as a football team and can compete with anybody. We’re sick no matter who we lose to.”

Washington loses a close one in Atlanta

ATLANTA GA, OCTOBER 11: Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes in the 3rd quarter during the Atlanta Falcons defeat of the Washington Redskins 25 - 19 in overtime at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta GA, October 11, 2015. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

On the end of regulation and the end of overtime:
“That was great. It was great. I was debating whether to call timeout there when we won the challenge and they completed it to give us more time if they did score. But luckily we got the ball, and Kirk made a good decision to get it to Derek [Carrier], and he made a big run to the 40. Then we had a big play to Pierre [Garcon] and got the ball out of bounds on a choice route, and our kicker knocked in a big field goal. It was great. Then we had the momentum and got the coin toss. We’re moving the ball pretty good at midfield and you know Ryan Grant just slipped and fell. You know … We got to … [Laughs] … It’s unfortunate. I don’t know what to say on that.”

On what Atlanta did to stop the run:
“They were moving around a little bit. They were stunting and they added an extra guy in the box a lot. They really did. They did a nice job. When we ran the ball on the outside, we were forced to cut it back, and our back-side blocking wasn’t very good, or they were getting off blocks. I’ve got to check the film out. They did an excellent job of disrupting our backs as far as being able to read the course and then making us cut it back, and then their back-side pursuit was outstanding. We’ll get it corrected. We’re going to stick with the run. We’re not going to give up on it whatsoever. Matt [Jones] is a little banged up. We’ll get Alfred [Morris] going again and Chris [Thompson] and we’ll see what happens.”

On Cousins:
“You know what? I think he was up and down. He’s a young quarterback on the road [in a] hostile environment. He competed, made some big-time throws. Missed some throws that he would normally make. I think he’ll tell you that. But, again, we want to be in games at the end of the game, and he put us in position to be there. Unfortunately Ryan slipped, and they made a great play. I think we can get better from Kirk. We’re going to demand better from Kirk, and he will get better.”

On defending the run in the nickel package:
“We’ve done well out of our nickel, too. Not many teams have been able to run the ball even out of the nickel, when we’re in nickel defense. Our defensive line’s been pretty good. They just got some good hits. You know we lost our gaps.  You know we’re in solo gap quite a bit, and a guy would get knocked out of his gap, and Freeman did an excellent job of being patient either keeping it outside or cutting it back into and open gap. We overran some. We got hooked on some. So it was a good job by Freeman and their offensive line.”

More from The Post:

A Cousins interception is the game-ending play in 25-19 overtime loss

D.C Sports Bog: Best and worst from Redskins’ defeat in Atlanta

Redskins-Falcons live blog | Game-day discussion thread | Box score

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