How would you assess how the game went? How did you feel out there?
"Well, the biggest thing is we got the victory. It wasn't pretty at times, but our defense played well. Got a big stop for us at the end and we found a way to move the chains there at the end to kill the clock."
Did you feel good throwing the ball?
"Yeah, I felt great. Tried to get into a rhythm out there and let our guys go to work. Our receivers, running backs, tight ends did a great job making plays."
Talking about being able to move the chains there at the end, you did it on a bootleg run. Can you just go over that play and what you saw?
"It was just, it was a play that we had been working on all week, kind of that we were going to go to in crunch time. Our offensive line did a tremendous job selling the power to the left and it was a run-pass option, but once I knew we had the defensive end sealed, it was me on a DB. I was just going to go for the first down regardless."
How supportive was QB Colin Kaepernick throughout the game and how did he help you?
"He was wonderful. The relationship that we have is great. He was the same way today as I had been with him in the past. Whatever he saw, he told me and we just kind of worked together well."
Such an aggressive mindset for this offense. We see the team going for it on fourth-and-1 even though it was only the nine yard line, it was earlier in the game. What had changed this week as far as that aggressive mindset working--?
"We just had to manufacture some momentum. Momentum plays such a vital role in any football game. We had the opportunity to convert a fourth and a couple inches, I like that. I think we converted it into a touchdown. Anytime you can do that, it bodes well for your football team."
You looked so disappointed when they took away your touchdown. What was going through your head at first when they told you you were down at the one?
"It was huge. It was just kind of a funny play. I thought I was in, but I slipped a little bit so it didn't look too pretty. But, we bounced back. [TE] Garrett [Celek] caught the ball well and our O-line sold the run on that pass play and that opened up really nice."
Head coach Jim Tomsula said you didn't want to come out of the game on that, when they kind of ordered you to, to have your head checked--?
"Yeah, I was a little fired up but that's the protocol that we have installed now and it's all for the safety of the players. So, you've got to respect their decisions and go through kind of the steps to get cleared. I felt fine. There was no doubt in my mind that I wasn't coming back in. That was about it."
I asked Tomsula if you're the starter for the next game in two weeks and he wouldn't answer. I think that's fair to say, he didn't commit. Do you expect to be the starter?
"All I know if we got the victory today. We got a bye week coming up and we're going to prepare for Seattle. That's our next game up there. So, whatever 11 guys we march out on the field, we're going to go up there and expect a victory."
Is that what he told you to say or did you come up with that on your own?
"No. I consider myself a smart guy so I can form my own words and sentences." [laughs]
How did it feel to just be playing again and starting for the first time...?
"It was wonderful. I'm so appreciative for this opportunity and I just wanted to go out there and compete. Lead these guys. I almost gave it away there in the fourth quarter but our defense, like I said previously, had a tremendous stop on third-and-four on the four to get them down on the one-yard line. And so, I just wanted to go out there today and just have fun. You play well when you're having fun and that was the biggest thing."
You looked comfortable in the pocket today which is the opposite of what the people have always said about you in Jacksonville and even last year in the preseason. What has changed with you in the last year where you seem to have a comfort level where you didn't in the past?
"I think just knowing that check-downs aren't a bad thing. I wouldn't say that I wasn't comfortable in the past but certain situations, certain plays, certain twists that the defense would run create you to move outside the pocket. But, at the end of the day, I told that O-line I as going to stick in there and take some shots to the chin but get the ball out and our running backs did a great job on check downs and our receivers did a great job getting open quickly."
What's it like for a quarterback when the Falcons drive down to the two, they face a fourth down and you don't know whether they're going to kick the field goal or go for it. How does that impact you mentally in you going back on the field?
"It's a great situation too be in. Those pressure moments are why we play this game. Gets your adrenaline going a little bit, but regardless of that, we had the same mindset to go out there and win the football game. Whether they score a touchdown or kicked a field goal, our job as an offense it either go out there and secure the victory or go get a victory. And that's kind of the approach that we took."
How did you feel about some of the comments in the national media that, a couple guys saying basically that you lacked courage? You ended up taking some pretty good shots today.
"Their opinions are their own. I know the way I play. My teammates know the way I play and everybody's entitled to their own opinion. Maybe I don't agree with it but at the end of the day, they can say whatever they want."
You found WR Quinton Patton early on. Was that kind of a plan going into the game plan or was you just finding the open man?
"It was just finding the open guy. Coaches always say throw it to the open and it's easier say than done, but he did a great job running and getting open and making a big play there. I think it was in the first quarter."
Kind of off topic a little bit, but are you aware of what's going on at your alma mater of Missouri with the player boycott and things like that and what's your take on it?
"I heard bits and pieces of that and you got to respect the kid's decisions, but at the end of the day they got to do what's best for that program. You just got to move forward from it. They'll find a resolution, and you just move on."
You mentioned that you learned check-downs aren't a bad thing. Can you just talk about that philosophy a little bit?
"It's about taking what the defense gives you. The Falcons have a great defense and kind of the way they play, they want to rally to the football. Catch it short and rally and make the tackle. And we knew that going in. I told our backs to get ready to catch a lot of balls today and they did a tremendous job."
There was a situation where in the game, you were going to the Falcons sideline, and it looked like there was maybe a physical and a verbal thing going on there with the coach or couple coaches?
"I ran out of bounds, I think it was on the third-and-ten on their sideline and got a shoulder from somebody. It was in the heat of the moment and some words were exchanged. I couldn't tell you who it was. I got to go back and look at the film. But, that's really about it."
It looked like it might have been the head coach?
"I couldn't tell you. Everything was moving so fast. All I know is the O-line had my back and the receivers did too."
Did you think you would get back to being a starting quarterback?
"I was talking the other guys earlier this week, as soon as you lose that vision of not seeing yourself as a starting quarterback, you regress tremendously. So, throughout all the ups and downs in Jacksonville and through the early parts of my career, I just treated those as learning experiences. Knowing that things will change, things will turn around and as long as you put your best foot forward everyday, keep working, keep grinding through the tough times, things will turn around."