RE: Injury assessment
It’s something I don’t really want to talk about right now. I think we should save that for another day. I’d rather just talk about Atlanta and the game we just had.
RE: First start and settling in after that first snap
It was exciting. Everything leading up to it was exciting. I have worked really hard for this for a really long time. And you know, first snap, fumbled it and it was kind of hectic, but after that I thought we moved the ball well. Again, just those red zone things we have to figure out.
RE: About his toughness and willingness to come back in and play
Obviously I want to be out there for those guys. Those guys are awesome and they believe in me. I wanted to give my all for them.
RE: What it meant to show his teammates his toughness
It means a lot to me that they have the confidence in me and they know that I am going to fight for them and they did the same thing back. We didn’t give up this game, we fought until the very end. That’s all you can ask for us. We will go back again and look at film tomorrow and see what we messed up on, but the effort was there, obviously, and again those red zones mishaps we have been having for the last several weeks we need to fix up.
RE: The long drive and first TD pass
It was great. Obviously the fumbled snap on the first play was not what we are looking for, but a 16-play drive, eight minutes off the clock, that is pretty much what we are trying to do. Get the ball out of their hands and score. It was kind of funny being Ian [Thomas’] first touchdown, too. We were kind of fighting for the ball in the end zone. I let him have it. Hopefully I get one next week. So we’ll see.
RE: What did you prove today?
I don’t know. Obviously, I feel like I proved that I’m tough. I’m not really looking at anything like that. It was a hard loss. I felt we had the chances.
RE: On the first TD pass
They [the Falcons] played it really well. We pulled a guard just in case someone was there and Van Roten did a good job picking him up. They covered our guys, so I was trying to extend the play as long as possible and then I saw the linebacker with his head back to me and I saw Ian looking at me and I gave him a shot and he made a great play.
RE: On the 53 pass attempts and expectations entering the game
We were just trying to win the game. And when you get down a certain amount of points late in the game you just have to keep throwing it. I think that had something to do with it.
RE: On the pain in the second half
It hurt, obviously, I had to go back [in the locker room] and get some things done, but it’s still hurting a little bit, but that’s football. You get bruised up, you get hurt, you play through it. Again, I was just trying to be there for the guys.
RE: Did you learn anything from Cam Newton playing through injury the last few weeks
All year. Watching him prepare, take care of his body the way he does. I have learned a lot from him. Specifically in the last six or seven weeks. Just seeing him rehab all the time and try to get to 100 percent. The meals he eats, the film, he is a true professional and I have learned a lot from him.
RE: On the season not turning out the way everyone hoped
This is our livelihood. This is our job and we want to go out there and perform and win. When you have seven straight losses it’s tough. All we wanted to do is win. Again, every week we just work hard, prepare to win and it just hasn’t worked out for us.
RE: On what he saw during the interception
I was run out right, initially Ian was covered. Our under route was covered and I saw Curtis [Samuel] pop open in the back of the end zone and I thought I could just kind of stick it on him. The ball was too low. It got tipped and obviously got picked, but if I could have it back just give it a little more air and I thought we had an easy touchdown.
RE: On the moment he got hit on his elbow
It was like déjà vu from last year. Christmas Day, Houston throws me in there and I’m moving the ball and then I’m out. I wasn’t going to let that happen again. I waited too long. I worked too hard. And that’s all I want to do, go out there and play. I have been waiting a long time and thought we were playing well. I know you didn’t ask about him, but Kyle Allen came in and stepped up. He has had a roller coaster of a year being at home for a month and a half, just like I was last year and he comes in and goes 4-for-4, so that just compliments Cam preparing us throughout the week and that’s all I can say about that.
RE: Were you able to show your ability or did the injury affect what you can do
I’m not really thinking about that, honestly. You go back and look at the film. I moved the ball pretty well. We are going to look. We are going to get better from it and we’ll move on.
RE: On the QB celebrations
I honestly forgot about it. I was so excited. Congratulating all the guys. I was exhausted … eight-minute drive, 16 plays. Kind of running around a little bit. As you can see I didn’t really jump as high, but it was really cool. He [Cam] was super pumped. It’s cool to see that.
RE: On the opportunity to celebrate and point towards the sky for his father
That was great. It’s been a long time. Obviously in preseason I was able to do it a couple of time, but when it really counts against my home team. I grew up watching the Falcons a lot, so it was cool. One of the coolest moments I have had.
RE: On the Panthers leaving a seat open for his father, did you know?
No, I was on Instagram on my way, walking over and I saw that and thought it was really cool. A lot of guys from high school knew my dad texted me about it. It was a really nice gesture they did and I really appreciate it.
RE: On being announced as a starter
I was excited, but I just wanted to start … Again, waking up at 8:00 and knowing you’re not going to take your first snap in five hours and waiting around all day. I was just ready to go.
RE: Anything that will keep you from playing next week
I’m not going to answer that right now. You will have to ask coach [Ron Rivera].
RE: On your first start against the Falcons, being from Georgia
It was cool. Me and Cam being from the same area in itself was cool. Getting my first start against Atlanta, a division opponent, obviously he [Cam] hates them, he sees them two times a year, so it was exciting.
RE: How much are you drawing on your father
If he was here right now, he would be trying to get in here right now and tell me how proud he is of me. That’s all I need. I know he is watching. It was a special day.