The great Matt Ryan has never been greater

Robert McClain makes a point-saving interception. (John Bazemore/AP)

Robert McClain makes a point-saving interception. (John Bazemore/AP)

Robert McClain makes a point-saving interception. (John Bazemore/AP)

Robert McClain makes a point-saving interception. (John Bazemore/AP)

These short takes are presented as a companion to the Falcons-Saints game column, which can be found on myajc.com.

1. As great as he has been as a Falcon, Matt Ryan has never been greater than he was Sunday. Forget, if only for a moment, the two fourth-quarter scoring drives. (The first to take the lead, the second to force overtime.) Forget the 448 passing yards, which established a franchise record. Forget even his stop-the-presses 15 yards scrambling. Return instead to the final 20 seconds of the first half: The Saints had re-established their 13-point lead and were about to send the Falcons into the break on a downer. Two Ryan completions — to Devin Hester for 19 yards and Roddy White for 39 — enabled Matt Bryant to kick a 40-yard field goal to make it 20-10. There might be better quarterbacks in the NFL (though not many); there are none as good at the end of halves.

2. After an early sputter, this offense was a mighty river. The Falcons gained 568 yards and scored on seven of their final nine possessions. They outscored the Saints 27-14 over the final 30 minutes of regulation and 3-0 in overtime. They deployed four running backs to great effect. Antone Smith turned a short pass into a 54-yard touchdown, and Jacquizz Rodgers scored from 17 yards out to put the Falcons ahead with 2:50 left in the fourth quarter. Ryan was sacked only once. In sum, the offensive line — even without first-round pick Jake Matthews, who left with an ankle injury at the end of the first half — held up its end. Said guard Jon Asamoah: “We know if we can keep Matt upright, this offense will be hard to defend.”

3. Still devoid of a pass rush, the Falcons did show that their secondary can cover people. Cornerback Robert Alford saved a touchdown with an end-zone deflection. Nickel back Robert McClain saved three points if not seven with an end-zone interception. Safety William Moore forced the Marques Colston fumble in overtime — recovered by linebacker Joplo Bartu — that essentially won the game. Cornerback Desmond Trufant had some moments. And this was with Drew Brees throwing 42 passes and going unsacked. If the Falcons could ever mount real pressure on a quarterback, this defensive backfield could be something.

Reader Comments 0

88 comments
Esquire
Esquire

1st in Total Offense

1st in Passing

Matt Ryan, 128 QB rating - best on Sunday


Esquire
Esquire

WE ARE THE MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!!

HockeyFan99
HockeyFan99

Anyone seen that swamp rat, SeenthatB4, lately? Or did he crawl back into his FEMA trailer

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@HockeyFan99 He's back at work cutting up chickens for the Landry boys.....Choot him!!

OH-IO
OH-IO

MATTY ICE! 

MATTY ICE! 

Earhardnt_Fan
Earhardnt_Fan

Reely? The dude stil has a week arm and can nevery thorw it deep witout an INT.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@Flacons_go_2-14 Were you ever held under water for an unusually long period of time when you were younger. Do you miss the Bob Berry days? Have you ever traveled to another Galaxy?

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

I am not going to get to carried away and start predicting divisional Championships, but i will say f#$@ the Saints and lets get after it next week. Nice to be back in first in the NFC South.

SaulK
SaulK

matt is one of the top 3 QBs in the game---with this dominating offense, ATL will win this division easily and make some noise in the playoffs---take it to the bank!

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

@JaySly  I am not as confident with the shaky OL and poor defense. I agree that Matt Ryan has played like a Top 5 QB the past 5 seasons & he has done it with a poor OL (which makes his accomplishments even more impressive)!

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

The breakout grin on Coach's face after the final FG says it all.

Wow, big big win.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

I wonder if the Fox announcers would like to take that tribute to Rob Ryan's genius defense scheme now.

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

Can we stop oohing and aaahing over huge passing statistics.  The way the rules are written and enforced these days, any qb should pass for well over 300  yards every single game, and occasionally touch the 500 yard mark.  That said, good game Matt.

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

@ShovelPlease  Honest Falcons fans are oohing & aaahing over Matt Ryan stats, wins, 4th quarter comebacks in COMPARISON to the other 32 starting QB in the league! Apples to Apples since they all play within the same rules and against the same teams. The big difference is that most/all of the other great QB benefit from solid OL play, while Matt Ryan has not had that luxury to date.

JackClemens
JackClemens

The Falcons' ability to pass rush is equivalent to the Braves' ability to get hits. I mean, dadgum, how can a team be so inept at this? A win's a win though, so congrats guys. And seriously, figure out some way to put pressure on the QB.

warfalcon
warfalcon

One game at a time next up Cincy.


LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@eidsonb
@eidsonb

@Flacons_go_2-14 You MUST be a UGA Fan...part of the 85 percent...right. 

HotDawg
HotDawg

Eidson, he is not a UGA fan. And shove your sarcastic UGA comment up your you-know-what.

I'm sure we can find plenty of negative crap to say about whichever school and fanbase you're a part.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Put this one in the books. On to Cincy.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Hester turned out to be the surprise aquisition at wide receiver, more than returner.

How did Chicago not play him there once last year?

Kudos to Dimitroff for this pick up.

DixieRoss
DixieRoss

@HotDawg gotta agree with you...  with the lack of talent the Bears had at receiver, how does Hester not get on the field more?!?  Happy to see some big money being productive for the Birds.

Intruder
Intruder

10 penalties for 96 yards must be cleaned up.

Dawggie
Dawggie

Boy, to have such a "noodle arm" Ryan sure completed a lot of passes down the field . . .

HotDawg
HotDawg

Yeah, the leftover Vick idiots are steaming.

Quit your bitchin' and hating and join the Ryan Express! You know Matty Ice is the BEST Falcons quarterback in history.

Crying gets you nowhere.

Earhardnt_Fan
Earhardnt_Fan

@Dawggie Witch pases did he compleat down the feld? I saw only shot 1s. He got lucky but U will see wen they go agianst a god team and he need 2 thorw it deep the Flacons will sufer.

HotDawg
HotDawg

You mean when the Falcons go against a good team, like the Saints top 5 defense?

Matt shredded it.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

If the Falcons get a one two punch pass rush, you'll see the cornerbacks get a lot of interceptions.

Wilbo
Wilbo

I agree w Ficklefan. The best thing about a good performance by the Falcons would be not having to hear about the useless Braves!

Ficklefan
Ficklefan

Got to hand it to you, Bradley. You boldly and accurately called it, and you are right that the Birds will be real contenders this year. They did not give up against Brees, and they were awesome on offense.  The defense has to improve, and they need a pass rush - just an above average to good one would make a difference. 


Should be an exciting season, and just in the nick of time as the talented, but some how hapless and passion- less Braves embark on their going through the motions September swan song for 2014. 

keendaddy
keendaddy

Gutsy win! Matty's pretty good, when he's not flat on his back, but if you think our Oline problems are solved, you're kidding yourselves. Any word on severity of Matthews sprain?

OH-IO
OH-IO

@keendaddy


Word on the street is that it't not as bad as Gurely's last year.


dog in lex told me

hardworkinman
hardworkinman

How could the Bears not use Devin Hester on offense? Talk about poor coaching.

bigbobbles1
bigbobbles1

Harvardbloosht........fckUU  you  r not a Marine  You dog injured players....


HarvardBlue2014
HarvardBlue2014

@bigbobbles1 I can take all the insults you can throw.  Talk is cheap.  None of that changes the fact that I'm right.  Numbers don't lie.  Just think, what if the Falcons had that $10 million+ on the field?  Not gonna happen with those 2 guys.


DixieRoss
DixieRoss

@HarvardBlue2014 @bigbobbles1 if you're a Marine, great and thank you...  still doesn't mean diddly with regard to players and injuries.  Like you're the one that knew when we took Mathews that he was going to go down with an injury...  heh,heh, yeah, right.  


I'm not real excited about big money sitting either, but at least the minimum wage folks stepped in and did something...  THAT is worth writing about.

extremus
extremus

Great win; I was on the team hard in the Comments section during that sloppy first half, but they really acquitted themselves well in the second half to get the W.


Trash talk aside, this is a great rivalry and a huge win against a very good Saints squad.  Seems these two teams always play each other tough and to the wire no matter what the records.  Both teams played a great game and deserve respect from each other's fan bases; it could have gone either way.


15 regular season games to go so we're just getting started; hopefully the Falcons can build on this win to overcome a brutal first quarter schedule and push toward a return to the playoffs. 

Dman
Dman

NFC

SOUTH CONF

W-L-T OVERALL

W-L-T

Atlanta 1-0-0 1-0-0

Carolina 1-0-0 1-0-0

New Orleans 0-1-0 0-1-0

Tampa Bay 0-1-0 0-1-0

SaulK
SaulK

with this huge upset win, ATL owns this division!  saints--just pretenders.  saints D--terrible!  mark this down--ATL wins this division easily---carolina don't have it and tampa sucks!  saints---time to go home--the party over.

HarvardBlue2014
HarvardBlue2014

I'm just glad the Falcons won.  Didn't look like that would happen.


Let's celebrate for a little while.


Now, let's get to the dirty work:  Its high time that management say NO to soft, injury plagued, malingering players.  When I was in the Marines, malingers were frowned upon and treated like outcasts.  The atlanta falcons are filled with them.  Its high time that management address the players who are always hurt.  The Falcons have too much money on the sidelines.  TOO MUCH!  Weatherspoon, and Baker both, must go now.  They are in the top 5 as far as salary but have missed just as many games as they have played. Together, they are costing ATL about 10 mil a year for ZERO services.   I was EXTREMELY disappointed to see another 1st round OT, Matthews, come up limp.  I know football is a violent game, but I feel that he is going to follow in the footsteps of the the 2 aforementioned players if he is allowed to sit and make big money.  

ryesouvie
ryesouvie

@SEEN.. You said that the Falcons would lose this week and Brees would set a record. Matt Ryan set a record today, so another dumb prediction.... At least you showed your presence here unlike your cowardly saints buddies...Who Dat Who Dat ...I hope all the swamp rats have a terrible and long trip back to the swamp....LOL

HonestInformed
HonestInformed

Matt Ryan is a GREAT quarterback.


Imagine how absolutely awesome he would be IF he had a solid OL (like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady & Russell Wilson)........he has yet to play behind a decent OL in 6 full seasons. Even the current OL did not give him time ANYWHERE close to the pass protection Brees was given and Matt Ryan STILL out-played Brees!! We really need Matthews on the OL at LT. Carimi NEEDS to start rather than Holmes OR we need to sign/trade for a solid RT.


People who do not consider Matt Ryan one of the "elite NFL QB" players are simply unfair or unreasonable. Look at his stats, wins, 4th quarter come-backs (by shear number & by percentage of comebacks divided by the number of opportunities), QB ratings AND then consider the FACT that he has accomplished all of this success with poor-to-less than average OL players, no running game (most seasons) and pitiful defensive performances by the Falcons and you might realize the guy is pretty special!

slydawg
slydawg

Drew Brees, Rodgers, Brady, and Manning all play behind bad offensive lines. Get your facts straight and look up the stats. They make up for it by having a quick release and sliding around in the pocket, something Ryan did well today.