Matt Ryan: Kyle Shanahan’s Super Bowl calls were too slow

The Kyle Shanahan Fan Club has been called to order. (Henry Taylor/AJC)

Full credit to Pete Prisco. The CBS Sports writer got Matt Ryan to do something nobody — at least nobody to my knowledge, and I keep track of this stuff — has done. He got Ryan to say something less than gracious.

In a conversation with Prisco this week, Ryan essentially blamed the Super Bowl collapse on Kyle Shanahan, who’s now coaching the 49ers and who, it must be said, turned Matt Ryan from a good quarterback into the NFL’s MVP.

I’m not here to argue that Shanahan didn’t botch the final eight minutes of regulation in NRG Stadium. He demonstrably did. Still, hearing the speak-no-evil Matty Ice say it out loud and for the record is rather jarring.

Ryan to Prisco: “We made the play to win the Super Bowl to Julio (Jones).”

Apparently Shanahan called that one, too, but never mind. What happened next lost the Super Bowl. The Falcons ran the ball and lost a yard. Ryan got sacked on second-and-11 from the New England 23 when a field goal would have clinched the Lombardi Trophy. Jake Matthews was called for holding. Ryan threw incomplete. The Falcons didn’t even try a field goal. They punted.

Ryan to Prisco on the second-down sack: “Kyle’s play calls — he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you’re looking at the clock and you’re talking 16 seconds before (the microphone in his helmet) cuts out. You don’t have a lot of time to say, ‘There’s 16 seconds, no, no, no, we’re not going to do that. Hey, guys, we’re going to line up and run this.’ You’re talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.”

Then: “With the way Kyle’s system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with Dirk (Koetter). You couldn’t get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I’m all for it, but there’s also winning time. You’re not being aggressive not running it there.”

Again, not to defend this particular play call — there’s no defending the indefensible — but Ryan could have called timeout if he objected strongly. No, you don’t like to stop the clock if you’re the team holding a late lead, but you’d rather do that than get sacked. Speaking of which …

On the strip/sack that ended the Falcons’ previous possession and changed the game, Ryan had no chance. Devonta Freeman blocked air, as opposed to the blitzing Dont’a Hightower. On this sack, Ryan might have gotten rid of the ball and saved the yards. The pressure came late and up the middle from Trey Flowers, who had flung the ailing Alex Mack backward.

And maybe I’m making too much of this, but that final bit — “There’s also winning time” — is pretty much what these fingers typed in the immediate aftermath and could be read as rebuke of Dan Quinn, whose postgame comments about “staying aggressive” bordered on gibberish.

Ryan told Prisco he has put the Super Bowl in the past. To a man, the Falcons keep saying that. But here they are, about to go to camp, and Peyton Manning is making jokes about them and they’re still trying to explain themselves.

Reader Comments 0

70 comments
RFC49
RFC49

What I would really like to see is Mark Bradley go get a job where he is actually responsible for the results of his actions.  He seems entirely too comfortable with his predictable diatribes that cost him nothing when he's wrong.  As long as his editor corrects his grammatical errors before they go to print, he knows that it doesn't matter what ignorant BS he writes, he'll still be employed tomorrow and still talking like he knows more than the guys who put their jobs on the line every week.  What a joke.

RFC49
RFC49

What is humorous is all you people who think a field goal would have iced the game.  The Pats took their time scoring the TD to tie so the Falcon's would have as little time as possible left.  If they were down 10, they would have looked to score quickly and either go for the on-side kick or just bet that they could hold the Falcons once again and get the ball back for a run at a FG to tie.  The Falcon's hadn't stopped them since midway through the second quarter and they hadn't been able to move the ball since midway through the third.  Who among you, before the game started, thought that 28 points would be enough to win.  They knew that 35 was the number they needed before the game began.

YellowJacket7879
YellowJacket7879

No argument about what we should have done after Julio made the catch but I agree with Dan Quinn in that our Defense was gassed and Brady knew it.

Harlemdawg
Harlemdawg

How and why are they "gassed" after an effectual bye week? No one has explained that yet......

Okeetee
Okeetee

Well, we don't want to beat a dead horse here, but everybody in town knows we could have taken 3 knees and killed the clock, probably another NE timeout and kicked a chip shot field goal to win that SuperBowl after being on the 22 yard line 1st and 10!  And if your going to call a pass play....why not a "roll out" so if Ryan gets in trouble he can throw the ball away without penalty or losing yardage?  I don't know how many times Ryan rolled out during the season and hit one of those speedy running backs for big yardage.....oh, maybe 25 times???  Enough with this!  The problem was put on a Grey Hound bus and shipped to the West Coast anyway!  

Emilee-.
Emilee-.

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The_Shade
The_Shade

I have read a lot of the comments below.  But for the average Falcons fan, I respectfully offer that you're missing a larger point.  Yes, you can break down every call, every play, every success and every failure.  And yes, Matt has nice statistics and some not-so-great results in the playoffs.  Yes, the referees missed some calls.  Yes, the coaching staff got them there, and then broke down.  It all goes on and on.  But the point to me is that for three quarters in the Super Bowl, this team was not the Falcons.  They were someone else.  They played arguably the best team, arguably the best QB ever, and arguably the best coach ever, and they totally dominated them.  They were someone else.  They were the team we had all dreamed about, and pretty much given up hope of ever having.  I was here when we drafted Tommy Nobis.  I know of which I speak.  And just at the moment when we dared believe that this was our team doing this, they suddenly became the Falcons again.  There is a lot of credit and a lot of blame to go around, but for me that one brief moment of belief is forever lost.  I do not care if the Falcons win the next 10 Super Bowls, the one that mattered the most, the one that would have redeemed all the pain and futility, was the one they choked away.  They became the Falcons again, even if only for that one night, and never again.  And I will be angry and sad - and somewhat unforgiving - every time I think about it.  

DawgNole
DawgNole

@The_Shade: "They were the team we had all dreamed about, and pretty much given up hope of ever having . . . And just at the moment when we dared believe that this was our team doing this, they suddenly became the Falcons again."

______________

THIS!

On the other hand, if the Falcons actually do "win the next 10 Super Bowls," I'm pretty sure they'll be forgiven for this year's historic collapse.

Okeetee
Okeetee

@The_Shade 

Well, we're loaded for bear again this year and with the easy schedule we've got compared to last year we should stumble into 10 wins, probably end up with 11 or 12 wins, home field advantage and back to the Super Bowl!   

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

@The_Shade Beautifully said, Shade, and my sentiments exactly as a fellow old-time Atlantan and sports fan.


Falcons2013
Falcons2013

It takes talent, a healthy team and luck to be successful in the NFL. And that is without the burden of the worst collapse in sports history on the biggest stage. That loss is the type of loss that cripples franchises and the Falcons are not a historically strong NFL team. The team has the talent this year and I hope for the best but an ordinary uphill battle has the stairmaster on full uphill. When you are in position to close out a championship you have to do so as the stars aligning for those opportunities are rare especially in atlanta. At least the Georgia Swarm brought home a championship!!!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Falcons2013: "That loss is the type of loss that cripples franchises . . . ."

______________

Ditto!

You're spot-on with this post.

Falcons have major psychological barriers to overcome if they're to win a championship this season.

Okeetee
Okeetee

@DawgNole @Falcons2013 

Won't effect us one iota!  Shannahan is GONE!  No more stupid play calling!  Better defense than we've ever had!  Unless Ryan gets hurt....we're going back to the Super Bowl!  

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Okeetee

Won't "effect" us???

How many SBs have the Falcons won in their entire 51-year history?

Hello?

Still there?

Duh.

slydawg
slydawg

It's this simple.... We all realize by now both the Players and Coaches of the Falcons, as a collective, lost the Super Bowl because of a lack of experience. And also, let's not forget, playing with aggression is reckless in right games and it cost this team 2-3 wins in the regular season when they ran out of gas. Quinn was learning on the job....first year, too nervous and conservative, last year, too aggressive trying to make up for past lost opportunities. This year? We'll see if Quinn can make the correct tempo judgement calls when they count. The coaching staff simply forgot about playing simple football when they pressure came crashing down.

Iblayz
Iblayz

Really? My gosh. How many of you who think that the Falcons loss in the Super Bowl was the "lowest point in Atlanta sports history" realize how hard it is to get there? In fact, how many of you actually thought......BEFORE the season started....that the Falcons actually had a chance to get there? And if you are really stupid enough to question Dan Quinn as the "appropriate" head coach, a coach that got them there so quickly after a couple of horrid seasons prior to his arrival.......walk over to the mirror......look at it......point to yourself and say......"you are an absolute idiot".

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Iblayz

You're satisfied with also-ran status, in other words. That's the problem with the ATL sports culture--too many losers defending/rationalizing losing.

Now you go look in that mirror, point to yourself, and say, "You are an absolute loser."

Iblayz
Iblayz

@DawgNole @Iblayz  If not wrapping my whole life around whether the Falcons win the Super Bowl OR the Dawgs or 'Noles win the National Championship makes me a loser, then I will wear the badge with honor. If, on the other hand, your life revolves around the same.....then YOU deserve both badges. Selah.

Iblayz
Iblayz

@DawgNole @Iblayz  I figured that you could not stand not having the last word. So go ahead. Take it, and I will say nothing more to you. This is your world and it is all you have. So predictable. What a pitiful life!

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

@Iblayz @DawgNole We're talking sports, here. That's all it's about. Your "be thankful for what we did get" attitude doesn't cut it.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Iblayz

You're a loser, in other words. Just like I said.

Embrace it; it's obviously all you know.

Tim_Parker
Tim_Parker

No one is perfect. The referees were the one's that bought the Super Bowl for the Patriots on the BS holding/pass interference calls and no-calls (Two handed facemask on Julio). Godell and Craft were in collusion and wanted Brady to be dubbed greatest QB ever. Screw the NFL. NFL: National Fantasy League. That's why there is no real parity. That's why they would allow Kirk Cousins to be a defacto slave to ownership in Washington. Pre-Scripted BS.

DoubleSubject
DoubleSubject

I just can't believe Dan Quinn is the coach Atlanta needed.

Goat4ever
Goat4ever

Months later and still crying like bitches and making excuses about losing to the best team in the NFL. Pats are better then y'all. Deal with it. Maybe in a few years when Brady retires y'all may have a shot. Doubtful but crazier had happened . go pats

Boses
Boses

It's painful just to read this article. 

khd713
khd713

It is wrong to put the blame on one play call from one possession of that game. For the last 14 minutes of the game, there were a multitude of mistakes on both sides of the ball, failures to block, a defense that ran out of gas and quit, and the coaching/play calling was awful. It was one great big gigantically collective choke. 

Re Al A T
Re Al A T

Why is Quinn given a "free" pass for his SB strategies? He's the head case who allowed this massive failure to happen. His face will forever be associated with the biggest "choke" in sports history. 

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

Allow me to add that the Falcon offensive and defensive lines donned their little pink dresses for the 4th quarter. Never in the annals of Super Bowl history has a team been so dominated on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Yes, it's going to take me a long time to get over this one, meaning never.

monty1
monty1

Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Breese just don't let that game get away from them. Sorry, they just don't. It took a Matt Ryan to do that.

RodfromCollegePark
RodfromCollegePark

@monty1 Honestly now that I think of it I can't think of another starting quarterback in the league who could have manged to let that game slip awya other than Matt Ryan, and Jay Cutler.

RodfromCollegePark
RodfromCollegePark

@Birdfanforlife @RodfromCollegePark @monty1 Ryan won the game?  You do realize that we scored 7 pts in the second half with supposedly the best offense in the league, and the Patriots put up 25.  But Matt Ryan won the game?  Incorrect, Tom Brady won the game.  That's what great qb's do.  I stand by my statement.  He and Jay Cutler are the only guys that could find a way to choke that game away.


NFC championship game.  2nd half against SF up 24-14, Matt Ryan puts up 0 points, Colin Kaepernick puts up 14 points and wins the game.


Matt Ryan playoff game against the New York Giants.  Offensively he has Julio Jones, Roddy White, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez, Harry Douglas.  We scored 2 pts for the game. No hate, all facts.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

What Ryan can do moving forward is take the things he's learned from the Super Bowl and ad them to his play this year. Also Kyle is who he is personality wise and his play calling. But keep in mind he'd never been in the big dance before. So the pressure was enormous. But maybe Sarks personality and play calling  will fit this team, only time will tell. All in all everybody has to do their job day in and out for this team to be successful.

Common Man
Common Man

The calls in the 2nd half when they thought they had the game one were designed to get the "golden boy" Matt Ryan the MVP trophy and it backfired on them. Freeman was killing them on the ground and Grady Jarrett had 2-3 sacks. So the plan then became to inflate Matt's numbers so he can get the MVP trophy. I am a big Matt Ryan fan but I saw what I saw.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Common Man


I blame Ryan. He controlled the ball. Could have taken 3 knees and then kick a FG. 

BaseballBuff
BaseballBuff

The Falcons knew how to play aggressively, but  they apparently did not know how to win. I did not think Ryan played well in the 2nd half and he made some crucial mistakes, but while Shanahan surely botched the play-calling, the blame ultimately falls on the head coach for not taking control by doing what he could to run out the clock.


The Super Bowl collapse was the worst moment in this beaten-down town's sports history. As a native Atlanta with a long memory, I am skeptical of the optimistic projections for the 2017 season. These are the Atlanta Falcons. By no means assume that they will even break .500.




DawgNole
DawgNole

@BaseballBuff: "The Super Bowl collapse was the worst moment in this beaten-down town's sports history. As a native Atlanta with a long memory, I am skeptical of the optimistic projections for the 2017 season."

_____________

BINGO!

Beaten down indeed.

ms1964
ms1964

Everybody wants to blame the guy whose calls got ATL to the Super Bowl.  Note to ATL Fan-- That doesn't happen every day here.  It sucks that you lost a winnable game.  But ask any fan from Detroit, Cleveland, NYJets, etc., if they'd change places with you.  Answer:  In a heartbeat.


Hell Horsey
Hell Horsey

The local newspaper couldn't get an interview like this?  Nice work.

Also, the calls weren't too slow: Shammy just wanted to make it impossible for anyone to change his calls, although Quinn didn't have the guts to overrule his buddy.  Losers.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Thanks Bradley. We all want to remember this and feel like dirt all over again. Well done. 

Sam_I_am
Sam_I_am

Go watch that Fourth Quarter again.  You will see Ryan slam his helmet on the bench as he sits and yell, "run the damn ball"!  He had beef with the play calling as it was happening, but apparently nobody dare step on Kyle's toes.  I never liked the Shanahan ego and glad he is gone.

creative
creative

@Sam_I_am Go watch the fourth quarter again?  Are yo an adult?  Re-watching sports to get some in depth knowledge...haha..  KS got us to the Superbowl with his offense.  He had a terrible quarter and lost the game with the help of Jake Matthews, Matt Ryan, Falcons defense and many others.  You are glad he's gone because of his ego?  Again, are you an 8th grader?  Tell me about his ego, do you know him personally?  Look, I get this is a sports blog, sports are fun to watch and we all want the birds to win,  sorry I sound like a di%^