Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan is under intense pressure to win a playoff game





FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is fanatical about his weekly routine.

Despite three losses in the playoffs, he plans to stick to his routine while preparing for the Seattle Seahawks, including the meals his wife, Sarah, prepares for him.

However, Ryan, who’s guarded about the most mundane details of his personal life, wouldn’t reveal what’s on the menu at the Ryan house for dinner this week.

“Not Pizza,” he said.

Spinach? Lasagna? McDouble off the Dollar Menu?

While his routine will remain the same, he hopes for a different outcome. Ryan’s playoff failures have been heavily scrutinized and well-documented.

They’ve lost while favored on the road to Arizona after the 2008 season. They’ve lost at home as the No. 1 seed to Green Bay after the 2010 season. And, they lost on the road as a slight underdog to the New York Giants after the 2011 season.

Ryan has not passed for 200 yards in any of the playoff losses. The offense collapsed in the second half against Arizona, couldn’t keep up in one-way shootout against Green Bay and was held scoreless by the Giants.

The Falcons were in all of the games before things unraveled right before halftime or shortly thereafter.

For all of this season, Ryan has not dodged the fact that he and the Falcons face some stifling pressure — internally and externally — to have some playoff success.

“You learn from those four or five plays that changed the outcome of those games,” Ryan said. “The intensity is probably a little bit (greater). The quicker that you can settle yourself down and start trying to execute, the better.”

Ryan enters the playoffs coming off his best season as a pro.

He completed 422 of 614 passes (68.9 percent) for 4,719 yards and 32 touchdowns. He set franchise marks for attempts, completions, completion percentage, yards and touchdowns as he guided the Falcons to a 13-3 record, the NFC South title and the NFC’s No. 1 seed for the playoffs.

He clearly flourished in the vertical passing scheme installed by first-year coordinator Dirk Koetter.

“We’ve proven that we can go out there and be successful,” Ryan said. “You have to buy into that. You have to believe that.”

Ryan also is confident that his receivers — four-time Pro Bowler Roddy White and first-time Pro Bowler Julio Jones — will come through for him against Seattle.

“I feel more comfortable with the guys around me,” Ryan said. “Having been in my second year with Julio Jones now adds to that confidence level. Knowing Roddy White and having played with him for five years and understanding him inside and out. … He understands me the same way. I think that helps.”

The Falcons don’t sense that Ryan is putting any additional pressure on his shoulders.

“He’s doing an excellent job,” White said. “He’s been mentally prepared throughout the whole season for this stretch run. He knows that we have to win a playoff game.

“Everybody kind of knows that. Not to put any extra pressure on him, but I just think that at this point in the season, everybody knows that they have to play their best football right now.”

Running back Michael Turner’s role has decreased. He’s no longer a central figure in the offense, but he still feels the playoff pressure.

“We are in the same boat he is in,” Turner said. “It’s not just Matt.”

White, who was selected in the 2005 draft, has been here for all of the playoff woes. He hasn’t detected and difference in Ryan’s approach.

“He wants to go out there and play his best football,” White said. “I don’t think that in the playoffs that we’ve given it our best shot and given ourselves a chance to win the games.”

Koetter also believes that Ryan is ready for a playoff breakthrough.

“Matt is one of the most prepared guys, if not the most prepared guy on our team,” Koetter said. “If you are prepared and do your homework and you trust your players, there is no reason to suspect that he wouldn’t go out there and play well.”

White believes things are about to change for him, Ryan and the Falcons.

“With the team that we have now, and all of the guys that have been around each other, with him leading us a group, and knowing that everybody is on the same page, it’s going to be a different outcome,” White said.
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90 comments Add your comment

The Big Fat Blogger

January 9th, 2013
7:39 pm

http://youtu.be/x7ydcsbZ880

I’m sure some of the Seahawk Fans will remember some of these clips… lol

Welderman

January 9th, 2013
7:55 pm

Just as long as they can stop the run and Mattie doesn’t freak out over the pass rush they should be fine.

GDawg

January 9th, 2013
7:58 pm

There is absolutely no reason with all the talent on this team we should lose.

Fan since 66

January 9th, 2013
7:59 pm

When I go to bed tonight, I will include in my prayers one which asks for the Falcons to win Sunday. Mind you, not because I am so concerned about the Falcons chances…it’s just that I want to make sure that we get this danged “No Playoff Win” monkey off our back!!!!!! I am SOOOOOO tired of hearing all week the mantra of the ‘Birds not winning the last three playoff games in which they appeared. For Pete’s sake…give it a rest! It is what it is… even the mighty Patriots probably had a losing streak before their rise to dominance. To the National (pea brained) Media…let them play the game before you count your chickens!!!!
Go Falcons!

Inspector Flapalot

January 9th, 2013
8:02 pm

The Falcons were in all those playoff games until after halftime. Their opponents came out of all 3 halftimes with great halftime adjustments. The Falcons under Mularky and Van Gorder…not so much. The Falcon’s OC and DC will be the difference this time around. Throughout the season Koeter and particularly Nolan have made great halftime adjustments. They’ll continue that this Sunday.
Falcons 38 – Seahawks 17

Elderly

January 9th, 2013
8:02 pm

What did all our play-off losses have in common? Here’s one thing: Ryan was under constant pressure. Sometimes because of blitzing, but often just because of a four-man rush. If we can give him enough time, so that he can stay in his rhythm, and maintain his timing with the receivers on the routes he has called, we have a good chance Sunday. Of course everyone on the team knows this, and Seattle knows it. It will come down not only to execution, but to some extent on scheming (when to call screens, etc.). I hope we have a way to either contain the Seattle rush or to beat it by mis-direction.

Fan since 66

January 9th, 2013
8:12 pm

@ Inspector…To quote the late, great Ed McMahon…”You sir, are correct!” Anyone who has not recognized the difference in the Falcons offensive and defensive scheming this year is not a true fan. The ability to adjust after halftime is THE reason the Falcons are where they are now. Yes, we have a really talented team, but this year, we have the coordinators that know how to use that talent to it’s utmost. We are going to win, in spite of all the media’s attempts to bury us before the first whistle. This is the Falcons’ year! Can’t wait till Sunday!
Go Falcons!

extremus

January 9th, 2013
8:33 pm

I definitely agree with Fan Since 66; I just want to get the game played and over with (obviously hopefully with a win for the Falcons). It seems like there’s optimism aplenty for any of the other teams still alive, but literally since training camp there’s been no end to the “no playoff wins under Smith/Ryan” comments from the national media. It’s artificially created additional pressure for a team that already knows full well their recent playoff history, and sometimes I get the distinct feeling they WANT to see this team fail, perhaps to see how Arthur Blank will react.

As much as I and many other Falcons fans just want this game to be played so we can (hopefully) stop hearing all this rubbish, I guarantee the Falcons themselves are even more anxious to get on the field and put an end to this. Which, if anything about this matchup bodes well for the home team, this certainly does; they’re gonna be fired up. This is really what the whole regular season was merely a formality for, and they know it.

TUG MAN

January 9th, 2013
8:49 pm

TRUST ME FALCONS NATION. HAVE FAITH WE WILL WIN.COME SUNDAY!!!!!!!! FORM THE BOTTOM TO THE TOP !!!!!!!!( 66 TIL 0014)YOUUUUUU KOWN!!!!

Samuel

January 9th, 2013
9:06 pm

We have a better offensive line than the Packers and Aaron Rodgers makes plays under duress. Everything is not going to go Matt’s way, but he must find a way to make a play.Also we must tackle beast mode low and rap up. We have to win a lot of these individual matchups. I think Matt can get it done. The word on the street is, Houston fans are furious with the Texans for not getting home field advantage. I don’t want our fans base to suffer another playoff disapointment, I don’t think I could tune in to any Atlanta radio station.

True Falcon Fan

January 9th, 2013
9:30 pm

Relax Samuel, you are way too serious. We’ve got this one buddy rest assured, Matty ICE is what it is ICE — “The Natural”! He knows exactly what he must do, just relax and enjoy the game!

TechNut

January 9th, 2013
9:38 pm

MR2 will have a great day but our defense is what will win the game

1990_Champs_GT

January 9th, 2013
9:49 pm

Ryan should be ok if the line doesn’t fold.

Elvis is Alive

January 9th, 2013
9:52 pm

WE WILL WIN THIS GAME!
WE WILL WIN THIS GAME!
WE WILL WIN THIS GAME!
and SMASH ‘EM in the face to make sure they remember the FALCONS.
THIS ONE IS ALL ABOUT PRIDE!
OUR NFL PRIDE..OUR TEAM PRIDE..OUR CITY and NATIONAL PRIDE
Kansas City with 5 Pro-Bowlers…Nonsense
Dallas such a BIG DEAL….baloney
New Orleans thinks they have our number…guess again
Execute..get into a rhythm ..and just beat the stuffing out of the SEAHAWKS..
Rise UP.. ANGRY Birds..Rise Up..

falconfreak

January 9th, 2013
10:28 pm

Am i the only falcon freak that can see that ATL is going to blow the doors off the dome sunday? espn, nfl, si, and everyone else keeps bringing up the 0 for 3 thing so the game will seem more interesting. They cant sell a blow out. Anyone who has watched the falcons play this year knows it.

Chuck Hitchings

January 9th, 2013
11:10 pm

falcons – hope you have a great game! Go Seahawks. Both teams have been losers, it is nice to root for your team. Sea 21- Falcons 17.

wisconsinfalcons fan

January 9th, 2013
11:18 pm

I am so sick of all the negative that are against the falcons, enough is enough, it do not matter if the sea flies or any other team come to play us we must stay focus one game at a time I hope we prove all the haters wrong never mind what the sea parrot fans come on here to blog, they just trying to make themselves believe that they are really coming to Atlanta to lose, like I said before I will be handing out plenty of Kleenex tissue so they can wipe their sorry faces, an don’t think that the falcons is taken this game lightly, I think they are pissed off … excuse my French lets go dirty birds, JUST WIN BABY

ThisIsTheYear

January 9th, 2013
11:26 pm

Never underestimate the advantage of a seasoned veteran – Gonzalez – the help not only Ryan but the whole team turn around their playoff success.

LEGION OF BOOM

January 9th, 2013
11:34 pm

Just a quick clip of the crushing you can expect from the Legion of BOOM:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2prLBf7w44

Gtd17

January 10th, 2013
12:41 am

I think Matt Ryan is really scared, I can’t blame him what with that team “choke “record and all. I hope the Seahawks D doesn’t hurt him to bad.

Matt Ryan

January 10th, 2013
1:01 am

AFTER WE LOSE TO SEATTLE AND I GET CUT, I HOPE TO HOME AND PLAY FOR THE EAGLES 4 REST OF MY CAREER

Eastpoint

January 10th, 2013
1:13 am

9K playoff tickets are available! Rise Up ATL..where’s the excitement and buzz in Atlanta for the falcons…just pathetic, just a very small pocket of falcon fans showing passion..just pathetic

dj

January 10th, 2013
2:11 am

BEWARE OF THE ATLANTA CURSE….hopefully can be exorcised!

Hawks eat Falcons for Lunch

January 10th, 2013
2:42 am

Here is what awaits the Falcon wide receivers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FTnWFaHWH0

Nuff said.

Sallymander

January 10th, 2013
3:55 am

What gets me, y’all, is that every time the Falcons come up against a decent opponent, all the analysts talk about how tough the teams are and all that yang. Then, when we beat them, either it’s, ‘Oh, that team wasn’t all that’ or ‘It was more that [insert team here] lost the game, not that the Falcons won’. This whole season, the pundits practically handed the 49ers the Lombardi trophy themselves. Now the 49ers are out and the Seahawks and Green Bay are the story. Mark my words, even if the Falcons beat the Seahawks, which they definitely can and I sincerely hope they will, I betcha instead of hearing how great the Falcons did, we’ll start hearing about how the Seahawks had lots of weaknesses and basically shot themselves in the foot. And if it’s not a blowout win I’m sure they’ll say we got lucky or were lazy.

That’s OK. We know what we have, we know we’ve got some amazing athletes who are also wonderful citizens off the field (e.g. – volunteer work by Jonathan Babineaux, Brent Grimes, Tony Gonzalez, and many others). We’ll never have mainstream respect like other teams, even if we win the Super Bowl, and that’s OK. As long as the Falcons are giving me great football to watch season in and season out, which they have, then I’m content. Even if they don’t, they’re still my home team, I’m no fair-weather fan. Go Falcons!!!

Rmikel58

January 10th, 2013
4:06 am

All i hear about is how great Seattle’s defense is, their QB and RB posing problems for Atlantas Defense and soforth.
Yesterday on “the game” they were talking bout Seattles Sack Leader Clemmons not playing sunday because of an injury.
Funny i dont hear anything much about Atlantas Offense or our Defense.
Just how great Seattles team is and not giving Atlanta good odds on going to the NFC Championship. People treat us like a 3-13 team, overlook our coaching, our record at home, our defense, our offense and our fans.
We’re not Buffalo!!!!!!!
Its time to rise-rise-rise up and not talking about just winning but by how much we’re gonna beat Seattle. We’re not the Redskins either. RGIII is there but we have Matty Ice. Corp of great Recievers and a hard hitting Defense.
We’re no stepping stones, announcers to laugh at, and after we demolish seattle with their GREAT GREAT DEFENSE ……what will you say then?
Its not just winning this thing straight out Falcons………….its by how we dominate the game. Make them all eat crow because if you dont then we will never get respect by the media, opponents, and anyone who gives a home team 2-1/2 points.

Dr. Warren

January 10th, 2013
4:32 am

Seattle has cooler helmets and uniforms, we have the better quarterback, receivers, and coach. The defenses are just about equal with the Falcons playing at home. I think we finish it 37-17.

A Wise Falcon's Fan

January 10th, 2013
5:45 am

Falcons win by 14 points. The menu at the Georgia Dome consists of Seahawks soup. With ESPN cream.

ww

January 10th, 2013
6:13 am

The Cardinals were offsides continuously during that playoff game. The referees did a very poor job in allowing this. The other two opponents won the SB. This one should be a win for the Falcons, unless the Falcons receivers start dropping the ball, which I don’t expect.

okeetee

January 10th, 2013
6:33 am

There’s no question we have the horses to win this game. And Ryan is an excellent deep ball/route thrower in sync with his big boys! Just a matter of how much time he’s going to get. Seattle is banged up a bit and I suspect that will help our passing game. We should score 3 touchdowns on offense…..and with any breaks at all another one on defense or special teams. That should be enough to put these boys away! But as always, the key generally is turnovers, penalties and dropped passes. Keep those to a minimum and we will see our boys again next week, same time, same station!

MeToo

January 10th, 2013
6:33 am

The pressure should be on HC Smith and his incessant stubborn conservative ways and his choice to start Michael Turner. Games are not won by running out the clock at the end of the first half and by preventing your offense from playing its best. It is a loosing proposition.

Wrecker

January 10th, 2013
6:56 am

The game is a sellout. Those tickets you see available are Stub Hub tickets for resale.

Wrecker

January 10th, 2013
6:58 am

@ww — That is a great point. The Cardinals seemed to know our snap counts. If Ryan could have varied his count or gone to a hard count, we could have benefited from 3 or 4 offsides penalties. That would have slowed down that pass rush considerably.

Esquire

January 10th, 2013
7:11 am

Chuck Hitchings
January 9th, 2013
11:10 pm

falcons – hope you have a great game! Go Seahawks. Both teams have been losers, it is nice to root for your team. Sea 21- Falcons 17.
******************************

Weird post of the day award. Chuck Hitchings is a loser and so are the Seagals come Sunday.

Esquire

January 10th, 2013
7:14 am

Dr. Warren
January 10th, 2013
4:32 am

Seattle has cooler helmets and uniforms, we have the better quarterback, receivers, and coach. The defenses are just about equal with the Falcons playing at home. I think we finish it 37-17.

***********************************
Cooler helmets and uniforms? This is war, not fashion and accessories.

Esquire

January 10th, 2013
7:19 am

LEGION OF BOOM
January 9th, 2013
11:34 pm

Just a quick clip of the crushing you can expect from the Legion of BOOM:

*******************************************
Sorry, I didn’t look at your clip. Legion of Boom my ass, you are coming to the DOOM DOME idiot and you are gonna get your asses handed to ya.

Larry

January 10th, 2013
7:26 am

We shall not flag or fail.
We shall go on to the end.
We shall fight in Georgia.
We shall fight on the field.
We shall fight, with growing confidence and strength in the air.
We shall defend our Dome, whatever the cost may be.
We shall fight on the gound.
We shall fight in the air.
We shall fight on the field and in the sidelines.
We shall fight until the whistle.
We shall never surrender.
We shall WIN!

Go Falcons!

TomDawg

January 10th, 2013
7:38 am

Just win that first playoff game, get the monkey off the back so to speak and then watch the Falcons go on a roll all the way through the Super Bowl and beyond. When that happens, everyone (the so called experts) will start talking about how great these Atlanta Falcons are. The bandwagon’s wheels are gonna bust from the overload. I wanna see some Dirty Bird Dancin come Sunday!! Go FALCONS!!!!

Dirt Nap

January 10th, 2013
7:46 am

Time to make some history Falcons,we gonna slap the taste out of
them seahawks mouth sunday baby!

jo

January 10th, 2013
8:20 am

Since 90% of the country thinks the falcons will lose, the stress should be on the seachickens to live up to the fake national media hype. Falcons win 27-19.

Esquire

January 10th, 2013
8:25 am

BE THERE!!!

(reprinted without permission)

The 2013 playoffs are here, and as Atlanta gears up for a huge post-season game, 680 The Fan is throwing the biggest playoff rally in the city! Join us for the Atlanta Playoff Rally presented by Bud Light. Friday January 11th, at Dave & Busters in Marietta! Chuck & Chernoff will kick things off with a live broadcast from 3-7p but all the rally action will continue until 9! Fox 5 Atlanta will also be live on site as we let the birds know that the 680 nation has their back! Let’s celebrate the playoffs and help get this city ready for a run!

mike

January 10th, 2013
8:33 am

Falcons willl be crushed by Seattle, they do not have the heart that Seattle shows. Have you ever seen Matt Ryan rund down field and throw a block like the Seahawks quarterback did. Falcons lack emotion and heart.

Big Daddy

January 10th, 2013
8:56 am

Falcons are definitely a different team than the one that has been in playoffs past. The new coordinators have made the difference and the maturity of the players is evident. Unless a key player(s) get hurt during the game, we will win it.

As far as the Seattle quarterback running down field to throw a block, 2 years from now he won’t be doing that. Somebody will take him out and his coach will tell him to not come pass the line of scrimmage for a block.

Samantha

January 10th, 2013
8:56 am

Well what he and the Falcons did in this season will NOT get them a playoff win. Winning 9 out of 13 games with 3 points or less are not good wins. I’ve said that from the start. All of you falcon fans will see that this Sunday.

Samantha

January 10th, 2013
8:58 am

TomDawg the only way the Falcons will roll to the Superbowl in New Orleans is sitting in a seat inside the Supebowl watching 2 OTHER teams play! The Falcons are NOT Championship material. :)

dmac

January 10th, 2013
9:00 am

One Word that differentiates this Falcon playoff game. COORDINATORS…

Richard Sherman

January 10th, 2013
9:16 am

Time for Matty Slush to have another playoff meltdown. I’m gonna punk his a$$ just like I did Brady. Legion of BOOM!

Say what

January 10th, 2013
9:34 am

Mike “Have you ever seen Matt Ryan rund down field and throw a block like the Seahawks quarterback did. Falcons lack emotion and heart.”

Dumb comment of the day award goes to Mike. Matt Ryan is not paid for run blocking and coaches and fans would be screaming at the idiocy if he tried.

Boring loser Ryan-hater comment of the day award goes to “Richard Sherman.”

Say what

January 10th, 2013
9:36 am

And Samantha is just clueless thinking the NFL is about point differential.

The Big Fat Blogger

January 10th, 2013
9:47 am

LOL… The Falcon haters are coming in full force (one again) to this blog, national blogs, etc. Seattle might have a physical secondary, but have they even noticed our Receivers? If I recall some of the same DB’s were in Seattle last time the Falcons played them and Roddy and especially Julio had a field day against them, so be careful with all of the “we will dominate the Falcons” talk naysayers, I’m expecting the Atlanta Falcons Receivers to have a big day, just as long as the Offensive Line gives Matt Ryan enough time to throw the ball. p.s. Samantha, go fetch me my beer, cook my breakfast, and go iron my clothes :-)