Falcons are looking special, and it starts with Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan says he feels more confident than ever, and it shows in his performance. (AP photo)

Matt Ryan threw three more touchdown passes Sunday and seems to have taken his play to a new level this season. (AP photo)

SAN DIEGO – The common refrain in football is that the quarterback gets too much credit when everything is going right for a team and too much blame it’s circling the drain. So let’s start with this: The Falcons aren’t 3-0 just because Matt Ryan seems to have morphed into Roger Staubach.

A defense that lost its best cover cornerback (Brent Grimes) in Week 1 forced four more turnovers and made the San Diego Chargers look anemic Sunday (three points). Ryan has a receiving corps that enables him to alter his targets (Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez) the way others laugh and change aim in a boardwalk shooting gallery (ducks, birds, wildebeest-looking safeties). There also is an obvious resilience about a team that bodyslams Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on a Monday night, then travels to the West Coast in a short week and humiliates a pretty good 2-0 team on its home field.

But it all starts with the quarterback.

The Falcons dismembered the San Diego Chargers 27-3, and Ryan was the centerpiece. He threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns in a 20-0 first half, after which almost everybody stopped paying attention. All of those Chargers fans who had claimed about a local TV blackout suddenly felt thankful.

Included in Sunday’s first half: Ryan, without even a semblance of a running game, engineered a 17-play, 96-yard touchdown drive in a rare late-summer heat wave that led center Todd McClure to say: “I’ve never had a feeling like that. I thought I was going to die. I thought I was going to pass out at any minute.”

Fortunately, the touchdown at the end was not a mirage. Neither was Ryan. He competed 30 of 40, which doesn’t account for a couple of drops and throwaways and a touchdown negated by a penalty. He has led the offense to 11 touchdown drives (eight thrown) in three games. He looks better and more confident in Year 5 than he did in 1, 2, 3 or 4 (not that he was bad before).

There is an edge to his game. There is no hesitation before his decisions, no happy feet in the pocket, not a hiccup in his delivery. He is finding ways to elude pressure, even in tight spaces and when the protection is collapsing around him.

Gonzalez said, “He’s really coming into his own. I think a lot of it has to do with maturity and his wanting to be one of the best, and [offensive coordinator] Dirk [Koetter] coming in and simplifying things.”

Ryan threw incomplete on his first third-down attempt of the game. His next nine passes on third down were completed. Eight went for first downs, one for a touchdown.

Who does that?

“When it’s third and long and we keep getting first downs, you know he’s doing something special,” tackle Tyson Clabo said.

Ryan is not big on talking about himself. But when asked about his confidence level whether his game had ascended to the next level, he didn’t hesitate.

“I feel as confident as I ever have,” he said. “I think a lot of that has to do with experience — having good experience[s] and bad experience[s], and now realizing that I can do it. I can make the plays we need to make in order to win. And confidence comes from having a lot of talented guys around you. I think we have as good a wide receiver corps as any in the NFL. The other thing is, I’ve had time. We’ve thrown the football quite a bit and I haven’t been hit a lot. When you have those things around you, it helps you play fast, feel good and feel confident.”

It’s early. September isn’t a time for grand proclamations. But if the first three games are any indication, the Falcons have the look of a pretty special team, and Ryan is looking more like a quarterback who can get them there.

By Jeff Schultz

• Earlier: Short takes on the Falcons’ win: Resiliency, Ryan and turnovers

417 comments Add your comment

Attention

September 23rd, 2012
9:57 pm

It’s great to be a Falcons fan!!

AWC

September 23rd, 2012
9:58 pm

…And the Aints are 0-3. Yessss.

Eddie in acworth

September 23rd, 2012
9:59 pm

Ill get it started for matt “choke” ryan:
Vick is terrible. Ryan is turning into Tom Brady before our eyes. Stay n your basement loser.

Perfect weekend: Dawgs roll, Falcons roll, Tech loses and Saints are 0-3!!!!

rise up atl- we got a legit team

ATLFalons86

September 23rd, 2012
9:59 pm

Matty ICE is looking quite like the ELITE QB so far!! Let’s keep this up Dirty Birds!!

Falcon's 4 life

September 23rd, 2012
9:59 pm

Your right on the money ….Ryan looks great….but the guy who have assumed starting roles have been awesome…..the coaching on this team so far has been excellent…..This team looks like the real deal

beezit

September 23rd, 2012
10:01 pm

does nobody proof-read anymore….I can understand the stupid young punks….

SeenThisB4

September 23rd, 2012
10:03 pm

Attention

September 23rd, 2012
10:04 pm

Hiram Saint, Seen This B4, MCR…..Please don’t pick on those guys. They are very depressed. I hope this cheers them up….http://doservices.net/index_files/image7011.jpg

trent

September 23rd, 2012
10:04 pm

Falcons have recently looked pretty good only to be disappointing in the playoffs. To Ryans and the teams credit, thats the point we are at now….we need playoff performances.

Tonyb

September 23rd, 2012
10:07 pm

Ryan’s rookie year was one of the best for a QB in NFL history. The expectations were raised so high, everyone expected him to grow into a pro bowl QB by year two. But it takes time for an NFL QB to develop, and outstanding years by Ryan were criticized by some because they were not, shall we say, stellar. But he was a fine QB who got better every year.

Now, in year 5, we are seeing Ryan not only meet, but exceed the expectations placed on him in 2008. He has total command of this offense, and the Falcons front offense has done an outstanding job putting talent around him. If Ryan can continue at this pace, and there is no reason to believe he can’t, this team can put up 14 wins and make big noise in the playoffs. And Ryan should become the Falcons first NFL MVP.

phil

September 23rd, 2012
10:08 pm

It’s been fun so far….

Scam newton next!

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
10:09 pm

Keeping feeding them opium, it makes the addiction harder to break… The stupidity level might actually surpass 2010…

phil

September 23rd, 2012
10:10 pm

Tonyb……don’t get too carried away.

Bring back mularkey!!

Texas Pete

September 23rd, 2012
10:12 pm

Great game! Now, if we can just get a faster running game then we’re in for something good this year!

Answer this

September 23rd, 2012
10:12 pm

Yours is already at a level that outweighs others JSS. Meds and no Colt 45!
@Seen…..yep you have nothing to say so crickets say it all! Lol. Very funny! At least you can make fun of yourself…..
The angry birds come back to the nest next week! Its going to be jumping! Lets have the Nation ride and rolll

Attention

September 23rd, 2012
10:12 pm

Matt Ryan is very good. Also, water is wet, and the earth is round.

air of mendacity

September 23rd, 2012
10:15 pm

What is word on Julio hand injury? Don’t want to lose him for extended period. Falcons look very very good – even Turner looked decent.

matt "choke" ryan

September 23rd, 2012
10:18 pm

The falcons still suck. Got lucky and will get STEAMROLLED if they get a rematch with the chargers in the SBR.

JSS is a Troll

September 23rd, 2012
10:25 pm

Wow, JSS the Troll returns?

You plan on writing a sequel to that ridiculous trash from earlier, JSS the Troll?

I see you’re still up to the same tired tricks. Talking down to everyone. Trying to prop-up your pathetic, outsized ego to compensate for the miserable failure that is your life.

Tell us more about all you (don’t) know.

Tell us again how dumb everyone on the blog is, and how petty you’re not.

Continue to regale us with google-examples of your brilliant brilliance, and amazingly mediocre mind.

Please, continue to give us reason to continue to pity you.

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
10:26 pm

“Colt 45,” somebody is stuck in the 80s… Go put some more activator in Jheri Curl and then stand to some sparklers!

gary32

September 23rd, 2012
10:26 pm

Yep…I love the new nickname Angry Birds cause that is what we look like on defense. As for all the naysayers who lambasted Matt Ryan through the entire off season….how does that crow taste…oh wait…. your still clinging to the no playoff win theme huh….good luck with that in January…lol

Sid

September 23rd, 2012
10:27 pm

having suffered for the most part for 40 years as a Falcon fan, sitting in the cold on a Jan 1981 night watching them collapse to the Cowboys and other diasters I have become somewhat cynical. However I do feel there is something different this year….a different attitude, maybe it’s the new coordinators. From the beginning seconds of all 3 games so far they have come out ready to kick butt. And have not let up for 4 quarters in evey game. Hope it’s for real.

The Grinch

September 23rd, 2012
10:29 pm

Good win today. Apparently it really WAS the coordinators. Since Turner has lost two steps, they’ve figured out to wear out the opposing D with the no-huddle and screens and then use Turner late when they’re too tired to tackle him. Anyone think Mularkey wouldn’t still be running him up the middle 20 times in the first half for 2 yards a carry? And you can’t tell me the same players on defense just suddenly “figured it out.” Nolan is vastly superior to VanGorder, and apparently to Spagnuolo. Glad we lost that bidding war. Imagine if Grimes were healthy.

Answer this

September 23rd, 2012
10:29 pm

Angry little man…you drinking on that colt now! You know you can formulate a better sentence than that…..read it and repost angry little man!

Teddy KGB

September 23rd, 2012
10:30 pm

Hey “Choke”

The Falcons just dominated the Bolts on the road, on a short week and a west coast trip. Only you’re delusional mind could conger up a scenario where the Chargers would steamroll the Falcons. The only way that happens is if Mike Vick was still our QB. But then we damn sure wouldn’t be in the Super Bowl.

JSS is a Troll

September 23rd, 2012
10:33 pm

Wow, JSS the Troll returns?

You plan on writing a sequel to that ridiculous trash from earlier, JSS the Troll?

I see you’re still up to the same tired tricks. Talking down to everyone. Trying to prop-up your pathetic, outsized ego to compensate for the miserable failure that is your life.

Tell us more about all you (don’t) know. Tell us again how dumb everyone on the blog is, and how petty you’re not. Continue to regale us with google-examples of your brilliant brilliance, and amazingly mediocre mind, please oh please do!

Please, continue to give us reason to continue to pity you.

Reid in EAV

September 23rd, 2012
10:33 pm

Ah, there he is. Predictable.

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
10:34 pm

Nope, it was dumbed down to reach your redundant level… Bigots get what they can understand…

Nite Owl

September 23rd, 2012
10:34 pm

Teddy KGB

September 23rd, 2012
10:38 pm

The Saints had their best game of the season today. At least this loss wasn’t a divisional or conference game.

Teddy KGB

September 23rd, 2012
10:38 pm

The Saints had their best game of the season today. At least this loss wasn’t a divisional or conference game.

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
10:38 pm

Only you cooper heads are dumb enough not to spot the fake MCR…

Sam

September 23rd, 2012
10:39 pm

Yeah, don’t blame all the rushing problems on Turner. This offensive line doesn’t block for the runners. They’ve repaired the pass blocking; now’s the time to work on run blocking.

Teddy KGB

September 23rd, 2012
10:39 pm

Sorry for the repeat but then again that was worth saying twice.

Only one winless team left in NFC

September 23rd, 2012
10:40 pm

Choke, why are you here? Ron Mexico is long gone. You might want to head to some Philly blogs and defend your hero. The fans in the City of Brotherly Love are not exactly loving on your guy. After three games, the Eagles could easily be 0-3 rather than 2-1. Ron had 6 INT’s in his first two games. He did much better today, no picks, just two fumbles, both recovered by the Cards, and one returned for a TD!
I believe Mr. Mexico’s QB rating is about half of Ryan’s. Makes one wonder which QB should be wearing the “Choke” collar. (Pun intended).

Teddy KGB

September 23rd, 2012
10:42 pm

JSS may be right for once. At a second glance the “choke” post was a little to coherent to be the real MCR.

JSS is a Troll

September 23rd, 2012
10:43 pm

Troll, troll, troll, troll.

“I’m so much better and smarter than EVERYONE.”

Troll, troll, troll, troll.

P Rose

September 23rd, 2012
10:43 pm

Matt Ryan’s QB rating is #1 in the NFL. Vick’s is #29. MV7 SUCKS and so does his #1 fan “choke.”

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
10:43 pm

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Multiple user-name personality disorder sufferer rears his head again… Not intelligent enough to put in the comments, let’s try drawing attention to a lame name!

tom

September 23rd, 2012
10:43 pm

Glad Grimes is gone.

JSS is a Troll

September 23rd, 2012
10:46 pm

I’m seriously surprised JSS the Troll didn’t have a Part 2 to his Epic Screed of Ego, in which he informed us just how much better, smarter, and, um, better he is than all of us.

The stink of angry, miserable failure coming off JSS the Troll is so thick, he can’t see through it, nor assume his rightful responsibility for it.

Come on, JSS the Troll, keep laughing at us. We will keep pitying YOU.

Chc4

September 23rd, 2012
10:50 pm

This team is really, really good.

Spartacus

September 23rd, 2012
10:52 pm

Meanwhile….SeenthisB4, “Choke”, and JSS are the same ones now wearing the paper bags with the eyeholes at that stinky swamp dome…..suck it fellas!!

JSS is a Troll

September 23rd, 2012
10:53 pm

Ah, the angry fanboy thinks I’m someone else. Does this mean he has a blog “nemesis” of his own making? And now he thinks me him?

Oh well, I’m just an infrequent reader, but even I know, enough is enough with this guy. This failure. This bully. This oblivious, petty, angry, silly little man.

Like all bullies, he takes out his aggression fueled by deep, personal failure on everyone else around him, and he does so just as anonymously as he accuses everyone else of being. Notice how JSS the Troll does this? The hypocrisy of it? He may be Jeff’s pet, and some of us know why, but the rest of us see him for exactly what he is.

A sad, petty, miserable failure of a man. Angry at the world, taking it out on everyone here who is “beneath” him. What a sad man. What a pitiable human being.

Seacrest out!

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
10:55 pm

@ 10:46P
Nurse done changing your diaper? Go and powder your better half and see if that does something for your mouth since they are perfectly connected by stupidity…

Number 7

September 23rd, 2012
10:58 pm

Hey CHOKE 24 point win on road on west coast against 2-0 team after short week. Sounds lucky We are waiting for your weekly Ryan sucks…. Never should have let Vick (mr interception) get away venom. Move to Philly so you can worship your hero. Better make it quick as he may not be starting there much longer.

JSS

September 23rd, 2012
10:59 pm

Do worry silly, more than one of you have MUSNPD! A mallady that keeps on giving, like syphilis…

JSS is a Troll

September 23rd, 2012
10:59 pm

Oh, you poor, poor, silly, angry, failure of a man.

How sorry I feel for you.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

September 23rd, 2012
11:01 pm

CMS’s (yeah i stole that from you dawg types) Falcons are looking so sweet now that Matty Ice is off the leash with a passing Offensive Co-ordinator. With Julio and Roddy, it’s pick your poison for opposing defenses, and if they double team, then… you hit them with the TonyG!

Falcons are 3-0 with a 3 game division lead on the 0-3 Ain’ts(who dat aint gonna win this division)

..not counting the Mezzanine!

Tom(Independent Viet Vet-USAF)

September 23rd, 2012
11:06 pm

CHOKE – Sir, you are a strange bird, no pun intended there! Falcons were great today, I have only one concern. Our beloved Ga Bulldogs OL is bigger than the pros. Good things happening in Athens this season!!!!!!!!!!!