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

JSS

September 25th, 2012
10:41 am

Or the rest of you scouring the woods for passersby? Y’all can only get action that way huh?

JSS

September 25th, 2012
10:47 am

Lawdy, I got Bilbo and Maddox attacking little ole’ me! What shall I do?

Just a matter of time...

September 25th, 2012
10:50 am

It’s just a matter of time before Matt ’spaghetti arms’ Ryan mess up. Give it time. If they actually go to the playoffs, I guarantee you that they will mess up big time. :)

Answer this

September 25th, 2012
10:53 am

You still on a blog of a team and an organization that you dont like…….is that you playing the banjo or are you just blowing smoke like you do on here? Come on man. This is a Falcon blog a team you dont like, a team that you have such angry little hate for yet you are still here? WHY? LOL. You are the one with issues man. You come here daily (waiting for you to pull out your time line here so you can share with us how you dont come here daily) and rant and rave, the big blog bully and try to throw your goggle stats around…….silly little angry man……do you not see a problem with that? Come on JSS, look around……its you…..the angry little man, and the BIG problem is that you know it yet you refuse to admit it! Scary………NURSE MEDS! I know how to tweek you, push your buttons so you can call the doctor (the doctor is JS himself) so that you can cry about multiple names and someone taking your name……..silly little man…….but I have grown tired of poking you…its no more fun. (Cue here for you to come with some off the wall gibberish that only you understand) You full of hot air and little green pills and I dont want to take advantage of you anymore. Continue to stay on so others can bash you but you just not worth it man. Here on a blog of a team you dont like (DAILY). Thats your cue to pull out your past post time and tell everyone when you are off the blog (hint, hint). Just go away, go somewhere, but we dont really like you here. You almost as Angry as the Angry Birds Defense………but you are really a little angry man who got chumped on the playground and still get chumped on the blogs, daily! See ya little angry man, I called the nurse she will bring you the greenies and the orange ones today so you can go back to being King of Angry Land hahahahaha.

Answer this

September 25th, 2012
10:57 am

@ Just a matter of time
How long you been saying that? Go ahead pick the time and date……..or you choose to wait until the playoffs? I can guarantee that he will have a bad game and you can jump on and bash him, but I can also guarantee that we have a TEAM this year on both sides of the ball! So we dont have to put it all on Matt! Rise up the Angry Birds will be back in the nest this week!

JSS

September 25th, 2012
11:29 am

All of those pharmaceuticals, what are you a rep? Sales down this month? Maybe you should hit the bricks instead of trying to diagnose over the internet? That is kind of dangerous, go ask a certain congressional doctor…

JSS

September 25th, 2012
11:33 am

Stay… go… blah blah… Are you this wishy-washy in the world outside of stalking and fixating on the “Falcons as a perfect team?” Your synapses are just misfiring some more huh?

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

September 25th, 2012
12:00 pm

Is it the 2nd round of the playoffs yet?

Oh it can’t be CHOKE is still throwing those dinks & dunks :)

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

September 25th, 2012
12:01 pm

I just heard a joke……

CHOKE won a playoff game……

That’s hilariousssss :)

Chip On His Shoulder

September 25th, 2012
12:11 pm

Best post i’ve seen today @Answer, yes, go away, nobody here likes him, the negative attention must be fueling something he needs. Btw and his posts make absolutely no sense, I know, I know, “we’re to dumb to comprehend” and the other crap he’ll come back with blah, blah,blah,

JSS

September 25th, 2012
12:33 pm

You meant “(We) we’re (are) to(o) dumb (stupid) to comprehend” right?

Never has a more forthright observation been shared here… Oops, there goes that “chip” again ;-) Blah. (.)

Ha ha!!!

Chip On His Shoulder

September 25th, 2012
1:18 pm

Maybe you should go to some grammer/spelling blogs, you might be liked there. If you’ll note, I was not addressing you. Don’t bother calling me out again, I don’t banter/converse with closet racists. It is I who has control over you by not responding….you should practice this.

ATL/UGA

September 25th, 2012
1:31 pm

lol , seeing JSS getting served never gets old, great entertainment !! hahaha

JSS

September 25th, 2012
2:40 pm

@ 1:31…
“seeing JSS getting served never gets old”

You were at the Westin, you should have spoken…

JSS

September 25th, 2012
2:53 pm

Next time please be a bit quicker with the drinks and I might increase your tip to 22%… I loved being “served!”

BobTrumpy

September 26th, 2012
1:37 pm

Everybody kept making the comparisons of Mike Vick vs. Matt Ryan. Well now after ryan being in the league for four years–we know the answer to that question. Sure Vick has a better contract and has more athleticism than Ryan, but Ryan is the better prepared athlete and Ryan has studied the game more than Vick. Ryan looks more like a young peyton manning and Vick looks like a drunken Vince Young. If you compare the current stats–Vick leads the league in turnovers, while Ryan leads the league in touchdown passes, yards gained passing AND qb rating. Ryans qb rating is a massive 118 and leads the league, while Vicks qb rating is a paltry 38.9 and is scraping the bottom of the barrel along with the bottom feeders. Ryan is a sure bet, first ballot hall-of-famer while Vick is a easy target and a punching bag for opposing lineman. No matter how you slice it, I would take Matty “Ice” Ryan any day of the week.

Still Gritz Blitz'n

September 29th, 2012
5:11 pm

Matt “choke” Ryan, or as they use to call ‘em, “noodle arm” is chok’n the trolls, on some defenses, & do’n ok noodl’n out some trolls exposing them to a high calibre of offense that o’l seen the floor ain’t seen before. I think a sleep’n Giant’s been awak’n here in da’ ATL. & ATL defense been angry, gett’n mean & hungry to strangle oppos’n offenses. Superman might meet his kryptonite this weekend.