Short takes: Ryan awful, defense great, win important

Matt Ryan had rough first quarter with three interceptions and taking hits like this. (AP photo)

Matt Ryan had rough first quarter with three interceptions and taking hits like this. (AP photo)

(I’ll be back shortly with my column off the Falcons’ game against the Arizona Cardinals. Until then here are my three “short takes” on the game.)

1. Ryan’s nightmare afternoon: If the Falcons weren’t playing Arizona, which has one of the NFL’s worst offenses, they would’ve been blown out Sunday. As it was, Matt Ryan threw three interceptions in the first quarter (one actually was the fault of Roddy White, who dropped a pass and it was picked off in mid-air) and a career-high five in the game. With a fumble, the Falcons actually turned over the ball six times but Arizona capitalized with only one touchdown and two field goals — 13 points. Ryan had thrown as many three interceptions only twice previously in his career. But he did come through on the go-ahead drive, completing four of five passes and setting up the Falcons’ lone offensive touchdown drive (a one-yard run by Michael Turner). Trivia note: Ryan is the first quarterback since Bart Starr in 1967 to throw five interceptions and no touchdowns and win anyway.

2. Defense comes through: OK, for all the praise offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has been getting, this was Mike Nolan’s week. And everybody on the Falcons’ offense owes everybody on defense a nice dinner. The Falcons’ offense not only committed six turnovers, it often gave the Cardinals short fields to work with. Two of the Cardinals’ first three scoring drives were two plays for nine yards (touchdown) and four plays for nine yards (field goal). But the Falcons’ defense held Arizona out of the end zone after that first touchdown just 1:06 into the game and equaled the Falcons’ offense in t0uchdowns scored (one for Jonathan Babineaux on a fumble return, one for running back Michael Turner). Arizona was limited to 178 yards in total offense and its two quarterbacks were limited to 11-of-27 passing for 70 yards (three sacks). No Falcons player or coach who was asked could ever recall winning a game when their team committed six turnovers.

3. A big win because of what’s next: Losing to Arizona would not have crippled the Falcons in the NFC South (they started the day at 8-1 and with a three-game lead over Tampa Bay, four over New Orleans). But it might have made things uncomfortable. Here’s why: Atlanta faces divisional opponents in the next three games (at Tampa Bay, home against New Orleans, at Carolina), then finishes the regular season with three more difficult games: home against the New York Giants, at Detroit and home against Tampa Bay. Now at 9-1 with only six games to go, the odds are long that the Falcons are going to blow a six-game lead. And fortunately, this league doesn’t operate on style points, just wins.

By Jeff Schultz

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118 comments Add your comment

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

November 18th, 2012
5:15 pm

CHOKE is a LOSER…………

This Thursday the Falcants won’t be playing a quarterback less
team :)

Spartacus

November 18th, 2012
5:20 pm

I posted this on the other blog….thought I would put it on the new one.

Positive signs from today:

1. Defense really stepped up and shut down the Arizona offense (a few gashing runs, notwithstanding).
2. the resilience of this team to continue to compete and pull off wins says a lot about their mental toughness. That will come in hand in the playoffs
3. Rogers is slowly being entrusted to run the ball more, as he is much more effective than Turner.
4. Result of # 3, Turner started running with much more decisiveness and actually flashed the skills that made him one of the top rb’s in the league a few years ago.
5. Matt Ryan, though he made several bad plays throughout the game, still is clutch when he needs to be, at the end of the first half and the end of the game. The dude has no conscience when the game is on the line and needs to run the 2-minute offense. That will bode well in the playoffs.

Yes, it was an ugly win, but 5 picks is a fluke, especially for Ryan. However, we are 9-1 and if the team can figure out how to deal with their weaknesses (offensive line, rb, run defense), then we should be able to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Then, we will see what the team is really made of, in particular, Ryan.

2 > 7

November 18th, 2012
5:27 pm

CHOKE is back! How was your ‘great’ Dogkiller in the bench? Great, I’d bet.

Man...

November 18th, 2012
5:29 pm

The Falcons won’t be playing a team this Thursday………………………..

Shows how dumb haters are.

Ryan had a fluke, no biggie.

The texans almost lost to a 1-8 team in OT.

Hard league, any given Sunday.

Let’s beat the Bucs next week.

MTSeats

November 18th, 2012
5:32 pm

Just wins. Is that season or post-season? Buy your seat lincence now, you might miss average!

Axil

November 18th, 2012
5:33 pm

0viously Choke doesn’t know how to read a schedule or a calendar any more than he/she/it knows football

Gray Mule

November 18th, 2012
5:38 pm

What did the Saints do to our Falcons last week?

What ever it was, they need to get over it. That was
an ugly win. We’ll take it, ugly or not.

What is ailin’ ourr line, both offense and defense? They
looked bad for the second week in a row. Gotta improve.

++++

LDawg

November 18th, 2012
5:39 pm

Yeah CHOKE because we won’t be playing on Thursday – you loser.

MTSeats

November 18th, 2012
5:40 pm

As I asked in your last column, Falcons(i.e.MSmith) record vs +500 teams. I’m not too good with numbers.

LDawg

November 18th, 2012
5:41 pm

Fortunately it is a TEAM sport. Thank you Defense for coming to play. Now if they can work together at the same time – along with that resilient spirit – we should be unbeatable.

riverscott

November 18th, 2012
5:45 pm

VERY ugly game, but unlike the BCS, the NFL doesn’t count ’style points.’ 9-1 will do nicely. I thought Jay Glazer on Fox’s pregame show had an interesting tidbit on Ray Edwards’ release, namely that he cold-shouldered the coaching staff and teammates in the presence of the higher-ups. If that’s coming out on Fox, does that mean that you, Mr Schultz, got scooped?

Big Crimson 75

November 18th, 2012
5:47 pm

Not exactly a scintillating performance today.
Being at the Dome today, I’d love to give the D credit, however Zona had worse QB play than we did & our guy tossed 5 picks!!

Anyone catch the story on Ray Edwards today?
He refused to huddle with the Team following last Sunday’s game.
Smith asked him multiple times to huddle up with everyone else in the locker room, he refused — standing alone by his locker.
Arthur & Gel-Hair were both in the locker room & witnessed his selfishness.

Go Falcons & Roll Tide!!

Mora less Petrino

November 18th, 2012
5:51 pm

CHOKE’s real name? Vicktor Massengill.

Josh

November 18th, 2012
5:53 pm

The Falcons are notorious for playing down to their competition. That kind of play is on the coaching. (however, 5 INTs aren’t on coaching)

Mora less Petrino

November 18th, 2012
5:54 pm

Tampa is a good team! Jeff is spot on about this being a big win. Birds need to step it up down in Florida next week.
Another season with a winning record is already in the books!

Truth Serum

November 18th, 2012
5:55 pm

A win is a win. BUT…

Has Mike Smith become the new Marty Shottenheimer? Good coach, but not great.

Has Matt Ryan become the new Bernie Kozar? Good QB, but not great.

Win lots of games, but not THE game?

People want to know.

fred

November 18th, 2012
5:56 pm

Choke chockes on pitbull lipstick semen.

PMC

November 18th, 2012
5:58 pm

This team has zero chance of winning a playoff game right now. none. I don’t care who they play. They are celebrating a victory over a directional school offense.

Ivan

November 18th, 2012
5:59 pm

I see MCR is back after a long time away. Lol

How did the Eagles do? How did Vick play? Weren’t you celebrating how great Vick was earlier in the year after throwing 4 INTs and still getting win?

Looks like this Ryan is just leap years ahead of the backup QB that was MV7.

PMC

November 18th, 2012
6:01 pm

To come out this week with that effort after the loss to the Saints makes you question their mental state honestly.

I’m not sure they even care whether they are better than awful or not. That this offense is drawing a paycheck this week is a freaking joke. Arizona has a good defense, no question and they weren’t even at full strength. When is Matt Ryan going to earn his money????

gg

November 18th, 2012
6:03 pm

The five interceptions-fluke. not worried about that. The offensive and defensive lines are concerns and the running game. Turner is now the drive killer. ok he had a couple of big runs but even a clock is right two times a day. Why don’t we give Quizz more reps and Snelling!!! come on guys!!! Anyway, a win is a win. When Atl can turn the ball over 6 times and still win, that is a sign of a good team.

PMC

November 18th, 2012
6:03 pm

Again, he’s a smart slightly less Athletic Tony Romo at this point. Yay he works hard, ok, then get the ball out sooner. That Todd McClure spoke up last week and then came with that effort is ridiculous.

Soft is not the word. Flaccid, is better for this offensive line. They are as tough as baby food.

Voice of Reason

November 18th, 2012
6:07 pm

CHOKE the Joke has never admitted who he pulls for, but my guess is that his team lost today 31-6 and is last in their division with only 3 wins. And, his favorite player not only did not play, but has probably lost his job for the season. The Falcons, led by Matt Ryan, are 9 and 1 …

D-Man

November 18th, 2012
6:09 pm

“Choke” your hate is pathetic.

treaddawg

November 18th, 2012
6:09 pm

When is Matt Ryan going to earn his money? Perhaps when he develops a defeatist attitude, instead of a winning attitude, and sulks on the bench when he makes a mistake and begins to find ways to lose games instead of plowing through the mistakes and finding ways to win them. Yepper, thats what Atlanta fans have grown used to expecting from high paid quarterbacks….

BobDawg

November 18th, 2012
6:11 pm

I only got to see the 1st quarter but you knew this would be a “mud battle” and not pretty.. I think that when you catch a team off a Bye week you can almost give them 10 Pts off the bat with fresh legs…Their D was just top notch and most of Ryans problems were because of that… and yes I saw Baker whiff on their tackle when Snelling got stuffed on short yardage…

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

November 18th, 2012
6:12 pm

Actually I was planning on not coming back on the blogs but unfortunately two things transpired that forced my return:

1. The team got embarrassed by the below .500 Saints.
2. I kept seeing comments asking where I disappeared to.

You people are really bi polar. When I’m here you don’t like it, and when I’m not you are not happy….ha ha :)

Anyway, can you losers tell me how many qbs this season has thrown 5 or more picks in one game? How about 3 in the first quarter?

HA HA :)

BobDawg

November 18th, 2012
6:12 pm

As far as Ryan earning his money…We are lucky he is not out with concussions right now like everyone else in the league!

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

November 18th, 2012
6:14 pm

I kind of feel sorry for you losers. It must really suck when you check the Falcants archives and still see Mike Vick & Jim Mora Jr. as the last playoff winners…..ha ha :)

Sam

November 18th, 2012
6:14 pm

Wow. It was an ugly win. The falcons need to seriously correct run d and rushing offense if it wants to win a playoffs game.

BobDawg

November 18th, 2012
6:15 pm

TRUTH SERUM… Do you really think Matt Ryan will never win a playoff game in his career??? I finally like our Co-ordinators. Look how Van Gorder and Mularkey are doing this year…. yeah, I thought so….

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

November 18th, 2012
6:15 pm

BobDawg

November 18th, 2012
6:12 pm
As far as Ryan earning his money…We are lucky he is not out with concussions right now like everyone else in the league!

__________________________________

The way he stunk up the place you would think he was not in the game

ha ha :)

Matt "Choke" Ryan

November 18th, 2012
6:16 pm

The Falcons were doomed from the minute they cut Michael Vick. Look at what a dynasty Vick has built in Philly. Matt Ryan and the Falcons may be 9-1, but Vick and those 3-7 Eagles are the future of the NFL! ;-)

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

November 18th, 2012
6:16 pm

Cheer up Falcants fans, there is good news…………

Only 6 more regular seasons before you are 1 and done again.

HA HA :)

Dave

November 18th, 2012
6:17 pm

Enter your comments here

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

November 18th, 2012
6:18 pm

Looks like it’s a rematch with Green Bay and we know what
happened the last time………..48-21.

HA HA :)

2 > 7

November 18th, 2012
6:20 pm

3 INT in the first quarter? Peyton Manning.

How many QB’s this season has 9 wins?? Can you tell me that?

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

November 18th, 2012
6:20 pm

If I was GM I would dump Smitty and Choke and sign Vick and Andy Reid as soon as they are ousted in Philly. I can’t believe the ungrateful Eagles don’t appreciate that 3-7 dynasty Vick and Reid have built there. Put Vick and Reid in Atlanta and they’ll blow that 3-7 record in Philly out of the water. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I honestly think Atlanta could be as good as .500 with Vick back and Reid in charge! How am I not a GM?!? :-)

JSS

November 18th, 2012
6:21 pm

Peripheral members of the denial club have shown their face again is more like it… Jeff Schultz, Whisenhunt abandoned what his team’s offense actually had been successful at, running directly at the Falcons core! Nolan was saved by Larry Fitzgerald drop as he completed the catch… Nolan has as much work as the OC to do, A third string RB put up huge numbers on them! That win smells much like the SF miracle of 2010… We all know how that ended…

Matt"CHOKE" Ryan

November 18th, 2012
6:22 pm

BTW, i forgot to say that I am gay.

Voice of Reason

November 18th, 2012
6:23 pm

CHOKE, you talk a lot of smack, but who do you pull for??? Name the team and their QB. According to Jeff, the last QB to “accomplish” what Ryan did today was Bart Star, How did he go down in history? Every QB has a bad day. But the TEAM wins games! You seem to ignore the TEAM thing … How is your team doing, CHOKE???? Or maybe your QB?????

C

November 18th, 2012
6:23 pm

Ryan is my fantasy football QB and he killed me this week!

Dave

November 18th, 2012
6:23 pm

Let choke have his fun, he has no life but this.

MTSeats

November 18th, 2012
6:23 pm

A new taxpayer paid stadium will fix all. Arthur Blank says thanks and more tickets. Ka-ching.

JSS

November 18th, 2012
6:25 pm

5 INTs a “fluke.” You mean like 3 INTs were a “fluke” against the Raiders… Nah, never could be that folks have started to get the personnel + game plan?

Go Jackets

November 18th, 2012
6:25 pm

Matt threw 5 ints, but at least we dont have Mike vick under center anymore……we need to count our blessings. Btw, how is the dog killer doin these days? :-)

Welshwizard

November 18th, 2012
6:25 pm

On the back of a very unimpressive performance by the Falcons and Ryan there were a number of issues which concerned me:

1. Julio Jones was clearly not fit to play.
2. Notwithstanding the touchdown, Turner is passed his sell by date.
3. the cornerbacks Samuel and Robinson cannot tackle, but merely propel themselves at opponents.
4. the punt returner Franks continually allows the ball to bounce on the field leaving us with poor field position.
5. We have a soft center on both the offensive and defensive lines.
6. There was an absurd color clash with the opposing uniforms.

Nevertheless a win is a win however ugly it maybe.

Ron Roberts

November 18th, 2012
6:32 pm

Matt “Choke” is still around? Ya still rockin’ the 7 jersey, too? Hey, how’s your buddy DOING at his “newer” team? I mean, he’s your hero and all, and CLEARLY he’s the better NFL QB so tell us how he’s elevated The Eagles to a higher level? Higher than Atlanta, too … I look forward to you eloquent reply…

JSS

November 18th, 2012
6:33 pm

Got love the homophobes showing that the 1950s are alive on the AJC Blogs…

The Ugly Truth

November 18th, 2012
6:34 pm

Win is a win, even the ugly one. However – when it comes to playoffs, this team CANNOT afford to be making same mistakes (including Matty Ice). Otherwise it will be 0-4 in the playoffs, and Arthur will be making changes…Definitely higher level of a quality teams. Only the best ones will meet in the finals.The Falcons definitely did not look tonight like a playoff team, despite the win. Like it or not.