Ryan asks for more, gives more at right time for Falcons

It wasn't a playoff game, but this was no ordinary victory for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. (AP photo)

It wasn't a playoff game, but this was no ordinary victory for Matt Ryan and the Falcons over New York. (AP photo)

On the day following the Falcons’ loss at Carolina, Matt Ryan stood up in a team meeting and issued a mandate to his teammates.

“He told everybody, ‘I want an extra 30 minutes from everybody this week,’” Roddy White recalled. “In the film room, on the field, everywhere. And he said, ‘If you give me an extra 30 minutes, I’ll give you an extra hour.’”

Now, it would be presumptuous to suggest that one moment from this team’s leader is going to propel the Falcons to the postseason success that has been missing from the team and the quarterback’s respective resumes. But Sunday’s game has to count for something.

The Falcons saved their best performance of the season for when it mattered most — in December, against the defending Super Bowl champion and a week after they went splat in Charlotte. They body-slammed the New York Giants 34-0, moving a little closer to clinching home field through the NFL playoffs and, presumably, at least a smidgen closer to acceptance in the eyes of critics.

When a score is this lopsided, there are a lot of reasons for it. The defense had two early interceptions that were turned into 10 points and blanked an opponent for the first time since 2008. The offensive line dominated one of the NFL’s best front four. But at the center was Ryan, who outplayed Eli Manning. He completed 23 of 28 for 270 yards for three touchdowns and no interceptions. He completed a 12-yard laser to Tony Gonzalez in the end zone for one score, a 40-yard bomb to Julio Jones streaking down the left side for another.

Contrast that with Manning, who was held to 13-of-25 passing with two interceptions and was shut out for the first time in his career. (The Giants’ hadn’t been blanked since 1996.)

What will this mean for how Manning and Ryan are viewed in a few weeks when the playoffs open? Probably little. It’s no secret quarterbacks are defined by postseason success. A Ryan fan is going to lose a debate to a Manning fan every day on who’s the better quarterback for one simple reason: the ring finger.

But consider this comparison: Ryan is now a remarkable 55-21 (.724) in his NFL career in regular season. Relatively speaking, Manning is good but unremarkable at 77-56 (.579). Ryan has a better quarterback rating and a superior touchdown-to-interception ratio (Ryan: 122-60; Manning: 205-144). But in the playoffs Ryan is 0-3 and Manning is 8-3, including two Super Bowl titles, two Super Bowl MVP awards and last year’s 24-2 victory over Ryan and the Falcons in the Meadowlands.

No regular season game can make up for a playoff loss. But Ryan admitted that January game drove him “a little bit” this week. It also, at least in part, motivated him to issue the extra-30-minutes mandate to teammates.

“Roddy was listening?” Ryan said, laughing, when told about White’s comments.

Had Ryan ever made such a request before?

“I think that’s the first time. I’m learning. I’m getting old.”

Later, he added: “It was important for us as a team and in the locker room how we rebounded from last week. As coach [Mike] Smith preaches all the time, it’s how you respond to these situations [that defines you].”

The entire team did that. Center Todd McClure, a 13-year veteran, felt an edge all week, and called this “one of the best wins I’ve ever been a part of.

“There was a little bit of pressure — I’m not going to lie to you. But sometimes that causes you to play your best football. It means a lot for this team and it meant a lot for us on the line. And you see what happens when we can give Matt some time.”

Ryan was locked in. He looked it and felt it.

White again: “You can tell when he’s on. because he starts calling plays really fast, trying to get to the line of scrimmage because he’s in a groove and he wants to put pressure on the defense.”

This is what Ryan and the Falcons can look like when everything clicks. This is what they hope it looks like in a few weeks.

By Jeff Schultz

117 comments Add your comment

Deadpool

December 16th, 2012
6:15 pm

Deadpool

December 16th, 2012
6:16 pm

Now to go read the article…

Sonny Clusters

December 16th, 2012
6:17 pm

We was very impressed by the Falcons and we think if they can run the ball they can win right on through the playoffs.

Deadpool

December 16th, 2012
6:21 pm

Nice job by Matt Ryan stepping up as the leader of this football team. He played great today, as did just about everyone else on the team. They need to bring this same kind of effort and preparation once they get into the playoffs. If they do that then a Superbowl title is definitely within reach.

JSS

December 16th, 2012
6:24 pm

Like I said earlier, I will compliment them on finally showing up like a division leader…

falcondawg

December 16th, 2012
6:26 pm

So good to finally see a complete game from both sides of the ball! If we can sustain it, there’s no stopping us!!

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
6:27 pm

Wow! Way to be a leader and back it up Matt! Infriggingpressive!

antrobus

December 16th, 2012
6:28 pm

thanks Smitty fot getting the guys back into the game!

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

December 16th, 2012
6:32 pm

Ryan went 23 for 28, with 270 yards, 3 TD, and no INT in a 34-0 win.

Vick looked goood holding the clipboard in a 34-13 loss.

HA HA :)

Mora less Petrino

December 16th, 2012
6:36 pm

The ESPN power ranking guys couldn’t wait for the Birds to stumble so they could downgrade them. The game today is going to put them in a quandary. If the 49ers knock off the Pat’s tonight, they’ll really be in a mess!

NFC South Champs

December 16th, 2012
6:38 pm

What team is afraid to play the Falcons?

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 16th, 2012
6:39 pm

Can’t wait to see how the worldwide leader spins, “Falcon’s win, but…”

FalconUGAFan

December 16th, 2012
6:39 pm

Good game Falcons! Way to step up Matt!

NFC South Champs

December 16th, 2012
6:42 pm

12-2 and Clicking !

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
6:47 pm

Dont know if anyone has pointed this out on the blog today….but the O line was in BEAST POSITION today! They get MAJOR PROPS! Way to Rise Up Oline!

Thomas Brown

December 16th, 2012
6:52 pm

1978.

It’s been since 1978, and the New York Giants have won every game in Atlanta, until today.

What does that tell you ?

NFC South Champs

December 16th, 2012
6:55 pm

” EXPOSED “

Joe Tess Fish House

December 16th, 2012
6:57 pm

Flacons blew 2 many sacoring chaches today.

The 27th

December 16th, 2012
7:00 pm

Kurt Warner said we were a team full of flaws to be taken seriously. Didnt see to many flaws today Kurt. I personally love all the disrespect we get. It just makes us stronger and makes all the so called experts eat crow!!! 34-0!!! I LOVE IT!!! RISE UP FALCONS!!!

Cohutta Dawgman

December 16th, 2012
7:01 pm

Best Falcon win I’ve seen out of this latest bunch. I hope they can ride it all the way to the Super Bowl.

NFC South Champs

December 16th, 2012
7:05 pm

‘ ELITE ‘

retired

December 16th, 2012
7:05 pm

Joe Tess Fish House
December 16th, 2012
6:57 pm

Flacons blew 2 many sacoring chaches today.

CLIMB BACK UNDER YOUR ROCK…… 34-0 Stuff it

NFC South Champs

December 16th, 2012
7:07 pm

The New York Foozball Giants came to Atlanta and scored zero points

NFC South Champs

December 16th, 2012
7:10 pm

the New York IMPOSTERS have left the building

dean

December 16th, 2012
7:13 pm

A ripe persimmon tastes much sweeter after tasting a green persimmon. The Falcons have eaten their share of green persimmons. The ripe one is right there for the taking.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

December 16th, 2012
7:13 pm

Falcants you just beat a jet lagged trap game non playoff game. What are you going to do now? “We’re going to Disneyland”…..ha ha :)

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

December 16th, 2012
7:20 pm

I thought the most important games are in the playoffs. This game only proved one thing. Eli Manning didn’t want to be here and his play proved it. Just like Roddy White said, they beat themselves and not the other way around.

I saw the same old sorry Falcant team lead by the biggest bust to get paid 72 million dollars for zero playoff wins.

The Giants had zero respect for the Falcants and if Eli hadn’t thrown all those picks we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

By all the excitement here, you would think the Falcants actually won the superbowl, or a single playoff game for that matter.

Typical LOSER mentality :)

DawgNole

December 16th, 2012
7:21 pm

Schultz: “Now, it would be presumptuous to suggest that one moment from this team’s leader is going to propel the Falcons to the postseason success that has been missing from the team and the quarterback’s respective resumes. But Sunday’s game has to count for something.”
________________

Oh yes, it counts for something alright. ATL completely overpowered a playoff-seasoned World Championship team today–a team that has owned them in the Ga Dome no less. Next to a win in the playoffs, you couldn’t ask for more.

Can’t rest on your laurels and let up the last two weeks now, Falcons. Keep the momentum created by this statement victory going right into the playoffs. EVERY win counts.

antrobus

December 16th, 2012
7:26 pm

Thanks Smitty for getting the guys pumped up!

See you in NO for DA big game!

DawgNole

December 16th, 2012
7:27 pm

Answer This
December 16th, 2012
6:47 pm

Dont know if anyone has pointed this out on the blog today….but the O line was in BEAST POSITION today! They get MAJOR PROPS! Way to Rise Up Oline!
_________________________

Yup–they certainly did their jobs. Makes you wonder where they’ve been all year. Everything just clicked today. Hard running, excellent receptions, and a QB who showed what he CAN be.

Thomas Brown

December 16th, 2012
7:27 pm

Some wins count for more.

Jason

December 16th, 2012
7:30 pm

@ “CHOKE”, all those picks? He threw 2. The Falcons dominated on both sides of the ball. Stop trolling.

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
7:40 pm

Only thing I want Dawg is for them not to have to be challenged to play like this…..if they come with this mentality for the next 5 weeks then we have a chance to be Super this year! Rise up!!!!!

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

December 16th, 2012
7:45 pm

With 20 secons left in the half, your boy Flacco threw the longest interception returned for a touchdown in Broncos history! HA HA :)

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

December 16th, 2012
7:45 pm

Is it the 1st round of the playoffs yet? It can’t be because CHOKE is playing next week :)

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

December 16th, 2012
7:46 pm

Funny how you said the Giants would win this game, and instead of admitting you were wrong, you play last year’s playoff card again. HA HA :)

Thomas Brown

December 16th, 2012
7:46 pm

_____________________________________
“The Giants’ hadn’t been blanked since 1996.”
_____________________________________

That’s not true. The New York Giants lost to the Carolina Panthers 23 to nothing in the Wild Card game at home January 8, 2006.

Thomas Brown

December 16th, 2012
7:50 pm

It was the worst shutout defeat of a defending Super Bowl champion in NFL history.

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

December 16th, 2012
7:50 pm

They win and you call them losers. They show class by taking a knee on the NY 5 yard line, and you call them classless. But you’re in love with a guy who murders pets for fun. Who is the classless loser? HA HA :)

LDawg

December 16th, 2012
7:50 pm

CHOKE – and how’s your man, Flacco doing today? Thought so.

Thomas Brown

December 16th, 2012
7:52 pm

Can I say how sad I am for everyone at Sandy Hook Elementary School ? I’ve cried since Friday morning.

ramguy68

December 16th, 2012
7:52 pm

Matt “CHOKE” Ryan Funny how you said the Giants would win this game, and instead of admitting you were wrong, you play last year’s playoff card again. HA HA

Miserable day for you huh?

LDawg

December 16th, 2012
7:53 pm

Thomas Brown – NYG haven’t been shut out since 1996 in the regular season.

NFC South Champs

December 16th, 2012
7:56 pm

The elite Atlanta Falcons exposed the New York Giants.

DawgNole

December 16th, 2012
7:57 pm

Answer This
December 16th, 2012
7:40 pm

Only thing I want Dawg is for them not to have to be challenged to play like this…..if they come with this mentality for the next 5 weeks then we have a chance to be Super this year! Rise up!!!!!
___________________

I totally agree. (Can you believe it?)

Answer This

December 16th, 2012
8:00 pm

I can believe it!!!!!

Mike "CHOKE" Dogs To Death

December 16th, 2012
8:04 pm

You earlier called Ryan a “punk” for hanging around the referee after the fight on the field.

What would Mike have done? Electrocute him, shoot him, drown him, hang him, or slam his head against the driveway?

HA HA :)

Goose is Loose

December 16th, 2012
8:05 pm

I think Mike Turner is on the Atkins Diet just in time for the playoff run

C'mon man

December 16th, 2012
8:16 pm

Hey Mike Choke, This is 2012 and you still talking about Vick , let it go man I’ll bet you still wearing bell bottom pants too.

Eric C.

December 16th, 2012
8:16 pm

You know it’s a good game when JSS throws a compliment to the Falcons