Short takes: Matt Ryan back to MVP level in last 2 games

Roddy White catches a 44-yard touchdown behind former Falcons cornerback Chris Houston. (AP photo)

Roddy White catches a 44-yard touchdown behind ex-Falcons cornerback Chris Houston. (AP photo)

DETROIT — You know by now that the Falcons beat  the Detroit Lions and clinched the No. 1 seed and home field through the NFC playoffs. Here’s a link to my column off the game, and I’ll have a new column later today with more comments from players. Until then, here are my three “Short takes” from the game:

1. Matt Ryan ascending to elite: The Falcons’ quarterback had a string of average-to-bad games beginning in November, including the five-interception day against Arizona. But for the last two weeks he has looked like the MVP candidate he was inthe season’s first-half. He was the Falcons’ best player in significant wins over the New York Giants and Detroit, combining for 48-of-60 passing (including 22 straight completions) for 549 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Tony Gonzalez said of Ryan: “The talent has always been there. It was just a matter of when, not if, he would get there, and he’s really come into his own this year. You see what happens when the line gives him time.”

2. Never believe the injury report: Roddy White could be seen sitting in front of his locker after the win, ice bags covering both legs. So I’m not going to suggest that he was fabricating a knee injury that prompted the Falcons to list him as “questionable” for Saturday’s game. But White didn’t play as if there was much wrong with him, as he led the Falcons with eight catches for 153 yards. He burned ex-Falcons Chris Houston for a 44-yard touchdown to open the scoring and made it 14-3 with a 39-yard touchdown, catching a short pass and getting a great down field block by rejuvenated tackle Sam Baker. So from now on, I’m going to believe White feels just fine, despite what the injury report says.

3. Calvin Johnson’s talents are being wasted. He was a joy to watch at Georgia Tech and nothing has changed. Unfortunately, he plays for one of the NFL’s most messed-up franchises. In March, Johnson signed a seven-year contract extension, which potentially could bring him up to $132 million through 2019. He had 11 catches for 225 yards against the Falcons and broke Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yardage record. He’ll own many more records before he retires, but it remains to be scene if he’ll ever play for a winner. The Lions have lost seven straight and are 4-11 and they’ve had only one winning season among Johnson’s six. The records: 7-9, 0-16, 2-14, 6-10, 10-6 and 4-11.

By Jeff Schultz

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43 comments Add your comment

zzggyy

December 23rd, 2012
8:29 am

What is Ryan’s QB Rating & how does he compare?

The Real Falcon

December 23rd, 2012
8:34 am

How about the great game for Roddy, after not practicing all week?

The Real Falcon

December 23rd, 2012
8:38 am

The reason is that Roddy has not missed a game since he’s been here. No one talks about that!

Wrecker

December 23rd, 2012
8:38 am

Standard QB rating, Ryan is 100.2 for fifth in the league. Total QBR, Ryan is 76.7, for fourth in the league.

Falcon fan

December 23rd, 2012
8:39 am

That 4th quarter drive really showed a no quit attitude. Great Win.!!!!

Wrecker

December 23rd, 2012
8:41 am

Ryan has 4 of the best QBR game scores out of the top 20, more than every other QB. Tom Brady has 3.

Wrecker

December 23rd, 2012
8:44 am

Ryan is 2nd in passing yards, 5th in YPG, 2nd in Completion %, 5th in YPA, 3rd in TDs, and 2nd in completions.

LDawg

December 23rd, 2012
8:46 am

Scene? Spellcheck works only so well – you actually have to proof it too!

Ryan is the man!

December 23rd, 2012
8:46 am

from ESPN: Matt Ryan was extremely accurate Saturday as only three of his 31 attempts (excluding passes thrown away) were incomplete because of an over- or underthrown pass. Ryan continued a season trend as only 13.4 percent of his passes have been incomplete due to an off-target pass, the best percentage in the league.

Wrecker

December 23rd, 2012
8:49 am

Of the top 3 in passing yards, only Ryan has a winning record (Brees and Stafford are the others). On his second fewest rushing attempts in a season, Ryan has set a personal record for rushing yards.

Ben

December 23rd, 2012
8:55 am

Calvin’s talents are definitely being wasted, he’s the new Barry Sanders. Megatron and Larry Fitzgerald should get together and bemoan their situations over some beer.

Nativebird

December 23rd, 2012
8:55 am

And hmmmm, where does Mike Vick rank? This Ryan kid is twice the qb that Vick will ever be…or ever was. So can we now please put to rest the idiotic comparisons. Because it is not even close.

Dr. Phill

December 23rd, 2012
8:56 am

Ryan has great character to go along with his great talent.

Paul in NH

December 23rd, 2012
8:59 am

Perhaps Calvin Johnson’s talents are being wasted in Detroit but no-one pointed a gun at his head and forced him to sign his new contract.

Carz

December 23rd, 2012
9:07 am

Matt does not seem like the type who gets freaked out by the big game. I don’t count losing to the Cardinals in the playoffs when he was a rookie as any kind of indicator. The Cardinals figured out something in the rookie’s snap count and bull rushed him all day. Still, if Brooking makes one play I think Matt would have won it in the final seconds. The Packers were just better than the Falcons. I’m more bothered by the Giants loss last year. I still think Matt will win some big playoff games and hopefully it starts this year. By the way, earning a first round bye is as valuable as a playoff win on paper. He’s done that twice.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Answered all Questions

December 23rd, 2012
9:11 am

@Carz

I have said the same thing about the bye. It should be counted as a playoff win. Matt and Coach Smith has two.

JSS

December 23rd, 2012
9:16 am

@ Paul in NH…
Calvin Johnson is not bemoaning his situation. He signed the contract, left the team enough cap wiggle room to get the pieces they need in free agency and draft. The problem is that the Titus Young’s and Aaron Berry’s (a player they actually developed) have poisoned their roster… The coach needs to close his Jeff Fisher wannabe compact. The GM and coach need to do a better job in getting control of the work environment and professionalism of that team…

JSS

December 23rd, 2012
9:23 am

On the other hand, Larry Fitzgerald’s life will get a lot better in exactly 9 days when Whisenhunt is shown the door along with Rod Graves…

Wat

December 23rd, 2012
9:29 am

Scene?? really? REALLY?

Carz

December 23rd, 2012
9:31 am

The press loves Matt’s shiny new penny from Alabama, and deservedly so, but at crunch time that battered ole penny from Alabama-Birmingham still spends pretty good.

TH FROM MC

December 23rd, 2012
9:34 am

Unless Matt Ryan can also serve as a running back we are doomed. Mark my words – we will be knocked out of the playoffs in the first game because of our non running game. Michael Turner is horrible! He cannot create anything and defenses take him down at a yard or less (see the safety last night) on most carries. He needs to be an asset on the BENCH.

Carz

December 23rd, 2012
9:36 am

I think his role will diminish in the playoffs TH From MC. Smith is no dummy. He’s a method guy. There is a plan.

Tron5000

December 23rd, 2012
9:40 am

Matty Ice = Baller Status. Anybody got something bad to say about Matty Ice, I’ll box you right in yo mouth.

Not really. I mean like verbally and stuff. But yeah, that boy good. And he’s gonna get even better, which is pretty awesome.

crackbaby

December 23rd, 2012
9:40 am

Schultzie,

Believe what you want but Roddy has had bum knee for the last weeks and has played through it. Same for Megatron and he did alright the last few weeks.

Also, “it remains to be scene”? C’mon MAN! LOL

Ted M

December 23rd, 2012
9:41 am

speaking of the inept Lions…wasn’t that hilarious when the returner took a knee at 5 after the safety?

crackbaby

December 23rd, 2012
9:42 am

@ Ted M – Yes, that was amusing. But the F-bombs from coach Schwartz was even funnier.

Ted M

December 23rd, 2012
9:45 am

Yes, it was. The look on Schwartz’s face was priceless.

SCFalcon

December 23rd, 2012
10:02 am

Taking a knee, that is all on the coaching. If the player is not smart enough to keep up with the game rules, he shouldn’t be on the team. Just goes to show what a disfuctional team the Lions are.

Turner was met in the end zone by three linemen. No back can get our of that.

georgianabulltiger

December 23rd, 2012
10:16 am

You just don’t see much of that Matt “CHOKE” Ryan poster around here any more.

What a miserable season this has been for him. I tried to tell him.

AtlanGa Faldawgs

December 23rd, 2012
10:28 am

Falcons, Bulldogs, doesn’t matter…no one outside the borders of Georgia (and probably a majority inside the borders) respect them. Paper contenders, imaginary champions, delusional fanbases…a recipe for designing the perfect loser…congrats to all…

Jason

December 23rd, 2012
10:31 am

The Falcons will go to the Super Bowl if the O-line protects Ryan like they have the past two games. I don’t see anybody coming into the Georgia Dome and beating the Falcons in the playoffs. Especially that first game. It’s going to be unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed in the dome. The energy there is going to be inhumane. The players are going to feed off that, and prove the doubters wrong. Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Falcons blow their first playoff opponent out.

Jason

December 23rd, 2012
10:35 am

Who would we rather get in the NFC title game? Packers or 49ers? Most likely whoever gets the 2nd seed (who I think will be the Packers) will be our opponent in the NFC title game.

My projected playoff standings:

#1 seed: Atlanta Falcons
#2 seed: Green Bay Packers
#3 seed: San Fransisco 49ers
#4 seed: Washington Redskins
#5 seed: Seattle Seahawks
#6 seed: New York Giants

it is what it is

December 23rd, 2012
11:02 am

NOTHING ON CALVIN JOHNSON WHO WAS BORN AND RAISED IN GEORGIA, LIVES IN ATLANTA AND PLAYED AT GA TECH? SHAME ON AJC

Honey boy

December 23rd, 2012
11:18 am

Hey Matt “Choke” Ryan… We are ya big mouth?? The only thing choking around here isYOU choking on your own spew!!! Gotta love it!!! C’mon mouthpiece!!!… What do you say now… Probably he’ll say, if he shows up, is “Wait for the playoffs”… Yeah, that’s about it… What a stroke you are…. Loser!

Doggoneit

December 23rd, 2012
11:23 am

Matthew Stafford was so overrated at Georgia. Now Detroit has inherited his clutch performances. NOT!!!!

JSS

December 23rd, 2012
11:34 am

Hilarious, you tell him to go away, but then you continually come in and call him out… Nothing like AJC blogs…

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 23rd, 2012
11:45 am

Honey Boy……………this happened last night to CHOKE

Jeff Schultz
December 22nd, 2012
8:03 pm

Matt “Choke” Ryan – You know my policy on banning generally is limited to matters pertaining to race, profanity, etc. But I’m considering expanding the criteria just for you. So while you’re welcome to be critical of somebody or something, if the only purpose of you commenting on a blog is to stir up trouble and provoke a response (or responses), understand that you may be banned. And yes, this is completely subjective on my part. So be careful where you step from this moment forward. And this is your one and only warning. And no, I’m not up for a debate.

The Real Truth

December 23rd, 2012
12:45 pm

Johnson wasting his talent for the Lions is just continuing his career path after wasting his college career at Tech…

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 23rd, 2012
12:55 pm

real truth……..and Stafford is still continuing his career path from UGa not being able to win games that really matter.

Vince Doodley

December 23rd, 2012
12:57 pm

None of what these media idiots say matters. What matters is W’s. ATL is getting those. Lets close this thing out strong and get ready to do some damage in the playoffs. Thats when the big boy football will take place. This year is the year of the BIRDS.

Jason

December 23rd, 2012
1:13 pm

CHOKE is basically banned without being banned. His material is no longer welcomed here so he can’t really post on here. He uses the same material which is try to provoke responses. Schultz told him last night that it will get him banned so therefore he’s “banned” without actually being banned.

Jeff Schultz

December 23rd, 2012
1:14 pm