Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Michael Davis (43) intercepts a pass intended for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) during the second half Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (Ashley Landis/AP)
On a first-and-10 from the Chargers’ 43, Ryan tossed a bomb to wide receiver Calvin Ridley in the end zone. Safety Rayshawn Jenkins was in double coverage and made the interception.
“I think of the three interceptions on the day that is probably the one you can live with,” Ryan said. “You’re going to give the guy a chance in the end zone. He’s a great player and makes plays on the ball extremely well. It’s just one of being aggressive.”
After Jenkins’ interception, the Chargers drove 80 yards over 13 plays and tied the game, 17-17, after a 12-yard touchdown pass to Tyron Johnson.
On second-and-17 from the Chargers’ 26, Ryan tossed an interception to safety Jahleel Addae, who was in coverage against tight end Hayden Hurst. The Falcons were in field goal range.
“I was a little late and he did a nice job of slow playing it,” Ryan said. “That was poor on me. I have to get the ball out right away. Give Hayden a chance to keep the chains moving. That was late and a bad decision on my part.”
Falcons cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson intercepted Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert with 53 seconds left and the Falcons were back in business.
“Perfect, here we go,” Ryan said. “Let’s go win this game. Let’s go get a field goal. We’re going to do it. That was our chance to take over the game and win it.”
After an incomplete pass to running back Todd Gurley, Ryan connected with wide receiver Russell Gage for 17 yards to move to the Chargers’ 45.
The Falcons were just 7 yards away from kicker Younghoe Koo’s range.
Ryan tried to throw to Ridley at the Chargers’ 33, but cornerback Michael Davis made an interception on an errant throw.
“I think I’ve got to be make a better throw, a better decision,” Ryan said. “I think we were right around plus 40, so you like to get inside that 40-yard line to give Koo a great chance to knock it in. That’s on me. I’ve got to make a better throw. Put it high and away on the sideline to give Cal a chance. It was just a poor throw.”
Ryan was disgusted.
“Yeah, too much air and not enough pace and too far inside,” Ryan said. “Not a good combination.”
Ryan was sacked twice and hit six times. But pressure wasn’t the issue.
“I don’t think it was the read or pressure,” Ryan said. “It was just a poor throw.”
With Matt Gono at right tackle for Kaleb McGary and Justin McCray in at left guard for James Carpenter, the line held up for the most part.
“I think we’ve hung in there,” Ryan said. “(We’ve) gone against some good pass rushes the last handful of weeks. Our guys have guys have battled. New guys in there having to step up and play. I think our guys did a pretty nice job all day of giving us enough time. Regardless, I’ve got to do my part. I have to give guys accurate footballs and make good decisions.”
Ryan said he’s fine physically.
“My body feels great,” Ryan said. “I feel like I’m fresh and in a good spot. I just haven’t played as well as I’d like and that happens sometimes. I’m a big believer in process, so you learn from these games where you don’t play your best.
“You try and not make the same mistakes again and move forward. I believe that when you’re in those situations again, you’re going to create a different outcome. I firmly believe that.”
Ryan, who won the league’s MVP award in 2016, was asked to grade his play this season.
“I mean, like all of us, probably not good enough,” Ryan said. “In certain situations we’ve done some nice things, in certain situations we haven’t. But I don’t worry about anything than today and today was not good enough on my part.”
D. Orlando Ledbetter, Esq is the award-winning Atlanta Falcons beat writer for the newspaper, has been on the staff since 2003. Every day D. Orlando strives to provide inside in the Falcons and the NFL. He finds the most joy in providing insight into the team, the coaching moves, the offseason business moves, the draft and the games.