Ryan had his lowest passer rating since 2013

Credit: AJC

Caption
Falcons’ battered quarterback Matt Ryan discusses the 24-9 loss in New Orleans.

Credit: AJC

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who will make his 200th regular-season start against the Raiders at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, will have to shake off one of the worst performances of his illustrious career.

Ryan was sacked eight times and hit 11 more times in the 24-9 loss to the Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

“When you really take a deep dive into it and look at it, a couple of them were Matt’s fault, which we talked about and we addressed today,” Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris said on Monday. “Matt is accountable. He’ll tell you himself how accountable he is at all times when it comes to those type of things and some of the sacks that he had to take, he didn’t necessarily have to do so.”

It was the fourth game this season that Ryan did not throw a touchdown pass.

“They did a good job of rushing different packages the entire day, stressing our pass protection,” Ryan said. “They did a good job of covering on the back end. I’ve got to tip my hat to them. We have to play better in a couple of weeks when we see them again.”

ExploreMichael Cunningham: Falcons’ offense fades against Saints

Ryan completed completed 19 of 37 passes (51.4%) for 232 yards and two interceptions. He had a passer rating of 48.5, his lowest in over 114 games.

He had a 47.2 pass rating in a 27-13 loss to Arizona on Oct. 27, 2013, his 85th regular-season game. He he tossed four interceptions that day against the Cardinals.

“Our pass game has bailed us out of a lot of issues this season,” Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said Monday. “This is the game, first time in a long time that our pass game, (wasn’t) able to bail us out. We couldn’t get anything going.”

The Falcons had won three of their past four games against teams with losing records in Minnesota, Carolina and Denver. The game against the Saints was a chance to post a win over a legitimate playoff contender.

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The Falcons started off fine, but could not slow down the Saints’ pass rush or get open in coverage.

“They did a nice job of keeping Matt under control,” Morris said. “They did a nice job of really keeping our receivers under control. You have to give those guys credit.”

Ryan said the Falcons made some halftime adjustments, but they didn’t help to slow down the Saints’ pass rushers or spring any receivers free.

“We had some different protection schemes,” Ryan said. “We were keeping five and six and helping with a seventh. Again, it was just one of those days. We have to find a way to be better. We didn’t do a good enough job today.”

The Falcons were held to a season-low 52 rushing yards.

“When we run the football the best, as we get into drives, six, eight, 10 plays into (a drive) we start to run the football and wear people down,” Ryan said. “We really didn’t have many drives like that.”

The Falcons never went to their screen-and-draw game to slow down the Saints’ rush. They kept trying to throw deep routes which took more time and made it harder for the linemen to pass protect.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is sacked by Saints outside linebacker Demario Davis in the second half Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in New Orleans. (Butch Dill/AP)
Caption
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is sacked by Saints outside linebacker Demario Davis in the second half Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in New Orleans. (Butch Dill/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

After reviewing the game film, the Falcons also credited the Saints with have good coverage on the wide receivers.

“The other ones, we’ve got to win some of the coverage one-on-ones down the field,” Morris said. “It’s a combination of all of the things. When you play a division opponent and they know you really well. You (must) have better execution than those guys and we did not last night. That was a big factor in the game.”

Also, wide receiver Julio Jones was in and out of the game with tightness in his hamstring. He played only 22 of 62 offensive snaps (35%) and has two catches for 39 yards.

ExploreFalcons receivers struggle without Julio Jones

“I think it’s always tough, anytime that he goes down,” Ryan said. “It’s hard to replace that production and it also changes how teams defend us. But it’s not an excuse.

“We have got to find a way with the guys out there to be better. That’s going to take all of the guys on our offense, 22, 23 guys deep. We have to find a way to be productive.”

Ryan wouldn’t say if the offensive line loss the battles against the more physical Saints.

“I just think we’ve got to be more efficient on early downs, first and second down to get further into drives,” Ryan said.

Morris didn’t absolve the offensive line of the protection issues.

“Some of them, a couple of them, maybe three of them were on the (offensive) line, as far as protection, as far as getting beat, either in an one-on-one matchup or just getting over set on a slide or something like that,” Morris said.

After facing the Raiders, the Falcons have a rematch with the Saints on Dec. 6. In the last two meetings, the Saints have sacked the Falcons 17 times.

“We’ll see these guys in two weeks and hopefully we’ll have a different outcome,” Ryan said.

Koetter said, “While the pain is fresh in our minds, we spent a lot of time (on Monday) talking about what we are going to do different next time. Since we do play them in two weeks, I think y’all can understand why I’m not going to sit here and go over all of that with you.”

Falcons’ next four games

Raiders at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29

Saints at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6

Falcons at Chargers at 4:25 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 13

Buccaneers at Falcons at 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 10

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