Matt Ryan: ‘We’ve got to close out games when we get chances like this’

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan discussing the devastating last-second 40-39 loss to the Cowboys Sept. 20, 2020, in Arlngton, Texas.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Here’s what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had to say after the 40-39 loss Sunday to the Cowboys:

On what he saw on the onside kick and what he can say to try to lift the spirits of the team after today’s loss: “I was standing on the sidelines, so my angle wasn’t great, but obviously it was a great play by them. Great kick and credit to them of executing in that situation. I think the message is there’s nothing you can say today. This one stings and it sucks, but we have to get back to work. The only thing we can do is control what we do moving forward. So, that will be my message to the guys that we’ve got a lot of football to play. We’ve got to change the outcome of this and the only way to do that is to work.”

ExploreFalcons' failure to recover onside kick was pivotal to loss

On how to make sure this loss doesn’t evolve into a downward spiral for the season moving forward:"Well, I think you have to get the message across that it’s a marathon. There’s no question this one stings and it hurts, but a lot can happen. We have 14 games to go in the regular season, so there’s plenty of time to get done what we need to get done. But, we’ve got to close out games when we get chances like this."

On how he thinks this loss will affect head coach Dan Quinn’s future with the team: “It’s early. It’s early in this season. So, we’ve got a long way to go. I don’t think about those kind of things. I think we all need to focus on next week and getting a win next week at home. We played a good team today. They did a good job of hanging in there and battling back, but we just have to focus on what’s in front of us and working hard and being better next week.”

ExploreWhat Dan Quinn said following the loss

On the frustration of scoring 39 points and losing the game: “Well, every game shakes out different. I think, as a player, you have to have the mindset that you have to do whatever it takes to get the job done. There are a lot of things that we could have done better on the offensive side of the ball. We need to focus on cleaning those things up.”

On the connection he had with WR Calvin Ridley: “I thought he got a lot of one-on-one opportunities. It was clear that they had a plan to try to negate what Julio was going to do for us, and he was the assist man for the entire game setting things up for other guys. We’re lucky to have guys like Calvin and Hayden (Hurst) and Russell (Gage) that can make people pay when they do that. I thought Calvin played extremely well. I thought all three of those guys played well.”

On the balance between the passing game and the running game: “I think that’s when we’re at our best, for sure, keeping defenses off balance, trying to make sure that we’re affecting them in the run game, being very efficient with that, and then also being explosive in the pass game. I thought playing from in front, you have the opportunity to do that. I did think balance was a positive.”

ExploreMatt Ryan has never started season 0-2 in Atlanta

On TE Hayden Hurst’s first touchdown as an Atlanta Falcon: “It was a good design, that’s for sure. He was running free. I think going with some tempo there, forcing them to communicate and slipping him down the backside was a really nice call by Dirk (Koetter). I’m happy for him. Hayden has worked extremely hard this offseason through some difficult circumstances as a new guy coming in. He’s done a nice job for us in the first two weeks.”

On how much WR Julio Jones was affected by his injury and if he was surprised when he wasn’t able to catch the pass from WR Russell Gage in the end zone: “He’s just such a competitor no matter what’s going on. I’ve played with him for a long time to know that he’s played through a lot of different things. He came up clutch for us in the fourth-down situation today. He’s a different level of player, just his ability to battle and grind through things. I’ve always respected and appreciated that about him.”

On the progress of OL Kaleb McGary, despite having to leave the game due to injury: “Yeah, it’s tough. I mean, you never want to see somebody go down. It’s a part of the game which wears on you, but he’s done a great job for us in his first year and a little bit of change. He’s gotten a lot better and improved. Hopefully it won’t be too long, but we’ll see what happens later this week.”

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