Matt Ryan: ‘We’ve all worked hard together to get this win today’

Here’s what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had to say after the 40-23 win over the Vikings on Sunday:

On what worked for the offense, specifically on third down: “I thought Dirk called a really good game for us on third down, put us in some opportunities to be successful. I think first and foremost, it comes down to our offensive line playing well. That was one of the better defenses in the league, statistically on third down coming into this game. They had done a good job of getting to the quarterback. I thought our offensive line stepped up and played really well for us today.”

On whether the Vikings had to respect his running ability on the fourth-down pass to Julio Jones that went for a touchdown: “You never know. You never know, so that was a great play by [Julio Jones]. Just his patience on the outside, kind of letting it develop. I think having played together for as long as we have, you kind of have a feel for what each other is going to do. It came at a clutch time. We needed a play and that was awesome.”

On the challenge interim head coach Raheem Morris gave to the offense this week: “I think he challenged us to hold everyone accountable as best we can and made it real clear for us what our responsibility as an offense was. It was to go score and find a way to get into the end zone. We were better, today. We were better with that. We need to be better with that as we continue to move forward.”

On what controlling the tempo of the game and scoring 40 points does for the confidence of the offense: “Well, I think it’s good for the confidence of the team, too. When you have time of possession like we did today, it’s deflating to your opponent. Not only to have the time of possession, but to come away with touchdowns the way that we did and score the amount of points we did, it shows what we’re capable of doing. We just need to find a way to be at that level week in and week out.”

On what he saw during the week that made him think the team would perform at the level they did: “It was a strange week. Monday was obviously very difficult with the transition. We all love Q but understand it’s the nature of the business. Then, we’re back to work Wednesday and I thought the energy level was really good. Raheem did a really good job of laying out the plan of how we were going to move forward. Then, Thursday hits and we have to shut down the facility, but I really thought the way Thursday was handled, guys not skipping a beat, being on these Zoom meetings that we’ve had, have a really good back and forth about the install and then how we responded Friday. Came back and had one of our best Friday practices of the year. I thought that spring boarded us to having some success today.”

On the return of WR Julio Jones: “It’s huge. He’s such a dynamic player for us. He changes how people want to defend you. He just commands double coverage at certain times, which opens it up for other guys. I thought he played awesome. I really did. I thought he made some huge plays for us and really got us going with the first third-down of the game, third-and-long, to come away with the touchdown there and get the momentum going was huge.”

On whether he thought TE Hayden Hurst would be wide open on the late touchdown: “I thought we had a good chance of slipping him getting open but I didn’t think it was going to look like that. That was a great call by Dirk. Good job of being patient by Hayden and finding a way to slide through to the backside.”

On whether there was added motivation for him heading into this game following his ‘we rent these lockers’ comment: “I don’t think so. I think that’s always the mindset that I’ve had is to go out there and play my best every week. We have to earn everything we get in this profession. I don’t think it really changed my approach or anything like that. I believe I have a really good process and a way to get myself ready to play week in and week out, and I trust that process.”

On what the win means for interim head coach Raheem Morris: “It’s fun. I love Raheem. He’s been an awesome coach for us here for the better part of five and a half, six years. I think he’s touched everybody on the team, too. He’s coached on the offensive side of the ball, he’s coached on the defensive side of the ball, different position groups. Everybody has such a good relationship with him. He commands respect when he comes into the locker room. I thought he did a great job this week for us.”

On the emotions of today’s win given the adversity the team faced this week: “It was excitement. I think guys were excited. We work so hard during the week to get the outcome that you want. When it does go your way, it feels good. We’ll enjoy it tonight, but then it’s a reminder to all of our guys that, ‘All right, we have to go do the same thing next week.’ We have a long way to do, a lot of games to be played and nothing has been determined up until this point. Let’s lock in and figure out how to get it done again next week.”

On the importance of sticking with the run game throughout the game: “I thought we were efficient. I don’t know what the numbers were but our guys ran hard. Todd ran hard, Brian Hill, Ito, those guys finished some runs when things didn’t look great. It was huge for us in terms of staying on schedule and keeping their defense off-balance. I thought we did a nice job with that.”

On the defense’s performance: “You’re fired up for those guys. To create turnovers, to start the game the way we did was huge. Deion with the interception, just to get the momentum going. Create three turnovers, three interceptions on the day was awesome. I was fired up for those guys, really excited. That was a huge springboard for us offensively. It got us going.”

On whether this performance is extra-satisfying for him given some outside noise this week: “No, to me, the goal is to win championships. Winning a game here and there, it’s about the end result. I really don’t focus on what’s being said, I don’t focus on things going on outside of the building. I focus on the guys that we’re working with. It’s satisfying in the respect that we’ve all worked hard together to get this win today. We need to, quite frankly, to stack a bunch more and to find a way to get back in the mix.”

Falcons' next four games

Lions at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday Oct. 25

Falcons at Panthers at 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29

Broncos at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8

Falcons at Saints at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22

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