Matt Ryan: ‘Our defense put us in a lot of good positions’

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

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Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan comments on the team’s effectiveness in 43-6 win over Raiders.

Credit: Atlanta Falcons

Here’s what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said after the 43-6 win over the Raiders on Sunday:

On the offense scoring more than 30 points against the Raiders defense: “We did it because our defense put us in a lot of good positions. That was the story of the day. I thought our defense played extremely well and gave us a lot of short field opportunities. We came away with a handful of touchdowns and could still be a little bit better. All-in-all it was a good team effort.”

On whether it’s easier on an offense when you’re starting drives in the opponent’s territory: “One explosive play here or there, you’re down tight in the red area and you got a chance for a touchdown. It definitely gives you a lift and we did okay with coming away with touchdowns. We definitely came away with points which is ultimately the most important. I think we can still be better offensively finding ways to score touchdowns in those situations.”

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On whether it’s difficult building offensive momentum when not stringing together long drives because of starting with short fields: “I will not complain about short fields. Zero complaint from me. We’ll take that every time.”

On the importance of scoring a touchdown before the half: “I thought it was huge. I thought it was a great call by Raheem [Morris] and an aggressive call to go for it in that situation. Obviously, you’re going to leave them backed up if you don’t get it. We felt like we had a great play call there. Great body control by Calvin [Ridley] to get us in the back of the endzone.”

On K Younghoe Koo’s performance this season: “He’s definitely coming in to his own. You can see his confidence continuing to grow and build. I’ve been impressed with his maturation the last year and a half. We certainly have a lot of confidence in him. We feel like if we get it passed the 40, he’s proven time and time again that he’s going to put it through the uprights for us.”

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On RB Ito Smith’s performance: “I thought Ito played really well. He suffered a tough injury last year and the rehab was not easy. He worked extremely hard to get himself in to position to be able to play this year. It was kind of up and down a little bit at the beginning of the year, but he’s certainly got back to where I think he was prior to the injury. He’s playing really well for us and played extremely well today. As his teammate, you see all the behind-the-scenes work that he puts in on days where it’s tough. You’re just happy for him to get it in to the endzone this afternoon.”

On the reason the offense improved as the game went along: “I think it was just better execution and definitely having short field opportunities which helps in that department. We knew coming into it, it was a defense that we needed to stay in front of the chains. We probably weren’t good enough with that in the first quarter and that’s definitely an area where we can improve.”

On LB Deion Jones’ pick-six: “Great players are opportunistic. They make plays when they need to and they kind of boost the rest of the team. They make guys around them better. I think Deion is certainly a guy that does that for us on the defensive side of the ball.”

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On the receiving group stepping up in WR Julio Jones’ absence: “I think it’s tough to replace that production when Ju’s [Julio Jones] is out. I thought our guys did a nice job going out there competing. It made it even tougher when Olamide [Zaccheaus] went out of the game too but Christian Blake and Brandon Powell did a nice job of filling in. I appreciate their effort, professionalism and readiness at any moment to go in and play all kinds of positions for us.”

On building confidence going into a rivalry game: “I think that’s the message as a veteran player is that you can’t lose confidence. Your confidence has to come from the preparation that you put in week in and week out and the belief comes from that. Sometimes in this league, weeks like last week happen. You play a good team on the road. I’ve been around for a long time to know that it happens from time to time. You can’t let one loss turn in to another. You have to move past it and be confident. I thought we all were very confident today.”