Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan doesn’t feel there’s any added playoff pressure on him after a three-year hiatus.
The NFC South champion Falcons (11-5) will face the highest seed to advance from the NFC wild-card round at 4:35 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Georgia Dome.
Ryan, who was drafted in 2008, took Falcons to the playoffs in four of his first five seasons in the league. The team has missed the playoffs for the past three seasons before earning the No. 2 seed this season.
Ryan has a 1-4 record in the playoffs as the Falcons were knocked out each time by the team that went on to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Green Bay and the New York Giants went on to win Super Bowl titles, while Arizona and San Francisco lost in the Super Bowl.
“I don’t think so,” Ryan said when asked about any added pressure on his show on 680 The Fan on Tuesday. “We’ve won in the playoffs before. I don’t really worry about that too much. For me, it’s about how do we get the one win next week, whoever it’s going to be against. I think putting any more pressure on yourself, other than that, is a waste of time.”
The Falcons reached the NFC championship game after the 2012 season. Ryan and the slightly-favored Falcons were knocked out of the wild-card round after the 2008 season by Arizona.
After missing the playoffs in 2009, the Falcons were the No. 1 seed after the 2010 season, but were upset by Green Bay 48-21 at the Georgia Dome. Green Bay went on to beat Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.
After the 2011 season, the Giants called out the Falcons offensive linemen as “dirt bags” and then led them to a 24-2 win as they shut down Ryan and the offense. The Giants went on to beat New England in the Super Bowl.
After the 2012 season, the Falcons defeated Seattle in the divisional round after blowing a 10-point lead. In the championship game, the Falcons’ blew a 17-point lead and lost to the 49ers, 28-24.
“I think that’s one of the things that I’ve learned,” Ryan said. “All of the extra-curricular pressure, the outside noise that people talk about, doesn’t make a difference. What makes a difference is how well we play. In order to play well, we need to practice well.”
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.