Ryan on Julio Jones: ‘That’s what great players do’

Here's what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had to say after the 29-22 win over the 49ers Sunday:

Could you take us through the last play of the game? "It was a play call where we read it across the board. We started with [Atlanta Falcons WR] Russell Gage on the left-hand side. They covered it well, but we knew we had [Atlanta Falcons WR] Julio Jones coming back to us. It was just a physical, strong catch by him. He did a great job of body awareness to know where he was at and making sure the ball was across the plane."

It looked like he contorted his body just enough to score the touchdown? "That's what great players do. They find a way to get the job done. He just has an awareness for where he's at and what he has to do to get the job done. That was a special play."

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Austin Hooper's play before that looked like it was close too. "Close. When you're down that tight in the red zone, there are going to be tight-window throws. It was a great effort. The call didn't go our way. At that point, you have to have the mindset of just getting right back to it and finding a way to get the job done the following play."

Where does that rank in your list of fantastic finishes? "It was a good one. We've had some good wins, some wild wins throughout my 12 years. Against a good football team on the road, that ranks up there. It was a good win."

Can you talk about the roller coaster of emotions at the end of the game where you have a touchdown and then you don't have a touchdown with two reviews?
"Honestly, I think everyone was pretty calm. Just understanding whether it goes our way or it doesn't go our way, we have to be prepared for the next play. I think all of our guys had the right mindset the entire day. That last couple of plays were basically a microcosm of what we dealt with the entire day. There were ups and there were downs. We had to battle through. I thought guys stayed the course, and we did enough to get the job done."

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The team was thin coming into this game on the offensive line. Can you talk about the job they did today? "I thought our offensive line played extremely well. That front seven and that defensive line is one of the better ones in the league. I know they're missing a few guys, but they're tough to go against. They're strong, they're fast, they're physical. They're excellent against the run and excellent against the pass. I thought our guys battled up front and got the job done. We had a good plan. We executed the plan well, but our guys up front played well."

At 4-2 since the break, what does this win say about the team and what could have been this year? "Obviously we're disappointed not to be in the playoff picture, but you can only control what's in front of you. The second half of the season we've done a better job of that. We have two weeks to finish it out the right way. We have to keep the same mindset we've had of excellent preparation during the week, and then going, cutting it lose and having the right mindset on Sundays."

You needed all of Julio Jones today. Can you speak to his performance? "It was no secret that our plan was to get him involved. We targeted him quite a bit. Pass interference was a huge play. We had a couple of others that didn't go our way on those types of calls, but we gave him some chances, and he delivered."