Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan discusses the come-from-behind winning effort in Tampa Bay. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

Ryan: ‘It was a crazy ending to the game’

(On what it means to end the season with the pick-six from LB Deion Jones)
“It was a crazy ending to the game. I’m just proud of the effort that everybody gave, today and really the last half of the season. Nobody let up. I think that’s a credit to the character of the guys in the locker room and on the coaching staff. It was a cool way to end it — to battle back, get the three points right at the end of regulation and for Deion to have the pick-six. It was a fun celebration afterward.”

» STEVE HUMMER: A Falcons final play to savor

(On if he was dancing after the game)
“Everybody was. It was fun to be in there. It was one of those things — we’ve been through a lot as a team, ups and downs, so to finish it off the right is rewarding.”

(On what he was thinking in OT when the pick-six occurred)
“I didn’t even really see it to be honest with you. I just had my helmet, [was] putting it down [after I] went out for the coin toss and then came back. I was just kind of getting situated of, ‘OK, what are we going to do when we get back to it?’ I just caught the back end of it. It was great to see — [an] awesome way for the season to end.”

» DAN QUINN: ‘A lot of lessons learned’ this season

(On K Younghoe Koo) 
“Koo did a great job for us. Obviously, we want to punch some of those in in the red zone, but they’re a very good defense and an extremely good front seven. For Younghoe to knock those in for us was critical. We hung around because of that — him making kicks, and on the other end, kicks not going in. That really kept us in the game.”

(On when the play was installed that resulted in OL Ty Sambrailo’s receiving touchdown)
“That was installed this week. It was just perfect timing for the call. We had a good key on what they might do in that situation and they did exactly what we expected. It was impressive. Ty looked impressive in practice though. It made me feel a lot better about it when I saw it in practice, him catching the ball and he looked pretty athletic. It shook out just like it did the other day in practice.”

(On if they have a special name for the play Sambrailo scored on)
“No, there was no special name for it, just kind of exactly what we typically call in that situation — it’s just usually not with Ty.”

(On if he knows about teammates calling Sambrailo ‘six’ after the touchdown play)
“They call him six? I wouldn’t go too far on that now. It was pretty sweet, but it was just one.”

(On his thoughts when the play was given to him during the week at practice)
“Well, when we’re looking at the cutups and the clips, you’re thinking this really has a chance, if they do what they have shown to do. That’s kind of what I was thinking when it was installed. We repped it in practice, we had contingency plans for if things didn’t go that way, but [it was] just perfect timing by Dirk [Koetter] with that call.”

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan discusses the decision to return Dan Quinn as head coach next season. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC)

(On head coach Dan Quinn returning next year and the respect he has for him)
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a coach, but even more so as a person. I mean he is as good of a guy as there is and he’s an excellent football coach. You never want to be in the position where those kinds of things come up, but certainly we had to answer questions about that. I know there was no let down from anybody and I think that’s the ultimate show of respect and sign of respect for head football coaches. When things are tough and your back is against the wall and you’re out of it and guys are pushing even harder, going for it. I think is says a lot about the players we have. I think it says a lot about the players’ respect for the coaching staff, but I also think it says a lot about our coaching staff too and what kind of people we have up there.”

(On what lessons will carry over to next season)
“I think there are great lessons, particularly for our young players. On the offensive side of the ball at the wide receiver position, we had guys playing for us that weren’t even active at the beginning of the year playing a lot of plays for us today. We had 90-plus plays I think offensively today — you’ve got guys out there with 50-plus snaps. For them to realize what it takes to win in this league is important, but then also to have the belief that you can go out there and do it. They know they can do it now. I think that’s huge for these guys, their confidence and their belief level as we move forward. They’re going to be a big part of our team. We’ve got two offensive linemen on the right side that were rookies that played extremely well for us down the stretch. Two guys at wide receiver in Russ Gage and Christian Blake that stepped up and played huge roles for us. I think those guys are going to have a confidence boost from what happened the second half of the season.”

(On comparing the first half of the season and the second half of the season)
“Obviously the goal is to be playing next week or maybe to be sitting at home next week and have a bye. That’s what you set out at the beginning of the year [to do]. It is frustrating when you’re not. It’s always tough to watch the playoffs when you’re not a part of it. That part of it, frankly, sucks. There [are] a lot of positives that you have to take from this, as well. The belief and confidence level has to rise and I think it will. I think the attention to detail and the mindfulness that we had as players — I think the second half of the season across the board — is something that we can build on and use, so that we have a better start to the season than we did this year.”

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