Here’s what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had to say after the 35-28 victory over the Raiders on Sunday at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum:
Q: How did you feel about how your offense scoring on 6-of-7 drives with three coming in the red zone?
Ryan: “Yeah I thought we did a great job offensively getting in to a rhythm. We didn’t do a whole lot in the first quarter, but once we kind of found our stride, we kept going and played really well. [We] did a better job in the red zone today, still have some opportunities to continue to improve, areas we can get better. But, for the most part, I thought our guys played really well today.”
Q: Did having 16 no-huddle plays in the first half help the offense?
Ryan: “Yeah, I mean some weeks – we talk about it all the time – some weeks it’s an advantage for us; this week we felt like it was. They’ve got some big guys on that defensive front. We did a great job with the tempo – it was effective for us. I thought we ran the ball extremely well out of no-huddle and also, we hit some big shots down the field. Going sideline to sideline with all the key plays that we did, I really thought it was effective for us.”
Q: The Stanford guys, Austin Hooper and Levine Toilolo got in the action today…
Ryan: “That’s right, 12 Cardinal, that’s what we call them, man. Those guys got in there, did a good job for us. Levine (Toilolo) and Austin (Hooper) made some really good plays. Jacob (Tamme) did a great job for us. We spent a lot of the game in 13-personnel which is for us, one wide receiver, three tight ends, one running back. I thought that was a good matchup for us today and our guys did a great job.”
Q: With the running backs going over 100 yards today, how did they help with the offensive attack?
Ryan: “I thought both our backs did an awesome job running. Tevin (Coleman) and Davonta (Freeman) were physical the entire day, ran with great vision and made some plays, kind of cutting the ball back and getting outside. I thought they were awesome for us, caught the ball well out of the backfield. We’ve got two really good guys, but to me, it’s all about the offensive line. Our guys up front, they stepped up to the challenge and played really well across the board. That was fun to see.”
Q: How important is it to get the win and be 1-1 instead of 0-2?
Ryan: “One and one is a lot better than 0-2, that’s for sure. It was important for us today, especially on the road. I mean, that’s a good football team. Oakland’s a very good football team and those guys competed really hard. So, it was a good win for us.”
Q: Can you explain the Justin Hardy touchdown play?
Ryan: “Yeah, sometimes you need a little luck, right? For us, you talk about in our building all the time, ‘Good things happen to people who run.’ Good things happen to those guys who run all the time. Hardy was busting his tail on the backside and ended up being in the right spot at the right time and it ended up being a huge play for us. So that was a good bounce.”
Q: What does it mean to have the tight ends involved moving forward?
Ryan: “Yeah, for us I mean, it’s huge. To be able to switch personnel groupings the way that we did, you try and find whatever is an advantage for you that week, and for us we felt like that was a good matchup for us. Our guys did an outstanding job. Austin Hooper, I think he had like 80 yards or something like that. For a rookie, in his second game, I thought that was great production from him. But across the board, we’re talented at that position and those guys did a great job.”
Q: What happened on the interception?
Ryan: “I have to throw a better ball. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to, giving him a chance to make a play on the ball. I didn’t do that.”
Q: Why were the tight ends a good matchup for today?
Ryan: “Well, we just felt like with as big of personnel as they would go to on defense, we liked our guys. We felt like their athleticism would show and we felt like we could run the ball effectively from that personnel grouping, and we did both. Our run matched really well to our play-action passing and our out-of-pocket stuff, so that a good matchup for us.”
Q: Were you surprised how many times Julio Jones was left one-on-one?
Ryan: “Yeah, on his touchdown, I think they were trying to actually double him and Reggie Nelson got wide because I think they were concerned with threatening vertical and releasing outside, and we had an inside route and [Julio] ran a great route and finished the way that only he can. Then, obviously the catch on the throw down the field, he tracks the ball as well as anybody in the league, I mean anybody in the world. That was fun to watch.”