Here’s what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had to say after the 24-20 win over the Eagles Sunday night:
On the fourth-and-3 call, the throw, the catch, the block, the score: “Yeah, it was a great play call by (offensive coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). We came out, we had a different concept call but knew if we got the look we were going to get with all out pressure, we were going to check to what we checked to. Then, you know, Mohamed Sanu and Jake Matthews did a great job of getting the box we needed to get that play started. Julio (Jones) in space, you know, the best receiver in the game, it’s the right call at the right time. Just what we needed. For an up and down game… everybody battled. We made plays when we needed to.”
On the significance of this win for the psyche of the team: “I think it’s important. When you go through these tough battles against good teams and it doesn’t all go your way, when there’s ups and downs and you find a way to battle through that and get the job done, those are the things that good teams do. You find ways to get it done when it’s not perfect. I think that’s really good for the psyche of our team. It’s going to help us in critical situations as we move forward. The more you do it, the more you’re successful doing it, the more confident you’re going to be when you’re in those situations.”
On whether or not he pointed at people on the sideline after Julio Jones’ second touchdown: “I couldn’t tell you what was going on at the time. Just running around like you’re 10 years old.”
On resetting and moving forward after disappointing plays: “Yeah, I mean, this was the type of game where it's probably the most all-out pressure I've seen in my entire career, consistently throughout the course of the game, and so when you're going against that, there's going to be feast and famine. There's going to be some really good stuff for us and then there's going to be some stuff that doesn't go our way. Tonight, turning the football over three times, it's hard to win in this league when you do that, but you keep telling yourself, all right, the score is where it's at. We're in good position to go get the job done. Forget what's happened up until this point, concentrate on the play call that's coming in, trust what you're seeing on the other end, and then go out there and execute the best you can.”
On his three interceptions: “Yeah, the first one at the end of the half, I tried to kind of stop (Mohamed Sanu) with the throw, and it was just out of his break. I think if it's a little bit later, if he has a little bit more time, maybe we're able to make that play. It's probably one I maybe shouldn't attempt that or throw it away, but Mo has made so many plays like that that we always trust him to do that, but I didn't want to take him further into the middle where they had defenders coming down from the other side. The second was an all-out pressure, and the ball just -- as I let it go, I got hit and the ball just moved inside. It sucks when that happens. It's not what you want to do. And then the one that is the worst of the three for sure is in the red area. They had a weak side linebacker who pushed back all the way through, and I didn't see him get passed out over route, that's just a mistake on my part and something I can clean up and do better as we move forward.”
On where Julio Jones becoming the all-time leader in franchise yards ranks in all the plays he’s seen Julio make during his career: “I mean, it's up there. The timing of when it happened, what we needed. He's had a lot of great ones, that's for sure, and it's special for him to break a record that way in such a critical situation. Such a clutch moment. That was pretty cool. They kind of -- Matt Haley with our staff told me about that on the way in, which was fun to hear. I'm proud of him. It's been an honor to play with him for as long as I have, and let's hope there's a lot more of that in store now that he's under contract for a long time.”
On what his 300th touchdown pass tonight says about his longevity: “You know, it's -- I've been playing a long time. You know, I'm happy about that. I'm excited about that. It's something that when I was 10 or 11 and growing up and wanting to do this my entire life, you never know if you'll be able to play in the league and let alone play for as long as I have, and to get to that milestone is special. But again, you know, for me my mindset is all about what's next and how many more can we get and how can we win games. More important than getting that number is walking away with a W tonight.”
On getting the timing down for the screen play: “Takes time. That's the stuff that you have to just keep working at it. Day in and day out, we do these screen drills all the time and it can be monotonous, but it's important so that when critical things come up in that situation, you're just an auto pilot and you just -- Dan (Quinn) talks about it all the time, trust your training. You just go into that mode of trusting yourself what you've put yourself in position to do over and over and over, so it just feels like it's automatic.”
On Kaleb McGary and the offensive line: “Man, his toughness is impressive. For a young guy to have that mindset to come back, I got tossed into him pretty hard, too. I thought I hurt him when I hit him. I was like, ‘Oh, man, this isn't good’. For him to have the mindset to come back and play the way he did at the end of the game for us was huge. I thought they did a good job. I mean, they had more numbers than we had in protection most of the night when they were sending pressures, and it's going to go well for us if we get the ball out and we hit it the way we're supposed to, or it's going to go well for them. There's no in between when they pressure like that. I thought we did a nice job of just keeping the mindset of on to the next play, regardless if there were some plays that happened that didn't go our way.”
On having resiliency as a team: “I think it's huge. You know, that's what it takes to win in this league, a mindset that no matter what happens you're going to go out there and you're going to make the play the next time you have the opportunity. You have to have that mindset. There's too many good players. There's too many good coaches in this league that they're going to get you sometimes, and you have to have the mindset that no matter what, the next time you get your opportunity you're going to make the play, and I was proud of the way that everybody had that mindset the entire night. You could feel it on the sideline, that all right, this isn't going perfect but we're going to find a way to get it done.”
On whether or not anything he saw during Eagles’ film review correlated with the screen play: “Absolutely. You know, just in film study, they're an aggressive, pressure-type team, and we knew with that specific play call that we had on, that was what we wanted to go to if we saw all-out pressure. That's why we go through it all week to try to give ourselves the best opportunities when those things come up in crucial situations at the end of the game.”
On showing resiliency after tough games and the blessing of his wide receiver group: “Trust me, I know that every day. I work with the best crew in the game, and guys are -- our wide receiving crew, while they're all talented and they're all incredible players, they're better teammates than they are players. I mean, they work every day, they have a great mindset every time they come into the building. It's a lot of fun to be around them, and I'm very fortunate, and I have been throughout my entire career. I've played with a lot of great players in the skill positions. Tonight, I think we all showed resiliency across the board, and that's just part of what you have to do when you're a part of a team. You have to understand you're going to make some mistakes. You feel bad when you do because obviously you want to go out there and be as productive as you can be. But it does no good sitting there and thinking about the mistakes you made. You have to focus on what's next, and I thought our team as a whole did a really nice job of that the entire night.”
On Calvin Ridley’s growth: “I mean, he's so much further along than he was when we played those guys last year. He's dynamic, and he's a guy now that you have to give opportunities to down the field. You have to continue to take chances to him because he's going to make plays. He's got incredible speed. He's just so much more comfortable. I think his comfort level within the offense and understanding what we're asking him to do. He's not -- you know, he's not overthinking things now. He's just here, he's relaxed, he lines up and he goes and plays. When guys are out there and there's a freedom of mind, their skills show up, and I think that's the case with him right now. He's playing really free and he's playing great for us.”
On beating the Eagles at home after two tough losses in Philadelphia: “Yeah, it's good. I mean, it seems like every time we've played them the last handful of times, it's been a tight game and come down to the last series of the game, so it's certainly nicer to be on the right side of it than it was the last two times.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.