What Matt Ryan had to say after the win over the Panthers
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 24: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers in the 3rd quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Here’s what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had to say after the win over the Panthers on Saturday:
Play call on third-and-21
Obviously, you don’t want to be in that position but we had a great play at the time. Our offensive line made the play. In order for something like that to work, you have to protect for a long time, and our O-line did a great job on that third-and-21. I thought that was a huge play in terms of changing the momentum in the fourth quarter. Tevin (Coleman) did a great job. He was patient was his route and got vertical as soon as he caught it, and it was a huge conversion for us. I think it was the next play that he ran off the right tackle for a touchdown. Just really two good plays back to back by Tevin (Coleman) and by our offensive line.
On that play, is there a receiver you look for first? Is it Tevin (Coleman)?
No. We had Julio going down the middle, and obviously, that’s number one for us, but they certainly accounted for him and accounted for Josh Perkins, and you lose number three in that look for us but it shook out kind of as we anticipated at that down and distance.
Tight end play
Yeah, they aren’t playing like four and five tight ends. Those guys are playing really, really well. Perk (Joshua Perkins), the first touchdown of the game, that was an unbelievable catch. Just awesome. Awesome ball skills to go up and high point that ball. Be strong in traffic and make that catch. That kind of got us going. We talk about trying to set it off at the beginning of the game and that play certainly set it off for us. And then D.J. (Tialavea)…I’m just really proud of DJ. To be activated off the practice squad this week. I think his family flew in at the last minute and for him to score and play as well as he did the entire day, and he played a number of snaps for us, I’m really proud of him. He’s earned it. To me it was one of the cooler parts of the game.
Can you name all of your tight ends?
I can name all of my tight ends. It’s good to know your teammates.
Running back performance
It’s awesome. We’ve got two of the best in the league, and those guys compete and play really, really hard week in and week out. They do it all. They run the ball for us. They catch the ball out of the backfield. They pass protect. Everything you ask them to do, they do. They are one of the most important reasons why we have had success this year.
Franchise records for touchdowns in a season
Yeah, thank you. I appreciate it. Obviously, those don’t happen without a lot of people making good plays. I’m lucky to be surrounded by a lot of really good players.
Fine line between getting sacked and making a play
Going against this defense that’s the edge you kind of live on. To me, they are as good as anybody in this league at creating pass pressures. They are great in their front four at stopping the run. They are relentless – whether they are blitzing or not blitzing, they are relentless for four quarters. And that’s the challenge of going against them. I thought we were on the right end of it more often than not today. They got home a couple times but you have to expect that that’s going to happen going against them. I thought our offensive line stepped up and played really, really well.
Winning against Panthers and all but clinching
We still have to take care of our business next week, but this is a tough place to win. I know that having played here for a long time. They are always well prepared and play really, really hard. It was a win for us.
How does this team stack up against some of the good ones you’ve been on?
We are playing pretty well. To me, good teams continue to get better as the year goes on.
Are you doing that?
I think we are. I think we have continued to improve in different ways throughout the year. It hasn’t been easy for sure. We’ve had a lot of players come in play on both sides of the ball but we’ve continued to get better, and I think that starts with how we prepare and how we work during the week. To me, that’s the key. I think we have a good group of guys that work hard and prepare really 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.