The Falcons quarterback discusses his first career touchdown reception.

What Matt Ryan said after win over Bucs 

On the changing his number to 11 (Julio Jones): “No truth in that. A great play call by (offensive coordinator Steve) Sarkisian. During the week, we felt like we could get the job done if we did it. It was cool to catch my first NFL pass. My first NFL touchdown (reception). It took me 11 years, but it was cool. It was fun. It was a good play and a fun to be a part of it.”

Quarterback Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons hauls in the touchdown pass from wide receiver Mohamed Sanu in the third quarter of the game Dec. 30, 2018, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
Photo: Will Vragovic/Getty Images

On the slow start: “It was tough sledding from the start. We put ourselves in some tough spots. We didn’t convert third downs early, which always make it difficult. But I thought right before halftime when we were able to score a touchdown was a momentum changer. For us to come out and get the ball to start the second half and go down and score, I thought those two drives really changed the momentum of the game. We really played well and capitalized from that point forward.”

On getting into field goal range: “I thinking going in that direction our cut off was the 38. I felt like we needed to get there. It was tough after the penalty. I thought it was great for us to overcome that and work our way back into it. Great conversion by Julio, but for us to get it down that close, it was a chip shot for Matt (Bryant). He’s been amazing throughout his career for being clutch and automatic.”

On the 7-9 season: “There was inconsistencies for us at different point throughout the season, but the margin for error in this league is razor thin. It’s very small. If we make a few plays in some games throughout the year we could have been a very different football team. It’s disappointing at this point, but it also lead me to optimistic for us moving forward. We have the right people and the guys are capable of contending late into the year.”

On his interception: “I’ve thrown a handful of picks throughout my career. So, I understand that is going to happen. Certainly, it was in opportune. But at the same time we were getting the ball back and we had an opportunity to go win this ball game. That’s where my focus was. Sark called a really good last drive. He called a great game. He was really good on the last drive mixing up the run and pass. I thought our execution about the board was really good.”

On the rushing attack going over 100 yards for the fourth straight week: “It’s leads to optimism. I think winning is a good thing. You want to do it all of the time regardless of the situation. You want to create an environment for the young players to understand what it take to win in this league. I thought today was a really good learning lesson for our young guys being down 17 nothing and knowing that you can get back in a game. We’ll use all of those that we learn throughout the year so hopefully, we’ll be better moving forward.” 

More on the TD catch: “My hands are pretty good. My route-running is not very good. That’s probably the biggest thing.”

On any change moving forward: “I haven’t given it much thought. I know that part of the deal. In the NFL, the one constant is that there is always change. At the same time, my focus this entire year has been on playing the best football that I can year in an year out. We’ll worry about that stuff when we get to it.”

On the winning streak as motivation going into 2019: “I use everything as motivation. My drive is to bring a championship to the city of Atlanta and to this organization. That gets me out of bed every day and continues to push me to work hard every day to get that done. Everything throughout my career, including this season is motivation moving forward.”

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