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Matt Ryan working to erase his playoff losing streak

Matt Ryan AP

Matt Ryan got the nickname Matty Ice for playing well under pressure.

It is starting to take on a different meaning in some corners, however. Matty Ice as in Matt Ryan goes ice cold in the playoffs and the Falcons lose their opening game of the postseason. It has happened three times in Ryan’s first four seasons, a losing streak that has kept the Falcons from taking the next step in the progression that started when Mike Smith brought the franchise the first back-to-back winning seasons in its history.

Ryan hasn’t been the only culprit in the losses, but, as the quarterback, he’s at the top of the list. He told Ashley Fox of ESPN.com what he learned from the humiliating 24-2 loss to the Giants in January that saw Ryan average under five yards per pass play.

“The thing I learned from that game is you have to finish,” Ryan told me. “You have to finish drives. You have to finish series and quarters and games. That specific game, the third-down opportunities on the plus side of the 50 and the two four-down situations in the red zone, we didn’t convert. Those kinds of plays we have to convert.”

In order to get better at finishing, Ryan has spent a little more time on physical fitness this offseason in hopes of keeping him fresher when the postseason rolls around. He’s also picked the brain of new teammate Asante Samuel, who played Ryan four times in Philly, to find out a defender’s opinion on his weak spots as a quarterback. Finally, Ryan’s been watching tape of the likes of Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers to pick up other things that might help him on the field.

The biggest thing Ryan and the Falcons could learn from those quarterbacks is consistency. That was the biggest problem in 2011 as the Falcons did well against lesser teams and consistently stubbed their toes against playoff-caliber opposition. The loss to the Giants was one-sided, but it wasn’t all that surprising given the evidence the Falcons provided during the regular season.

Until the Falcons and Ryan find a way to keep their game at the highest level week in and week out, they’ll keep answering questions about early flameouts.

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59 Responses to “Matt Ryan working to erase his playoff losing streak”
  1. ravenator says: Jun 10, 2012 10:34 AM

    Flacco > Ryan

  2. marcinhouston says: Jun 10, 2012 10:34 AM

    If the Falcons wanted Ryan to really get the message, they would have brought in some competition or given Redman the long earned opportunity to compete to start. The Saints have had a bounty on Redman, because they were afraid if he got the playing he would take over the job and make the Falcons a dangerous team in the playoffs.

  3. lakedog19352 says: Jun 10, 2012 10:35 AM

    I can’t understand how Tony Romo gets crucified by the fans and media for having only one playoff win and this guy skates free…..

  4. TSizzleBallSoHard says: Jun 10, 2012 10:40 AM

    Tony Romo 2.0

  5. packattack1967 says: Jun 10, 2012 10:44 AM

    Atlanta Georgia is the strangest sports town in America. They still don’t know what to make of the NFL.

  6. duanethomas says: Jun 10, 2012 10:45 AM

    Matty Ice. ESPN and their clowns (I can still picture Chris Berman in a low voice saying “Matty Ice” and Tom Jackson laughing as usual) gave him that nickname and it is appropriate because as you stated in the playoffs he gets cold as the North Pole.

  7. scrotiemcb says: Jun 10, 2012 10:50 AM

    Either I somehow always pick the wrong day to watch, or this guy is the most overrated player in the NFL. I’m thinking the latter. Ryan is Orton with a little charisma.

  8. dzor22 says: Jun 10, 2012 10:53 AM

    Yes Ryan could have done better; but considering what he has done right and the fact that he has the attitude and the ability to improve; the story is just starting to be written. I’ll take him and the Falcons current status over most teams situations. You haters will be making excuses as to why 2012 will be a great year for MR2. PS – the man has never called himself ‘Matty Ice’.

  9. technicalfowler says: Jun 10, 2012 10:57 AM

    Let me preface this by saying I’m a Panthers fan–

    but maybe people are being a bit too hard on Matt Ryan? Yes, he’s 0-3 in the playoffs, but I feel like part of that is just bad luck of the draw.

    Who has he lost to?

    1) Cardinals — ended up going to the Super Bowl and almost beating the Steelers

    2) Packers — won the Super Bowl that season

    3) Giants — won the Super Bowl that season

    Honestly the only really poor performance IMO is last year against the Giants. I thought he played well as a rookie against Warner and the Cardinals, and the Packers simply had too much firepower for the Falcons terrible pass defense.

  10. hardh3ad says: Jun 10, 2012 10:58 AM

    Matt Ryan will be ok. They bashed Peyton Manning the same way in his first few shots @ the playoffs. “NOT”saying Ryan is Peyton Manning, but he will be just fine. Those playoff loses aren’t entirely all his fault, he just takes to bulk of the blame because he is the quarter back, which I understand.

  11. jacobslatter says: Jun 10, 2012 10:58 AM

    The 1st sentence in the 3rd paragraph “Ryan hasn’t been the only culprit in the losses…….” is a huge understatement as Michael Turner many times would be stymied in the run game with 1 or 2 yard gains wanting the Ice Man to throw deep but not much success there. The new ex JVille coordinator Dirk Koetter is installing the new offense & adding an actual screen game to pick up yards on the short passes which sounds nifty but Jacksonville fans moaned & groaned about the boring unsuccessful offense of their team last year even with MJD. The defense dude is as much to blame for the ATL mediocrity as the only pass rusher is John Abraham while dudes like Kroy Biermann is only a good active reserve player and Ray Edwards is solid vs. the run but not the Charles Johnson of the Panthers they couldn’t afford in free agency 11 months ago dude. Pass plays were given up routinely even in games against lousy teams (cough*Dunta Robinson*Thomas DeCoud*cough). At least a new Mike Nolan aggressive defense should turn up the heat unlike the cover-2 zone did. Don’t forget LT & RG need to be sussed out also.

  12. bettis3636 says: Jun 10, 2012 11:02 AM

    Im NOT a Ryan fan AT ALL…. but it takes more then just him to fix this playoff problem… And NO ONE can compare Ryan and Flacco… 2 totally diff men… why must every player be compared to another player…?!?!?

  13. kevo126 says: Jun 10, 2012 11:02 AM

    “matty ice” is a hilarious nickname.

  14. jddirtybird21 says: Jun 10, 2012 11:04 AM

    The biggest problem with Ryan is he lacks a killer instinct. He has the intangibles, the knowledge, and the tools to be a top 5 QB. But plays way too risk free and it results in the offense to be way too one dimensional. He has an offense that is LOADED that should be putting up numbers like Green Bay, Detroit, or New Orleans. A part of it is Mike Smith not putting any pressure on Ryan and the other part of it is that Ryan has too many security blankets. If he didn’t have Tony G or Turner, he would be forced to take over the games a lot more often and the Falcons would maybe be considered “his” team. Ryan needs a guy like Bill Cowher, Parcells, or a Belichek that will get on his case when a mistake is made and hold him accountable for his actions. Mike Smith always pats him on the back. As a birds fan, I have faith in Ryan, but not in Mike Smith.

  15. beckzhere says: Jun 10, 2012 11:05 AM

    Matt Ryan is by far the best QB we have ever had in Atlanta. Period. Using the Ryan-to-Manning comparison is getting cliche, but it’s highly relevant. Ryan, unlike Romo, will never deliver this franchise a losing season. The playoff wins will come sooner than later.

    This year he will get his first playoff win. Next year, after a full year under the new coordinators, will be our serious push for the Lombardi. It’s easy to give Ryan a lot of flack, but he’s better than 25 other starting QB’s in the NFL.

  16. johnnycash19 says: Jun 10, 2012 11:10 AM

    Matt Ryan I think is the most overrated QB in the NFL.

    Like someone said earlier, how does this guy get all the glory when someone like Romo gets trashed daily.

    I would take Romo over Ryan everyday of the week.

  17. gotampabay52 says: Jun 10, 2012 11:17 AM

    Falcons suck

  18. jwayne111 says: Jun 10, 2012 11:22 AM

    We can always count on Flacco to throw that critical interception…while defense wins his playoff games.

    Ryan > Flacco

    Look at the QB Stats…..Thanks.

  19. hardh3ad says: Jun 10, 2012 11:28 AM

    The Flacco/Matt Ryan post season comparisons are crazy. IMO giving Flacco credit for post season success is almost just as bad as giving Mark Sanchez credit for his. Both were grocery bagged by their respected defenses and carried to the AFC championship. (Flacco by his defense and Ray Rice). Give Ryan a top 5-8 defense like those guys have had and then we will see. MiKE NOLAN should take care of that…

  20. playmaker21 says: Jun 10, 2012 11:30 AM

    Matt Ryan is one of the most over rated players in the NFL. Not just at QB. Matt Ryan has a Pro Bowl RB in Michael Turner, a Pro Bowl WR in Roddy White, a Hall of Famer in TE Tony Gonzalez, and Julio Jones who the franchise traded basically two drafts to acquire. Matt Ryan reminds me of Marc Bulger. When surrounded by elite talent, he looks like a Pro Bowler. When guys like Isaac Bruce and Marshall Faulk left, and Torry Holt fell off, Bulger looked more like David Carr.

  21. jonasjpate says: Jun 10, 2012 11:30 AM

    Ryan’s stats his first four years compare favorably to some of the best QBs in NFL history. Better than Brees by a lot. He’s statistically amazing on third down. These are facts. Guys who hate on Ryan are clueless about football. Peyton was 0-4 his first for playoff games, including a 41-0 rout. The guy is smart, works hard, is a good teammate. His record in the regular season is 43-19. He’s thrown twice as many TD’s as picks. Please keep doubting him….it’s all motivation.

  22. themonster49 says: Jun 10, 2012 11:35 AM

    Something about having ‘carbonated urine-water in a can’ doesn’t strike me as intimidating, to anyone. Maybe get a few laughs, sure.

    Gumby needs to start hitting receivers in the chest from 30yrds out and they will be fine.

  23. mischultz1 says: Jun 10, 2012 11:36 AM

    Redman’s started. It was forgettable.

  24. kwgator says: Jun 10, 2012 11:43 AM

    Matty- Soft Serve

  25. shempnet says: Jun 10, 2012 11:44 AM

    Ryan – 1st round 3rd player picked. 88 passer rating. 0 playoff wins.
    Romo – UDFA. 96.9 PR (2nd all time). 1 playoff win.
    Who gets more hate?

  26. east96st says: Jun 10, 2012 11:53 AM

    “Ryan hasn’t been the only culprit in the losses…”

    Anyone who watched the Giants game would agree that was a total team failure from the Head Coach to the water boy. Team didn’t even show up in the second half. Plus, how do let the lowest ranked rushing attack light you up for 17o plus yards? That’s not Ryan’s fault.

  27. steelernationisthepinnacleofexistenceyouarenothing says: Jun 10, 2012 12:03 PM

    Matt Ryan’s first playoff pass – interception against the Cardinals

  28. EJ says: Jun 10, 2012 12:17 PM

    Those teams he has lost to in the first round of the playoffs all ended up going to the superbowl, two of the teams were SB champs. The Falcons just have bad luck having to play the strongest teams first.

  29. sinnermike says: Jun 10, 2012 12:31 PM

    Ryan is like Vinny Testeverdy early in his career when he was getting all of those phantom sacks. Ryan can not handle pressure, he begins to panic in anticipation of pressure. Additionally, he drops his eyes when pressured and will not consistantly stand in the pocket, and take the hit to make the play. The guy is good throwing intermediate passes but blows on the long throws. Atlanta has 2 deep threats and nobody to get the ball to them.

  30. johnnyjagfan says: Jun 10, 2012 12:32 PM

    @duanethomas:

    Ryan was nicknamed “Matty Ice” by his teammates at Boston College, not by ESPN.

  31. deanvernonwormer says: Jun 10, 2012 12:42 PM

    “”is almost just as bad as giving Mark Sanchez credit””

    Hardonh3ed: Sanchez played very well in 3 of his 4 road playoff wins. You obviously didn’t see those games.

    Sanchez is as good as Flacco and better than Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman but not as good as Cam Newton or Stafford. These are the facts.

  32. billhicks666 says: Jun 10, 2012 1:03 PM

    beckzhere says:

    “Matt Ryan is by far the best QB we have ever had in Atlanta. Period….”

    Uh, no he’s not. A guy named Steve Bartkowski was better, had much more heart, too. If Bartkowski had had the weapons around him that Matt Ryan has, you wouldn’t be so ignorant about your own pro football team.

  33. rajuncajun28 says: Jun 10, 2012 1:12 PM

    Melted Ice is a joke…just like the rest of the Failcants franchise…pathetic organization that has NO SB RING! Saints own you…nothing will change this year….Saints > Failcants…must be a miserable and horrible experience to be a Failcants fan…

  34. notdoingwork says: Jun 10, 2012 1:15 PM

    Ryan is not a leader, not clutch and a choker.
    Must be nice not to get any bad press when you suck.

  35. hardh3ad says: Jun 10, 2012 1:18 PM

    Honestly if your QB is not named Aaron, Drew, Tom, Ben, or one of those Manning Brother’s. You really have no room to talk…

  36. tmilla19 says: Jun 10, 2012 1:26 PM

    Falcons are going to be the 3rd best team in that division pretty soon. As Turner ages so do the Falcons’ chances of doing anything significant.

  37. kbuck89 says: Jun 10, 2012 1:52 PM

    @beckzhere when has Romo ever had a losing season? I would love to hear the year you make up. Your quarterback some how gets no criticism for putting up average stats every season and never winning in the post season. The media seems to just let that pass by them. Ryan has never had a better statistical year than Romo in his career. Besides when he got hurt 2 years ago. Dont comment unless you know what u r talking about please.

  38. jimmysee says: Jun 10, 2012 1:53 PM

    In each of the last two seasons, the Falcons got blown out in their playoffs appearances by the eventual Super bowl champ.

    No shame in that.

  39. kingcarlbanks says: Jun 10, 2012 1:58 PM

    Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco are going to be okay, just because a few impatient fans forget these guys are still early in their careers and will get better. Eli wasn’t great starting out, Brees struggled in SD. Give the lads time..

  40. seenoland54 says: Jun 10, 2012 2:04 PM

    I wouldn’t be too quick to put the load on Ryan. Sitting in the stands every game I can tell you that the Falcons have some good offensive tools but they use them in a very vanilla predictable way. When all of us in the stands can tell you what the next play is going to be you can bet the opponents defense has their number.

  41. ninerswilldominatelikebefore says: Jun 10, 2012 2:16 PM

    Matty “O PLAYOFF WINS” Ryan, will hype up their fan base with great numbers but NEVER win a super bowl!! hopefully he wins atleast a playoff game some day!! ahaha

  42. gadgetdawg says: Jun 10, 2012 2:16 PM

    Really? I thought he got the nickname because he kinda looks like Vanilla Ice.

  43. abninf says: Jun 10, 2012 2:39 PM

    EJ says: Jun 10, 2012 12:17 PM

    Those teams he has lost to in the first round of the playoffs all ended up going to the superbowl, two of the teams were SB champs. The Falcons just have bad luck having to play the strongest teams first.
    —————————————————–

    In other words, even when they make the playoffs you have no hope they will win the Superbowl.

  44. marcinhouston says: Jun 10, 2012 2:58 PM

    Lets face it, Vick won some playoff games, Ryan is not the best QB Atlanta has had, I am not sure he is better than Bobby Hebert or Chris Miller. Also, remember Matt Ryan is doing his work with pro-bowl caliber talent at RB, TE, WR1, and WR2. Players like Flacco, Sanchez, Orton, Cassell, etc would be much better if they had the weapons Ryan does.

  45. ilovemyravens says: Jun 10, 2012 3:08 PM

    Matt Ryan is severely overrated, and Flacco is just a hair better than him IMO

  46. cannonballdookie says: Jun 10, 2012 3:36 PM

    Ryan is just soft, he can’t seem to overcome adversity or get out of a tough situation. Whether it be comeback wins, facing a strong pass rush, or playing on the road, he just hasn’t been able to excel in those situations.

    When the situation is pristine, playing in the Georgia Dome, good protection, he can look as good as anyone but right now it just seems like he’s not strong enough to will the team to win. His arm strength is also limited and his deep ball is spotty at best.

  47. beckzhere says: Jun 10, 2012 3:41 PM

    Kbuck89,

    “Will” and “has” are two completely different things. Foreshadowing my overzealous friend, foreshadowing.

  48. bigbluenationdb says: Jun 10, 2012 3:51 PM

    Marty Ice has been surrounded with more weapons and talent then any of the young NFL QBs and he has done squat . The “experts” had him ranked ahead of Eli last year. That is hilarious!!!

  49. dogluverssuck says: Jun 10, 2012 4:14 PM

    I thought it would be a piece of cake to win playoff games with a traditional immobile qb.

    Isn’t that what the Mike Vick critics said?

    I mean surely Mike Vick 8 years later would not be the last qb with a Falcons playoff win……Right?

  50. kbuck89 says: Jun 10, 2012 4:20 PM

    How do you figure he Will bring this team a losing record one season? If he even gets an average O-line and an ok defense we won’t have less than 10 wins. His numbers every season speak for themselves. He was the only QB in the league to have over a 100 quarterback rating, 4,000+ yards, 30+tds, 10 or less ints and his team only go 8-8. And 1 of 2 quarterbacks to have all those stats last season. The other one? Your MVP Aaron Rodgers.

  51. randallflagg52 says: Jun 10, 2012 5:17 PM

    It’s funny because Flacco puts up similar numbers with far less offensive talent surrounding him, and in a far tougher division. Give Flacco a Roddy White or a TE who can actually hang on to a pass (looking at you Dickson) and Flacco would totally blow Melted Ice out of the water . Flacco has never had an elite target to work with and Ryan has 3 and is still the definition of mediorce.

    Honestly don’t get all the Flacco hate, and all the Matt Ryan love. One is a proven winner each and every season, the other chokes like a porn star.

  52. chuckyd317 says: Jun 10, 2012 5:22 PM

    Now all he needs is 2 very talented WRs, a HOF TE, and a Top RB to help him do just that… oh.. wait…

  53. raqaiw says: Jun 10, 2012 5:43 PM

    Alot if excuse making for Matt Ryan on here. It’s everybody’s fault but his. His defense isn’t good,he’s only lost to the SB attendee…stop already. With the weapons at his disposal there’s no reason for him not to have a single win in 4 years. The defense scored more points than his offense did against the Giants. Flacco takes way more criticism,but he’s never gotten blanked in the playoffs.

  54. trefkennedy says: Jun 10, 2012 7:14 PM

    I pray that we, TeamCowboys play the falcons in the playoffs this season, in the wildcard or divisional round, so we can get a win at Matty Ice expense

  55. CKL says: Jun 10, 2012 7:51 PM

    Ryan is starting to put me in mind of Carson Palmer. Both were/are good/competent players, hard workers, etc etc. but not GREAT players. I think Palmer has better physical skills and is more of the prototype guy but I always thought Palmer was missing something, something mental. Not that either guy is dumb, just lacking something critical all great QBS (and some “merely” good ones) have. Call it will to win, clutchness, killer instinct (as one poster who made a really good post mentioned) whatever. Just missing something.

  56. jcg23 says: Jun 10, 2012 8:07 PM

    Ryan suffers from the same issue Romo has. He has no defense.

  57. hisgirlgotburrelled says: Jun 11, 2012 11:55 AM

    His nickname is derived from the beer Natural Ice (popularly referred to as Natty Ice).

  58. footballstudy says: Jun 11, 2012 12:21 PM

    Why does everyone keep comparing Romo to Ryan?

    Ryan is going into his 5th year and Romo is going into his 10th year.

    Romo has a 47-30 record 61%
    Ryan has a 43-19 record 69%

    They are different QBs on different teams. Both are good QBs, but Ryan is 5 years younger in age and experience and still has a lot to learn.

    Post season success will come for both of them.

  59. mjmpi says: Jun 14, 2012 10:44 AM

    As a season ticket holder I can say the Falcons organization is one of the best in the league. I go to the mini camps and watch Matt up close. This guy is a competitor. Remember that injury to his ankle against Detroit. He came right back on the field. He is still young and has gone to the playoffs already 3 times. Aaron Rodgers lost last year also to the Giants does he suck now? There are only 4 teams with 4 consecutive winning seasons and Matt Ryan has made the Falcons one of those teams…this year will be better…just watch….keep the hate speech to yourselves…your teams probably aren’t much better.

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