It’s been almost five full months since the Falcons lost to the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has not shied away from watching the painful end of the season.
Ryan sat down with Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com to watch the tape of the game, giving rise to an interesting article that gives you a quarterback’s eye view of what went down on the field. The loss was a painful one for Ryan on two fronts as he injured his shoulder on one of the game’s final plays — Ryan told Prisco that he thinks he would have played in the Super Bowl if the Falcons advanced — and because Ryan knows that a trip to the Super Bowl was close enough to taste before the Falcons failed on their final plays near the 49ers end zone.
“In a way, I was shocked we didn’t score there at the end,” Ryan said. “We had done it so many times before. We were facing one of the best defenses, if not the best defense, and I still thought we would go down and score. We just didn’t get it done.”
While Ryan pointed to some errors on the final plays, including a six-step drop on third down when a completion might have been there if Ryan threw the ball after four steps, he really lamented some missed opportunities earlier in the game that would have made things easier on the Falcons in the closing seconds. Ryan also points to smart decisions by the 49ers defense as the chess match unfolded in the fourth quarter.
The entire piece is an illuminating glimpse inside Ryan’s head, telling you both what he saw at the time of the game and what his reflections are after watching the game multiple times. None of it will change the outcome for the Falcons, but the process should serve as a learning process for Ryan and the offense as well as anyone interested in how the NFC was won last season.