Pressure’s on Matt Ryan, but he’s handling it well


As intimidating a foe as the Seahawks might be, the Falcons’ biggest challenge this week will be playing against their own history.

They’ve rolled up big win totals in the regular season (56 the last five seasons, only the Patriots with 60 have more), but haven’t won a playoff game since Matt Ryan joined the team in 2008. And that reality has hung over the team like a cloud all year.

But if there’s pressure on Ryan, it’s not showing.

He’s doing an excellent job,” wide receiver Roddy White said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “He’s been mentally prepared throughout the whole season for this stretch run. He knows that we have to win a playoff game.

“Everybody kind of knows that. Not to put any extra pressure on him, but I just think that at this point in the season, everybody knows that they have to play their best football right now.”

Ryan’s put up the best regular season stats of his career, but that won’t matter to many until he delivers in the postseason. In three playoff losses, he has yet to throw for 200 yards in any of them, or post a passer rating better than 72.8.

“You learn from those four or five plays that changed the outcome of those games,” Ryan said. “The intensity is probably a little bit [greater]. The quicker that you can settle yourself down and start trying to execute, the better.”

White has been around Ryan since his first day on the job, and can see a difference over time that he believes will make a difference on the field.

“With the team that we have now, and all of the guys that have been around each other, with him leading us a group, and knowing that everybody is on the same page, it’s going to be a different outcome,” White said.

Because of the playoff failures, Ryan might be one of the most overlooked great players in the league. And to be fair, his 0-for-postseason track mirrors perfectly another guy who used to put up big fantasy football numbers in the regular season, a guy named Peyton Manning (who still carries a sub-.500 playoff record, 9-10).

But until he does as Manning did in his fourth postseason, and wins a game, none of the stats or comparisons are going to matter. And spoken or unspoken, they know that.

14 responses to “Pressure’s on Matt Ryan, but he’s handling it well

  1. Matt Ryan will deliver. The Falcons huge wide receivers can match up with Seattle’s Corners (how often have you ever heard that?) and Michael Turner runs a lot better at home. If the Falcons jump out early, this game could be over quickly

  2. The difference is that Manning didn’t have a lot of talent around him much of the time. He heavily compensated for often porous defense, few weapons outside Reggie Wayne, and rarely had a good running game.

    In contrast, Matt Ryan has had probably the best TE ever, an All-Pro WR, another Pro Bowl WR, Michael Turner when he was actually effective, a pretty good defense, and has nothing to show for it.

  3. If hes handling it better than last year maybe he can score a field goal on offense this year, last year they got zero points. This is a process. Maybe they can get a field goal this year, a touchdown next year, and just take it from there.

  4. Probably even more pressure on Matt having the home field advantage. He has sometimes played better this year in a hostile environment where the expecations may not be as high.

  5. @lightcleric

    So you never heard of
    Marvin Harrison
    Edgerrin James
    Pierre Garçon
    Dallas Clark
    And a Pro Bowl front line Jeff Saturday etc..!
    As for Defense
    Bob Sanders, Gary Bracket, Dwight Freeney.
    But Payton barely had talent around him?! Stop it. Peyton has always had Studs.. New England just had more on defense, which is the reason PM only has 1Ring..

  6. As a Dolphins fan, I saw first hand Matt Ryan’s biggest problem…

    Mike Mularkey.

    Mularkey is a ground and pounder who likes to use his TEs and never could fully utilize his WRs. And he uses gimmicks to try to open up an offense instead of diversifying.

    Mike Mularkey is THE reason the Falcons offense would be good in the regular season but fail to elevate in the post season.

    And he’s an abysmal head coach…

  7. This is a game that can go either way. Somebody has to lose, and if it’s the Falcons they’ll always have next year.

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