Matt Ryan saw Malcolm Jenkins creep up, decided to “let it rip” to Cordarelle Patterson

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints
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It was deja vu all over again for Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Until it wasn’t.

After the Saints scored a late touchdown to take a 25-24 lead over Atlanta — wiping out a 24-6 fourth-quarter deficit — Ryan went to work in an effort to reverse the latest big lead blown by his franchise.

On the sideline, coach Arthur Smith gave Ryan the play, which included an opportunity to throw deep to receiver/running back Cordarelle Patterson.

“‘If you get an opportunity, let it rip,'” Smith told Ryan, as Ryan told PFT by phone after the 27-25 victory. “And we did. We got a one-on-one with Cordarrelle and he made a great play on the sidelines. Great call. Great effort by CP. Play we needed to make in order to win that game.”

Patterson made the play, but Ryan made the throw — and he made the decision to make the throw. He said he saw two safeties deep, which would have prompted Ryan to go elsewhere with the ball. At the snap, however, Ryan saw safety Malcolm Jenkins move into a “robber” look, where he would try to disrupt crossing routes aimed at chewing up less real estate.

“It’s just one of those things you see, you notice, and you try to take advantage of it,” Ryan said.

Ryan did, sending the ball to a single-covered speedster who made the play and put the Falcons in field-goal range.

It wasn’t quite that easy to finish the job. Ryan said his heart skipped a beat when he saw running back Mike Davis fumble the ball on the next play. Atlanta recovered, they made the field goal, and they’re now 4-4, only one game behind the 5-3 Saints.

“It’s huge,” Ryan said of the win. “If you want to make a push, you’ve got to win tough division road games. This is certainly one of those places that’s difficult to come into and get the job done. I think that’s going to bode well for our team moving forward.”

It gets no easier next week, when the Falcons face a Cowboys team that surely will be salty about the manner in which it was shut down at home against the Broncos. Another upset, however, will put the Falcons at 5-4 and in good position to chase down a wild-card berth.