Throughout the offseason, the noise surrounding the Atlanta Falcons centered around starting quarterback Matt Ryan and his apparent inability to grasp the offense installed by offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. In the offseason, Ryan spent time with former major league pitching coach Tom House in order to improve his mechanics and arm strength. Ryan’s time with House wasn’t discussed in Atlanta, however his arm strength was sports talk radio fodder.
“I don’t really listen to that stuff,” Ryan responded. “I know what I’m capable of doing, our guys know what we’re capable of doing and there were certainly opportunities to get the ball down the field today and we took advantage of it. So, I haven’t worried about that too much throughout my career.”
Today, Ryan threw for 503 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Falcons’ 48-33 win over the Carolina Panthers. Many believed the three game stretch of Carolina and visits to Denver and Seattle would test the mettle of the Falcons and Shanahan’s offense passed the first test with flying colors.
“I think that’s really good, it’s been really good for us spreading the ball around and getting a lot of different people involved,” Ryan said in today’s postgame press conference. “It makes it difficult for a defense when you have that many guys catching passes. But I think Julio, by his standards, I think he only had 12 catches which is a lot but he’s had bigger receiving – in terms of catches – he’s had bigger games than that, but his explosiveness and the catches that he made were so critical. So, I thought all of the guys played really well but it doesn’t happen without our offensive line getting it done against a really good front seven. Those guys were rock solid all day.”
Even more telling this season, Ryan has accounted for noticiable runs! Ryan had a 15 yard run in today’s game. He also has shown no reservations rolling out, running the naked bootleg and linking up with receivers.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Ryan completed 14-of-16 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns on passes longer than 10 yards downfield today. That is the most yards on such pass in a game in the last 10 seasons, surpassing Cam Newton’s 348 yards on those throws in 2011. Julio Jones had seven receptions on those deep passes, including a 75-yard touchdown with 3:45 remaining to seal the victory for the Falcons.
“We are always in-sync,” Julio Jones said in his post game interview. “People can’t see it, but we always are in-sync. When people are putting two or three guys on me, I’m doing my job by pulling people away from other guys to get single coverage. Those guys are stepping up and making plays for us and also in the run game. That’s just a part of brotherhood. People can’t see that. I don’t have to get the ball to go out there and be successful and win. My key is to win and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go out there and win games.”
Moreover, the Falcons lead the NFL in net yards per game, points per game and almost every other offensive category out here. If the Falcons can take this offense to Denver next week and come away with a victory, maybe this team will be included in the national conversation. If that happens, it will be due to this team adjusting to Kyle Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan finally learning the diverse options within this offense.