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Ryan continues to be well protected

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Ryan continues to be well protected


Special to the Journal-Constitution

Sunday, November 30, 2008

San Diego — The magic word Sunday was safety. While the Falcons defense tallied its first safety in almost three years, the offensive line continues to make the safety of rookie quarterback Matt Ryan priority No. 1.

Ryan was hit just twice and Atlanta did not allow a sack in their 22-16 win over San Diego Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium. They have yielded just one in the last four games. Not bad for a unit that gave up 47 last season.

“It’s not just us up front,” center Todd McClure said. “It’s him getting the ball out of his hands quickly and knowing where his receivers are supposed to be. He’s a special player, man. He makes our job easy.”

And it looks like it’s getting easier each week for the still-maturing signal caller. Ryan completed a crisp 17-of-23 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns, out-dueling San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, who entered the game as the NFL’s top-rated passer.

While much of his success has to do with protection, a lot also hinges on the relationship and timing he’s built with receiver Roddy White.

“He’s played so well all year,” Ryan said. “When you have a receiver with that kind of talent, it makes it easy for a quarterback to be able to let the ball go and trust that he’s going to make plays. He did it again today.”

White, who caught a game-high six passess for 112 yards, was equally complimentary of his quarterback.

“He goes out there and he’s poised,” White said.

“He’s a confident guy and he makes the throws. He can make every throw in this league. That’s a big part of it. He’s great at reading defenses and getting the ball to the right people.”

Despite the steady performance from Ryan, the game wasn’t without its roller coaster moments. The Falcons turned the ball over three times — all fumbles — and still managed to come away with a road victory. They also failed to score before the end of the first half, despite having first-and-goal at the San Diego 2-yard line.

“That’s part of the game,” Ryan said. “You have to understand that there are going to be ups and downs and at times things aren’t going to go your way. I think that it speaks to the character of the guys that we have in our locker room and our coaches as well. Everybody continued to fight and we came out on top and made enough plays to win in the end.”

Ryan’s first touchdown came early in the second quarter with the Falcons trailing 7-6. He fired an 18-yard strike to ex-Chargers tight end Justin Peelle. A fearless Ryan squeezed the ball between three defenders.

His second came on the first play of the fourth quarter — a 5-yard pass to a wide-open Harry Douglas. Not quite as impressive, but a touchdown nonetheless.

“He’s doing a good job,” said White, who recorded his sixth 100-yard game of the season. “We go out and practice things and it translates into the game. He’s doing a good job getting the ball out of his hand. If he keeps doing what he is doing, he can’t do anything but get better.”


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Its just scary to think about....he is a character guy, he works really hard, has some good athletic tools, is very intelligent and digests information, and he is playing like a long time vet and hes only a rookie.

I cant wait until we have all the pieces in place on offense in addition to his maturity in the game...he is the next big QB in the NFL. I gotta eat some crow about Flacco too, he's been getting it done, albeit on a more stacked team.

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just a year ago it wouldhave been "I" this and "I" that when they interviewed the players (especially DeAngelo) but now the culture in the locker room is 100% team oriented and these players give the praise to those around them. This is a huge reason why we are playing so well, it is a totally dofferent mentality and we got each others backs.

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