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Matt Ryan handles homecoming with ease


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Matt Ryan handles homecoming with ease

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

, Mass. – Matt Ryan did his best to block out his return to the New England area.

Enlarge photo Charles Krupa, AP Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw for nearly 200 yards without a touchdown.

He needed some of the razor-sharp focus that helped him become the rookie of the year and lead the Falcons to the playoffs last season.

But in the back of his mind, he knew it was more than just another road game.

How else do you explain his burgundy and gold tie that he sported after the game?

"It was just a coincidence, really," Ryan said.

Ryan didn't want to make too much of the return.

"I had never been down here," Ryan said. "So first and foremost, it was cool to do it. I watched from a distance during my time at B.C. But with that having been said, I played enough games in the league now that when you go out there, you have to be focused."

But he was aware of Boston College's latest victory.

"It was a big win for B.C. yesterday [over Wake Forest]," Ryan noted.

Several family members and college friends were amongst the crowd of 68,756.

"I know he wanted to have a good showing with his family and bunch of his college buddies coming back to watch him play," Falcons wide receiver Michael Jenkins said. "But we were not able to get it done."

Ryan completed 17 of 28 passes for 199 yards. Ryan had another fourth-down conversion at the 10:15 mark of the second quarter. He completed a 7-yard pass to Roddy White on a fourth-and-3 from New England's 34.

That play continued the Falcons’ only touchdown drive of the game.

Falcons coach Mike Smith expected his quarterback to handle his homecoming well.

"Matt is focused on one thing, and that's what happens between those two sidelines," Smith said. "I don't think it affected Matt one bit."

Ryan did get a couple of curve balls from the Patriots. When the Falcons tried to use their no-huddle offense, New England coach Bill Belichick slowed them down in the first half with two timeouts.

"I think there were a couple of timeouts for whatever reason," Ryan said. "They might have needed to change personnel or whatever. I felt we did a good job coming out of those timeouts and still moved the ball pretty well."

After the game, Ryan went to the middle of the field and met New England quarterback Tom Brady for the first time.

"Just the typical kind of postgame chitchat that goes on," Ryan said. " ‘Good luck with everything. Good job today.' I kind of said the same thing to him."



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