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Falcons' Ryan trying to shake sophomore slump


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Falcons' Ryan trying to shake sophomore slump

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Matt Ryan had to know this was coming.

The first sign of slippage in his game, and the Falcons quarterback would have to address this "sophomore slump" issue.

But Ryan's past two performances have raised some statistical red flags.

He had a 66.1 passer rating against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and a 68.4 rating against the Chicago Bears the Sunday before. Over his 23 NFL starts, Ryan has never had back-to-back sub-70 games.

"It's a long season," Ryan said. "There are going to be some ups and downs. You're going to play well one week and not so well other weeks."

Ryan's ratings were hurt in both games by interceptions. He had two interceptions in each game, also a first for Ryan. He hasn't had any back-to-back multiple interception games.

In fact, against Chicago if the defense hadn't come up with three red-zone stops, the Falcons likely would have lost.

Ryan knows he has to cut his interceptions quickly. The Falcons are set to face the undefeated New Orleans Saints on Monday, and they lead the league in interceptions with 13.

"He has to be mindful that we are facing a very good defense," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "They are opportunistic. They attack the football."

Ryan was sacked four times against Dallas and appeared ragged at times.

"He's been playing very well," Smith said. "Last week, we did not protect the quarterback like we had been. Before that game, we'd only given up two sacks. That's definitely something that we put an emphasis on this week."

It was the first time since the second game of Ryan's career (against Tampa Bay in Week 2 of last season) that he appeared flustered.

"There are going to be weeks where you get knocked around," Ryan said. "That goes with playing this position. Our guys do such a great job up front that you don't often see that."

Ryan will have to match wits with New Orleans safety Darren Sharper. He's in his 13th season and already has six interceptions this season , with three returned for touchdowns. He has 11 career interception returns for touchdowns.

"The biggest thing is don't turn the football over," Ryan said. "Anytime you turn the football over in this league, it's tough to come back and win the football game. That's my focus this week, to be better with the football, but at the same time you can't lose that aggressiveness."

Ryan had one of his best games of the season last year against the Saints in New Orleans. He passed for 315 yards, which was his high until he passed for 329 yards against San Francisco earlier this season.

The Falcons would prefer not to get into a shootout with the high-scoring Saints, who have scored 45 or more points on four opponents this season.

"We feel like we can score," Ryan said. "We feel like we've got some talent to make plays at different times. As an offensive player, we're just trying to pull our weight. We obviously need to do a better job."

Through six games, Ryan has completed 120 of 191 passes (62.8 percent) for 1,360 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has an overall quarterback rating of 90.2.

Last season through six games, Ryan had completed 93 of 161 passes (57.7 percent) for 1,164 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.

"I just need to be more efficient," Ryan said. "It's making good decisions, being accurate with the football and trying to get our guys in position to make plays."

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Through six games, Ryan has completed 120 of 191 passes (62.8 percent) for 1,360 yards, 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has an overall quarterback rating of 90.2.

Last season through six games, Ryan had completed 93 of 161 passes (57.7 percent) for 1,164 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions.

This is why I HATE the AJC's coverage. Since when is 5% better completion percentage, 200 more yards, and a slightly better TD to INT ratio with 6 more TDs a SLUMP???

How about highlighting the fact that somehow Ryan has lead the team to a 4-2 record without any help from a running game?

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Ryan and the entire offense is struggling. They proved last year when expectations were low that they were better than we thought.

This year the challenge is consistency and that's something that has eluded this franchise for 40 years. We all see the chinks in this teams Armour it's just a question of weather this team can hold it together or will they fall apart like so many seasons before. I guess we will see very soon if Matt Ryan is the QB we all want him to be.

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Falcons' Ryan trying to shake sophomore slump

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Matt Ryan had to knowMy link this was coming.

The first sign of slippage in his game, and the Falcons quarterback would have to address this "sophomore slump" issue.

But Ryan's past two performances have raised some statistical red flags.

He had a 66.1 passer rating against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and a 68.4 rating against the Chicago Bears the Sunday before. Over his 23 NFL starts, Ryan has never had back-to-back sub-70 games.

AJC steals my **** .. can I get credit in AJC ..

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Why is everyone so upset?

The coverage is pretty even handed. He never says there is a sophomore slump he says Ryan has to deal with the idea that there might be one because of the past two games. Face it he has played lousy in the last two games and those 4 picks didn't help much. Is it because he is slumping? Is it because the defenses have figured him out?

Most of the article is Ryan's own words. And what he says is pretty smart and common knowledge. Don't turn the ball over; I'm getting knocked around but it happens; the offense needs to step it up.

The reporting is good and he is stating facts. It's one thing not to agree with him but come on this game doesn't look easy. It's natural to have doubts about our chances considering how we have played the last two weeks.

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It's Mularkey and Turner that are in a slump, and losing Douglas and Norwood have been big factors too.

Agreed...Though I think Turner's slump is from not spreading the field and keeping everything bottled up within 20yds of the line of scrimmage.

Edited by FlyinRyan
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Why is everyone so upset?

The coverage is pretty even handed. He never says there is a sophomore slump he says Ryan has to deal with the idea that there might be one because of the past two games. Face it he has played lousy in the last two games and those 4 picks didn't help much. Is it because he is slumping? Is it because the defenses have figured him out?

Most of the article is Ryan's own words. And what he says is pretty smart and common knowledge. Don't turn the ball over; I'm getting knocked around but it happens; the offense needs to step it up.

The reporting is good and he is stating facts. It's one thing not to agree with him but come on this game doesn't look easy. It's natural to have doubts about our chances considering how we have played the last two weeks.

The title of the article is "Falcon's Ryan trying to shake sophomore slump". That is implying he is already in a sophomore slump. Ryan has faced 2 good defenses the last 2 weeks and while I don't agree he is in a sophomore slump I do agree that he has not played very well the last 2 games. Especially against Dallas.

He'll shut up Bedwetter Monday night!

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