After throwing only three interceptions in the first six games of the year, Matt Ryan has now thrown multiple interceptions in back-to-back games. The Atlanta Falcons have now unleashed the full extent of their own “Pandora Box” with the horrifying performance of seeing Mattie Ice melt under pressure against a Carolina Panthers’ defense that took full advantage of Ryan’s miscues.
The Dirty Birds once again were crushed by their opponent to the score of 34-10, dropping them to 2-6 on the year. Even though the Falcons played a little better with a much better effort in the ground game, it did little to zero, as the Falcons just could not over come their own mistakes. The Falcons had a total of four turnovers, in which Ryan was responsible for three of them.
Although Ryan completed nearly 70 percent of his passes for 219 yards with one touchdown, he struggled to get anything going and had more success throwing to the defensive backs for the Panthers than his own receivers. The worst interception came in the second half, where Ryan telegraphed his pass and allowed Drayton Florence to jump right in front of it, as he waltzed in for a touchdown.
In my previous article, I firmly stated that Ryan should be the last player to be blamed for any miserable outcome the Falcons endure in a season of tragedy that continues their downward fall of owning one of the worst NFL records this year. With that being said, after a performance like that, I retract my statement for just this past game and will say that this was all on Mattie Ice.
Despite the fact that Ryan was without his top two weapons on the outside, he is a veteran quarterback considered by many to be in the upper echelon of passers in the league. At his level, he is not allowed to make such poor decisions no matter what the excuses are. Although his reasons of being unproductive is not without merits, unfortunately for him along with his $100 million contract, Ryan can not and should not be throwing three to four interceptions in back-t0-back games ever.
During tough stretches, the Falcons will have to realize that they will need to play as a team and depend on each other as if their lives depended on it, especially when they do not possess the talent or the skill to win games anymore.
Even with the Panthers mauling the Falcons as if it was suppertime, the Falcons did improve in key areas in a losing effort. The Falcons are now without a doubt in a position of a lost and hopeless season with zero chances of making the playoffs. The only thing the Falcons can do is to show up for their fans and end their season in a respectable manner.
This will start with how Ryan performs for the rest of the year, as he is the clear leader of this team. The saying goes: as the commander goes, so will his troops. As hard as it is, Ryan needs to thrive during the darkest times, as he needs to show that he is indeed a top-tier quarterback worthy of such a contract.
Instead of melting away, Ryan needs to stand strong and play with an attitude that has some swagger to it.
The Panthers’ tactics were clear, as they went for the cliche “cut off the head of the snake and the body will wither away” route. This past Sunday, the Panthers’ executed their game plan to near perfection, as the Dirty Birds did in fact withered away … demolition style.
For the Falcons’ sake, they hope Ryan’s meltdown is only a temporary thing and non-contagious, or else the Falcons’ miserable season will have a whole new meaning and things could get ugly very fast. From now to the end of the season, the Falcons, along with coach Mike Smith, needs to hold on like the famous “Remember the Alamo” historical event and be in defense mode indefinitely.