Falcons’ Ryan plagued by interceptions on the road
The ugliest low points of a miserable season for Matt Ryan and
the Falcons have come on the road.
Atlanta plays its final road game at San Francisco on Monday
night. The Falcons (4-10) are 1-6 away from the Georgia Dome. The
one road win was more like a neutral site game – against Buffalo in
Turnovers have been a troubling trend in the road losses. Ryan
said Thursday he can’t explain why he has thrown 12 interceptions
on the road and only two at home.
”I wish I knew,” Ryan said. ”I really do. I wish I knew.
We’ve been pretty consistent throughout the six years I’ve been
here, individually and as a team, on the road and at home.
Certainly I think records are better at home than they’ve been on
the road in the past.
”I think it’s just you’ve got to be consistent week in and week
out, whether you’re playing in the dome or somewhere else. You’ve
got to strive for consistency and as a whole I don’t think we’ve
been extremely consistent this year.”
Ryan was awarded a contract extension worth about $104 million,
including $59 million guaranteed, before the season. He has played
up to the standards that earned him that contract only at home.
In seven home games, Ryan has 11 touchdown passes and only two
interceptions. His 103.5 passer rating at the Georgia Dome in 2013
tops his career average of 96.8 in home games.
Ryan’s rating on the road is only 74.3, below his career road
rating of 85.4.
Coach Mike Smith said he doesn’t believe Ryan’s production this
season can be directly tied to where the games are played. He said
it was just poor execution.
”We have turned the ball over a lot more on the road,” Smith
said following Thursday’s practice. ”I don’t really know that I
could put a finger on it. They weren’t really good decisions. They
weren’t really good throws. It wasn’t good protection. That was
what caused it.”
Ryan is on pace to top 4,000 yards passing for the third
straight year and has completed 66.4 percent of his passes – just
under his career-best 68.6 percent in 2012. He has thrown 22
touchdown passes, well below his career-high 32 last season.
Injuries at the wide receiver position left Ryan throwing to
such new targets as Darius Johnson and Drew Davis much of the
A foot injury ended star receiver Julio Jones’ season after only
five games. Atlanta’s other top receiver, Roddy White, missed three
games with ankle and hamstring injuries and was limited most of the
season. White has returned to form only in the last three
Some of Ryan’s statistics – especially yards and touchdowns –
likely would be dramatically better if Jones and White had been
healthy. But injuries don’t fully explain the interceptions,
especially on the road.
”I don’t know that it was because we were not in our
building,” Smith said. ”I think we’ve got to really, truly drill
down on it when the season is over, but I don’t think … that was
Smith is using the final games of the season to take long looks
at rookies and second-year players at other positions. He said he
never considered pulling Ryan to give backup Dominique Davis more
”It’s something I don’t really listen to it or worry about
it,” Ryan said. ”I prepare myself to go out and play week in and
week out. … You have to worry about preparing yourself and going
out there and playing, and there’s nobody who wants to be out there
more than I do.”
Notes: S Thomas DeCoud (concussion) practiced for the second
straight day after missing last week’s win over Washington. ”He’ll
be ready to go for the game,” Smith said. … Johnson (ankle), RB
Antone Smith (knee) and LB Sean Weatherspoon (knee) did not
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org