By: David Schiele
Falcon fans refer to Mercedes-Benz Stadium as “the house that Matt Ryan built.” Well, the reigning MVP’s house warming party did not go as planned. Matt Ryan threw 11 passes and only completed 4 of them—plus another one to the other team. He finished with just an 8.1 passer rating.
“We just never really got into a rhythm offensively,” Ryan said, “That’ll be something that we need to work on as we have this fourth preseason game coming up and then getting ready for the regular season.”
There will be those who will turn a blind eye to Ryan’s performance against Arizona. But if he received praise for completing every pass attempt in the preseason opener at Miami and leading a 91-yard touchdown drive in Pittsburgh, then he deserves criticism for his lowly Mercedes-Benz Stadium debut. After all, the third preseason game is considered the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season.
Blame the “halo board” for being a distraction—or offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian for calling plays on the sideline instead of the booth—but Matt Ryan misfired on deep passes to Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Taylor Gabriel on his own. Ryan’s pass attempt to Gabriel was thrown into double-coverage and hit cornerback Patrick Peterson in the hands.
On the positive side, Ryan connected with running backs Terron Ward and Tevin Coleman for a couple of first downs. This shows that the Falcons’ check-down game is still strong. It will be even stronger when Devonta Freeman returns from the concussion protocol.
Starters don’t usually play in the fourth preseason game, but Ryan should want a chance to redeem himself on his own turf (vs. Jacksonville). Otherwise, he’ll have to wait until week 1 of the regular season to right his wrongs from the dress rehearsal.