PHILADELPHIA -- Matt Ryan's ready to get back to work.
The 2016 NFL MVP wasn't sulking after his throw to Julio Jones in the end zone fell incomplete on fourth-and-goal. He wasn't complaining about the offenses drop-off in production compared to last season. But he is ready for those comparisons to finally come to an end.
"One thing I’ve learned 10 years in this league is that pass success, prior success or lack of prior success doesn’t have any bearing on the following season. Teams have to come together on their own each year. I thought our team did. I thought we dealt with a lot throughout the year," Ryan said after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 15-10 in the NFL Divisional Round. "Next year’s a different year and a different team."
On to next year.
After getting close to a Super Bowl title last year, only to blow it, and then returning to the playoffs the next year only to have a potential game-winning touchdown pass go through your star receiver's hands could be demoralizing.
Plus, Ryan dealt with some off the field, personal issues this week during practice. He's about to have twins, and he's not getting any younger at 32.
He could be losing his passion.
"It motivates me," Ryan said on the abrupt end of the Falcons season.
"The reason I play this game is to win a championship. That’s why we put in all of the hard work we put in all the time. And when you don’t get that result, it’s difficult. But falling short is sometimes the best motivation to keep pushing forward and trying to really yearn to become a better player, to become a better team. And I’ve never shied away from that. I always feels like it provides great motivation, and there’s a fire inside inside me that continues to burn. And I’m not going to stop working until we get that done."
Ryan's been through a lot. He's dealing with yet again another new offensive coordinator, comparisons and players not executing around him. But he still has the passion.
Head coach Dan Quinn still has faith in Ryan. When asked if he was confident in Ryan's ability on the final play of the game:
"Damn right. Absolutely," Quinn said. "We’re giving our shots to Matt and Julio to win the game...100 out of 100 we’re going to try and put the ball in those two guys to try and win it."
Ryan completed 22 passes on 36 attempts for 210 yards. His and the Falcons' only touchdown against the Eagles was a short pass to running back Devonta Freeman.