FLOWERY BRANCH — The Atlanta Falcons will arrive at the Georgia Dome on Sunday looking to win their first playoff game since 2004. The Falcons are 0-3 in the playoffs with Matt Ryan under center which has led to plenty of doubt and many naysayers. But that doesn’t seem to bother the Falcons, especially not wide receiver Julio Jones.
“We just line up and play for each other,” Jones said. “People are always going to talk and say this and say that about you but you can’t get caught up in what everyone else say. We still have to do the little things right and be on top of our game.”
Ryan and Jones have shown their improved chemistry all season. With Jones accounting for 1,198 yards this season, compared to 959 in 2011. While last season’s numbers were somewhat skewed due to Jones missing three games with injury, he and Ryan have undoubtedly gotten better as this season has progressed. The improvement shown from year-to-year is more than Jones getting the extra snaps.
Ryan has gotten much better too.
When asked the difference between Ryan last season and this season, Jones said “Everything.”
“ Matt was a great quarterback last year. I just feel like we’re more in synch this season because we didn’t have OTAs [the offseason prior to 2011].”
The Falcons know just how talented the Seattle Seahawks are defensively. Seattle’s Brandon Browner is a corner who has the size and physical style of play to matchup with Jones or any of the other Falcons’ wide receivers.
“He’s a great corner,” said Jones. “He’s physical, he can move around, [he has] good technique, everything. We just have to come and play.”
Sunday will be a game of strength against strength as Atlanta’s sixth-ranked passing offense faces off against Seattle’s sixth-ranked passing defense.
“They have a great defensive line,” said Jones. “Their whole defense, they’re No. 1 in the turnover ratio, their safety gets around, he’s very rangy. He can make plays all over the field, but we just have to come to play. At the end of the day, we have to come to play on Sunday.”