FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — After winning his first playoff game last Sunday, quarterback Matt Ryan will lead the Atlanta Falcons against the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday, Jan. 20. at the Georgia Dome. After holding off the Seattle Seahawks 30-28, the Falcons, who won their first playoff game since 2004, can breathe a little easier.
“I think it’s a good thing to get that first win out of the way, for sure,” said Ryan. “There’s a lot of other things and a lot of other questions that you have to answer [that] can be distracting. At this point I think it’s more of let’s just get back into our routine of week-to-week normal stuff, normal questions that you have to answer and get ourselves prepared to go out and play.”
It’s because of Ryan’s poise and naturally cool demeanor, and his improved play late in games, that the Falcons are in the position of playing in the NFC Championship game.
“In terms of keeping my poise, I think, as a guy that’s been around now for five years, you learn that it’s difficult week in and week out during an NFL game,” said Ryan. “You need to keep playing and you need to stay focused on going out there and execute as best you can.”
The Falcons are facing a defense that ranks in the top 10 in both opponents’ passing yards and rushing yards for the second week in a row. Ryan and the Falcons’ offense are more than aware of the talent the 49ers have on the field.
“When you turn on the film, you see a really good defense,” sid Ryan. “They are solid, six Pro Bowlers on defense, guys that are extremely talented. They play as hard and as physical as anybody in the league. I think you see that when you watch the film and I think they’re very sound in their scheme.”