Matt Ryan had yet another tough game against the New England Patriots.
The Falcons' quarterback was especially terrified after being shut out at home for the first time in his 14-year career and was bruised and abused to the point of being taken out of the game for mercy's sake.'
"Lack of production," Ryan said afterward. "Whatever that is caused by, that's the most disappointing. I think our defense did a nice job keeping us in the game the entire night, even well into the fourth quarter, you know, making it a two-score game. We had chances. We've got to find a way. Whatever it is, whatever we have to do, we have to find a way to be more productive than we've been."
The Falcons offence was restricted to only 165 total yards for the game, and their problems began at the line of scrimmage. A Patriots defence that put its ears back all-night sacked Ryan four times and smacked him with 12 QB hits. According to Next Gen Stats, Ryan was pressured on 50% of his pass plays (29.3 percent in Weeks 1-10) and went 1 of 4 for 6 passing yards and two interceptions when facing the blitz.
"I thought they did a good job defensively of trying to create internal pressure and stress some of the things that we do," Ryan said. "We certainly have to be better than we were today but credit to them -- I thought they played well."
Ryan's agonising night was made more worse by the attrition he endured throughout the evening. Ryan limped off the field in the second quarter after being sacked by Kyle Van Noy, ending one of the Falcons' two red-zone drives. To add insult to injury, Ryan also sustained a gash to his left forearm on the same play but was able to continue playing. To add insult to injury, Younghoe Koo missed a 50-yard field goal attempt after an illegal formation penalty cancelled his 45-yard attempt.
"The toe is fine," said Ryan, who was part of the Falcons' first shutout since Week 14 of 2015 against the Carolina Panthers. "I think it will be OK going forward. ... I don't think it impacted throwing and I thought I moved fine. So, I don't think it impacted it too much."
Of course, with Cordarrelle Patterson out with a hamstring injury on Thursday night, the Falcons were short-handed. Patterson's absence was felt on a squad that didn't reach 100 yards of offence until late in the third quarter despite leading the Falcons in scrimmage yards (776) and total touchdowns (seven).
"It's always tough when you don't have some of your guys out there," Ryan said. "CP's been such a big part of what we've done offensively, but we, the rest of the group, just didn't do enough to be as productive as we needed to be. It's always tough when guys are out but it's never an excuse -- you got to find a way to get the job done It wasn't good enough on the offensive side of the ball."
With under two minutes to play and a 19-0 deficit, Atlanta brought in backup quarterback Josh Rosen to replace Ryan, but it didn't stem the bleeding. Van Noy intercepted Rosen's third pass attempt and returned it 35 yards for the game's final score. Third-stringer Feleipe Franks replaced Rosen and threw a pick to Adrian Phillips on his first attempt.
Ryan finished the night 19 of 28 for 153 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. His 51.6 passing rating on the night after his 21.6 passer rating the day before. It's the first time in Ryan's career that he's had a passer rating below 60 in consecutive games, according to NFL Research.
Ryan's losing record against Bill Belichick was extended with his setback on Thursday night. According to NFL Research, Ryan has a 0-5 record versus the Belichick-led Patriots, including the playoffs. Since 2000, the Falcons have lost six straight games to the Patriots, including the playoffs.
The Falcons' awful performance was a continuation of their 43-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. The Falcons (4-6) are stuck in the mud offensively, scoring just three points in the last eight quarters and facing their fourth consecutive losing season.
"It's been a tough five days offensively," Ryan lamented. "I think it's just across the board. We haven't thrown the ball well enough; we haven't run the ball well enough, I've got to be more accurate. We all must be more effective with what we're asked to do in terms of the game plan. So, we have a nice little extra few days to take a deep dive into what we can do better moving forward and we certainly have to take advantage of that."