Matt Ryan and the young Falcons got an education on Saturday in Arizona. Some of it could probably have been expected, but it was still frustrating to watch. Ryan threw two interceptions, while the Falcons run game let them down when they really could have used it as the Falcons season ended with a 30-24 setback.
Ryan showed Saturday that he is a rookie, as the Cardinals intercepted him twice and sacked him three times. He completed 26 of 40 passes for 199 yards. “In games like this — and, hopefully, we’ll be in games like this in the future — you can’t make mistakes,” Ryan said. The biggest mistake wasn’t all Ryan’s fault, as it came on ahandoff that the Cardinals Antrel Rolle stole away from Michael Turner to return 27 yards for a score early in the third quarter that put them up for good.
The toughest thing to watch was Turner being held down by a Cardinals defense that played over their heads. The NFL’s leading vote getter for MVP never got going, and the Cardinals defense made it their point to make sure they would not be done in by the bruising back.
“We couldn’t run the ball,” Falcons wide receiver Roddy White said. “We had to throw it around a little bit more than we’re used to. Things like that kind of put us behind the 8-ball.” It was an 8-ball that they could never overcome. While there is plenty to be excited about for the future for the Falcons and their fans, they learned a few lessons the hard way that hopefully will help them in playoff experiences in the future.