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Sunday’s 32-6 loss at the hands of the Eagles was certainly not the kind of start that the Falcons nor quarterback Matt Ryan anticipated in Week 1 of the 2021 season.
After two promising offensive two drives to start the game — both resulting in field goals — the team sputtered the rest of the way. Atlanta definitely did not demonstrate the level efficiency that Arthur Smith’s offenses displayed while he was calling plays in Tennessee.
Following the Falcons’ season-opening loss, Ryan spoke with the media and said the team needed to be better prepared going forward.
“Collectively, we’ve all got to be better in terms of preparation next week and we’ve got to make sure we stay on schedule and are efficient,” said Ryan. “I thought when we were, we moved the ball really effectively. We just need to be consistently efficient throughout the game.”
The veteran QB noted that penalties killed the offense’s tempo and didn’t allow them to get into a rhythm as the game progressed. Even as the offense was moving downfield, penalties played a role in the Falcons settling for field goals on their first two drives. After getting down to the two-yard line, the team was pushed back following two five-yard penalties.
“Some of those things of penalties moving you back, not allowing you to get that first first down,” continued Ryan. “A lot of time we talk about ‘let’s get that first first down, get into our tempo and keep moving and try and wear down a defensive front line.’ You have to be good in that first set of downs to be able to get into it. Early we were, but later in the game we were not.”
The Falcons had a successful running game early on. Their first half total surpassed more than half of their game totals from a season ago. Ryan was also asked if the offense needed to take more shots through the air to counter the run game in order to keep defenses guessing.
“I thought we did a nice job early of giving ourselves opportunities in the red [zone], that’s what you want. I thought [Arthur Smith] did a nice job of getting us going, moving the ball,” said Ryan. “As the game wore on, just how it shook out, we didn’t really have that chance. So, you don’t know that. But I thought [Arthur Smith] did a fine job early in the game.”
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