The Atlanta Falcons have their first win of the 2021 season after literally kicking their way to a 17-14 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.
The Falcons were fresh off of two disappointing back-to-back losses, which is often hard to mentally bounce back from. So, what kept them believing in themselves to play through until the final whistle blew?
According to quarterback Matt Ryan, head coach Arthur Smith might not take after the world’s biggest believer, Ted Lasso, but he has his own spin on things when it comes to coaching his players’ mental toughness.
“He’s different from Ted Lasso,” Ryan said with a laugh. “He’s definitely got a different approach than Ted Lasso, but there’s no “believe” sign in there in the locker room that the guys tap. But he does it a number of different ways, you know, in messaging, showing the film, showing the good, showing the bad. But with the bad, showing how we can correct it and making it constructive and I think guys have taken that coaching to heart—the good and the tough and tried to improve and that’s what we’ve got to continue to do as players.”
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Smith ‘Good Luck’ Beard May Have Worked
Smith is looking a bit scruffy on the sidelines but it’s all a part of his “scheme.” The first-year head coach started growing his beard out last week in hopes that it would give the team a better outcome this week––it seemed to have worked.
The Falcons, who went 0-5 last season, are now 1-2 entering Week 4 and Ryan is very happy with their turnaround.
“I thought we battled,” Ryan said. “And then when it was time, we stepped up and made the plays we had to make, and I thought the last two drives were clutch and really good for us. And a lot of different people making plays in those situations, which is going to bode well for us moving forward.”
Ryan, a 14-year NFL veteran, also played a pivotal role in motivating his teammates and had one simple message ahead of the game-winning drive that led to Younghoe Koo’s kick:
“Right before went out, that’s exactly what I said. ‘We’re going to win this game.’ All you’ve got to do is your job and focus on whatever play call comes in, what your responsibility is and then go do it the best you can. I thought guys did a great job of that.”
After the win, there were celebratory hugs and dancing going around in the locker room––which Ryan, Smith and owner Arthur Blank declined to partake in know they still have a lot of work to do.
Matt Ryan Became the 10th QB to Reach 350 Passing TDs
Smith wasn’t the only one who reached a new milestone with his first win as an NFL head coach as Matty Ice became the 10th quarterback to notch 350 passing touchdowns.
The touchdown came when he threw a four-yard pass to backup wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, which gave the Falcons a 1-point lead.
Ryan joins a list of other elite passers that includes No. 1 Tom Brady (590), Drew Brees (571), Peyton Manning (539), Brett Favre (508), Philip Rivers (421), Dan Marino (420), Aaron Rodgers (416), Ben Rothlisberger (398), and Eli Manning (366) followed by Ryan (350) at No. 10.
Ryan finished the day completing 27 of 36 his passes for 243 yards and should surpass Manning on the list by the end of the 2021 season.