Matt Ryan still has an interception problem, and the Falcons are going nowhere until he fixes it

AP Photo/David Goldman

On the morning after the Atlanta Falcons were handed a crushing come-from-ahead 33-30 overtime defeat at the Georgia Dome by the San Diego Chargers, there’ll be much debate about whether head coach Dan Quinn was right to go for it on fourth-and-1 on their own side of the field.

Many will also rightfully question why the Falcons were only able to score 3 points in the second half against the NFL’s No. 24 defense after they hung 27 on that same bunch in the first half, running away with the game early.

But for Atlanta, if quarterback Matt Ryan can’t stop throwing interceptions at the worst possible time, the Falcons aren’t going to figure it out this season.

(Also read: Why the Falcons aren’t out of the woods with their tough schedule)

With the Falcons leading the Chargers 30-27 with only 6 minutes to play in the game, Ryan began marching his team down the field in what they hoped would be a game-winning drive. After starting at their own 25-yard-line, the Falcons made it into San Diego territory before a pair of false starts pushed them back to their own side of the field. Then, on first-and-20, Ryan looked Julio Jones’ way, but Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman jumped the route.

Ryan threw a strike to Perryman, hitting him right in the chest for the easiest interception he’ll ever have.

You already know the rest. Chargers march down the field and tie the game, Falcons continue their collapse in overtime, Chargers win the game. For the second week in a row, Ryan threw an interception in the 57th minute of the game with his team ahead.

It can be argued whether those interceptions were solely Ryan’s fault, but the fact remains: the Falcons cannot have turnovers at that point in the game, and when they do, they lose. This year, the Falcons have three losses by a combined 12 points.

Without those two poorly timed interceptions, it’s likely the Falcons would be in better shape through seven games. But now, at 4-3 and a tough Green Bay Packers team coming to town this Sunday, the Falcons need to play cleaner football if they want to stay ahead in the NFC South, and it all starts with their quarterback.

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