A lot has been made about Matt Ryan’s 0-3 record in the playoffs. I won’t make excuses for him or the rest of my beloved Atlanta Falcons for those games, but I think it’s ridiculous that people think Seattle will steamroll the number one team in the NFL this season.
First, let’s take a closer look at the three playoff losses.
Still, Ryan and the Falcons only lost by six points (that’s one touchdown, two field goals or three safeties for those who didn’t know) on the road to the eventual NFC champions.
Ryan’s second playoff game is his only home playoff game to date. He faced off against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in 2011.
We can say whatever we want about Ryan in this game, but this loss is really more on the defense. Green Bay never punted in the 48-21 blow out. Rodgers was 31-of-36 for 366 yards and three touchdowns.
Ryan wasn’t bad, completing 20-of-29 passes. He didn’t get the yards (186) or the touchdowns (one) the Falcons needed to keep pace as the Packers set the franchise single game postseason record for points.
The Falcons actually led that game twice in the first half at 7-0 and 14-7 before Green Bay put up 35 unanswered points in the second and third quarters.
The Packers went on to win the Super Bowl that year, and Rodgers was the MVP.
The 2012 NFC Wild Card round marked the first time in NFL history in which a safety was the only score awarded to a team.
Unfortunately that team was the Atlanta Falcons. The New York Giants held Atlanta to 247 yards of total offense, 4-of-14 on third down conversions and 0-of-3 on fourth down.
Ryan was actually the lone bright spot, completing 24-of-41 passes for 199 yards with no interceptions (but no touchdowns, either).
His counterpart, Eli Manning, threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns in the first win on his path to a second Super Bowl Championship and MVP.
To summarize: every team Ryan and the Falcons have faced in the playoffs has been led by a veteran quarterback on his way to a Super Bowl. Two have won the big game and been named Super Bowl MVP.
Now, what does the 0-3 record mean for this weekend against Seattle?
Manning lost to Carolina, 23-0, in 2006 and at Philadelphia, 23-20, in 2007 before his first run to the Super Bowl.
Ask him what last year’s victory over Atlanta means for this year. The reigning Super Bowl MVP is on a couch somewhere watching the playoffs.
Ask his older brother Peyton what the past means. The future Hall-of-Famer started his career 0-3 with only one touchdown before putting up a 41-10 win over Denver in 2003.
Rodgers had only one playoff start, a 51-45 loss at Arizona in 2010, before making a run to the Super Bowl the following year.
John Elway lost his first postseason start. So did Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino.
The past means nothing, good or bad, for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. It’s nothing more than fodder for media hacks to use to fill airtime.