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posted: 10/2/2017 7:00 AM

Matt Ryan not looking like MVP in loss to Buffalo

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  • Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Ramon Humber (50) and Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) pressure Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta.

    Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Ramon Humber (50) and Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) pressure Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta.
    Associated Press

  • Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) hits Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) causing Ryan to fumble during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta. Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White picked up the ball and scored a touchdown.

    Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) hits Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) causing Ryan to fumble during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta. Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White picked up the ball and scored a touchdown.
    Associated Press

  • Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) works in the en zone as Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Jake Matthews (70) blocks Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (95) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta.

    Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) works in the en zone as Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Jake Matthews (70) blocks Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (95) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta.
    Associated Press

  • Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs out of the pocket against the Buffalo Bills during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta.

    Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs out of the pocket against the Buffalo Bills during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta.
    Associated Press

  • Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan speaks with Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor after an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta. The Buffalo Bills won 23-17.

    Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan speaks with Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor after an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Atlanta. The Buffalo Bills won 23-17.
    Associated Press

 
 

ATLANTA -- Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan hasn't felt much like an NFL MVP over the past two weeks.

He looked uncharacteristically sluggish in Sunday's 23-17 loss to Buffalo, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

Ryan was at a disadvantage in the second half with starting receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu sidelined by injuries earlier in the game, but even those setbacks weren't enough for him to explain what went wrong.

"I've certainly made a ton of mistakes throughout my career myself," Ryan said. "It's disappointing. We're better than that. I'm better than that from an offensive standpoint in terms of taking care of the ball."

Of his three picks last week, Ryan was entirely responsible for just one of them, and the impact was less with the Falcons winning at Detroit.

Against Buffalo, the four-time Pro Bowl selection threw a ball behind receiver Nick Williams that was intercepted with 3:27 remaining. Stephen Hauschka's 56-yard field goal put the Bills up six points just four plays later, but the third quarter was worse.

Ryan lost a fumble on a sack that Tre'Davious White returned for a touchdown. He threw a long jump ball that 5-foot-8 Taylor Gabriel lost to safety Micah Hyde, who's 4 inches taller, at the Buffalo 12.

Ryan already has five picks this season. He had just seven last season while being honored as the league MVP and leading Atlanta to the Super Bowl.

"It's just difficult to overcome a three-turnover deficit," he said. "We did it last week, but it was a little too much to overcome today."

GRIND THEM DOWN

Speaking at the team meeting Saturday night, Buffalo coach Sean McDermott challenged the offensive line to do a better job at sustaining drives. The Bills had averaged just 72 yards rushing in the past two games.

"We talked about it and we were a little (bothered) about that," Richie Incognito said. "We knew we had to take over this game, so it's exciting, man."

Buffalo wore down the Atlanta defense with a 19-play, 82-yard drive that consumed 11:20 and ended early in the fourth quarter. The Bills took a 17-10 lead on Hauschka's 24-yard field goal.

"I honestly didn't know it was that long of a drive, man," Incognito said. "You have to dig deep on those."

GOOD TIMING FOR BYE

The ailing Falcons will make the most of needed time off over the next week.

Jones, their two-time All-Pro receiver, left the game late in the second quarter with a hip flexor and did not return. He was limited in practice last week with a back injury.

Sanu was sidelined in the third quarter by a hamstring injury and didn't return.

Atlanta began the day without four starters - defensive end Vic Beasley (hamstring), last year's NFL sacks leader, right tackle Ryan Schraeder (concussion), free safety Ricardo Allen (concussion) and defensive end Courtney Upshaw (ankle).

The Falcons' next game is in two weeks at home against Miami.

TAKE YOUR TIME

McDermott still had his three timeouts remaining in the game's final minute. Atlanta had none left, but McDermott decided to use one before the Falcons lined up for a fourth-and-1 at the Buffalo 10.

He wanted to see what formation Atlanta preferred, but he also wanted to remind the players that they were facing nothing new.

"I do not know if there is another team in the league that (practices) situational football as much as we do," Bills defensive end Eddie Yarbrough said. "It could be a situation from Mars, and chances are Coach McDermott and our team have drilled it. It was definitely just a time to just say, 'Hey, guys, we've done this before. This isn't our first rodeo. We've drilled this a hundred times in practice to see what formation they came out in.' Then, we had to adjust from there."

TAKE THE FALL

Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews took the blame for Ryan getting sacked in the third quarter and losing the big fumble.

Matthews was beaten by defensive Jerry Hughes and couldn't keep the linebacker from reaching his QB.

"I've got to run him around the pocket a little more," Matthews said. "I've just to get better. That's about it."

___

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