Archie Manning: Falcons' Matt Ryan not a 'choker'


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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been one of the NFL's most productive passers since entering the league in 2008. Gaudy numbers all over the place, but only one seems to matter to most: 0-3.

That's Ryan's playoff record, and despite his 56-22 regular-season mark, 0-3 has the fifth-year passer trying to shake another tag Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks: Choker.

Former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, father of Peyton and Eli, calls that label unfair.

"Peyton went through it at Tennessee because they didn't beat Florida, and (Ryan is) going through it now with his playoff record," Manning told USA Today. "But this is not Tom vs. Peyton, or Aaron vs. Matt. It isn't tennis. It isn't golf. Ninety to 95 percent of the time, it's the best team wins, not the best quarterback. You get to the point of labeling people chokers or losers, and that's not fair. It's one of the worst things in sports."

The three playoff losses can't be blamed on Ryan alone, but welcome to the quarterback position in the NFL.

Ryan, however, can scatter his critics if the Falcons go out and do what they've done all season. Atlanta's offense -- vanilla in years past -- ripped the training wheels off in 2012. The Falcons aren't afraid to go for the throat. Atlanta pressures opponents with a no-huddle, vertical passing attack and possibly the game's best wideout duo in Roddy White and Julio Jones. They even --

... You've stopped listening, haven't you?

OK, you're right. The Falcons need a playoff win, and they need one bad. Nothing less will do.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.