Blank, Quinn support Matt Ryan despite struggles

The Atlanta Falcons' tailspin continued with a second straight home loss. After staring 5-0, Dan Quinn's squad has lost four straight and five of its last six.

Perhaps most disturbing during that stretch has been the play of quarterback Matt Ryan.

On Sunday, Ryan threw two more brutal interceptions, including one in the red zone, in a 20-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Ryan has five red zone turnovers (4 INTs, 1 fumble lost), tied for the most in the NFL. He threw for just 230 yards Sunday, breaking a streak of 17-straight games with at least 250 passing yards.

Owner Arthur Blank backed his franchise quarterback after the latest loss.

"Absolutely,'' Blank told "He's demonstrated his abilities over eight years. He'll be fine. He'll be good.''

For a quarterback who looked so comfortable in Kyle Shanahan's offense early in the season, Ryan's play has been one of the most overlooked disappointments of the season. Instead of taking a step forward into the upper echelon of signal-callers, he's dropped back into the muddied middle waters.

"Am I worried about Matt? I'm worried about Matt, and I'm worried about the team,'' Blank said. "We're actually 1-5 in the last six games. We were off to a great start (5-0). But this unit (the coaching staff) will figure it out.''

Ryan has four games this season with a passer rating below 80.0. He had six games with a passer rating below 80.0 in all of 2013 and 2014 combined. In the Falcons' last two losses he's thrown five interceptions to just four touchdowns.

But it's not like Atlanta will have a better option any time soon.

"He's absolutely the competitor that I want. He's what we look for and our team looks for the whole way," Quinn said of Ryan. "What we'll go back and look at is, find out was there a decision that could be made that could be different. If there is in those scenarios, then we'll find those and say, 'Where else could you have gone with it?' Those will be decisions that we look at.

"But for him, the competitor (and) the style of player that he is, we're not backing off.''

The Falcons officially dropped out of a playoff spot after falling to 6-5. The Carolina Panthers will chinch the NFC South with a win in Week 13. The 7-4 Packers and 6-5 Seahawks sit in the wildcard spots.

After such a promising start, sitting at home in January is going to feel awfully cold for Matt Ryan and the Falcons.

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