It's almost time for the Falcons to play in the postseason, which means it's also time to ask quarterback Matt Ryan about an irrelevant statistic that has nothing to do with their January 14 matchup against either the Seahawks (if they win Saturday) or the winner of the Giants-Packers matchup Sunday.
Ryan, in case you did not remember, is 1-4 in the playoffs.
"I think that's one of the things that I've learned," Ryan said, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "All of the extra-curricular pressure, the outside noise that people talk about, doesn't make a difference. What makes a difference is how well we play. In order to play well, we need to practice well."
He said there was no added pressure given the circumstances.
"I don't think so," Ryan said. "We've won in the playoffs before. I don't really worry about that too much. For me, it's about how do we get the one win next week, whoever it's going to be against. I think putting any more pressure on yourself, other than that, is a waste of time."
While this is not an excuse, the Falcons' short stints in the playoffs during the Matt Ryan era have largely been due to timing. Each playoff loss was either to the team that would go on to win the Super Bowl (the Packers in 2011, the Giants in 2012) or the team that lost in the Super Bowl (San Francisco in 2013, Arizona in 2009). This year's team is also far more complete; while former Falcons coach Mike Smith was a great defensive mind and is currently being sought after as a head coach again, he did not have nearly the level of talent that Dan Quinn currently has in Atlanta.
This version of the offense run by coordinator Kyle Shanahan is also more explosive. This is the first time in Matt Ryan's career that Atlanta has finished the regular season in the top 5 of total offense (No. 2, 415.8 yards/game).
Ryan deservedly has a chance to put this inane quarterback struggles in the playoffs storyline behind him this January -- perhaps en route to a potential MVP win.