Matt Ryan's season was so flawless, so sturdy -- it bordered on boring. The came Sunday's five-interception debacle.
"It's one of the most unique games, set of circumstances, that I've ever gone through as a coach," Smith told Sporting News. "The batted balls, there were some poor decisions, there were balls going off of receivers' hands. It was just one of those games where the ball wasn't going to bounce our way, and it didn't bounce our way."
Ryan's performance generated a 40.5 passer rating, his second lowest mark in 75 starts. It looks worse on paper than it was on the field. The majority of the picks weren't triggered off poor decision-making or mechanics. A receiver bobbled one pass and another pair of throws were tipped into the hands of defenders. Two of the picks are on Ryan.
Not his best work, but the Falcons pulled off the win -- thanks to an even uglier performance by Arizona's bumbling quarterbacks. Ryan will survive.
It might shake up his status in the MVP derby, but the Falcons have never expressed any interest in that race. The focus is on January.