FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — If you ask the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan is still playing like an MVP.
Just overlook last week’s three interceptions.
Ryan’s streak of nine straight games without an interception, including the postseason, ended last week at Detroit with his most picks since late in the 2015 season.
But look again. Ryan really didn’t deserve the ugly stat line.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday only one of the three picks was Ryan’s fault.
Ryan’s short pass over the middle intended for Julio Jones late in the half was intercepted by Lions safety Glover Quin and returned for a touchdown. The Falcons (3-0) escaped with a 30-26 win and have shifted their focus to Sunday’s game against Buffalo.
The other two interceptions came off drops by Mohamed Sanu and Tevin Coleman.
“Yeah, we were bummed we had them but by no means did I think they were three bad decisions on his part,” Quinn said. “I think there was one he would like to have back.”
The Falcons (3-0) remained undefeated with the narrow win .
Ryan’s performance this season supports the idea the three-pick game was an anomaly. He had no interceptions in Atlanta’s first two games, and his 68.8 completion percentage is only slightly behind last season’s career-best 69.9 mark.
“You really don’t look too deep into it,” said Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel. “Matt is a perfectionist and he was the MVP of the NFL last year. That’s really nothing that you can harp on or really even think about. I didn’t even know he threw three interceptions. That’s how much we’re not harping on it.”
Ryan did not throw more than one interception in a game in 2016. He had only seven for the full season. He had not thrown more than one interception in a game since having two on Nov. 29, 2015 against Vikings. His last three-interception game was the week before against the Colts.
Ryan will look for better efficiency Sunday against a tough Buffalo defense that has not allowed a passing touchdown through three games. Strong defense has helped the Bills (2-1) enjoy a strong start under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the former Carolina defensive coordinator.
“I think their defense has done a good job,” Ryan said Wednesday. “The secondary has been stout. The defense in general hasn’t given up many points and has played really well in the first three weeks.”
Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he’ll learn more about his defense after facing Ryan and receivers Julio Jones, Sanu and Gabriel.
“We’re facing one of the premier quarterbacks in our league, MVP a season ago, led the team to the Super Bowl, and arguably the best wide receiver in our league in Julio Jones,” Frazier said. “This will be a tremendous challenge for our defense, a high-scoring offense, a top-10 offense, so we’ll learn a lot about ourselves on defense.”