More mature Ryan is ready for the playoffs

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Matt Ryan says he’s “a lot more mature” than he was in his first two NFL playoff appearances.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan is 0-2 in playoff appearances with two interceptions in each game. Ryan said he's more mature going into Sunday's game vs. the Giants.   JOHN BAZEMORE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
JOHN BAZEMORE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan is 0-2 in playoff appearances with two interceptions in each game. Ryan said he's more mature going into Sunday's game vs. the Giants.

Ryan is bringing the best passing numbers of his career into the Falcons’ wild-card playoff game at the New York Giants on Sunday. He said Wednesday he’s also bringing his best focus and wouldn’t be deterred by outside distractions.

“I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned in my two appearances in the playoffs is to not let all the outside things that come along with it affect your preparation and affect your approach to playing on Sunday,” Ryan said.

“I think I’m a lot better served. I’m a lot more mature than I was a couple years ago and even last year. I think that’s going to help out.”

Ryan has 10 touchdown passes with no interceptions in his past four games. He set the Falcons’ record with 4,177 yards passing this season and set another personal high with his 29 touchdown passes.

Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, who played with Ryan at Boston College, said the fourth-year quarterback is “fearless.”

“You can’t assume because you’re in tight coverage that he won’t try to squeeze the ball in there,” Kiwanuka said. “He’s a prototypical quarterback. He has the confidence and ability to get it in there. He is going to make our job tough.”

The Falcons are making their third playoff appearance in four years.

“I think it helps,” Ryan said. “I think anytime you’ve been in the position before, the things you learn from it, they’re invaluable. I think we have a much more experienced football team coming in this year and I think that bodes well for us.”

As a rookie in 2008, Ryan and the Falcons lost a first-round game at Arizona. The Falcons had a first-round bye last year before a blowout loss at home to Green Bay. Ryan threw two interceptions in each loss.

FALCONS FIRE BACK

Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and some of his linemen responded to New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck’s claim that they have a reputation of being “dirtbags” and defended their style of play.

“We thrive on doing things right,” Mularkey said, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We thrive on playing physical. We’ve been doing that for four years. Nothing is ever preached beyond the whistle. Ever.”

“There’s a way that we’re coached, and that’s playing hard, playing physical and playing to the whistle,” Atlanta offensive lineman Will Svitek said.

– Associated Press


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