Ryan hooked up with Devin Hester for a short pass and the return specialist/receiver took it 31 yards for a score. He then found Julio Jones for a 52-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter. He played into the third quarter and compiled 224 yards through the air while completing 18 of 23 passes. He added two touchdowns and no interceptions, registering a 136.2 passer rating.
Ryan couldn't figure out the Houston defense, failing to move the ball to his own 40-yard line in any of his four drives. It was a stark contrast to his first preseason action, when he went 7 for 7 with 53 yards while keying a touchdown drive. RYan will look to get back on track in a week when he squares off against the Titans.
Ryan marched his team to a 15-play, 77-yard drive in the opening series, capped by a Jacquizz Rodgers 2-yard touchdown run. He was pulled for T.J. Yates in the ensuing drive. Ryan completed all seven of his pass attempts for 53 yards, finishing with a 98.2 quarterback rating.
"I felt like watching Julio and Matt work together, it’s like they hadn’t missed a beat," coach Mike Smith said. "Julio looks like he’s comfortable out there, getting back into the action. We are having him on a prescription of work one day, off one day, and we’ll make a determination as we get further into training camp, whether that’s going to change or not, but it’s worked well for us up to this point in time and when he and Matt have had an opportunity to get some snaps together, they’ve been productive and efficient."
Ryan said it's great to have Jones back.
"He’s an unbelievable player, such an incredible talent," Ryan said. "I can’t believe he’s in year four, now. He’s so much more mature, has such a better understanding of our offense at this point that he’s teaching a lot of guys that are here. He’s a big help for me in terms of getting some of our new guys on board and up to speed, but watching him out there, he looks great. He looks really healthy and I’ve been really impressed with how he’s come back from the injury."
The report says that even though offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has acknowledged a renewed emphasis on the run game, the Falcons will still rely on Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White to carry the offense. New offensive line coach Mike Tice seems to agree.
"We're not going to be a run-first football team, by any means, with those two great receivers and that great quarterback," Tice said. "But when that man -- my buddy Dirk Koetter -- dials up the run, we better be able to run it for 4 yards."
The report says don't anticipate Ryan again attempting a career-high 651 passes like he did last season. The Falcons played their share of games from behind, forcing Ryan into even more throwing situations.
But the report says Ryan should be among the Top 5 quarterbacks in passing yards for a third consecutive season, especially with Jones and White now healthy.
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