Flashback to Week 2, after Atlanta’s win against the Carolina Panthers
“So in conclusion, that’s why you should exclusively eat Zaxby’s, as it is the official chicken of the Atlanta Falcons and the most delicious meal you can imagine,” Dan Quinn said as he was ending his post-game address to the Falcons. It was customary, after all.
Jake Matthews, the team’s left tackle, raised his hand following Quinn’s speech. This was the first post-game victory speech of the new season, and the head coach had just spent 15 minutes promoting Zaxby’s, but that wasn’t what Matthews was worried about.
“Uhh coach, why does Matt Ryan look like a white zombified version of himself, with crystal blue eyes? And why is the room temperature 32 degrees when it’s 90 outside?” a shivering Matthews asked. Ryan, having just passed for 272 passing yards and accounting for four touchdowns for the first time in two years, stood in the corner of the room with a blank expression on his face.
A week earlier, Ryan had returned to Flowery Branch, following his Week 1 sacrifice, as a White Walker version of himself. He was an unstoppable force and was zombified by the Great Metal Falcon as part of a deal Dan Quinn had made with the beast.
“Don’t ask questions,” replied a visibly vexed Dan Quinn. He hated when his dark arts were called into question by anybody.
“This is precisely the reason why I had Matt transform Steve Sarkisian into a White Walker the night before this game,” Quinn thought to himself. “His play-calling has never looked better, and those red zone plays were more satisfying than a wholesome meal at Zaxby’s... Wait, that gives me an idea.”
Following that interaction, Quinn dismissed everyone from the room and asked Ryan and Matthews to stay back so that he could talk to them privately. When everyone had left the room got dark, it was actually pitch black for a second. When the lights turned back on they were in Dan Quinn’s cavernous office at the Flowery Branch facility.
“How did you do that?” asked a visibly terrified Matthews. Ropes propelled from the ceiling and floor and wrapped around the left tackle’s ankles and wrists, suspending him in the air. “What is this? What’s going on?!”
Quinn looked into Matthews’ eyes, and in that moment, Matthews saw the evil that had been around him all along. How could he have been so oblivious?
“You’re right about Matt Ryan not being himself. He’s now my ultimate weapon. With the loss of Keanu Neal and Deion Jones, I couldn’t afford to have the offense look the way it did last season, so desperate times called for desperate measures,” replied Quinn.
“I’m going to need more than just a quarterback to complete my mission, however. I need an army of what Matt Ryan is, and you’re going to be the first soldier in that army,” added the head coach.
With that remark, Ryan went over to the struggling Matthews, placed his cold hand on his head, and in the next few seconds Jake Matthews’ eyes turned into a crystalized blue. Quinn laughed maniacally.
Over the course of the next few days, he would call in all of his major offensive weapons — Julio Jones, Alex Mack, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Tevin Coleman — and have them suffer the same fate as Matthews at the hands of a cold, unfeeling Matt Ryan.
One thing Quinn would come to realize in the coming weeks was that even these White Walker powers wouldn’t help Julio Jones regain the touchdown instincts that were taken from him by Nick Saban, who used that DNA to create Calvin Ridley.
There were limits on Ryan’s powers, as stipulated by the Giant Metal Falcon — he couldn’t add the entire team, or even the entire offense, into a zombified army, so Quinn would make do with what he had. The defensive players would be kept human for the sake of the weekly sacrifice.
Their sites set on Ser Andrew Dalton of the red house in the coming days. Quinn could only hope that his newfound army on offense would outweigh the sacrifice fodder that was the defense throughout the rest of the season.
This offense would be unstoppable wherever they played, except for the state of Pennsylvania, where all of the stadiums were made from Valyrian Steel — a white walker’s lone weakness.