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Matt Ryan had one of the greatest losing efforts in NFL history

Of course he did.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

There were plenty of reasons the Falcons lost their game against the New Orleans Saints. Matt Ryan was not one of them.

Ryan has gone nuts the last two weeks, accounting for nine touchdowns in eight quarters. Against a completely overmatched Saints secondary, Ryan was firing on all cylinders, repeatedly nailing downfield throws to pick up big gains for Calvin Ridley or Julio Jones. It was his best effort through the air all year, and one of the better efforts of his career in a loss.

Naturally, it was also one of the best efforts in a loss ever. Such is the lot of Matt Ryan.

Ryan finished the day with zero turnovers, 374 yards passing, and five touchdowns. He did that on a day where the ground game (outside of Ryan) accounted for about 40 yards, and the offensive line let him absorb a coupe of brutal sacks.

Painfully, Ryan and Tony Romo are the only two quarterbacks in NFL history to put up 140+ passer ratings in a game and lose twice. The other time was a game I’m not going to bring up right now because I’m in a tough place emotionally, but let’s just say watching the defense erase a great offensive performance was tragically familiar. This time, it had everything to do with injuries and failures of execution, rather than simple exhaustion.

The encouraging note here is that Ryan is certainly not cooked, as some suggested after Week 1, and appears willing and able to keep the Falcons in games the rest of the way. The question is whether the defense can get healthy enough (or play well enough) to ensure the Falcons win them.