Matt Ryan getting stiff-armed into the ground in loss to Saints sums up Falcons season


It’s bad when you throw an interception to a defensive lineman and it’s not the most embarrassing thing that happens to you on that play.

To say things haven’t gone right this season for Matt Ryan or the Atlanta Falcons would be an understatement. Aside from a random two-game winning streak, the Falcons have been mostly awful. They lost 26-18 at home to the New Orleans Saints in the late Thanksgiving game, allowing the Saints to clinch the NFC South division championship on their home turf. The Falcons trailed the Saints 20-9 late in the third quarter when Ryan threw one of those interceptions that would make any quarterback cringe.

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And then he got the stuffing stiff-armed out of him.

Matt Ryan catches a stiff-arm

Ryan was just checking it down. He didn’t know how bad it was going to go.

Ryan tried a short pass over the middle to Devonta Freeman but it stuck to Saints rookie defensive tackle Shy Tuttle’s arm and he somehow hauled it in. Then the 300-pounder started running like he’d been ready for that moment his whole life.

Poor Ryan. He had to give chase and stop the touchdown. And Tuttle, at 300 pounds with a full head of steam, stiff-armed Ryan and sent him flying straight into the ground. Ouch.

It was the kind of disrespectful stiff-arm no NFL player wants to be on the receiving end of. And especially not with everyone watching on Thanksgiving.

Matt Ryan threw an interception to a defensive tackle, and then it got worse. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Matt Ryan threw an interception to a defensive tackle, and then it got worse. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Falcons have had a rough year

Ryan getting trucked trying to bring down a defensive tackle sums up the Falcons’ season pretty well.

The Falcons actually tried to make it interesting at the end. Kicker Younghoe Koo, whose kicking tricks made him a viral sensation a few weeks ago, somehow got Atlanta two successful onside kicks. It is nearly impossible with current rules to get an onside kick, but the second one gave the Falcons a chance to tie. Then Ryan was sacked a few more times and the game was over. Ryan was sacked nine times in the game. Other than the onside kicks, there wasn’t much for the Falcons to be excited about. The Saints didn’t play great, but a blocked punt and two touchdowns from gadget quarterback Taysom Hill was enough. The Saints are the first team to win a division title in the NFL this season, and a large group of them got to eat turkey legs with NBC’s Michele Tafoya on the Falcons’ field afterward.

Atlanta came into Thursday night’s game 3-8. Dan Quinn’s job security has been a regular topic in Atlanta. Early on Ryan was putting up good numbers and the Falcons were still losing, which happened last season too, but even Ryan has struggled lately. Nothing is really going right.

The Falcons will be happy when this season ends. If they needed a reminder, they can run the tape back on Ryan getting stiff-armed into oblivion.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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