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Did Falcons QB Matt Ryan Meet Expectations In Win Over Dolphins?

Matt Ryan threw for over 300 yards, but nearly blew the game late.

Matt Ryan let one fly to begin the third quarter. It was a second-and-8, but the coverage was in his favor. 

On a rope, Ryan found wide receiver Russell Gage downfield in a one-on-one matchup in the end zone for a 49-yard touchdown. The Atlanta Falcons had extended their lead over the Miami Dolphins by 13 with just over 28 minutes in the game. 

Yes, the Falcons improve to 3-3 on the season. Sure, Ryan did his part to control the clock and let Younghoe Koo nail a 36-yard field goal to secure the 30-28 win over Miami. 

The game was out of reach by the middle of the third quarter, but it can be argued Ryan allowed Miami to inch back and nearly pull off the upset. 

Let's take for instance the interception at the start of the fourth quarter. Ryan looked to force the ball to wide receiver Calvin Ridley down the sideline. Ridley wasn't hit in stride, allowing Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard to rip the ball from his grips and force the interception. 

Before Howard’s pick, Ryan had thrown 155 passes without a turnover. It wouldn't be the last of his day. 

Late in the fourth, Ryan tried to scramble away from the pressure. Dolphins defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah would force the fumble from behind, allowing cornerback Nik Needham to recover at the Falcons' 23. 

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Seven plays later, Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa would connect with wide receiver Mack Hollins for the 6-yard touchdown and the lead. 

Atlanta won due to big plays from Ryan. He connected with six different targets for gains over 10 yards. On four different occasions, he found rookie tight end Kyle Pitts for receptions of over 20. 

Ryan finished with 336 yards passing and passer rating 95.4. Two crucial throws to Pitts during the final drive gave Koo a chip shot to win it. It didn't come with ease, however. 

Then again, when does it become easy for Falcons fans? 

Since his three-interception game in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ryan had been near flawless. He entered Sunday with a 10:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio and tallied an average passer rating of 110.2 over the past three games. 

Against rebuilding teams, turnovers late won't be costly in most instances. The Falcons are set to face NFC South rivals Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints before a matchup against the 5-1 Dallas Cowboys. 

The Dolphins put the Falcons on the ropes late due to turnovers from Ryan. Other teams will deliver the knockout punch that will have them writhing on the mat and out of the competition with no return. 

To some extent, Atlanta can control its own destiny in the race for the NFC postseason. But in order to do so, they need to get the turnovers out of the way early— and late for that matter if we're being honest.