The Atlanta Falcons have developed a penchant for losing close games in recent years, but quarterback Matt Ryan earned the nickname 'Matty Ice' because of his numerous game-winning drives.
The Falcons saw a little of both in their 30-28 win on Sunday vs. the Miami Dolphins. Atlanta watched a 27-14 lead evaporate in the fourth quarter as Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa engineered two touchdown drives.
But 'Matty Ice' got the ball back at the Atlanta 25-yard line and roughly 2:30 on the clock. Two passes to Kyle Pitts and the Falcons were in field goal range for Pro Bowl kicker Younghoe Koo who sealed the win.
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith was asked after the game if he felt comfortable in the closing minutes with Ryan and his offense.
"Very," said Smith.
That's music to the ears of Falcons fans still shocked from high profile collapses from previous head coach Dan Quinn's tenure.
"You've got to get used to that because that's what most of these games are going to come down to. It's the way the league is structured. It's very competitive. It's the most competitive league in all of professional sports, in my biased opinion."
"More times than not, you've got to handle situational football: end of half, end of games. I thought we did that. I thought we played off Hawks’ (Jaylinn Hawkins) interception. We go down and get the field goal. Come out and double them up, get the field goal to end the half, open the half, get the touchdown."
"Then at the end of the game, obviously, we want to hold them. We've got to take better care of the football. Credit to them. They knocked the ball out of Matt right there."
"There's plenty of stuff I tell you guys every Monday. You've got to take a sober-minded approach and see what we've got to do to get better."
"But I thought we handled situational football well. That's what it's going to come down to. You've got to get comfortable in it. Doesn't mean we're not going to feel something. We're all human. That's why we train, and we've got a lot of confidence in our guys."
The Falcons have won three of their last four games to even their record at 3-3. Atlanta arguably should have won four in a row after a loss to Washington in which Smith said he learned a lesson.
Atlanta faces the struggling Carolina Panthers next week at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Carolina got off to a 3-0 start but have dropped four straight and benched quarterback Sam Darnold.
The Falcons open as 2.5 point favorites at home against the Panthers, and the win would have Atlanta talking... playoffs.
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