He's Money. He's The Other Matty Ice. He's been a lot of things to the Falcons and now he's back for the foreseeable future as Matt Bryant!(/team/roster/matt-bryant/b9d72029-8ff6-4a2e-a131-5224e55b2f21/ "Matt Bryant")'s contract extension was announce last week.
Bryant's career is prolific and it's on the verge of being historic as he approaches Morten Andersen's mark as the Falcons' all-time leading scorer. Most fans know him to be clutch and the nine game-winners as a member of the Falcons stand out as his best performances.
Here's a trip down memory lane as we look back at nine times Bryant saved the day:
1. Bryant's Memorable First Game-Winner With Falcons
It was an NFC South slugfest on Sept. 26, 2010 when the Falcons visited New Orleans during Week 3. Back and forth the two teams went as they jockeyed for the lead in a game that was destined for extra time. During overtime, the Saints drove down to the Falcons' 11-yard line to set their kicker, Garrett Hartley, up for a chip-shot to win it — only Hartley hooked it to the left.
Matt Ryan and Co. took over from there and drove to within Bryant's range, and the kicker's legend began with a 46-yarder to win the game over their division rivals.
2. Bryant Caps Improbable, Wild Win
Bryant didn't have to wait long to earn his second game-winner as a Falcon as he would be called on just one week later to lift Atlanta over San Francisco in a wild, improbable ending that's hard to forget. The Falcons were in familiar terrority when the wacky chain of events began, sitting in their own territory with little time left, needing a score for a win. Ryan's effort, however, was quickly ended when Niners cornerback Nate Clements picked off a pass and returned it 39 yards, surely marking a win for San Francisco.
At the last moment, however, wide receiver Roddy White came up with the play of the game, stripping Clements of the ball before lineman Harvey Dahl pounced on the recovery. Ryan had another shot, and this time, he wouldn't relent. Down he drove into Bryant's zone and the masterful kicker hit a 43-yarder with 2 seconds left to ensure the 16-14 win.
3. Bryant Assures Falcons's Third-Straight Winning Season
The Falcons had just come off back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history when Bryant ensured that 2010 would be the first time the Falcons had three straight. Against the Green Bay Packers in the Georgia Dome, Bryant nailed a 47-yarder with 9 seconds left to give the Falcons their ninth win of the year.
4. Bryant Finishes the Job Started By Ryan, White
This game will always be remembered for the heroics of Ryan and White in the waning moments as the two connected on a beautiful 59-yard reception with a minute remaining, but without Bryant, who knows how it would have ended. Bryant kicked a 40-yarder on Sept. 30, 2012 to lift the Falcons to a 30-28 win over Carolina in a game that saw Ryan sacked seven times. With just five ticks left on the clock, Bryant nailed his first game-winner since 2010.
5. Bryant Booms Kick to Stay Unbeaten
At 37 years old, Bryant proved that age and yardage are just numbers. A thrilling finish against Oakland on Oct. 14, 2012 at home concluded with Bryant hitting an astounding 55-yarder with 1 second remaining to lift the Falcons to a 23-20 win. Things didn't look so great for the Falcons until Asante Samuel returned an interception 79 yards for a touchdown. Earlier in the game, Bryant missed a crucial 43-yarder, but came back to redeem himself to avoid overtime and keep extend the Falcons' victorious start to the season to six games.
6. The Kick
Most football teams have a play called "The Kick" in their franchise's lore. While Andersen provided the first with a kick that put the Falcons in their first Super Bowl, Bryant's effort in the playoffs against Seattle has proven to be this generation of Falcons fans' version of an iconic play. Those in attendance or watching at home won't forget the feeling of Bryant stepping up for a 49-yard field goal attempt with 8 seconds left in the NFC Divisional Round game against Seattle.
A 20-point lead had been squandered by that point, but none of that mattered as Bryant's kick went through the uprights and he turned for the iconic fist pump celebration at midfield. The 30-28 win would send the Falcons on to an NFC Championship bid against San Francisco the following week.
7. Bryant Soars to International Heights
The Falcons' first regular-season trip outside American borders was a success thanks to Bryant's 36-yard overtime winner against the Bills in Toronto on Dec. 1, 2013. After fighting back to force overtime, the Falcons were boosted by William Moore's forced fumble on the Bills' second play of the extra period. The Falcons wouldn't need much to get into Bryant's zone as he hit the game winner just three minutes into overtime.
8. Shades of 2010 in Atlanta
Remember that first game-winner of Bryant's career as a Falcon? This was the sequel. Opening the season with the hated Saints in the Georgia Dome on Sept. 7, 2014, Bryant not only hit a 51-yarder on the final play of regulation to send the game to overtime, he did one yard better on the game-winner, knocking a 52-yarder through the uprights to send the Saints home with an 0-1 record.
9. A Game-Winner All the Same
Bryant's most recent game-winner may lack all the drama of the previous ones, but hey, it still counts. The Falcons went back-and-forth with Carolina in Charlotte as the two were, believe it or not, in the thick of a battle for the NFC South title with losing records. Bryant's 44-yarder to give the Falcons a 19-17 lead with 2:08 left proved to be the decider as the Falcons' defense stood firm against two Carolina game-winning kick attempts to ensure the victory the rest of the way.