The Atlanta Falcons were on the verge of late defeat in Sunday's contest against the Carolina Panthers. With 6:20 left in the fourth quarter, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan led the offense onto the field, trailing 17-16.
The scenario was nothing new for Ryan, who already had 25 fourth quarter or overtime comebacks in his seven-year career. Like each of his comebacks in the past, "Matty Ice" preceded the drive with a confident message to his teammates.
"Do your job," Ryan said. "That's kind of my message to the guys in those situations. We have to believe we're going to do it. Go out there and execute your job. It's not me. We have 10 other guys out on the field pulling their weight and making plays when needed to in the last two weeks. In this league, that's what you have to do."
Ryan's teammates describe him as "poised," "clutch," "confident" and "inspiring" in such situations. Week 11 was no different as the team's signal-caller directed the Falcons on a 12-play, 54-yard drive to setup the game-winning kick.
Ryan completed five passes for 43 yards on the drive, including a key 8-yard strike to wide receiver Harry Douglas on third-and-five to move into field goal range for Matt Bryant's game-winning kick.
"Games are going to come down to the fourth quarter," Ryan said. "There's incredible parity across the league, so having that no-blink mentality, guys have to buy into that, and I think they have."