Matt Ryan helps resilient Falcons regain swagger

SEATTLE — Matt Ryan stood on the rain-drenched CenturyLink Field turf and surveyed the opposing defense, detecting a gaping-wide gap in the depleted Legion Of Boom. And then the veteran quarterback’s eyes lit up, and he prepared to receive a shotgun snap and air-mail a leather package to the NFL’s most imposing pass-catching beast.

It was third-and-6 at his own 42-yard-line; it was midway through the fourth quarter of Monday night’s game, with the Atlanta Falcons holding a 31-23 lead over the Seattle Seahawks; and it was time for the league’s reigning MVP to become Matty Ice.

“Those are the plays you have to hit,” Ryan told me later. “You’ve got the safety in the center, and one-on-one bump coverage on the outside, and they’ve got a couple of guys out in the secondary. So yeah, I’m keeping my eyes to the center to freeze the safety and then throwing it to Julio on the outside and letting him go get it.”

Standing tall in the pocket as the Seahawks blitzed, Ryan executed the play to perfection, looping a glorious pass that All-Pro receiver Julio Jones hauled in over his shoulder just inside the right sideline for a

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