Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports



Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spoke with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports and discussed the heartbreaking Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Leading 28-3 in the third quarter, Atlanta looked to be on its way to its first Super Bowl championship. Of course, that was before the historic comeback by Tom Brady and the Patriots. It was also an epic collapse by the Falcons.

While much of the blame can be placed on Atlanta's defense, Ryan also pointed out that his former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, should also shoulder much of that blame. Shanahan is now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers and is considered to be one of the best young offensive minds in football. However, his play-calling has been criticized by Washington fans in the past and now by fans in Atlanta.

What led to the Falcons' collapse? Prisco says that Shanahan got greedy in his battle with Bill Belichick, who is considered to be one of the greatest coaches of all time. The Falcons continued their aggressive play-calling rather than trying to run out the clock. Head coach Dan Quinn could have vetoed the calls coming from his offensive coordinator but didn't. He has said that it was a learning experience for him.

As for Ryan, he told Prisco that he never had a chance to change the plays coming in from Shanahan.

"Kyle's play calls – he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

Shanahan will continue to call the offensive plays in San Francisco and takes over a team which had just two wins in 2016. Expectations for Shanahan, who joined new general manager John Lynch following the Super Bowl loss, are high in San Francisco. Of course, most fans know that a resurrection will not take place overnight. Both Shanahan and Lynch should have time. They were each given unprecedented six-year contracts to rejuvenate the franchise.

For Shanahan's former quarterback, the loss in February will forever haunt him.

"There's always going to be a little sting," Ryan told Prisco. "You never lose that. Hopefully, we've got four Super Bowl victories after this one, but that doesn't mean we won't still be like, 'Damn, let's talk about the other one we should've had."

(h/t to Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic)

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