ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have played well twice at home and looked terrible in one road game.
But following Thursday's 56-14 victory over Tampa Bay, Ryan was delighted to head into a long weekend without having to worry about starting the season poorly for a second straight year.
The Falcons, coming off a 4-12 record that caused Ryan to question his entire offseason training regimen, are off to a 2-1 start.
"We talked about all week that we wanted to start fast and rebound from last week," Ryan said. "With that being said, even as good as tonight was, I think there are areas where we can improve and get better."
The Buccaneers were flat in their first two games, but still only lost at home by a combined eight points to Derek Anderson-led Carolina and Austin Davis-led St. Louis.
Even with important playmakers like Gerald McCoy, Mason Foster and Doug Martin injured and unable to suit up, nobody among the Bucs thought this kind of performance was possible.
"I thought I had our football team ready to play, and obviously we weren't ready to play," Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said. "Again, it was all phases. We couldn't stop them on defense, couldn't score any points on offense. On special teams, you know, we couldn't get anything going there."