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Matt Ryan blames himself as Falcons' offense struggles

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ATLANTA -- Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan shouldered some of the blame for his team's third-down woes in Sunday's 14-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

The Falcons, who entered the game leading the league in third-down conversions (48.1 percent), went just 1-for-10 on third down against the league's top third-down defense (28.5 percent). Ryan, who completed just 16 of 29 passes for 173 yards, completed 4 of 8 passes on third down and converted just the one first down.

"I thought we had a really nice drive at the beginning of the second half and had a third-down opportunity where I missed low to Mo [Mohamed Sanu]," Ryan said while addressing how penalties hurt the offense as well. "You know, I’ve got to play better than that. I’ve got to put it in position for him to make a play.

"But I thought those two drives, we really had opportunities to score touchdowns. And going against Minnesota’s defense, when you get your chances, you’ve got to take advantage of it."

The Falcons had a couple dropped balls, but Ryan overshot his receivers several times as well. He couldn't get the same rhythm going with Julio Jones that the two had last week. Jones was held to just two catches for 24 yards on six targets while matching up a good majority of game with talented cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

"They did a good job of kind of shutting all of us down," Ryan said. "It's not [Julio].We didn't play very well. We didn't play well enough on offense as a unit. But, credit to them. They made the play today."

The Falcons hope to make the plays Thursday night off the quick turnaround when they host the rival New Orleans Saints. Ryan is 7-10 all-time against the Saints but has won the last two. He's completed 425 of 652 passes for 5,094 yards with 30 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a passer rating of 99.2 in those 17 games.