ATLANTA -- Matt Ryan heard the boos, and rightfully so.
The franchise quarterback who was rewarded with a $100 million contract just a few seasons ago is not giving Arthur Blank and the Atlanta Falcons their money's worth.
Ryan's inexcusable, fourth-quarter interception deep in his own territory was returned for a touchdown by Indianapolis Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, tying the game at 21 and swinging the momentum in favor of the Colts. It eventually paved the way for the Colts' improbable 24-21 come-from-behind win.
"Obviously, that's a tough play in the fourth quarter," Ryan said. "When I came back out, obviously I didn't see D'Qwell Jackson popping back out of the line of scrimmage. Just a play I can't make. And in those situations -- critical situations -- you can't turn it over. I've got to be better than that."
The Falcons led 14-0 at one point and 21-7 at another. Ryan finished 25-for-46 for 280 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He lost his top scoring threat when running back Devonta Freeman exited the game with a concussion. Still, Ryan had enough weapons to win with.
Has Ryan lost his mental focus? Does he trust anyone other than Julio Jones in the passing game? Those are fair questions after the Falcons have dropped three consecutive games. Ryan has been off his game for a good part of the season and has talked about needing to be more accurate, make better decisions and refine his footwork. That talk has become tiresome and repetitive.
Ryan was booed after a missed fourth-quarter throw to the sideline. He should have been.
Not to mention the collective reaction of disbelief following the pick six.
"To me, that's not an accuracy issue on that play particularly," Ryan said. "It's just a decision-making issue. You can't go to do that spot. I thought for the most part, we made some good plays in the passing game. I thought we were aggressive throughout most of the game. Didn't make enough play down the stretch to get it done."
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan appeared to cater to Ryan's strengths Sunday by going more no-huddle and up-tempo. It worked up until his critical interception in the fourth quarter.
Where does it go from here? The Falcons are 6-4 and lost to a Colts team playing with their backup quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, rather than young star Andrew Luck. A Falcons team once 5-0 and thinking about an NFC South crown now has to be worried about their chances of making the playoffs, with Carolina still undefeated.
The Falcons won't go anywhere fast if Ryan doesn't turn it around immediately. Forget all the talk. His actions on the field have to be significantly better over the final six games.
What were they thinking? On Ryan's interception in the fourth quarter, there was absolutely no chance for him to hit his intended target, tight end Jacob Tamme. The Falcons had another head-scratching moment when receiver Leonard Hankerson dropped his sixth pass of the season with 47 seconds left in regulation. Hankerson knew the circumstances and how crucial that catch would have been for a team trying to drive the field in the final minute.
One reason to get excited: For those fans begging for Roddy White to get more opportunities, he certainly did on Sunday. White was targeted three straight times to open the game, catching one of those passes. And White was targeted six times in the first half, one more than he had been the previous two games. White had four catches for 24 yards on nine targets in the game.
One reason to panic: Devonta Freeman left the game with a first-quarter concussion and, of course, didn't return, which magnified his importance to the offense. His replacement, Tevin Coleman, had a bad fumble in Atlanta territory that could have been costly, and Coleman didn't run with the same confidence Freeman has all season long. It will be a shame if Freeman is sidelined for next Sunday's matchup with Minnesota considering it would be a showdown of top rushers, with Adrian Peterson coming to the Georgia Dome.
Fantasy watch: Hankerson scored his third touchdown of the season on a 3-yard pass from Ryan in the third quarter. Hankerson should be a goal-line target throughout the rest of the season, if he doesn't drop the ball.
Ouch: Aside from Freeman's injury, no one else really appeared to get banged up, although strong safety William Moore seemed to have his reps limited coming off a groin strain. Rookie safety Robenson Therezie didn't play in the game while still recovering from a hamstring injury.