Things just aren’t getting any better for the Atlanta Falcons.
Quarterback Matt Ryan was ruled out with an ankle injury, and his decade-long streak of 154 consecutive starts will end when the Falcons (1-6) host the Seattle Seahawks (5-2) on Sunday.
Ryan, the 2016 MVP, suffered the injury while being sacked by the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald in last week’s 37-10 defeat, the Falcons’ fifth straight. The Rams sacked Ryan five times, matching the total by the Falcons’ defense through seven games.
Now, the Falcons will turn to 38-year-old Matt Schaub, a 16-year veteran who was drafted by the Falcons in 2004. In the loss to the Rams, he replaced Ryan and went 6 of 6 for 65 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper.
“Yeah, that’s my job,” said Schaub, who hasn’t started a game since 2015 with Baltimore. “That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m in this role, doing what I’m doing. If I’m called upon … we’ll see how it goes. That’s my role and my responsibility.”
Despite Atlanta getting off to its worst start since 2007, Ryan had thrown for more than 300 yards in each of the first six games of the season and is tied for the NFL with 15 touchdown passes. He hadn’t missed a start since December 2009, his second year in the league.
The news Saturday that Ryan would be sidelined was another jolt for the struggling Falcons. There are questions as to whether head coach Dan Quinn has lost his team.
“That’s a fair question because I spend most of the time trying to connect and get the team to play like they are capable of,” Quinn said. “The answer, I would say, is no.
“I am at a disbelief at times for not playing like we are capable of. That can be very frustrating. When you don’t do that, you look and search for answers.”
The Falcons also will be without cornerback Desmond Trufant (toe), guard James Carpenter (knee), and running back Ito Smith (concussion) against Seattle. The status of defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (abdomen) was scheduled to be determined prior to game time.
The Seahawks suffered a 30-16 loss to Baltimore last weekend at home. Russell Wilson threw his first interception of the season, which was returned 67 yards for a touchdown by the Ravens’ Marcus Peters.
Baltimore’s defense clinched the victory with a fumble return for a score.
“It hammered home one of the lessons of our program, that it’s all about the ball,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “When you give the ball up a couple of times, it’s hard to win. You give up a couple of scores, it’s really difficult.”
Wilson was 20 of 41 for 241 yards and an 8-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett. Wilson completed fewer than half of his attempts for the first time since Week 15 of the 2017 season.
“You’ve got to move on and keep your head down, and sometimes you just focus on the next play and expecting a lot of great things to happen after that,” said Wilson, who was listed with a knee injury on Wednesday’s injury report but was still a full participant.
Seahawks center Justin Britt said he has no doubt Wilson will rebound.
“He’s going to be Russ, and he’s going to be alright,” Britt said. “We’re going to get back to it and do our job to protect and keep him cleaner. … He’s still the best quarterback in the league.”
–Field Level Media