Could Matt Ryan be done for the year?

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has been ruled out for Atlanta’s game with the Eagles this Sunday at the Georgia Dome. The newspaper also reports that Ryan has suffered a turf toe injury and that he’ll be re-evaluated next week.

Depending on what grade the injury is, Ryan could miss anywhere from 1-2 weeks to 4-6 weeks. If he needs surgery, chances are he’ll be placed on injured reserve and he’ll miss the rest of the season. If he can avoid surgery, there’s a chance he could play in the postseason if the Falcons are lucky enough to make it that far.

I say “lucky” because not only is Ryan expected to miss significant time, but Michael Turner (who shouldn’t have been rushed back so soon after suffering a high ankle sprain) could as well. Turner hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday yet, but it’s probably unlikely that he’ll play after he re-injured his ankle (in a different spot this time) against the Bucs. Both Ryan and Turner missed most of Atlanta’s come-from-behind victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday, as did starting offensive linemen Sam Baker and Harvey Dahl. Chris Redman will start in Ryan’s place this Sunday, while Jerious Norwood and Jason Snelling will receive extended carries in Turner’s absence. There have been no reports on Dahl and Baker’s status for Week 13.

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Falcons’ last-minute win over Bucs could be season defining

There are moments every NFL season that could be deemed as defining for playoff contenders.

The Falcons had one of those moments in Week 12.

Atlanta lost Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and two starting offensive linemen on Sunday, but found a way to come from behind in the closing minutes to knock off division rival Tampa Bay, 20-17. Chris Redman completed 23-of-41 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns while subbing for Ryan (who hurt his foot early in the first quarter and never returned), and also found Roddy White on a 4th and goal from the 5-yard line to lift Atlanta to victory.

Outside of two separate 18-yard runs by Turner and Jerious Norwood, the Falcons had no running game, which made things tougher on Redman. It also didn’t help that starting left tackle Sam Baker and starting right guard Harvey Dahl left the game due to injuries and the Bucs revved up the pressure. Tampa produced six sacks on the day and harassed Redman for the majority of the game.

But with the game on the line, Redman was excellent. With 2:30 left on the clock and zero timeouts, he led the Falcons 59 yards for the game-winning score by taking what the Bucs gave them and methodically marching down the field. On the crucial fourth down attempt, Redman threw a bullet to White, who made an incredible catch in between defenders to secure the catch.

The Falcons have a ton of injuries, can’t defend the pass, need a new kicker (Jason Elam is horrible) and have two daunting home games against the Eagles and Saints over the next two weeks, but if they can build off the momentum they seized today, then they’ll make the playoffs. One could argue that they should have beaten a bad Tampa team by more than three points at home. But considering they were playing with several backups (including Redman), the only thing that matters is that they produced a victory. And with winnable games against the Jets, Bills and Bucs down the stretch, if they can find a way to beat either the Eagles or Saints over the next two weeks then a 10-win season is a possibility.

Speaking of Tampa, Josh Freeman (20-of-29 for 250 yards, 2 TDs) played very well and the defense responded to Morris calling the plays for the first time this season. But Morris’ decision to attempt a long field goal late in the fourth quarter set the Falcons up with prime field position to mount their comeback. Had Morris decided to punt, the Falcons would have had to drive the length of the field with no timeouts. Hindsight is always 20/20, but the decision to attempt the field goal doomed the Bucs.

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