Atlanta's Ryan not interested in MVP discussions


Atlanta's Ryan not interested in MVP discussions

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan doesn't like to discuss his accomplishments and never says much when asked to consider his chances of becoming the NFL's MVP.

The same goes when Ryan is asked about whether the Falcons can go undefeated in the regular season or if he's concerned about his winless record in three playoff games.

It's difficult to get much emotion from Ryan other than the vibe he puts off that's intelligent, cool and polite.

Ryan ranks third in NFL passer rating and completion percentage and in touchdowns, but said there are just two statistical categories that have real meaning.

``From a quarterback standpoint, it's all about touchdowns and turnovers,'' he said on Wednesday. ``Those kinds of things are ultimately the most important. So far, we've done a pretty good job of that this year.''

Ryan has been called Matty Ice since he was teenager, earning the nickname by performing well under pressure at William Penn Charter School in the Philadelphia suburbs.

But the moniker likewise applies to his interviews with reporters. Nobody's going to crack Matty Ice.

Teammates say that he can be a wise guy when the public isn't watching, but that it's all business when he gets on the field.

Todd McClure, the Falcons' 14th-year center, said Ryan rarely berates a teammate for a missed assignment and never shows much emotion in the huddle.

``You never see him get rattled,'' McClure said. ``He never changes.'' There's been a few times where he's gotten on some guys in some situations where we maybe got a penalty here and there, but for the most part he never changes. He's the same guy all of the time.''

When Atlanta (7-0) hosts the Dallas Cowboys (3-4) on Sunday night, Ryan insists he won't worry about the expectations of a capacity crowd at the Georgia Dome or a national television audience.

``Not really,'' he said. ``We've got guys in this locker room that have played for a long time, and we've played Sunday night games, we've played Monday night games, we've played Thursday night games. We've done about everything you can do, so the biggest thing is to get in your routine.''

Ryan's leadership is a primary reason Atlanta's diverse offense is playing at a high level.

With Julio Jones, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez so tough to defend in man-to-man coverage, they give Ryan plenty of ways to move the ball down the field.

The Falcons can strike quickly or move the ball methodically. Ryan has helped Atlanta take first-quarter leads at Kansas City and Philadelphia and mount last-minute comebacks against Carolina and Oakland.

In last week's 13-point win over the Eagles, Ryan oversaw an offense that scored on its first six drives. His career record improved to 28-0 when his passer rating is 100 or higher and 29-5 when he throws at least two touchdown passes.

``He ran the offense about as well as it could be run,'' Atlanta coach Mike Smith said. ``I thought there was probably one throw early in the game that he would've liked to have back. It was the first throw of the game.''

Ryan hardly gave himself an outstanding evaluation.

``Far from perfect,'' he said with a laugh. ``There is no doubt. Smitty was being kind. There was probably more than one that I wanted back. The first play of the game is a good example of that. I probably should've just put it in the dirt.''

Ryan cited poor footwork on some inaccurate throws. He wasn't pleased on decisions he made on checkdowns and pre-snap protection calls he could've made.

``You're never going to be completely perfect,'' he said. ``But you're always trying to work towards that and I'll continue trying to do that this week.''


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Sidney Crosby not thrilled to get whacked by Alex Ovechkin


Sidney Crosby not thrilled to get whacked by Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin cracked Sidney Crosby in the wrist while going for a puck halfway through the third period.

Crosby exited the ice and headed to the locker room for a quick evaluation. 

RELATED: Pirates pitcher told to stop booing Capitals

Crosby was clearly frustated — he and Ovechkin don't exactly see eye to eye —and as he headed toward the locker room, took his frustration out on the brick wall.

Crosby returned moments later and Twitter promptly blew up.

VIDEO: Pirates pitcher chastised for antics as fan at Caps-Pens

Screenshot: NBC Sports

VIDEO: Pirates pitcher chastised for antics as fan at Caps-Pens

All kinds of D.C. athletes attend Capitals games when the team is home. So it's no surprise that players from other cities do the same. 

On Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, it was Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole who was in attendance right near the ice to watch the Penguins face Washington in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. And he got into it. 

As captured on video by Amanda Jupena of WTAE, Cole was happily booing the Capitals from his seat.

Well, it seems like Cole might have gotten a little too into it. NBCSN cameras showed a stadium staffer appearing to tell him to cool it a bit. 

Ah, the playoffs.

Orioles can't break through and lose 7-0 to Yankees


Orioles can't break through and lose 7-0 to Yankees

BALTIMORE – Wednesday’s pregame was dominated by silly talk that the Orioles deliberately canceled the New York Yankees’ batting practice the day before. 

Rain was forecast, but it never came, but that sometimes happens around here. 

The Yankees took batting practice in the mist, and on yet another cool and unpleasant night, broke their six-game losing streak with a 7-0 win over the Orioles before 15,998 at Oriole Park.

Through the first five innings, Tyler Wilson allowed just one hit, and 11 of his first 15 outs were on the ground. 

It all came apart in the sixth. With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury singled and stole second. He advanced to third on Brett Gardner’s single. Ellsbury scored when Adam Jones did not attempt a throw home on Carlos Beltran’s fly to center field. 

Mark Teixeira walked, and Gardner scored on Brian McCann’s single to right. Starlin Castro bounced to the mound, but Wilson (1-1) threw the ball past Chris Davis at first for a two-base error as Teixiera scored.

The Orioles (15-11) had plenty of opportunities against CC Sabathia, who recorded his 19th win against them. 

They hit into three double plays, and had just one runner on turd base. In the fifth, Jonathan Schoop doubled, and one out, Ryan Flaherty singled, but Schoop stayed at third as Joey Rickard and Manny Machado struck out. 

It got worse in the eighth. T.J. McFarland gave up a leadoff double to Beltran, walked Teixiera and left with the score 5-0 after McCann doubled to right and advance to third on the throw. Didi Gregorius’ single made it 6-0. 

Dylan Bundy loaded the bases with two outs, and hit Gardner with a 3-2 pitch. 

Sabathia (2-2), who barely made New York’s rotation out of spring training, allowed six hits in seven innings. 

Kirby Yates loaded the bases in the eighth with one out, but Dellin Betances struck out Davis and retired Mark Trumbo on a foul pop to third. 

NOTES: The crowd was the smallest for a Yankees-Orioles game in Baltimore since Sept. 27, 1988 when 15,737 watched at Memorial Stadium. … The Orioles were shut out for the second time this season while New York recorded its first shutout. … Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 2.87) pitches against Kevin Gausman (0-1, 2.45) on Thursday night.