As Matt Ryan worked the projection system in the darkened Atlanta Falcons' quarterback room here at the team facility, looking to find the start of his team's fourth-quarter drive from the NFC Championship Game that I came here to break down with him, he offered me some advice.
"Before we get started, I want to say that the game wasn't won or lost on this drive," Ryan said. "We had opportunities earlier. I will pull up three plays from earlier that changed the game. We talk about three or five plays that determine the outcome. It wasn't just that last drive."
What? I am here to dissect a quarterback being 10 yards from going to his first Super Bowl, 10 yards from his taking that playoff-failure label that hangs on him and slamming it to the ground with authority, and he wants to talk about plays from earlier in the game?
Sixty minutes from a Super Bowl isn't quite as sexy as being 10 yards from it, but Ryan insisted.
"Before the fourth quarter even started, we had a bunch of plays that we didn't make, plays we made mistakes on that put us in that position," Ryan said. "Three of them stand out."