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Matt Ryan not a fan of Kyle Shanahan play-calling in 4th quarter of Super Bowl

Kyle Shanahan has borne the brunt of most of the Super Bowl blame.

The Atlanta Falcons and Kyle Shanahan each find themselves preparing for a new season, and while they are no longer together, the 2016 season will forever leave them connected at the hip. Shanahan helped the offense develop into even more of a high-powered attack and get to the Super Bowl. And yet, people will mostly just remember the fourth quarter collapse against the New England Patriots.

Shanahan has been the primary recipient of criticisms. The Falcons seemed to have the game sewn up after a ridiculous catch by Julio Jones set them up at the Patriots 22-yard line. However, rather than sit on things, run down the clock and kick a likely game-clinching field goal, the Falcons got aggressive. After a one-yard loss on a first down run, Shanahan dialed up a pass, and quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. They then gained nine yards on a pass, but it was called back due to holding. Ryan threw incomplete on 3rd and 33, and the Falcons punted. The rest is history.

Ryan recently sat down with Pete Prisco to discuss how things fell apart. It’s an interesting read for how an athlete recovers from arguably the most brutal loss in NFL history. However, it is also interesting in how Ryan levels some blame on Shanahan. The Falcons OC had full autonomy on the play-calling, and according to Ryan, the time it took to get calls in left him without time to make a change at the line.

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan said. "As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

There are several what-ifs aside from Shanahan’s play-calling that might have changed the outcome of this game. However, it is not surprising to hear some frustration with how this all went down. The Falcons had the Lombardi Trophy within their grasp, and blew it. And Shanahan has been the most regular recipient of the blame. It’s the way things go sometimes.

The 49ers have a ways to go before they’re competing for a Super Bowl, but it will be interesting to see how the play-calling is coming into the quarterback on game-day. The team struggled with play-calls taking way too long to get into the quarterback. That got cleaned up the past couple years, serving as one of the only positives to come out of the recent struggles. We’ll see how it works with Kyle Shanahan calling plays this fall.