Speaking of home/road issues, I recommend Football Outsiders' analysis of the large gap between Ryan's performances at the Georgia Dome and elsewhere.
Most NFL quarterbacks play a bit better at their home venues. The NFL average quarterback rating is 86.3 for home games and 83.0 for away games. Ryan's career quarterback rating at home is 94.7 -- which is excellent -- but it drops all the way down to 83.3 on the road. The difference of minus-11.4 is third-worst in the NFL, behind Marc Bulger and Matt Schaub.
It's not an accident that the quarterbacks with bigger splits are also Dome quarterbacks. (A retractable roof stadium counts as a dome, right?) Playing at home in a dome is a major advantage because the home offensive line is better able to protect its charge. Ryan's splits illustrate that the Falcons' offensive line is good when they can hear the cadence and not good when they can't.
2. A related note: the race between Minnesota and New Orleans for homefield takes on massive importance because they are both dome teams. To me, each team has one factor that might limit its success as the season progresses. Minnesota has Brett Favre's old-ass body wearing down. New Orleans has the likelihood that opposing offensive coordinators will start to figure out Gregg Williams' blitzes.
[An aside on Favre: there is a tradition in soccer that a player who scores a goal against his former club shows respect and appreciation for his former teammates and the fans who supported him by not celebrating. Brett Favre is on the other end of the spectrum.]
3. Far be it from me to point out that NFL refs can be intimidated by a home crowd, but did anyone else notice that Roddy White was interfered with on Jabari Greer's interception? I'm not sure that he would have been able to catch the errant pass that Ryan unleashed, but he was clearly manhandled while the ball was in the air. It's odd that NFL refs, who are normally very aggressive in policing contact by defenders on receivers, missed what looked like an obvious call. The refs sure didn't miss contact when they called a marginal holding penalty on Mike Peterson to keep the Saints' last touchdown drive alive.
4. The Falcons' issues in the red zone killed them last night. The yardage was even and the Falcons won the turnover battle, even before the interception on the ultimate play. Atlanta lost because they scored one touchdown in four red zone trips. If you assume that yardage is a better indicator of future success than success inside the 20, then that's encouraging.
5. John Abraham got a big goose egg last night. No tackles, no sacks. (He did draw an obvious holding call.) He has a grand total of five tackles and no sacks in the past three games. In light of the Falcons' dependence on him for a pass rush, his lack of impact is a discouraging sign.