Heading into his 12th NFL season, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan remains under-appreciated and underrated.
Experts and pundits rarely mention Ryan in the same sentence as the best quarterbacks such as Pat Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. This is despite Ryan’s success as a former MVP, a former All-Pro and a former Pro-Bowler.
The Boston College alum has long since carried the Falcons. Interestingly, the Falcons actually made more playoff appearances with Ryan at the helm than the franchise did in 43 years prior to Ryan joining the team in 2008.
One argument directed towards the man known as Matty Ice is that he had Julio Jones alongside him and that is the reason for his success. That itself is a ridiculous statement.
Elite quarterbacks often have elite or borderline elite receivers – that is part and parcel of the game. Should any quarterback be criticised for it? Absolutely not, but somehow Ryan is anyway. The opinion on Ryan has been the same throughout his career, more so since the “28-3” fiasco.
Although the signal-caller isn’t exempt from blame, the loss can’t entirely be pinned on him. Kyle Shanahan’s play calling was horrendous, the defense couldn’t get a stop, the offensive line and Devonta Freeman kept missing blocks.
Ryan was sacked on three consecutive drives and Jake Matthews was penalised for holding. This knocked the Falcons from what would have been to a 3rd and 14 at New England’s 26 yard line after Mohamed Sanu’s nine yard reception. The Dirty Birds instead had a 3rd and 33, a play which is borderline impossible to make.
Why is Matt Ryan underrated?
The 2016 MVP remains impressive in his age 34 season, he is only one of two quarterbacks NFL history to have at least 50,000 passing yards and 300 touchdown passes in their first 12 seasons. Those are Peyton Manning and Ryan.
Only 2 QBs in NFL history have at least 50k passing yards and 300 passing TD in their first 12 seasons:
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) July 7, 2020
This is without playing with a decent defense, a consistent offensive line and much of a ground game.
An offensive line that struggled again last year for example. The Dirty Birds offensive line surrendered nearly 70 QB hits and 48 sacks, Ryan’s streak as the longest consecutive starter ended as a result of the constant bombardment.
Should Ryan be in the Hall of Fame when he retires?
He should definitely be in the conversation at the end of his career at least. The Falcons signal caller has a number of individual accolades that are better than those in the Hall of Fame.
Ryan has more career passing yards than 25 of the 28 quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame and has thrown more touchdowns than 25 of the 28. Ryan has a better passing ypg average than every Hall of Fame quarterback. The Falcons star is already in the top 10 for passing yards of all time and 11th in all time touchdown passes. The former Boston College star also became the fastest player to 50 thousand yards in NFL history in 2017 and holds the record for consecutive 200+ yd passing games (64).
Somehow Ryan remains ignored, the Falcons franchise star had an MVP calibre year in 2018 and possibly the best year of any quarterback not named Patrick Mahomes. Ryan was among the top three leaders in most categories. The Falcons star threw for 4924 yards, 35 touchdowns, averaged 307.8 passing yards per game which was 3rd best in the league.
Ryan also posted the fourth best passer rating in the league and was among the leaders in completion percentage too. The Falcons quarterback was a surprising omission from the Pro-Bowl, despite the Falcons 7-9 record.
One thing is for certain Falcons fans will miss him when he retires, whether you love him or hate him.