Based on our earlier nominations post, we have a few candidates for the team MVP.
It was ultimately a disappointing year for the Falcons, but plenty of individuals shone during the course of the 10-6 season. Need the list?
- Matt Ryan: Set new career high in yardage (4,177), passer rating (92.2) and touchdown passes (29) while playing behind a line that allowed him to get sacked a career-high 26 times. Over the last several games of the season, Ryan played extremely efficient football, destroying opponents along the way. He was a team leader and one of the best players going in Atlanta.
Sean Weatherspoon: A breakout player in his second year, 'Spoon had one of the best seasons I've seen from a Falcons linebacker in many moons. Besides from the next guy on the list, that is.
Spoon finished up the season with 115 tackles, four sacks, eight pass deflections and a lot of opposing quarterbacks terrorized. He was frequently in the backfield and was among the league leaders in tackles for losses, and is one of the guys on the D you can always count on to be amped up. He should only get better from here.
Curtis Lofton: Another great, underrated year for 5-0. It may have been his finest season yet, as he finished with 147 tackles, a sack, two interceptions (one for a touchdown), a forced fumble and seven pass deflections. He was consistently great, as he has been since he arrived in the league in 2008, and is unquestionably a team leader on defense. I hope he's coming back in 2012.
- Tony Gonzalez: Consistent as ever and Ryan's most reliable weapon from the Bears game to the Giants game, Gonzo finished the year with 80 catches for 875 yards and seven touchdowns. He defies Father Time daily.
- Todd McClure: As YokoFalcon wrote, it's very noticeable when McClure isn't in the game. This is almost a lifetime achievement award, because McClure's never been less than very good.
Sam Baker: He was nominated.