The Falcons are 3-0 to start the year for the first time since 2004, and they have Matt Ryan in large part to thank of course. In his fifth pro season, Ryan has thrown for 793 yards, eight touchdowns and just one interception in three victories, making a case already for MVP in 2012.
Currently No. 2 leads the league in completion percentage (72.0), is tied for most touchdown passes thrown and has an unbelievable passer rating of 114.0. As Dirk Koetter continues to let him run the show, Ryan continues to step up and take charge.
He doesn't look afraid of anyone this season. In the past four years in Atlanta, we've seen a timid side of Ryan shine through often. You can argue the hesitant, conservative mentality was due to Mike Mularkey's overall hindrance on the offense, but we're seeing a completely different passer at the helm of the Falcons in 2012.
Atlanta's offensive line looks vastly improved from the 2011 version, but even when Ryan has been under pressure, he's handled it well. According to Pro Football Focus, opponents have blitzed Ryan on 84 drop-backs so far. When facing a blitz, he's completed 26 of 35 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns, giving him almost the same rating as when he's under no pressure at all. He's decisive in his reads, and he knows when to get the ball out.
Through three games you can can't all of Ryan's bad throws on one hand. Actually, you only need one finger. He lobbed a terrible ball towards Tony Gonzalez against the Chargers, and it landed right in Antoine Cason's lap. Aside from that floater, he's been outstanding. Add in the fact that he's basically carried the load without much of a run game, and I'm even more impressed.
Consider the possibility of his 2012 campaign. He's currently the top quarterback by PFF's standards, with an overall rating of 15.9 this season. Analysts are starting to praise his performances, and if the Falcons keep up their winning ways, there's no reason Ryan shouldn't be an MVP candidate
Sure, we're only three games into the season. It doesn't matter to me, though. I'd give Matty Ice my MVP vote right now. Would you?