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Success and Matt Ryan: A Case of Balance

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Go read this, specifically the first section: "If QBs like Ryan, Sanchez pass the test, their teams could take leap" Go ahead. I'll wait.

Done? Good. For those of you wanting the Cliff's Notes: NFL.com's Bucky Brooks believes that Ryan will exponentially improve the Falcons' odds of reaching the post season if he reaches his full potential. There's even a Peyton Manning reference in there. Take from that what you will. I took it to mean that the more the Falcons rely on and put faith in Ryan (ala Manning and his Colts), the more likely we are to win.

After crunching some numbers, working up a spreadsheet, and using StatSheet.com to push out a chart, I've realized something. In six of our nine wins last year, Ryan had more touchdowns than our rushing squad. That means that 67(ish)% of the time Ryan outscores Turner/Snelling/Norwood, the team wins. Talk about unbalanced...

Winning, however, is not just about whether Ryan outscores his rushing corps. He needs offensive play-calling balance. In fact, he absolutely thrives in a balanced offense. Follow the jump for the proof.

According to the chart below, the more passes Matt throws, the lower his completion percentage goes. The chat puts it out there, plain as day. This conclusion flies in the face of what Brooks was championing in his article and what the Ryan TDs versus Rush TDs chart above shows. Both Brooks and my previous chart support the idea that the more we rely on Ryan, the better chance we have to win. But that's wrong. Here's why.

Notice that Matt's "happy spot" attempts to completion percentage ratio is between thirty and thirty-five attempts. Anything below is skewed by small numbers. Anything above and his accuracy drops significantly. Pay close attention to the last three points; this was a good run for Ryan (it secured the back-to-back winning seasons) and his attempts never went over thirty-five.

So what can we take away from this? Ryan has an accuracy ceiling and the more balanced the gameplan, the more likely he is to succeed (and subsequently, score more). As long as the offense doesn't get too pass-happy, Ryan will keep the W's coming.

The final verdict? Brooks may be placing too much on Ryan's shoulders this year. Number Two's success seems to be direclty correlated to a fairly balanced game plan. I fully expect to see Mularkey carrying scales to games from now on.