By: Ryan Michael
Pro Football Analyst
Published: March 21st, 2015
After starting his career with five consecutive winning seasons (2008-12), the perception of Matt Ryan’s ascension has since tapered off. Backed by the NFL’s 27th ranked scoring defense in 2013 and 2014, the Atlanta Falcons have only won (10) games over the past two seasons. Has Ryan regressed as a passer, or has his individual output exceed that of his supporting cast?
In the history of the NFL, only two quarterbacks have ever strung together (3) or more consecutive seasons with 4,500+ passing yards, 25+ touchdown passes, while maintaining a completion percentage above 66.0. The first was Peyton Manning, whose streak has continued for (5) consecutive seasons (2009-10, 2012-14). The other is Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
In 2012: Ryan was backed by the NFL’s 5th ranked scoring defense, the Falcons boasted a league-best 13-3 record, as Ryan broke Falcons franchise marks for passing yardage (4,719), touchdown passes (32) and completion-percentage (68.6).
While his detractors preached that had yet to win a playoff game, Ryan’s Falcons became the first, and only, team to defeated the Seahawks’ famed "Legion of Boom" in the postseason, when healthy (see: Tom Brady, Super Bowl XLIX vs. injured Sherman, Thomas and Chancellor).
Ryan’s 90.5 postseason QBR (2012) is the highest mark in QBR history — dating back to 2006.
In the 2012 NFC Championship game vs. the 49ers 2nd ranked pass-defense (NY/A), Ryan recorded the highest single-game QBR in championship game history — and still lost.
Had the Falcons defense not allowed Colin Kaepernick to record the second highest total QBR in championship game history, the Falcons might have advanced to Super Bowl XLVII.
Things would only get worse for Ryan in the team-support department. The Falcons ranked 27th in points-surrendered in 2013 and 2014 — giving up a horrendous 26.9 points per-game. Their rushing-offense ranked 32nd (dead last) in 2013 — averaging only 77.9 yards per-game.
In 2013, Ryan completed 439 passes — the 7th highest single-season mark in NFL history at the time and the most ever for a quarterback supported by the NFL’s least productive rushing attack. Ryan’s 415 completions in 2014 ranked 2nd in the NFL — ahead of Roethlisberger (408), Peyton Manning (395), Luck (380), Brady (373) and Rodgers (341).
Ryan holds the NFL record for most completions in the first (7) years of a quarterback’s career.
Ryan also has the second most passing yards in the first (7) seasons of a quarterback’s career.
Using the QBS2 multigenerational grading system that combines league ranking in QBR, DVOA and passer rating, Ryan ranks high — above many members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ryan Michael is a Pro Football Analyst and creator of the QBS multigenerational grading system.
Follow him on Twitter: @theryanmichael Visit his website: www.quarterbackscore.webs.com