There are many reasons the Falcons have been rolled over by the Saints over the last decade or so. With a couple of noteworthy exceptions, Matt Ryan hasn’t been one of them.
In his career, Ryan has thrown for 4,523 yards, 24 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and (amusingly) has rushed for 132 yards on 40 attempts with a touchdown. While those aren’t eye-popping numbers, they’re indicative of a quarterback who has done a good job against a division rival, especially if you take out his 2009 game where he tossed three of those interceptions. If you go game-by-game, Ryan has mostly looked like a capable steward for the Falcons’ offense, one frequently let down by the Falcons’ defense. This might be the worst defense the Saints have put on the field during Ryan’s career, so he has a chance to build on those numbers in a positive way tonight, too.
If your argument is going to be “perhaps the Falcons would have won more games if Ryan had done more,” I’m receptive to that. The 2013 home game where Ryan completed nearly 77% of his passes for 292 yards but zero touchdowns in a 17-13 loss at home sticks out. So does the fact that Ryan has thrown for one or fewer touchdowns in a game against the Saints in seven of those fifteen games, and he’s thrown more than two in a game just twice. If the Falcons are going to hang in a shootout, we’re probably going to need to see a few passing touchdowns from Ryan along the way, so we’ll hope he can buck that trend.
What are your expectations for Ryan tonight?