Matt Ryan is quietly building a very good year, albeit one that isn’t good enough on the surface to garner many votes for a second straight MVP award. The important thing, though, is that he’s playing well enough to win these Falcons games, and they need to win a lot of games coming up here.
One of the ways Ryan has been able to find success this year is when teams blitz him. Part of that is strong pass protection (though not always), and part of it is his innate ability to make defenses pay for leaving guys open. So far this year, he’s the third best quarterback in the NFL when opposing defenses blitz, behind the always great Russell Wilson and the suddenly good Jared Goff.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, the Seahawks have blitzed at a below-average rate for a while now. They blitzed on about 25% of their snaps in 2016 versus the league average of about 30%, and that trend has largely continued in 2017. The pass rush has not been hyper-effective on a weekly basis, however, which means Carroll may dial up a few more blitzes this week against Atlanta. If he does, Matt Ryan will be ready for them.