Before the 2016 season started, the Atlanta Falcons fan base was split on starting QB Matt Ryan. While many felt that he was still a franchise QB who needed more time to adjust to a new offense, there were quite a few who felt the team should move on from the veteran QB. Some suggested drafting Deshaun Watson out of Clemson while others insisted that Matt Schaub should be our starter.
Needless to say, those early opinions were put to death by the time the season came to an end.
MVP 2016 Season
Falcons 9th year starter Matt Ryan turned in his best season to date. It was so good, in fact, that he was selected AP First Team All-Pro. On top of that, he was selected to another Pro-Bowl and topped the year by winning the AP Offensive Player of the Year award and Most Valuable Player.
During the regular season, Ryan was outstanding. He finished first in passer rating at 117.1, the fifth highest total in NFL history. He was second in TDs with 38 and second in yards with 4,944. His 7 interceptions were the lowest in his career, while his 9.2 yards per attempt was one of the highest over an entire season in NFL history. He also set a record by throwing a TD pass to 13 different receivers and 2 or more touchdowns to 10 different receivers.
His post-season was even better, remarkably. In two NFC playoff games, he was responsible for 8 TDs and no interceptions en route to two dominant playoff wins against the Seahawks and Packers. Though the Super Bowl did not go as hoped, there’s little doubt that Ryan had a fantastic season all around.
The “other Matts” as they’re known were thankfully not needed during the season, except in cleanup duty when the Falcons had dominant leads. Matt Schaub was a good veteran backup option, given his familiarity with the offense, while Matt Simms did a good job of being named Matt and also being a QB for the Falcons.
With the expectation that the offense will mostly remain in tact - there’s every reason to believe Ryan can have another very effective 2017 season. With excellent play out of the depth on the roster and especially out of the middle of his offensive line, Matt Ryan finally had the right combination of guys around him to allow him to hit his fullest potential - which, as it turns out, is MVP-caliber.
While it will be hard to duplicate the 2016 season, there’s no reason to believe his performance will fall off a cliff either. A top 5 finish for the offense is not out of the question, if not higher.
Matt Ryan had a spectacular 2016 year and deserves all the accolades he received. Let’s hope he can follow it up with another great year in 2017.