The criticism of Matt Ryan last year was mostly misplaced. Sure, he made some poor decisions and at times didn’t appear on the same page timing-wise as his wide receivers, but a large chunk of Ryan’s seemingly lackluster season can be chalked up to drops and poor luck. It doesn’t assuage the fantasy crowd, but Ryan was still a solid starter in 2017 — racking up over 4,000 yards for the seventh-straight time and tossing 20 touchdowns.
In 2018? He’s simply laying waste to defenses. In six games so far, Matt Ryan has thrown for 1,955 yards and 14 touchdowns against two interceptions. He’s also added 66 rushing yards and two touchdowns for good measure. But the real eye-opening statistic of Ryan’s current season — and one that puts him among historic company — is the passing yardage and touchdown figures.
For the second time in his career, the Falcons’ signal-caller is averaging over 325 yards per game to pair with 14 touchdowns through six games, only the third quarterback since 1950 to accomplish that feat twice. The other two? Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady and Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees.
Matt Ryan is averaging 325 yards per game and has 14 TDs this season. It's his second season starting with numbers like that thru the first six games.— ProFootballReference (@pfref) October 17, 2018
Since 1950, the only other QBs to start more than one season that way are Drew Brees and Tom Brady https://t.co/mUQyW38ab4 pic.twitter.com/E0SBcaFxZJ
Elite company to be sure, and yet another statistical trump card to silence those who proclaim that Matt Ryan is past his prime. As will happen again during his next poor game.
With the Atlanta Falcons’ makeshift defense unable to stop a strong breeze, Ryan’s steady leadership and execution have given the team a chance to win each and every time they touch the football field. A top-ten offense in both yards and points per game, the Falcons are accomplishing this feat without touchdowns by Julio Jones and with starting running back Devonta Freeman missing the majority of the season.
The common denominator is Matt Ryan, Atlanta’s all-time passing leader and 2016 MVP, who is putting together another historic season. Were it not for the 2-4 record, he would be firmly in the 2018 MVP conversation, as well — and still probably should be.
Ryan will have a chance to build on his fantastic numbers against a New York Giants team surrendering 236 passing yards per game. It will be another tall task, as both Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley could potentially be sidelined with injuries.
Matt Ryan has risen to the occasion so far this season, and Monday night’s game will be another opportunity to continue his historic run and silence doubters.