Matt Ryan cost the Falcons the first game of the season with lackluster play, but since then, he’s been good enough to get the Falcons a winning record, if only the rest of the roster and coaching staff would cooperate. Ryan’s putting up numbers that are comparable to his 2016 MVP season, and he’s exceeded that in at least one way with a pretty remarkable run here over the last few games.
Ryan capped off last night’s win by completing 18 straight passes, and has now gone 203 straight throws without being intercepted. A streak like that requires many sharp throws and a little bit of luck, and Ryan’s had both along the way. The noteworthy thing here is that 203 straight is a new franchise mark, exceeding the great Steve Bartkowski, who had an incredible 197 straight in a very different era.
He finished the game completing his last 18 passes, but @M_Ryan02 set the franchise record for most pass attempts without an interception (203)! Previous mark of 197 by Bartkowski #InBrotherhood pic.twitter.com/ofiNQiajVH— Brian Cearns (@FalconsBCearns) October 23, 2018
Ryan’s playing in a ridiculously productive season for passers and will be compared and contrasted with the likes of Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes, which means his chances at a second MVP are probably slim. He’s still completing 71% of his passes, has tossed for 2,335 (putting him on pace to exceed 5,000 yards for the first time in his career), and has a 15:2 touchdown to interception ratio on the year. Full stop, he and his extremely capable receiving options are the biggest reason the Falcons are 3-4 heading into the bye instead of absolutely dead in the water. After a shaky 2017 for the offense, it’s nice to see one thing going Atlanta’s way.
The lack of interceptions has been key for Ryan, a passer who was victimized by bad luck and bad bounces last year, but certainly has shown a penchant over the years for some boneheaded throws. Seeing him evolve into a quarterback who can avoid those kinds of throws—and largely has over the last three seasons—has been huge.
As long as Ryan can keep playing like this, the Falcons should have a shot in most every game they play, though their margin of error remains razor thin. I’m trying not to expect too much the rest of the way, but I do think we can expect to continue to see excellence from the likes of Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and the gang.