#4. Matt Ryan - 21/30, 321 yards, TD 116.1 QB Rating (Week 1 vs. Bears)
All eyes were on the Atlanta Falcons as they took the field for the 2017 season opener. What overshadowed what was to take place on the field were the still fresh flashbacks of the massacre that was Super Bowl 51.
The Chicago Bears supposedly was an inferior opponent thanks to a lackluster tenure from their head coach, a questionable wide receiving corps, a career backup as a starting quarterback, and a little discontent in the front office. However, in their possession was an underrated defensive front seven, which gave the Falcons a little more than what they bargained for.
So it helped that the Falcons relied on their MVP-winning quarterback.
The contest started off fairly well for Ryan and the Falcons offense on the game’s opening drive. Ryan connected with four different receivers by going 5/5 for 47 yards to guide the Falcons offense to a 48-yard field goal by a world-class kicker such as Matt Bryant.
The Falcons did not score their first touchdown until late in the second quarter thanks to the stingy Bears defense. On that drive, Ryan went 4/4 for 69 yards and had a key 13-yard scramble on 2nd-and-13 to get the Falcons down to the Bears 5-yard line. One play later, running back Devonta Freeman scampers in to give the Falcons a 10-3 lead.
The steady hand and veteran leadership of Ryan produced arguably the biggest play of the game early in the fourth quarter. Backed up on their own 12-yard line and facing third down, Ryan absorbed a vicious hit by two Bears defenders to hit an insanely wide open Austin Hooper for a much-needed 88-yard touchdown pass and a result of a 20-10 Atlanta lead in which they held on to win against a scrappy Bears unit.
It turned out to be another Falcons game in which the overall performance by the team overshadowed what was a reliable performance by their rock-solid quarterback. Ryan made timely throws when the team desperately needed one and thanks to his guidance, the Falcons started off their season with an unspectacular but acceptable win to kick off the 2017 campaign.