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PFF: Matt Ryan’s safe throws picked off at “an incredible rate,” thanks in part to the buttception

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The Atlanta Falcons quarterback had the lowest percentage of turnover-worthy passes. His supporting staff did not help.

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saint Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Matt Ryan gets a lot of flack, whether he’s in an MVP season or not. His critics will say things like his impressive stats are thanks to his supporting cast. There’s no doubt Ryan has some awesome weapons, headlined by the league’s best wide receiver Julio Jones. Pass catchers a bit farther down the roster were not nearly as polished, and contributed to his league-average interceptions.

I can never forget that buttception against the New Orleans Saints. It’s almost as impossible as that Julian Edelman catch we don’t talk about here. One of those plays you could run 1,000 times and never get the same result.

Pro Football Focus covered Ryan’s down year, like Ryan having eight “unlucky” interceptions, or that only four interceptions by late December were his fault. There is no question that Ryan did not look as good as 2016, but these interceptions were clearly an outlier. How many buttceptions can one man throw?

If you are looking for a reason to be positive about the offense, other than Steve Sarkisian getting adjusted to the game, first-round rookie Calvin Ridley, starting anyone but Wes Schweitzer at right guard, and giving Austin Hooper just a bit more seasoning, it should be Ryan’s absurd number of unlucky interceptions reverting back to the mean. Or just imagine if the Falcons didn’t have the most dropped passes of any team in the league.

We saw Ryan toss a few more interceptions in 2015, thanks in part to pass catchers getting up to speed in a new system. 2016 was a marked improvement, so hopefully 2018 follows that same formula.