Some franchise records loom large in the imagination, and others do not. There’s Jessie Tuggle’s virtually untouchable tackles mark, Michael Turner’s massive scoring binge at running back, and Rolland Lawrence’s 39 interceptions, all of which have stood the test of time and seem all the more incredible in hindsight. Then there’s the lesser marks, like extra points converted and passes deflected.
This epoch in Falcons history has been defined by the way those marks have fallen, whether they be large or small. The three I mentioned above may not go by the wayside in the next decade—Turner’s is the only touchable mark on the list—but many more will fall in 2019 as the Falcons try to pick back up the success that has (mostly) defined 2008-2018. Let’s see what marks are on shaky ground in 2019.
Career interceptions – Matt Ryan
Record: Steve Bartkowski, 141
It is a mark both of how good Matt Ryan has been and how much the game has changed since the 80s that Ryan is just now on the cusp of breaking Steve Barkowski’s record for interceptions thrown. Bartkowski threw 141 in 123 games, while Ryan’s thrown 133 in 174 games.
It is possible Ryan will once again be able to depress his interception total to the point where he doesn’t even break this record in 2019, and we’ll certainly hope for this outcome. Otherwise, Ryan just needs to throw nine more picks and take 25 more sacks and he truly will hold every single franchise record, both great and less inspiring.
Receptions – Julio Jones
Record: Roddy White, 808
At the pace Julio’s going, he’ll blow by former teammate Roddy White by the end of the season. Julio’s currently at 698 receptions and had 113 a year ago, putting him well within reach of Roddy’s all-time mark. Only 33 receivers in NFL history will be ahead of him here at this point.
Career receiving yardage – Julio Jones
Record: Roddy White, 10,863
This one could happen in the first week of the season, as insane as that is to contemplate. Julio’s just 132 yards back on Roddy despite being 110 receptions behind him, and Julio is a mortal lock to beat Roddy out within the first month of the year. He’ll only have 36 receivers in NFL history ahead of him at that point, and a year like the one he enjoyed in 2018 will put him up in the 20s.
Career receiving touchdowns – Julio Jones
Record: Roddy White, 63
This one’s a bit more of a stretch, but it’s feasible. Julio enjoyed his best season based on touchdown receptions under Dirk Koetter and will be re-uniting with his former offensive coordinator in 2019, setting him up for a potentially huge scoring year. He’s at 51 after his 2018 run and would need 13 to get by Roddy, which means we’re probably talking about this more in 2020 than 2019. Still, don’t entirely rule out his chances of getting there.
Interceptions returned for touchdowns – Deion Jones
Record: Deion Jones, Kevin Mathis, Deion Sanders, 3
Jones is already tied for this record despite having only played three seasons in Atlanta, while Deion and Mathis both played five seasons each to get to their marks. Given his habit of picking off passes and his outrageous speed, it seems likely he’ll get this done in a full, healthy season in 2019.
Extra point conversion percentage – Matt Bryant
Record: Norm Johnson, 99.3%
This is the last remaining mark left to fall for Bryant, who has cemented his place as the team’s best kicker ever and will only be adding to the legend going forward. Bryant and Morten Andersen are both at 99.2% all-time, but another full season of perfect extra points kicked by Bryant should catapult him past Johnson, a very fine kicker in his own right. Bryant has been so, so absurdly good for so long.
Please let me know if I missed any records!