Last offseason, I wrote a series of Throwback Thursday articles looking back at some of the most memorable moments in Atlanta Falcons history. That series culminated with an article looking back at the time newly minted general manager Thomas Dimitroff drafted Matt Ryan with the third overall pick. Here’s how that specific article concluded:
As you may or may not have noticed, there wasn’t a single one of these articles which was dedicated to any moment in the Matt Ryan era; that was by design. In this upcoming offseason, I hope to write a series of “Matty Ice Moments” articles, which look back on nothing but moments in the Matt Ryan era.
Well, that time has come — welcome to the “Matty Ice Moments” series. This will be a series of articles dedicated to looking back on Matt Ryan-centric moments, in an attempt to help distract us from the dead period a little bit.
And if you don’t like Matt Ryan and think that we’re focusing on him too much this offseason, then that’s just too bad, I guess.
You can find last week’s article in this series, looking back on Ryan becoming the franchise’s all-time passing yards leader, here.
The 200-yard streak
On November 10, 2013 the Atlanta Falcons lost their seventh game of the season, against the Seattle Seahawks, and dropped to 2-7 in the midst of what would end up being a disappointing 4-12 campaign.
In that game, Matt Ryan threw for 172 passing yards. Unbeknownst to everybody, something special would begin the very next week — something which would culminate over the course of four full years.
Ryan threw for 254 passing yards in Week 11 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and then he threw for over 200 passing yards again the week after, and again the week after that, and again throughout the rest of the 2013 season.
Then, in 2014, despite a second straight disappointing season where the Falcons missed the playoffs, Ryan managed to throw for at least 200 passing yards in every single game, bringing his streak to 23 consecutive such games.
When he repeated that same feat throughout the 2015 season, people finally began to take notice and realize that they may be watching some history in the making. At the end of 2015, the streak had reached 39 consecutive games — just six shy of Dan Fouts’ record 45 straight games with at least 200 passing yards.
The 2016 season treated the Falcons well, even though it ended in the worst possible way. One of the underlying storylines from the beginning part of that season was the Matt Ryan record watch. He tied Fouts’ record in Week 6 against the Seahawks — the last team he had failed to reach the 200-yard plateau against all those years ago.
A week later, he connected with Julio Jones on a 21-yard completion in the fourth quarter to propel him over to 200 passing yards against the San Diego Chargers, and into first place all by himself on the consecutive 200-yard leaderboard. He broke Fouts’ record against Fouts’ former team.
The streak would continue throughout the rest of 2016 and into the 2017 season as well. The mark had reached an astounding 64 consecutive games when the Falcons went into a Week 11 Monday Night Football matchup against the Seahawks.
Almost exactly four years to the date of the streak’s incarnation, Ryan failed to throw for 200 passing yards — the Falcons won, but number 2 had thrown for 195 yards.
The 200-yard passing streak ended against the last team that had held successfully held Ryan below that yardage total, 64 games ago (Seattle).
Ryan, being the ultimate team player that he is, didn’t express a lick of concern that it ended, instead focusing specifically on the team victory. “I’d rather have less than 200 yards and win than to get 200 yards and lose,” Ryan said, following the game.
It truly is a testament to consistency that Ryan was able to go 64 consecutive games with at least 200 passing yards. So many times, a QB has an off game where he fails to reach that mark, or even is the victim of circumstance where he doesn’t have to attain that figure to win (this is what happened to Ryan against the Seahawks).
Ryan had also played in all 64 of those games consecutively. It’s a great feat of durability as well. Ryan is currently fourth in the NFL among active players with 147 consecutive games played — starting every game since suffering a turf toe injury in 2009.
Ryan is currently the all-time NFL record holder in consecutive games with at least 200 passing yards. Given the nature of that record — the fact that it takes just one unfortunate game to lose all of one’s progress — we could see that record stand for a long time.