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Matt Ryan passes John Elway in all-time passing yardage

On a rough day overall, Ryan still largely delivers.

Seattle Seahawks v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Falcons were embarrassed by the Seahawks to a degree that I hope would not be possible in Week 1. They looked like an awful football team, and the occasional flash of greatness was hardly enough to make up for that. Still, those moments existed.

One of them was Matt Ryan passing John Elway for 9th all-time in passing yardage in NFL history, the product of a long career spent doing great things for a team that couldn’t often match that energy. Ryan finished an otherwise forgettable game ahead of one of the most popular, well-regarded quarterbacks in NFL history.

They played in different eras, but like Elway, Ryan largely built his numbers by being great despite his team’s striking ability to fall shortly constantly. It took a long, long time for Elway to get to the point where his team was great enough to win Super Bowls—including one over the best team in franchise history, the 1998 Falcons—and it’s taken Ryan an impossibly long time to get his team there despite two NFC Conference Championship berths and a Super Bowl where he had a great performance outside of maybe two plays. Sometimes you can be one of the all-time greats and not have the wins to show for it.

Give Ryan his kudos for passing Elway, and hope that this Seattle team is just one bad game in a successful season. Ryan isn’t getting any younger, after all, and he and Julio Jones certainly deserve better than this.