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Statistically Speaking: Breaking down Atlanta’s Week 1 numbers

Recapping this week in stats for the Falcons.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

With week one behind us, it’s time for the debut of my new weekly series “Statistically Speaking.” This series will discuss everything stats for the week, including any career records broken, seasonal stats leaders, etc. This won’t be a deep dive into the analytical side of the numbers put up, but more of a broad outlook on weekly and seasonal stats so we can keep track of milestones and where this team stands with league leaders.

Matt Ryan passes John Elway in all-time passing yardage

If you missed the game on Sunday, you unfortunately missed Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan move up in the all-time leaderboards. Ryan passed Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, who played 16 seasons for the Denver Broncos, on the all-time passing yardage list. With Ryan now sits at 51,636 career passing yards and now ranks 9th all-time. What’s most fascinating about Ryan’s position on the list, is it essentially puts to rest any arguments about him not being in the Hall of Fame. From Drew Brees to Elway, the top-10 list is littered with current and eventual member of the prestigious Hall of Fame. Ryan is joined by Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady and Brees as the only active quarterbacks in the top-10. Ryan is younger than all of them, and should have plenty of time to keep climbing the rankings.

Julio Jones second-fastest WR to have 800 catches

Ryan wasn’t the only one making some history on Sunday. Julio Jones became the second-fastest wide receiver to have 800 catches. Jones accomplished the feat in 127 games, only trailing former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown who reached 800 receptions in 126 games. Overall though, Jones already has some impressive records of his own. He has the highest yards-per-game average in NFL history with 96.2 yards and is the fastest wide receiver to record 12,000 career yards, which he did in 125 career games.

Turning our eyes to franchise records, Jones already has the most yardage in Falcons history but is soon to capture two more records. Jones will soon pass Roddy White for most receiving touchdowns (63 - Roddy White) and most receptions (808 - Roddy White) in team history. He currently sits at 57 receiving touchdowns and 806 receptions.


Turning our attention to how the Falcons shape up with the rest of the league, Ryan currently leads the NFL in passing attempts (54), completions (37) and yards (450). We’ll keep an eye on this during the season, as Ryan finished 2019 with the most completions (408), which isn’t necessarily a positive thing.

Due to all of that passing by Ryan in Week 1, the Falcons currently have three players in the top-7 receiving yards list. Jones leads the NFL with 157, followed by Calvin Ridley ranked 4th with 130 yards and Russell Gage ranked 7th with 114 yards. Ridley also leads the NFL with 9 first down receptions. As the run game hopefully gets going in Week 2, we’ll likely see these numbers balance out.