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Thank you, Matt Ryan: His first pass as a pro, and the big win over the Bears in 2008

Ryan’s rookie season was truly special.

Football - NFL Draft 2008 Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

For those of us who were befuddled by the team’s decision to pick the quarterback out of Boston College instead of Glenn Dorsey, Ryan’s first pass as a pro pretty much cleared that up.

The 2007 season was an unmitigated disaster. Michael Vick was in prison, and the Falcons went 4-12 with some combination of Chris Redman, Joey Harrington, and Byron Leftwich behind center. Bobby Petrino bolted before the season was over to accept the head coaching job at Arkansas. The Falcons were a mess.

Ryan’s 62-yard pass that Michael Jenkins took to the house felt like a door slamming shut on that miserable chapter of Falcons history.

Bears vs. Falcons in Matt Ryan’s rookie season

In his rookie season, Ryan led the Falcons to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. The win against the Bears was one step on that path, and I promise you that my entire neighborhood heard me screaming when Jason Elam hit that game-winning field goal.

Ryan ended his rookie season with well-deserved Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Selecting him third overall in the 2008 draft turned out to be absolutely the right choice for the Falcons.