QB Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons
|6-4, 228||Born: 5-17-1985||College: Boston College||Drafted: Round 1, pick 3|
News you need to know
From the upgrade/downgrade report (Mon Oct 20): Ryan's offensive line was already a question coming into this season. With injuries mounting, it has gotten to the point that you feel sorry for him and his targets trying to make something good happen with the deck stacked against him. He shouldn't be in your lineup against Detroit in London this week.
General News (Tue Oct 21): was sacked five times as the team's offensive line continues to struggle with injuries and poor play. "We had way too much pressure," head coach Mike Smith said. "Our quarterback was hit and sacked way too much. There were times where we really didn't have a chance to get the play off, and that's very difficult for a quarterback, and we have to do better with our protection."
Week 8: vs Detroit Lions
Mark and Joe say: Bad matchup. The Falcons' offensive line is in ruins as of Week 8 - Matt Ryan was sacked five times last Sunday as the team's offensive line continues to struggle with injuries and poor play. Falcons C Peter Konz suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 7. Konz was placed on Reserve/Injured Monday, October 20 and is out for the year. Konz was the team's second-string center as starter Joe Hawley was lost for the year in Week 4. Now, the Falcons will be turning to undrafted free agent James Stone as their starting center. 'We had way too much pressure,' head coach Mike Smith said on Monday, October 20. 'Our quarterback was hit and sacked way too much. There were times where we really didn't have a chance to get the play off, and that's very difficult for a quarterback, and we have to do better with our protection.' The Lions are tied for third in the NFL with 21 sacks this season, and have hit opposing quarterbacks with regularity even when they aren't sacking them. Ryan's likely to have a long day when the Lions come to dance at Wembley Stadium in London this weekend. As the pressure on Ryan has increased, his success as a passer has decreased drastically. Once the NFL's top-ranked passing attack, the Falcons eked out 29/44 for 228 yards passing, one TD and zero interceptions with five sacks taken for -42 yards last weekend. Two games back, Ryan threw 19/37 for 271 yards passing, one TD and one interception while taking four sacks for -26 yards. Julio Jones has cooled off considerably of late, with a healthy 20 targets over the last two games, but just 9/124/0 receiving to show for them - Roddy White has seen 21 for 12/140/1 while tight end Levine Toilolo has been the third-highest in targets over the last two weeks, with 11 for 5/54/0 to his credit - Toilolo has dropped several catchable balls. Antone Smith (six for 6/63/1), Devonta Freeman (eight for 7/43/0) and Devin Hester (six for 4/51/0) have chipped in around the edges - Harry Douglas has been sidelined by a foot ailment for weeks now. The Lions are #1 in the NFL in terms of total defense, averaging 290.3 yards allowed per game, and they are second in the NFL in terms of total points allowed, just one point behind Baltimore, at 105 given up by Detroit. Detroit ranks seventh in the NFL averaging 216.9 net passing yards allowed per game, with seven passing scores given up balanced by eight interceptions (tied for third in the NFL) and 21 sacks (tied-third) generated to date. Drew Brees had a surprising amount of success against the Lions last week (28/45 for 335 net yards, two TDs with one interception thrown, with one sack taken for -7 yards), but he lost the game due to the crucial interception late in the contest. Teddy Bridgewater was crushed by the Lions two weeks back (23/37 for 143 net yards, zero TDs and three interceptions thrown, with eight sacks for -42 yards taken). The Saints' numbers look like an aberration and not the beginning of a trend for this excellent unit. Advantage, Detroit.
Recent Stats and Projections
Recent Game Summaries
2014 Week 5 vs NYG (29 / 45 / 316 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Falcons offensive line was missing three starters in this game and it ultimately led to Atlanta's downfall in this contest. Early on, Ryan and the offense managed to stay in this game with an even balance of run and pass, often from jumbo sets where Atlanta used six offensive linemen to run block and pass protect. Although Atlanta was able to prevent sacks during the first half, pressure routinely reached the pocket and forced Ryan to throw on the move and make difficult plays from unbalanced throwing positions. The most successful plays continued to be the play action boot legs or skinny posts off short play action drops where Ryan could thread the needle to Julio Jones. Atlanta's quarterback leaned heavily on Jones all afternoon. He also used Steven Jackson as a frequent check-down option in the first half. Once Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul surged in the third quarter, Atlanta had to keep Jackson in the pocket to chip the Giants' star who was wreaking havoc despite not earning a sack. Pierre-Paul forced Ryan into the arms of Robert Ayers in the third quarter and then induced an interception when his pressure forced Ryan to airmail the ball to the right flat where defensive back Quentin Demps cut off the target. Pierre-Paul later pressured Ryan into the arms of defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins on a 4th and 1, effectively ending this contest. Ryan was productive and accurate in a tight game, but his offensive line could not sustain its first-half play.
2014 Week 6 vs CHI (19 / 37 / 271 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
The biggest takeaway from the Bears' game was the seven drops that Ryan's receivers committed during the contest. Chicago's pressure forced Ryan to throw from constricted pockets and into tight zones where the defensive backs repeatedly nailed Falcons receivers as those targets arrived down field. The first drop was a throw to Julio Jones from a constricted pocket that reached the receiver low and away and rebounded of Jones' hands. It forced Atlanta to settle for a 50-yard field goal. During the next series, Ryan had his pass deflected by defensive tackle Stephen Paea and later in the series, Jones nearly dropped a 3rd and 10 pass, which cornerback Kyle Fuller stripped from the receiver's possession and guaranteed Atlanta would have to punt. Jones dropped three passes in this game, including two after contact. One of them was a wide-open, backside skinny post off play action that Atlanta loves to run. This play set up a Paea sack that pushed Atlanta out of field goal range. Ryan's one touchdown was a 41-yard screen pass to Antone Smith up the right flat. Where Ryan and the Falcons succeeded was the constant variety of formations and personnel to keep Chicago from keying on one specific player. Of course dropped passes kill an offense and in addition to Roddy White dropping one on a play that could have been called for a helmet-to-helmet hit, Levine Toilolo dropped three, including two in a row in the fourth quarter. By the final quarter, the Falcons' offensive line could not contain Jared Allen, Willie Young, and Paea, who managed to sack Ryan a few times in this span. After Young's sack, Ryan threw an interception on a fourth-down pass intended for Jones that was undercut. Ryan continues to find open receivers and thread the needle despite pressure forcing him to leave the pocket or take punishment, but it is becoming a common refrain to see Atlanta's line fall apart in the fourth quarter and make Ryan's job next to impossible.
2014 Week 7 vs BAL (29 / 44 / 228 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 7 / 0 rush)
The offensive line continues to weigh down the Falcons and it manifested in the play calling and game-changing plays for the opposing defense. Atlanta was so concerned about affording Ryan time the game plan was short passing: screens to backs and receivers, swing passes, and quick perimeter and seam routes. Ryan appeared especially sensitive to the potential for pressure early in the game when his first target was almost too short of target and he had 3-4 targets that were rushed or with low and away placement. Ryan's concerns grew worse when Peter Konz, the Falcons' backup center, was rolled up by a teammate during the third series and taken to the locker room on a cart, forcing Atlanta to use a third-string lineman at center. At this point, the Ravens pressure wore down the Falcons' front, sacking Ryan five times in this game. One was a 3rd and 10 strip sack from Pernell McPhee - one of two sacks from the lineman. Two more sacks came from Elvis Dumervil and the final sack was from Terrell Suggs, who finished any hope of Ryan earning more garbage time yardage late in the game with a sack for a safety in the final minutes. Ryan's best throws down field came in the third quarter and Atlanta was already well behind. The pressure also forced Ryan to make difficult throws into coverage and had at least two targets that should have been intercepted. Once again, Ryan isn't playing bad as much as he's coping with and offensive line that is banged up, at a competitive disadvantage, and lacking rapport that comes with stability. It's preventing Ryan and the Falcons from stretching the field on a consistent basis and makes Ryan easier to defend.
Latest NewsFalcons | Matt Ryan heavily pressured (Mon Oct 20, 05:20 PM) - Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan was sacked five times as the team's offensive line continues to struggle with injuries and poor play. 'We had way too much pressure,' head coach Mike Smith said. 'Our quarterback was hit and sacked way too much. There were times where we really didn't have a chance to get the play off, and that's very difficult for a quarterback, and we have to do better with our protection.' Our View: Ryan is getting blitzed on 29.3 percent of his dropbacks (league average is 29 percent). However, the pressure is getting to him on 26.7 percent of his dropbacks, above the league average of 24.4 percent.
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|8||vs Detroit Lions|
|9||--- BYE WEEK ---|
|10||@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|11||@ Carolina Panthers|
|12||vs Cleveland Browns|
|13||vs Arizona Cardinals|
|14||@ Green Bay Packers|
|15||vs Pittsburgh Steelers|
|16||@ New Orleans Saints|
|17||vs Carolina Panthers|