QB Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons
|6-4, 228||Born: 5-17-1985||College: Boston College||Drafted: Round 1, pick 3 (2008)|
2019 Week 1 vs MIN (33 / 46 / 304 / 2 / 2 pass, 2 / 24 / 0 rush)
Minnesota's blitz packages wreaked havoc on Atlanta offensive line and when Ryan wasn't sacked or forced to throw the ball away, he made a pair of throws with pressure in this face that led to interceptions. The first was a crossing route intended for Julio Jones that Anthony Harris pulled away from Jones for an interception. The second was a route to the back pylon in the end zone that Luke Stocker did not continue and it gave Harris a chance to run down the ball. The Vikings gave up flat routes to Austin Hooper when the game was still a contest. By the fourth quarter, the game was out of reach and Ryan was able to find Calvin Ridley on two big-play throws--including a touchdown thrown to the front pylon and a crossing route where Ridley made multiple defenders miss until he reached the Vikings' two. Middle pressure or pressure in Ryan's face has always been the best way to break-down Ryan's game and the Vikings succeeded this week.
2019 Week 2 vs PHI (27 / 43 / 320 / 3 / 3 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
Ryan faced pressure throughout the first quarter but it wasn't as intense as the Vikings game. He managed to move Atlanta downfield with throws to Austin Hooper, Calvin Ridley, and Mohamed Sanu that led to a field goal early. Fletcher Cox nearly intercepted Ryan in the middle of the second quarter on a zone blitz. Ryan followed up with a deep fade to Julio Jones for 27 yards. Soon after, Ryan lost starting right tackle Caleb McGary in the middle of the second quarter to a knee injury but Ty Sambrallo held up in relief. Ryan overthrew two receivers in a row on targets in the endzone to Ridley and then Justin Gage on a post route. This led to a 50-yard field goal attempt that Matt Bryant missed. Still, Ryan showed emotional resilience. He delivered a good pump fake to set up a completion Ridley for the second of two passes to the receiver to get across midfield. A few plays later, Ryan found Ridley for a deep post for a 34-yard score. With 0:41 left in the half, Ryan threw the ball behind Sanu and Sidney Jones intercepted the pass. However, Ryan found Jones for the score on the third play of the third quarter on a designed roll and scramble drill in the back of the end zone. Ryan underthrew a deep go route up the right sideline while under pressure against an all-out blitz, leading to his second interception and a return into Atlanta territory. Ryan threw an interception in the end zone on a red zone play at the end of the third quarter when he tried to fit the ball into coverage he didn't see because he was throwing over a line that had compressed Ryan's pocket and a defender hit his arm during the release. Ryan threw off his back foot to Freeman on a third and three late in the game while fading away from pressure. Late in the game, Ryan connected with Jones on a screen pass for a game-winning, 54-yard play.
2019 Week 3 vs IND (29 / 34 / 304 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
He completed a pair of short passes to his tight ends during the first series but he and Julio Jones were not on the same page with the depth of his break on a corner route on 3rd and 15. Ryan started the next drive with two play-action passes up the middle. As the drive reached Colts' territory, Ryan overshot Luke Stocker by a large margin and Clayton Geathers intercepted the target inside the Colts' 10. This was Ryan's sixth interception in the first 10 quarters of the football season. He also overshot Austin Hooper late in the half in the end zone. This led to a 3rd and 11 throwaway while under heavy pressure and forced a field goal attempt just before the two-minute warning. Ryan got hot in the third quarter. He found Julio Jones for 34 yards on an out-and-up and Matt Ryan underthrew it to guarantee a catch when the cornerback fell down. This got Atlanta inside the 12 of the Colts where Ryan found Hooper in the middle of the field on a play-action pass and Hooper took it to the end zone. On the next drive, Ryan found Jones on a stop route on third down to extend the series. Ryan was 10-for-10 to begin the third quarter and found Jones and Sanu for third-down conversions to drive Atlanta inside the Colts' 30 on the series after its first touchdown in the second half. He found Julio Jones for his third touchdown on a corner fade between two defenders.
2019 Week 4 vs TEN (35 / 53 / 397 / 0 / 0 pass, 2 / 18 / 0 rush)
After moving Atlanta past midfield on a pair of drives, Ryan lost the ball while trying to avoid interior pressure during the Falcons' third series. Starting right guard Jamon Brown suffered a concussion early in the second quarter and the line was forced to go with third-string guard Wes Schweitzer. He moved Atlanta up and down the field but all but one drive stalled out in Titans terriotyr in the first half. He dealt with consistent pressure early in the third quarter but a screen pass to Devonta Freeman and an over route to Mohamed Sanu got Atlanta into the red zone. Calvin Ridley and Sanu dropped red zone passes and forced another field goal attempt. Ryan was sacked for the third time on a 4th and 1 play-action pass late in the third quarter.
2019 Week 5 vs HOU (32 / 46 / 330 / 3 / 1 pass, 3 / 7 / 1 rush)
Ryan found Julio Jones twice during the Falcons' second possession, including a third-down crossing route where J.J. Watt's late hit on the quarterback put the ball inside the Texans' 15. Ryan found Mohamed Sanu two plays later on a crossing route and San dove across the goal line for Atlanta's first score. Ryan got bailed out by Mohamed Sanu on a third-down throw while on the run from pressure that was intended for Calvin Ridley but Ridley fell down and the Texans were in position to intercept it until Sanu cut off the pass. Ryan later found Ridley for a 22-yard out to reach the Texans' red zone. Watt foiled a touchdown drive on 3rd and 4 by running through the rookie tackle Kaleb McGary and hitting Ryan during his release on a pass intended for Austin Hooper. This forced a field goal. Ryan escaped a Watt sack attempt on 3rd and 5 but D.J. Reader chased Ryan down when he tried to extend the play late in the third quarter. Ryan took a third-and-inches sneak for a touchdown to cut the lead to 10 points. He cut the lead to 8 with a scramble and throw to Austin Hooper. Ryan worked free on a roll to the right and found Ridley for a 28-yard score at the right boundary of the end zone and Ridley worked free of Jonathan Joseph, who thought he pushed the receiver out of bounds. Ryan threw his seventh interception of the year--a pick-six on a final drive when he threw the ball behind Austin Hooper with less than a minute left.
2019 Week 6 vs ARI (30 / 36 / 356 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
How the Falcons offense handles defensive pressure continues to be a key issue for the unit. Ryan flushed left on the first play of the game and found Julio Jones for a first down on a comeback route. He also hit Austin Hooper on the backside of the formation that led to a strong gain after the catch to get Atlanta across midfield. A pair of offside penalties put Atlanta into scoring position and Ryan finished drive with a flat route to Calvin Ridley dressed up with pre- and post-snap motion towards the quarterback before reversing field back to the flat. Ridley committed a pass interference penalty to end the second drive of the first quarter, but it was a designed clear-out play for Julio Jones that Ryan was late to throw the ball and it contributed to Ridley's block being illegal. Rodney Gunter sacked Ryan on third down during Altanta's third drive, forcing a punt after a good first-down run by Devonta Freeman. Ryan found Jones up the seam a couple of times midway through the second quarter to mount a drive past midfield. He then hit third tight end Jaden Graham on a flea-flicker for 21 yards up the left sideline. Down 27-10, Atlanta began the third quarter in hurry-up mode. Ryan completed passes to Jones and Hooper before overthrowing a third-down target to a wide-open Ridley on and out. This led a 44-yard field goal. Ryan and the Falcons picked on Cardinals' linebacker Hassan Reddick with passes to Austin Hooper than and a Hooper-Freeman route combination on the back side of a trips formation to find Freeman underneath for the score that cut the game to a 20-27 deficit. Ryan continued picking on Reddick and the linebackers with play-action passes to Hooper, including a deep seam route and a short cross for the subsequent touchdown that tied the game 27-27. After the defense stopped Arizona's offense in the middle of the fourth quarter, Ryan could not get Atlanta past its 30 and took a sack on third down that forced a punt. Ryan found Freeman against a cross blitz of linebackers, which left the flat open for the runner to walk the ball in for Ryan's third score and another potential tie--until Matt Bryant missed a rare PAT.
2019 Week 7 vs LAR (16 / 27 / 159 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Ryan completed passes to Jones on a crossing route and Ridley on an out route during the first drive. He also ducked out of a Dante Fowler grab and prevented a sack near midfield to throw the ball away. The run game led the way during the first drive and after Ryan missed Ridley due to heavy pressure on third down, the Falcons kicked a 52-yard field goal for the early 3-0 lead. Fowler sacked Ryan with a strong inside move on the right tackle to sack Ryan on second down to force a 3rd and 17 during Atlanta's second drive. Corey Littleton came on a blitz on the next play, overloading the left side and putting Jalen Ramsey on Julio Jones, which resulted in a second straight sack and an Atlanta punt. Ryan found Jones and Gage during Atlanta's third drive to get Atlanta across midfield but pressure on third down forced Ryan to throw the ball well over the head of Jones with Ramsey playing tight. Ryan overthrew Julio Jones inside the five against Jalen Ramsey late in the half after finding Jones on Ramsey for 36 yards earlier in the drive. Dante Fowler earned two straight pressures on Ryan late in the half, including a forced fumble after beating rookie right tackle Caleb McGary around the corner. Down 20-3, run double clutched a screen to Mohamed Sanu and wound up with a wide throw that bounced off Sanu's hands and the Rams intercepted. Fowler beat Jake Matthews off the left side and sacked Ryan early in a drive late in the third quarter that led to a three-and-out while down 27-3. Aaron Donald sacked Matt Ryan with an inside move and knocked the ball loose during the fourth quarter and recovered the ball. Ryan was limping off the field, favoring his right leg after the sack.
2019 Week 10 vs NO (20 / 35 / 182 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 13 / 0 rush)
Atlanta ran the ball for most of the Falcons' first drive and got inside the Saints 15 before the offense earned three penalties during the next five snaps. Ryan could only muster a quick out for three yards on 2nd and 19 and then threw the ball away while falling to the ground against heavy interior pressure on 3rd and 16. This led to an opening-drive field goal of 37 yards. He sailed the ball over the head of Austin Hooper on an out route to begin the second drive. He found Ridley on third down on an out to the opposite side of the field for the conversion. Ryan later found Devonta Freeman on a blitz check-down to the left sideline for seven and then was a little high and wide to Freeman on the out on third down, leading to a fourth and four. Ryan, on his bad ankle, gimped his way around left end for a first down on a keeper. Ryan found Julio Jones late in the half on an over route where cornerback Eli Apple got picked off by his own coverage while trailing Jones, leaving Jones open for a 54-yard gain. Ryan took a sack late in the drive and forced another field goal. Ryan began the second half with a deep shot to Ridley that he underthrew while taking a hit. Interior pressure in Ryan's face on 3rd and 15 forced a high throw to the boundary and a punt. Ryan earned another first down on a third-down run to right end in the third quarter. Jones and Ryan had a miscommunication on the placement of a deep target up the left sideline on 3rd and 11 midway through the fourth quarter that resulted in an incomplete pass and a subsequent punt. Atlanta lucked out with a roughing-the-kicker call that renewed Atlanta's drive. After Atlanta's defense foiled Drew Brees but Ryan didn't account for the safety playing center field on a seemingly wide-open look to Ridley up the sideline on a deep shot. The safety intercepted the ball at the Saints' 11.
2019 Week 11 vs CAR (21 / 31 / 311 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 0 / 0 rush)
He began the game with the conversion of the third-down on an easy slant against off coverage to reach the Atlanta 40 and followed up with a tough throw under heavy pressure from Bruce Irvin on a play-action comeback to a wide-open Calvin Ridley for 34 yards to cross midfield. Mario Addison earned his eighth sack with a tackle of Ryan in the red zone during Atlanta's second drive, setting up a second field goal attempt from 38 yards that he missed off the right upright. Ryan had just enough time to look at one read before Addison wrapped him. Ryan seemed reticent for two third-down throws in a row to target the middle of the field when Carolina used two high safeties and on the second attempt, Shaq Thompson nearly picked off Ryan's check-down attempt to the flat. Ryan found Calvin Ridley on consecutive passes to cross midfield during a fourth drive and nearly delivered a scoring pass on a scramble to his right to Russell Gage who dropped the ball after contact from safety Tre Boston. Ryan returned to Gage over the middle while climbing the pocket from pressure, leading to a first down inside of the two-minute warning. On the next play, Gerald McCoy sacked Ryan for a loss of six after the line gave up quick pressure. He followed up with a deep seam to Julio Jones matched with Luke Kuechley for 47 yards with Mario Addison in his face. Ryan found Ridley for a six-yard score to go up by 26 after climbing from pressure and sliding to his left midway through the third quarter. Dontari Poe sacked Ryan to end a third-quarter drive near midfield--the third Carolina sack of the afternoon on Ryan. Ryan once again delivered under pressure in the fourth quarter, hitting Ridley on a fade for 42 yards.
2019 Week 12 vs TB (23 / 46 / 271 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
On the opening drive, he found Jaeden Graham for 53 yards on the second play of the game. Once in the red zone, Ryan threw the ball away twice while under heavy pressure and couldn't connect with Calvin Ridley on a slant inside the five due to double coverage that broke up the target. Ryan had Ridley and Julio Jones doubled on this play. During the next series Ryan dealt with increased edge pressure. Still, he found Julio Jones for 31 on a third-and-three slant up the right sideline against man coverage. Two plays later, Ryan shrugged off Shaq Barrett's reach and found a way to throw the ball away. Ryan hit Ridley again on a fade but Ridley let the ball bounce off his hands on a third-and-long pass up the right sideline while dealing with pressure. After forcing the ball under pressure to Calvin Ridley on a well-defended pass, Ryan avoided Barrett again on third down to reach the Atlanta five for a first down. He made a good anticipation throw for 13 on the out early in the second quarter. Devin White earned a free lane up past Brian Hill up the A gap for a sack. Hill could not earn position as he executed a play fake. Barrett followed up with a dip-and-rip under left tackle Jake Matthews with a sack and near-fumbled forced. Pressure forced Ryan to rush a crossing route to Jones midway through the second quarter and the defensive back Mike Edwards broke up the pass. White sacked Ryan on the next play, stunting through the right tackle and forced a punt with five minutes in the half. Ryan nearly had a crossing route to Christian Blake undercut with 30 seconds remaining in the half. Jones suffered a shoulder injury late in the first half and deemed questionable to begin the third quarter. Ryan began his first drive of the second half with a 19-yard completion up the left seam to Gage. He then threw the ball up for grabs to Ridley with heavy pressure in his face. Ridley nearly caught the sailed ball on the post route but safety Carlton Davis pulled the ball away from the receiver. Lavonte David nearly cut off a pass over the middle while Ryan climbed the pocket from pressure. On the next play, Ryan nearly hit Ridley on a go route at the back of the end zone but a Jake Matthews hold would have nullified the play even if Ridley got the second foot inbounds. Once again, Ryan threw a ball into tight coverage cutting off the ball but it went through the corner's hands and into Ridley's hands on the out route that resulted in a first down in the red zone. Vita Vea sacked Ryan in the red zone with a swim move past James Carpenter. On the next play, pressure compressed the pocket and Ryan had his pass tipped and nearly intercepted while he was hit during the throw. Carl Nassib sacked Ryan--the fifth of the day on the Falcons--to begin a drive later in the fourth quarter. Jason Pierre-Paul stripped the ball from Ryan for the sixth sack of the day and Ndamukong Suh recovered and returned for the game-sealing score. Atlanta inserted Matt Schaub for cleanup duty for a final drive after going down by 21 points.
2019 Week 13 vs NO (35 / 50 / 312 / 2 / 2 pass, 3 / 21 / 0 rush)
Beginning the game in an empty set, Ryan took a sack off left tackle after Ryan held onto the ball too long in the quick game and lost seven yards. Two plays later, Ryan settled for a quick check-down to Calvin Ridley for a four-yard gain on a 3rd and 13, leading to a punt that Taysom Hill blocked and gave the Saints a short field. A cornerback blitz ended the second series when Ryan tried to bring the ball down and during the pressure and re-fire but the target arrived short of Christian Blake in the flat and forced a second punt. Ryan found Blake on a short slant to set up a third-and-short early in Atlanta's third series and followed up with a second slant to Blake to convert. A personal foul on Marshon Lattimore after the play, the cover corner on Blake, gave Atlanta's offense another 15 yards and put them in Saints' territory. Ryan took another sack when he slipped trying to break the pocket from a Camo Jordan rush two plays later. Ryan and Ridley drew a pass interference call later in the drive to get Atlanta inside the red zone at with a little more than a minute left in the first quarter. Ryan targeted Blake on a fourth-and-one in the end zone but coverage blocked off the break path and the ball sailed incomplete, leading to a turnover on downs. Ryan had Calvin Ridley wide open on this two-man combination route but targeted the covered receiver, Blake. Ryan overshot Blake on a deep out while under pressure after a seven-step drop to begin the fourth series. Left guard James Carpenter left the game at the end of the third series and didn't return. Ryan then underthrew a wide-open Ridley on a deep fade on the following drive, but Ridley drew a defensive pass interference call to save the play and get Atlanta into the red zone. Ryan found Jaeden Graham up the right seam for a touchdown with a well-played throw over the linebacker off play-action and Graham caught the ball at the two and forced his way into the end zone. The Saints faked the blitz on a drive late in the half and Ryan had to pull down the ball when he didn't see the coverage look he expected and was forced to hold onto the ball and take his third sack of the half. Ryan took a fourth sack, the second by Marcus Davenport, to begin the third quarter on a third-down passing play where his first read--a receiver screen--didn't come open. This forced another punt. Ryan hesitated to target a wide-open slant to Christian Blake late in the third quarter and wound up throwing the ball behind a covered Calvin Ridley. Ryan threw an interception to defensive lineman Shai Tuttle, who picked off a side-arm attempt of a check-down to Freeman late in the third quarter and Tuttle returned the ball up the sideline to the Atlanta 49. Ryan targeted Kenjon Barner on a scramble drill check-down seven-yards behind the line of scrimmage rather than checking the ball down during a fourth-quarter drive near midfield. After losing seven on the play, Ryan misread the coverage over the middle and delivered his second interception, which the Saints took up the right sideline to the Atlanta 29. The Saints extended the lead to 14 with a 42-yard field goal off that turnover. During the subsequent drive, Ryan converted a third-down with a run up the middle but had the ball punched loose and turned over the football near midfield once again. Ryan rolled away from pressure to his right and delivered a deep cross to Graham inside the 20, taking a hit that somersaulted him to the turf and he needed assistance but walked off the field on his own. Craig Robertson ran through Freeman on a blitz to sack Ryan late in the game after Atlanta recovered an onside pick.
2019 Week 14 vs CAR (20 / 34 / 313 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
He connected early with Calvin Ridley on an over route for 18 yards during the first series but pressure on consecutive snaps led to Ryan throwing the ball high and over his receiver's heads in order to get the ball over the pass rush. During the second drive, Ryan found Russell Gage on a slant for a first down. With the Falcons inside the Carolina 40, Ryan stumbled through his drop and gave Vernon Butler time to sack Ryan for an 11-yard loss. Ryan responded with an 11-yard completion to Ridley in the left flat and an angle route to Freeman for another 12 and a first down. Ryan began the third dive with a 14-yard out to Austin Hooper. Ryan found Julio Jones for 39 yards on a go route to reach the red zone later in the drive and had an open Hooper who didn't break inside enough and the ball sailed high as a result. Two plays, later he found Ridley against a coverage break for a touchdown. Ryan overshot Jones during the next series when Jones beat James Bradberry again--this time with a double move. Late in the half, Ryan found Ridley for a pair of big plays to reach and cross midfield and then came within yards of the red zone with a pass up the middle to James Hardy and it set up a 35-yard field goal to take a three-point lead at the end of the half. Ryan delivered a pair of passes to Julio Jones to get Atlanta from midfield to the Carolina 18 early in the third quarter.
2019 Week 15 vs SF (25 / 39 / 210 / 2 / 0 pass, 5 / 27 / 0 rush)
A combination of pressure and coverage limited Ryan's production during the first two series, including a curl route intended for Julio Jones where linebacker Dre Greenlaw undercut while buzzing across the flat. Ryan engineered a successful third drive into San Francisco's red zone thanks to a pair accurate perimeter passes to Julio Jones and a pair of shorter targets to Austin Hooper. Ryan and Jones got Atlanta inside the five with a crossing route against man coverage and then followed up with an out to the front pylon where Jones leaned towards the corner, tucking the ball to his left hand to get the ball across the plain for a touchdown. Ryan found Jones late in the half on a double move up the right sideline but Jones let the ball go through his hands while the cornerback was holding Jones. The hold wasn't called and non-reviewable by instant replay, but the cornerback's play failed to live up to the standard of pass interference. Sheldon Day earned a push up the middle for a first-and-long sack of Ryan inside Atlanta's 10 early in the third quarter, leading to a 2nd and 22 and Ryan went to the check-down on the following play to Freeman for three yards. Ryan followed up with quick screen and a bad throw that led to a series-ending punt. Ryan took too much time on a second-down attempt where he climbed the pocket and took one extra hitch he shouldn't and it cost him time to break the pocket or throw the ball away. More pressure on the next play forced Ryan to break the pocket for a short gain, which led to another punt. Ryan nearly threw an interception early in the fourth quarter while trying to fit the ball over deep drops by the linebackers in the middle of the field, leading to another punt. With less than 150 yards passing late, Ryan found Freeman, Gage, and Jones to cross midfield and then scrambled past pressure to reach the 49ers' 15 with 34 seconds left. He then had a near-touchdown to Austin Hooper that was overruled due to the Calvin Johnson Rule and followed up with a game-winner to Julio Jones with two seconds left that was initially ruled down inside the one but overruled by replay to give Atlanta the score.
2019 Week 16 vs JAX (32 / 45 / 384 / 1 / 2 pass, 4 / 6 / 0 rush)
Atlanta took an early lead with a good mix of pass and run during its first drive. Ryan found three different receivers for first downs during the first drive, including a slant from an empty set to Julio Jones, a flare-out to Devonta Freeman for 17, and play-action throw-back to Austin Hooper on a corner route to the Jacksonville 17 that set up a 17-yard score on a toss play to Freeman. Ryan found Freeman again five minutes later with an eight-yard spot-route under the Jaguars' zone to put the Falcons up by 14. Ryan threaded the needle to Julio Jones on a corner route against A.J. Bouye on third-and-two during the third series for a 24-yard gain to get to midfield. Ryan found Jones on a curl route in the right flat for a first down later in the drive. Ryan converted another third-down play with a check-down to Freeman during Atlanta's third drive, doing a good job of sliding from edge pressure to find the back. This set up a missed field goal attempt from 42 yards to end the drive. Ryan began the second quarter with a flush to his right and throw on the move to Hooper over the middle in traffic for a first down. Ryan got too confident on the next play, rolling right and going deep to Jones up the right flat and hanging the pass into the air for Tre Herndon to work across the field and pick off the pass. Ryan found Jones breaking inside for 12 yards with less than a minute in the half for a first down with an off-platform throw under pressure to get Atlanta into field goal range. Ryan opened the second half with a third-down conversion on a rail route to Freeman who made a back-shoulder catch near midfield. He followed up with a slant for 25 yards to Jones. Jarrad Wilson cut off Ryan's target of Julio Jones on a crossing route midway through the third quarter, intercepting the pass and ending a drive that was approaching the Jacksonville red zone.
2019 Week 17 vs TB (30 / 51 / 313 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 0 / 0 rush)
Atlanta's starting quarterback moved the ball easily on the opening drive, spotting zone and man coverage situations quickly and getting rid of the ball fast. He found backup right tackle Ty Sambrallo as an eligible man on a seam route working inside Luke Stocker and no one covered him. He took the ball the final 20 yards for an easy score to open the game. Ryan targeted Julio Jones three times for three conversions of third downs during the first two drives of the game and began the game six for seven. Tampa earned pressure on consecutive plays during Atlanta's third drive that led to an altered throw that the Buccaneers nearly intercepted and sack on the next play. These plays led to Atlanta punting. Pressure forced Ryan to throw the ball away on third and inches during the fourth possession and Atlanta went for it on fourth down, failing to convert the play with an I-formation give to the fullback that Matt Ryan should have checked out of based on the alignment of the defense. Shaq Barrett sacked Ryan for a seven-yard loss--setting the Buccaneers' single-season record on the play. The pressure disrupted Ryan's intermediate and deep passing game during the late-first and early-second quarter. Ryan had an open Russell Gage up the right sideline on a go route, but overshot the receiver by at least a yard. Ryan then took a shove to the chest as he released the gall intended for one of two receivers up the left flat of the end zone a few plays later that dropped behind the receivers near the end line. On the next play, Ryan targeted Hooper across the flat in the red zone but pressure forced him to throw off platform and into the dirt. Once again flushed on third-down, Ryan had to throw the ball away and lost track of the line of scrimmage, incurring an illegal forward pass foul and loss of down. Ryan took contact to his throwing arm from Pierre-Paul in the red zone on third down with about three minutes left in the half that Devin White recovered and returned for a touchdown, tying the game. The pressure continued on the following drive, forcing Ryan to throw on the retreat and he was behind Jones on the crossing route. Jones took an intermediate slant through two defenders on the next play after Ryan climbed the pocket, getting Atlanta across midfield. Two plays later, Ryan found Jones on a slant in tight coverage to reach the Buccaneers' 20 with less than two minutes left. He overthrew Gage on a bubble screen and Tampa jumped the next route to defend a stop route intended for Gage once again. Pierre-Paul sacked Ryan again on the next play, forcing another field goal attempt. Pierre-Paul continued pressuring Ryan early in the second half, forcing a throw-away. Ryan took a hit while finding Hooper across the middle to get across midfield a few plays later. Ndamukong Suh's deflected pass curtailed the drive and forced a punt. Ryan showed excellent placement between zone defenders, placing the ball behind Gage for a first down near midfield late in the third quarter. Ryan had another pass deflected early in the fourth quarter in the Tampa Bay red zone and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs. Hooper set up a third-and-short at the two-minute warning with a comeback against tight coverage as Ryan delivered the ball while flushing to his left. On the next play, Ryan climbed pressure but Shaq Barrett sacked Ryan. Ryan found Gage on a crossing route on fourth down and the receiver dipped way from the safety and extended for the first down near midfield to keep the drive alive. Barrett sacked Ryan for the third time on the next play. Ryan found a wide-open Justin Hardy over the middle of a deep zone near midfield after the quarterback climbed the pocket with less than a minute left and Hardy worked across the field with less than 40 seconds left to stop the clock. Ryan then found Zaccheaus a second time on a slant for a first down at the Tampa Bay 27.
2018 Week 1 vs PHI (21 / 43 / 251 / 0 / 1 pass, 2 / 8 / 0 rush)
Ryan found Julio Jones twice during the first drive with a quick out and a third-down sail route to reach the red zone. He overthrew Devonta Freeman on a shallow route to the right flat on third and one with a yard to go. Ryan extended the second drive with a third-down scramble to the right sideline after overthrowing Mohamed Sanu two plays before--earning field goal range. Ryan found Tevin Coleman on a throwback screen for 26 yards to reach the Eagles 10. Ryan was consistently wide or high on targets over the middle during the first quarter. His throw was well outside Sanu on a route up the left sideline. Ryan was a beat late to Calvin Ridley and nearly picked off late in the half. Ryan found Jones on a double move in the third quarter that could have flipped the field but the official said Jones failed to maintain possession of the ball. On the next play, Ryan committed an intentional grounding penalty. Ryan threw behind Jones on a third down late in the third quarter, forcing another punt. Ryan then threw a poor deep post to Jones that was nowhere near the target. He finished the drive with an interception that he airmailed without velocity to Jones at the left sideline inside the Eagles' five. Ryan took a third sack during the game and lost the ball in the middle of the fourth quarter after cycling through three progressions. He regained his accuracy inside the two-minute warning on a post to Julio Jones for 36 yards but took a fourth sack with less than two minutes left. He then found Jones for another 18 yards while taking a hit. He took the fifth sack in this game while in the red zone, which forced a third down with 30 seconds left.
2018 Week 2 vs CAR (23 / 28 / 272 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / 18 / 2 rush)
The Falcons quarterback threw a lot of outs early in the game and ran twice for positive yards. He ignored a wide open Calvin Ridley on a crossing route on one of those runs. He overshot Julio Jones by 10 yards on a third and long during the second drive, forcing a punt. Carolina, especially Luke Kuechly seemed in-tune with the Atlanta offensive tendencies in the first half and forced a lot of short plays. However a pass interference foul against Atlanta and the ground game set up Atlanta's first touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley on a short slant. After throwing a sail route to Jones early in the third quarter with a lot of air under it, Ryan got hit and the ball sailed on an intended post route to Jones and Carolina intercepted the early third-quarter pass. Ryan put Atlanta up by 14 with a dive into three defenders on a red zone play and keeping his feet to spin for the score.
2018 Week 3 vs NO (26 / 35 / 374 / 5 / 0 pass, 4 / 12 / 0 rush)
The veteran felt pressure repeatedly during the first quarter and either had to throw the ball away or behind receivers. However, he also converted multiple third-down targets during his second drive, including a dig route to Calvin Ridley, which he followed with a stutter-go for a touchdown to tie the game. Ryan took a sack from rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport who bulled through Alex Mack on a third down during Atlanta's third drive. Ryan overshot Ridley on a deep post in the middle of the second quarter and two Saints defenders committed uncalled fouls on Ridley during the route. Ryan underthrew a deep post to Ridley that resulted in a 45-yard penalty on the defense and put Atlanta in the red zone to begin the second half. Ryan found Ridley along the end line for the third touchdown. Ryan re-took the lead with his fourth touchdown pass - this one to Tevin Coleman at the right sideline in the red zone. Ryan found Jones on a deep post and laid it up there to let Jones run under it and even slow down for it in the fourth quarter. However, pressure continued to hound Ryan. Cameron Jordan got his second sack of Ryan in the game--this time on a third down in the red zone that forced Atlanta to kick a field goal to take a two-point lead in the middle of the fourth quarter, but the Saints committed a personal foul and gave Atlanta a first and goal inside the Saints' three. Ryan found Sanu on the next play off a sprint right to the front pylon but the Saints forced overtime, won the toss, and scored a touchdown on the opening possession for the win.
2018 Week 4 vs CIN (29 / 39 / 419 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / 5 / 0 rush)
Atlanta went empty on its second third down of the initial drive and Ryan found Julio Jones in the middle of the field while throwing on the move, squeezing the ball between the linebacker and safety to get the offense to the Bengals' 11. Ryan beat the blitz during the second drive with a quick slant to Julio Jones and followed with a crossing route check-down to Tevin Coleman that he made on the move to get Atlanta to midfield. Ryan overshot Mohamed Sanu on a crossing route in Bengals territory. Two plays later, Ryan climbed the pocket and found the receiver across the middle for a first down. Ryan later found Sanu on the same deep crossing route where they misconnected earlier, gaining 36 yards late in the half. Atlanta had a first and goal at the Cincinnati eight after a blocked punt to begin the second half but a false start, an Atkins tackle for a loss, and a third-down sack of Matt Ryan led to Atlanta settling for a 28-yard field goal. Ryan was lucky on a late hitch that should have been a pick-six if not for the cornerback dropping the ball with Atlanta up by two points in the middle of the fourth quarter. Ryan took three untimely sacks in this game, including two in the red zone in the second half of the game. Ryan also was too cautious on a wide-open post route and overshot a wide-open Austin Hooper in the red zone.
2018 Week 5 vs PIT (26 / 38 / 285 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
After a few short passes, Ryan took a sack when a linebacker and defensive back overloaded the left side of the line on third down near midfield and left Tevin Coleman overwhelmed. This forced an Atlanta punt in lieu of 56-yard field goal attempt. The Steelers blitzed again and Coleman was late coming off play action and forced Ryan into the pocket for a second sack in the first half. Ryan's greatest success came when he could exploit the middle of the Steelers' defense with Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu. He found Sanu up the seam for a 43-yard touchdown; Sanu earning most of the yardage after the catch. T.J. Watt sacked Ryan a third down; this time in the red zone and then a fourth time during the same drive to force a 47-yard field goal attempt. Ryan took sack from J.T. Watt deep in Atlanta's territory that put the game away 41-17 when Ryan fumbled the ball in to the end zone and Pittsburgh recovered.
2018 Week 6 vs TB (31 / 41 / 354 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 13 / 0 rush)
The quarterback distributed the ball twice to Calvin Ridley, once to Julio Jones, and once to Austin Hooper with short passes before finding Mohamed Sanu on an over route in stride for a 35-yard score. Ryan threw the ball too deep in the second quarter on a play-action route to Julio Jones that was wide open but Jones read the safety correctly and Ryan didn't. Ryan delivered three passes of 17,17, and 16 yards to Hooper, Justin Hardy, and Jones within 30 seconds to drive the field and set up a half-ending field goal to extend its lead to 11 points. Ryan began the second half poorly. He tried to pitch a ball while falling and nearly pitched it behind Tevin Coleman. He misfired on a short pass and then delivered an ill-advised screen on third-down. Ryan took a sack from Jason Pierre-Paul on an inside rush on third down to force a second punt in as many drives during the third quarter. Ryan began the fourth quarter with a play action boot to the left for a big gain to Jones then unloaded a deep pass that he underthrew to the receiver on the next play.
2018 Week 7 vs NYG (31 / 39 / 379 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 1 / 0 rush)
Pressure reached Matt Ryan repeatedly during the first two drives of the game, resulting in three sacks - two off the right guard and tackle and the third from an unblocked corner blitz off the left side. Atlanta punted to end both drives. Short gains and an offensive line penalty led to a third consecutive punt in as many series. Ryan delivered consecutive big plays in the fourth series, hitting Austin Hooper on an 36-yard corner route and then a play-action post to Marvin Hall for a 47-yard touchdown. After Brandon Fusco limped off the field late in the half, Ryan found Jones on a go route and pressure forced him to underthrow it but Jones worked back to the ball to generate a defensive pass interference call. On the next play, Ryan threw the ball behind Austin Hooper on a skinny post in the end zone and Hooper could only get one hand on the ball. Ryan took a fourth sack midway through the third quarter but a defensive holding penalty by Eli Apple on Julio Jones nullified the third-down sack and resulted in an automatic first down. Ryan found Ito Smith for 20 yards on a shallow cross versus a corner and safety blitz from the same side for a first down to reach the Atlanta 40. Ryan then earned a streak of 17 consecutive completions in the game with a mix of short and intermediate passes.
2018 Week 9 vs WAS (26 / 38 / 350 / 4 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The quarterback converted a pair of third down passes to reach midfield and then found Tevin Coleman on a 39-yard screen at the left edge of the defense for a touchdown. Quentin Dunbar slipped inside Calvin Ridley for an interception in the red zone on a route where Ridley didn't break tight enough. Ryan converted seven consecutive third downs in this game with passes to Coleman, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Austin Hooper. Ryan Kerrigan sacked Matt Ryan off the left edge with three minutes left in the first half, taking an inside move on Jake Matthews and meeting Ryan untouched to begin a drive after Washington cut the score to 14-7. Ryan took a second sack during the drive with Matt Leonidis working inside guard Ben Garland. Coleman scored again on a swing pass to the right side. Ryan dealt with pressure during this game and took sacks early in the second half but Atlanta's line play won this game handily for Atlanta.
2018 Week 10 vs CLE (38 / 52 / 330 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 13 / 0 rush)
Atlanta reached mid-field with some misdirection runs and passes during the first series, but the drive stalled when Ryan overshot Calvin Ridley in the left flat on second and five and then threw the ball away when Myles Garrett put pressure on the quarterback on third and five. Ryan delivered a pair of completions during its third drive to reach midfield on a pair of play-action rolls and throws across his frame to tight ends Logan Paulsen and Austin Hooper. Ryan targeted his tight ends and backs six times before finally completing a pass to his first wide receiver during the game. The inability to connect with receivers early led to multi-play drives but only three points in three series. Ryan targeted Hooper and Paulsen twice more on roll outs crossing from the backside in the red zone midway through the second quarter and capped the drive with a quick receiver screen to Jones from the Cleveland one. Ryan hit Jones on a sail route during the two-minute drill after gaining a four-point lead on Atlanta late in the half. Ryan then overshot Ito Smith two plays later and took a sack to end the half. Jones began the second half with a 24-yard dino route with a great Ryan look-off. Denzel Ward nearly picked off Ryan on a third and seven out route where Ryan threw the ball behind Calvin Ridley's break during the third quarter and it forced another punt. The Browns defense dropped deep repeatedly and forced Ryan to create and it led to a 1-for-7 rate during the first 40 minutes of play for Atlanta. Ryan was stymied by the coverage on his outside receivers and timely pressure despite earning a career-high with 38 completed passes. Late in the game he, made a great throw off balance and under pressure to Hooper on 4th and goal for a touchdown to get Atlanta within 12 but he took a strip sack in the waning minutes and the Browns sealed the game.
2018 Week 11 vs DAL (24 / 34 / 291 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Dallas pressure disrupted Ryan during the first drive. The QB tried a sidearm throw that was ill-advised to Austin Hooper up the middle that was nearly intercepted thanks to pressure off the edge that disrupted Ryan's judgement. He followed up with a quick pass on a crossing route to the seam to Julio Jones for 28 yards, reaching midfield. Jones dropped a wobbly pass thrown under pressure that Demarcus Lawrence disrupted during the first drive. Jones was between two defenders and the ball bounced off his hands inside the Dallas 10. Lawrence sacked Ryan on the next play when Ryan tried to step away and had his teammate Tyrone Crawford stepped on Ryan's foot and the quarterback fell to the ground on third down, resulting in a punt to end the first drive. Atlanta countered with quick drops and throws to begin its second series. Ryan delivered a pair of quick-hitting slants to Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu for 36 yards during the second drive, getting Atlanta into scoring range. Ryan felt the pass rush on third down and got rid of the ball early, leading to a 41-yard field goal. Atlanta adjusted to pressure with three-step drops and quick throw opportunities. Randy Gregory sacked Matt Ryan during the third series near midfield after Ryan couldn't find anyone open with his first two reads. Demarcus Lawrence sacked Matt Ryan, Ryan's third sack of the afternoon on third down, forcing a second punt. Matt Ryan tried to throw a deep ball up the seam off a three step drop that was woefully inaccurate. Jones tackled Heath and dislodged the ball. Ryan followed up with a route to the right flat to Sanu. Randy Gregory harassed Matt Ryan into a pair of inaccurate throws, a third-down throw for nearly another potential interception. Atlanta's drive stalled and it led to a second Matt Bryant field goal. Ryan spun loose from Lawrence's pressure early in the second half and delivered a check-down to Coleman in the left flat and Coleman broke a tackle for a longer gain across midfield, setting up another field goal. Jones earned 19 on a toe-tapping comeback after Ryan avoided edge pressure early in the fourth quarter. But on the next play, Ryan delivered the ball to Calvin Ridley over the middle on an RPO slant and Leighton Vander Esch intercepted the ball. Ryan led Hooper too far on a whip route against tight coverage by Vander Esch at the one, leading to a fourth field goal to cut the lead to a touchdown. Ryan hit Jones on a deep sideline go route just inside the two-minute warning on a slightly underthrown ball at the goal line to tie the game.
2018 Week 12 vs NO (35 / 47 / 377 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 16 / 0 rush)
The veteran quarterback had a strong yardage night, finding receivers open on dig routes, shallow routes, slants, and over routes for solid gains. Unfortunately, Ryan fumbled the ball in consecutive possessions inside the Saints' two. The first was a well-defended quick-slant where the New Orleans edge defender leaped into the passing lane and forced Ryan to hold the ball on the short drop, which gave P.J. Williams time to reach the quarterback an create the turnover on a blitz. On the next series, Ryan did not correctly read the coverage position of the flat defender on Calvin Ridley and missed the opportunity for an easy touchdown. This forced Ryan to look elsewhere, drift into pressure reaching the pocket and fumble the ball trying to escape the defense. Ryan recovered the ball but this forced Atlanta to kick a field goal while already down 14-0. The Saints sacked Ryan six times in the game and repeatedly shut down the offense once it crossed midfield. Although Ryan got Atlanta within 14 points late in the third quarter - thanks to some play-action passing and smart throws on the move from pressure - Ryan had a pass tipped at the line by Tyler Davidson that linebacker A.J. Klein rebounded for the interception and it allowed New Orleans to re-establish a 21-point lead late in the game and put it out of reach. Much of Ryan's production came in garbage time.
2018 Week 13 vs BAL (16 / 26 / 131 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 4 / 0 rush)
Sharp to begin the game with short passes in the flats and over the middle, Ryan and the Falcons stalled out inside the Ravens' 35 during the opening drive when Ryan overshot Tevin Coleman on a wheel route and threw the ball behind Calvin Ridley two plays later on third-down. The Ravens also out-strategized Ryan pre-snap when Eric Weddle disguised a blitz, baiting Ryan into an audible into a more advantageous play for the Baltimore defense. Ryan had to call a time out when he saw he was baited. This led to a Matt Bryant field goal. He began the second series with a wounded duck that forced Julio Jones into a jump-ball situation on a deep play-action pass that was way short and Eric Weddle knocked from Jones' grip. Two plays later, Terrell Suggs cleaned up with a sack after pressure up the middle on third-down forced Ryan to the right flat. This led to a punt to end the second series with a three-and-out. In the third series, Ryan made an off-balanced throw on third and five to Austin Hooper on a crossing route into an open flat for 16 to extend the drive--this wouldn't be the last of its kind of the day. Ryan dealt with errors from his receivers in Atlanta's third series. Jones dropped a five-yard stick route to begin the drive and Calvin Ridley ran a comeback a yard too short and put Atlanta in a fourth and one. Atlanta went for it and got stuffed to end the series. The Ravens confused Ryan again with pre-snap secondary shifts and got pressure on him off the left side, hitting him in the leg as he was throwing and the ball came out high to his intended receiver to force a third-and-eight during the fourth series for the offense. Consistent pressure forced Ryan into difficult throws with hit-or-miss accuracy and cornerback Marlon Humphrey delivered multiple hard hits to pry targets loose from receivers. Ryan took his third sack on a first-down blitz in the middle of the fourth quarter and Tavon Young returned the sack fumble for a touchdown to increase the lead to 26-10. Ryan threw a touchdown to Austin Hooper to the goal line on a fade away throw late in the fourth quarter with pressure bearing down.
2018 Week 14 vs GB (28 / 42 / 262 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
The quarterback found Julio Jones on 63 yards worth of passing yards on 3 catches to begin the game, including a fade route up the right sideline, an out route at the left boundary, and a crossing route for a 16-yard touchdown. Round found Mohamed Sanu twice in two drives for third-down conversions in the shallow zone of the Packers defense to keep drives a live. On a third and eight near the red zone, Ryan tried to bring the ball down and fumbled it, forcing a loss when Tevin Coleman recovered it. This led to a 53-yard field goal attempt that bounced off the right goal post. Ryan threw a pick-six with six minutes in the second quarter when Breshad Breeland undercut Austin Hooper on an out that as behind Hooper. It was likely that Hooper did not break the route fast enough on this hot versus the blitz. Ryan found Julio Jones on a deep fade but a Jake Matthews penalty nullified the play and two plays later, Atlanta punted with 2:45 left in the half. Clay Matthews sacked Ryan on third and short to begin the second half on a looping blitz inside from a twist to confuse the left guard, ending Atlanta's first drive of the third quarter. Ryan overshot Jones, who beat Jaire Alexander on a deep post, late in the third quarter on 3rd and 10 and it resulted in another punt. The Packers' relentless pressure foiled Ryan throughout the game despite Ryan not getting sacked as often as we've seen in recent weeks.
2018 Week 15 vs ARI (22 / 36 / 231 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 18 / 1 rush)
After a drop and a completion to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, respectively, Markus Golden sacked Ryan at the end of a seven-step drop on a first down. Ryan completed a third-down pass to Mohamed Sanu for 16 but an illegal shift nullified the conversion and Atlanta punted to end its first possession. He was sacked again in the next series on third down by Hassaan Reddick, throwing Tevin Coleman backwards, and forcing a second consecutive punt. Ryan hit Jones for 22 yards to get inside the Cardinals' 10 after a Falcons' fumble recovery. He rushed a throw when a flash of pressure crossed his face and delivered a bad ball to Smith two plays later, setting up a third and seven from the Arizona nine. Ryan finished the drive with a quarterback sneak after feeding Smith on a swing pass that got Atlanta to the one. Midway through the second quarter, Ryan got Atlanta inside the Cardinals' 35 but later in the drive, he threw well behind Coleman on a third-down slant that forced a 33-yard field goal. Ryan got Julio Jones into Cardinals territory with a scramble-drill target up the left sideline. Ryan took a hit on the next play against a blitz, hitting Jones again up the same sideline with about 30 seconds in the half. He scrambled for 15 yards--his longest run of the season--on the next play, getting into field goal range. Ryan followed up with a 21-yard touchdown pass up the left sideline to Jones to extend the lead to 19. Ryan's second touchdown was a garbage-time score to the end-line to a wide-open Justin Hardy.
2018 Week 16 vs CAR (15 / 26 / 239 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
The quarterback leaned on Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu during the first drive, finding them over the middle and in the flats to drive the field, converting a pair of third downs on the way to a touchdown pass in the right corner at the end line to Jones. Ryan had a golden opportunity to earn the lead after Carolina fumbled the ball away at its 10 yard-line to begin its third series, but Ben Garland got beat on the next pay which resulted in a sack fumble of Ryan as he was bringing the ball back to throw. Carolina regained possession and Atlanta missed the opportunity. Ryan found Austin Hooper on a 32-yard sail route that set up a game-tying field goal after Calvin Ridley dropped a pass targeted inside the Carolina 5. Ryan got some help from the ground game and Ridley in the third quarter, including a 75-yard touchdown for the lead when Ridley ran past a busted Cover 2. Later in the third quarter, Mohamed Sanu took an over route for a 44-yard score to pad the lead to 14 points.
2018 Week 17 vs TB (31 / 44 / 378 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / 7 / 0 rush)
The quarterback got Atlanta's offense near midfield with a series of short passes but a first-down holding penalty, a Marvin Hall drop of an open hook route, and a defensed target to Julio Jones by cornerback Brett Grimes set up a third and long where Ryan couldn't work past the pressure for anything more than a check-down. This led to an eventual punt. Ryan miscalculated an over route off a quick play-fake to open its second drive, throwing the ball where the trailing defender undercut the ball for a near-interception. Ryan found Julio Jones over the middle on third and eight, but Jones slipped trying to avoid linebacker Lavonte David and fell a yard shy of the marker. This led to a second punt. Ryan also underestimated a fin route to Mohamed Sanu during a blitz and the defensive back cut off the ball on third and two, leading to a third consecutive punt. Ryan found Calvin Ridley for 12 yards on a comeback on a designed boot leg. However, Atlanta's line stalled the offense with a penalty on first down and then a sack of Ryan on the next play, leading to a 2nd and 18. Brian Hill caught a short pass from Ryan and broke three tackles for nine yards but a penalty resulted in a 3rd and 24. Ryan overshot his receiver who was well covered up the sideline and it led to a fourth-straight punt. Ryan targeted Justin Hardy with his third read on a third and eight after the two-minute warning but Grimes undercut that route as well. Ryan was consistently a little behind his receivers on routes over the middle. This led to a fifth punt. Ryan found Austin Hooper on consecutive corner routes up the left sideline to work from Atlanta territory to the Tampa 35 with about 30 seconds left. He culminated the drive with a post to Jones with 20 seconds left. Ryan caught a reverse pass over his shoulder for a touchdown to culminate its first drive in the third quarter to close the game to a three-point deficit. After two penalties late in the third quarter that seemed to stall another drive, Ryan found Sanu on a deep crosser for a first-down to get across midfield. Ryan followed with a deep cross to Hooper bracketed by two defenders in the end zone but Hooper dropped the ball while trying to extend for it on this play-action throwback. Ryan delivered a 37-yard stutter-go to Jones on a play-action throw just under the oncoming safety. Ryan threw a fourth-quarter interception on a play-action boot right. He stumbled while working away from the pressure and when he recovered he tried to throw the ball across his body to Justin Hardy and wound up sailing the ball over the receiver to the safety, giving Tampa the ball at midfield and down by five.
2017 Week 1 vs CHI (21 / 30 / 321 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 11 / 0 rush)
Ryan hit his first five passes on the drive to four different receivers to get inside the 29 of Chicago to set up a field goal to complete an 11-play 62-yard opening drive. He overthrew Sanu on third down in the second drive to set up a punt. The Bears sacked Ryan on first down in the middle of the second quarter. Followed up with a crossing route to Jones for 25 to get inside the red zone. Slid inside the 5 on 2nd and 13 against edge pressure to avoid the sack and set up the open lane in the late second quarter for 13 yards. Freeman then bounced it outside for the TD. It was their second 11-play scoring drive. Pressured twice in a row on first drive of the third quarter for Falcons and sacked on second play on third down by Akeem Hicks up the middle. Split a double team due to outside pressure by nickel backer to open the double team. Justin Hardy Juggled a 3rand 8 deep out that he tight roped the sideline and incomplete but Matt Ryan roughed with late hit on the ground in the third quarter with 5:10 left. Ryan hit Austin Hooper for an 88-yard score and then later a 40-yard catch and run to set up a field goal to put the Falcons up six with only a few minutes left.
2017 Week 2 vs GB (19 / 28 / 252 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
Ryan leaned on Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu with crossing routes and outs during the first half. Ryan hit Jones twice on the opening drive for 52 yards, including a 33-yard gain on an intermediate crosser off a fake stretch play. Ryan took a Clay Matthews sack around the edge of the replacement right tackle Ty Sambrallo on third down of the second series, forcing a punt. Ryan began the third series with a 24-yard completion to Sanu on a crossing route off a play-action roll to the left. Ryan over shot a potential big play to Taylor Gabriel after the Packers edge defenders squeezed the pocket and forced Ryan to climb and loft the ball on the move. He later found Sanu for 21 yards on a crossing route early in the second quarter to work across midfield during the Falcons' third series of the game. With a healthy lead in the second half, the Falcons maintained a healthy balance of pass and run to bleed the clock. In the middle of the fourth quarter, Ryan delivered slants to Jones and Sanu for chunks of yards that set up first downs and more runs for Devonta Freeman.
2017 Week 3 vs DET (24 / 35 / 294 / 2 / 3 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
After hitting four of his first five passes that got the Falcons inside the 12, Ryan took a sack up the middle for a loss of eight. The pressure also forced Ryan to overthrow a well-covered Julio Jones on a corner fade in the end zone. After finding Devonta Freeman in a tight window on 3rd and 16 for 18 yards, Ryan followed up with a sprint-out shallow route to the left side for a completion on a bang-bang play that the replay officials eventually ruled a touchdown. Ryan took a sack on 3rd and 2 inside the Atlanta 10 after tripping over his feet while trying to retreat from pressure pushing a teammate into the quarterback's face, leading to a field goal and a 10-point lead. Ryan threw a pick-six to Glover Quinn late in the half off a play-action pass against a Cover-1 look where Quinn refused to be baited by the fake and kept his depth to jump the route, pick off Jones on the dig, and return it up the right sideline to close the gap to 17-13. It was Ryan's first interception in 304 pass attempts. Ryan had his pass tipped by the defensive line on a target to Coleman on a screen with 0:45 in the half and was nearly intercepted. Ryan later got within a foot of a touchdown on a deep sideline route to Jones on the first play of the third quarter. Ryan targeted Gabriel on 3rd and 3 late in the third quarter deep in Atlanta's own territory and Atlanta rushed to the line to prevent a contested replay situation on the diving grab. Ryan rushed his throw to Tevin Coleman, who wasn't ready for a hard throw. The ball went through his hands and Darius Slay returned the interception to the Atlanta 21. Sanu let a second pass through his hands at the Detroit 10 on 2nd and 10 from the 19 in the middle of the fourth quarter, and Darius Slay earned his second interception of the game and prevented Atlanta from building on its 30-26 lead.
2017 Week 4 vs BUF (24 / 42 / 242 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
If Ryan didn't find his first read during the first half, Bills pressure forced him to throw early and off-target from the pocket. After a failed first drive, Buffalo downed a punt inside the Atlanta 1 and Ryan missed a wide-open check-down to FB Derrick Coleman up the left sideline late in the first quarter. A few plays later, he was too wide of Mohamed Sanu on a third-down back-shoulder fade, forcing a second punt. On the next drive, Ryan threw behind Sanu on third down against rookie Tre'Davious White, who stopped Sanu shy of the marker deep in Buffalo territory and forced a field goal. Ryan missed multiple throws on second and third reads. Ryan then had the ball knocked loose by Jerry Hughes in the pocket. White recovered the fumble for a touchdown and a 14-10 lead. With Jones and Sanu out of the game, Ryan tried too hard for a big play, underthrowing an open Gabriel on a deep post that Ryan lacked the arm strength to throw ahead of the target. The underthrown ball gave the safety position for the interception. Ryan tied the game on the next drive with a one-yard throw to Justin Hardy, who earned a free release against a confused Buffalo tandem of safety and linebacker. However, Buffalo continued pressuring Ryan in subsequent possessions and the inaccurate targets resumed. Ryan threw behind Hardy on a slant on 2nd and 17 after Devonta Freeman tried to reverse field on a 1st and 10 late in the game and lost 7. He then led Nick Williams too far on a deep slant and Williams' diving effort tipped the ball into safety Micah Hyde's arms for the interception and a return into Atlanta territory. On the final drive, the Bills covered Ryan's first two reads so well that Ryan was forced to over throw Gabriel on an out on 4th and 1, sealing the game for Buffalo at their own 10 with 0:42 left.
2017 Week 6 vs MIA (24 / 35 / 248 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Falcons began the game connecting on multiple routes of less than 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Ryan's longest target was a 10-yard back shoulder fade to Julio Jones on 3rd and 10 near midfield that drew a defensive pass interference penalty. During the second series, Ryan delivered a strong play fake to Devonta Freeman while his receiver Justin Hardy worked behind him on the run action to set up a deep post perfectly thrown to the newly re-signed Marvin Hall for a 41-yard touchdown. Miami's domination of the second and third quarter with power running made the game close and allowed the Dolphins to pressure Ryan. The quarterback took his first sack from Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake on a play-action pass against a safety blitz that forced the QB to climb into the duo in the bottom half of the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, Jake Matthews blew a protection and led to another sack of Ryan on 2nd and 20 near midfield, forcing a check-down, a failed snap on a punt that gave Miami great field position, and ultimately the lead. Ryan made some good throws on the final drive but Miami's defensive back made a great play on the ball on a target to Austin Hooper while in trail coverage and tipped it to safety Rashard Jones for the game sealing interception deep in Miami's territory.
2017 Week 7 vs NE (23 / 33 / 233 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 37 / 0 rush)
The Falcons quarterback was not at all sharp in this game. He led Mohamed Sanu too far on a short target at the boundary on a 3rd-and-2 mismatch with safety Eugene Chung. Although he found Julio Jones for 12 yards on a bootleg action pass to the left during the second series to get close to midfield and converted a 4th and 2 at midfield with a scramble, he later overshot an open Sanu up the left rail on 2nd and 10 from the Patriots' 19 into the end zone. Later in the drive, he hit Andre Roberts on a third-down pass in the red zone that was broken up and it led to a blocked field goal. He took a sack during the next drive and it derailed the series and inside the two-minute warning, Ryan once again overshot Sanu on a 4th and 6 corner route. Sanu broke the route off like it was an out and Ryan threw the corner. Ryan once again rushed for a first down in the second half and then overshot Jones on 2nd and 7 from the 17 of New England on a corner route. Like Sanu, Jones seemed to flatten out the route to an out when Ryan threw the corner. Ryan overshot Sanu again to the right corner in the end zone in the same spot he targeted Jones on previous play, leading to a missed attempt of a 35-yard field goal. Ryan finally hit Sanu on a sideline fade between two defenders at the Patriots one to open the fourth quarter. However, Ryan failed to lead Jones on a 3rd and goal crossing route at the end line against Butler and the CB batted it away. It seemed like Ryan's most productive moments were runs for conversions. With the Patriots having the game in hand 23-0, the Falcons finally scored on the 11th play of an 88-yard drive when Ryan delivered a low-thrown corner fade against Butler that Jones had to wrestle away.
2017 Week 8 vs NYJ (18 / 29 / 254 / 2 / 0 pass, 6 / 17 / 0 rush)
Ryan fumbled a pair of exchanges from center in the first half, and the Jets recovered each fumble inside Atlanta's territory and well inside field goal range. However, the Jets could only manage a field goal as the net result. The Falcons did a better job of targeting Austin Hooper from the slot early on and it led to a second score where Ryan missed the first window to hit Hooper on a corner fade but anticipated Hooper working open to the inside on the second effort. Ryan buying time and his receivers working open was a theme in the red zone. The same thing happened when Ryan looked to Mohamed Sanu in the fourth quarter on a crossing route. Ryan had to climb pressure and slide outside the pocket to buy time and Sanu reversed his field, curling along the end line to get open and make a diving catch. Ryan also found Julio Jones for a 54-yard completion on a play-action post covering 56-yards in the air. Despite buying time and creating second-chance opportunities, Ryan had some close calls late in this game that could have cost the Falcons. Up by five, Ryan was charged with intentional grounding to set up a 3rd and 25 deep in its own territory after buying time form pressure and throwing the ball to the middle of the field with no receiver around. Later, Ryan nearly got picked off by Darron Lee on a diving defensive effort of a hurried outlet target to Freeman in the red zone with 5:30 left in the game up by two. If Lee were a set closer and didn't have to dive, it could have been a 97-yard pick-six.
2017 Week 9 vs CAR (24 / 38 / 313 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
He led off the game with a 34-yard play to Julio Jones and the receiver broke a tackle. This could have easily been an interception if not for Jones re-establishing position. He found Jones against a high-low bracket that was behind the receiver but Jones fended off Thomas Davis for the catch Four plays later, Ryan missed Jones on the deep post from the 46 of Carolina. This would have resulted in a touchdown. Ryan later found Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu on key plays to finish the drive, including a six-yard shallow out to Sanu for the score. Jones caught a corner route for 26 late in the half on a pass thrown too far inside but pressure forced the off-balanced throw. Ryan and Hooper weren't on the same page on a downfield route over the middle where Hooper broke further down field and Ryan threw it wide to the open spot, which allowed the safety to break across the tight end for the interception and a 35-yard return. Carolina amped up the pressure with the lead and late in the third quarter, Ryan held onto the ball too long, taking multiple sacks to end the period. One of those sacks, he was outside the pocket and should have thrown the ball away. Ryan found Jones on a good timing route for 18 up the left sideline on a hook route early in the fourth quarter, but then put too much air under the ball on an open go route to the receiver who got tangled up with the corner and had to leave the game again. Ryan found Justin Hardy for 19 on a risky throw while leaning against his lineman who was pushed into the pocket. With the game close, Ryan was finally accurate on a deep post on 4th down, but Jones dropped the ball while trying to trap it against his chest. The next drive, Ryan found multiple underneath targets, including a 40-yard catch and run to Taylor Gabriel that ended with a 19-yard, WR screen to Tevin Coleman to close the gap to 3. However, Ryan could not find time during the final drive to deliver the ball downfield and Carolina ran out the clock.
2017 Week 10 vs DAL (22 / 29 / 215 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Mohamed Sanu tipped Ryan's first pass after the cornerback hit Sanu from behind on a curl route and Xavier Woods made the interception deep in Atlanta territory. Even so, Ryan was sharp and his timing with his receivers during the first two series - including this play, was a strong. Ryan later overshot a wide-open Marvin Hall on a deep cross to the left sideline during the second series of the game. After that, Ryan and the Falcons stuck to short and intermediate timing routes with greater success - especially with the aid of play-action passing. Ryan took advantage of a 17-yard run by Tevin Coleman to open the 3rd quarter with a 24-yard play-action crossing route to Julio Jones to get Atlanta inside the Dallas 35. He converted a third-down pass to Taylor Gabriel with a tight-window throw at the Dallas six while breaking the pocket up the middle and throwing on the move. Ryan then capped the long drive with a post route to Hardy in the back of the end zone. Ryan later found Gabriel in the fourth quarter with an excellent dig route for a long gain that flipped the field and led to consecutive play-action drag routes to Austin Hooper to extend the lead to 17.
2017 Week 11 vs SEA (19 / 27 / 195 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 12 / 0 rush)
His most impactful throw of the initial drive was an on-target go route to Mohamed Sanu in the end zone. Seattle cornerback Byron Maxwell defended the route by holding Sanu's inside arm. This foul put the ball at the Seahawks' one, and Tevin Coleman capped the drive with a plunge. Hardy caught a low-thrown out on 3rd and 7 to set up a 1st and goal on the second drive. Ryan threw the ball low by design because of the coverage over top. On the next play, he tried to target Marvin Hall from a twin set at the five, but he threw the ball outside of Hall. The ball bounced off Hall into the arms of cornerback Jeremy Lane, who dropped the ball. Two plays later, Ryan found Sanu for a one-hand stab of a fade route in the right corner of the end zone to put Atlanta up 14-0. He later found Sanu for a key third-down conversion during the third drive from a tight pocket. Ryan also avoided pressure later in the game when he broke the pocket for a first down on 3rd and 8 with a 14-yard run up the left flat to reach the Seattle 40. He then hit Jones for a first down on a crossing route with a bootleg left. Ryan finished this drive with a 25-yard throwback to Levine Toilolo on a seam route up the left flat, extending its lead to 11. Late in the game, Ryan took a 3rd and 3 sack from Sheldon Richardson on an inside rush against the right guard Schweitzer. This prevented Atlanta from running out the clock and gave Seattle one last drive that came within about three yards of tying the game.
2017 Week 12 vs TB (26 / 35 / 317 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
He led the Falcons on a 15-play drive with a mix of runs, bootleg passes, and short and intermediate perimeter passes to Julio Jones, Taylor Gabriel, and Austin Hooper. Tampa Bay blitzed Ryan as the Falcons crossed midfield and forced an errant throw. Double coverage also foiled a deep cross off play action to Julio Jones. Atlanta capped the stalled drive with a 49-yard field goal. Tampa Bay blitzed Ryan again during Atlanta's second series, and he checked down immediately to Austin Hooper on a route well short of the marker and with a target too low for Hooper to catch and run. Hooper dropped the ball and Atlanta punted. He led off the fourth drive with a perfect seven-step drop and throw to Julio Jones on the deep out over the trailing coverage at the right sideline for a first down. Ryan found a wide open Julio Jones on another out route of 25 yards in the middle of the second quarter. He found Jones for another 22 on a sail route late the half. He then hit Hooper, Sanu, and Jones in the middle of the field to set up a half-ending field goal. Ryan led off the second half with a bootleg pass of 23 yards to Jones, a shallow seam route to Sanu for a larger gain after the catch, and a 23-yard catch and run by Austin Hooper. Ryan threw the ball behind Sanu against the blitz on 3rd and 8 late in the third quarter. This was his third bad throw against pressure in this game. After Tampa closed the lead to seven, Ryan fed Jones a crossing route for the receiver's 11th catch and a 44-yard play. However pressure forced Ryan to rush a throw that was shy of his target, Austin Hooper. Atlanta countered the pressure later in the game with a designed sprint and short passes to move up the field.
2017 Week 13 vs MIN (16 / 29 / 173 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Ryan got hot during the third drive of the game, finding Julio Jones, Marvin Hall, and Mohamed Sanu on first-down passes for strong gains on an over route, a dig, and a skinny post. Ryan got Atlanta moving on the first drive of the second half, but a third-down throw to a wide-open Mohamed Sanu was too low and the Falcons had to settle for its third field goal of the game to re-take the lead. The Vikings began blitzing Ryan during the first two drives of the second half as a way to counter Ryan throwing successfully on first downs. Ryan forced the ball on consecutive targets, leading to a punt in the middle of the third quarter. After losing the lead in the fourth quarter, Ryan had to force a throw to a covered running back while pressured up the middle. The Vikings collapsed the pocket on the following play and forced Ryan to break the pocket, leading to an Anthony Barr tackle, a 4th and 6, and a punt. Ryan could not find Julio Jones because Xavier Rhodes was too physical for Jones to overcome at the line of scrimmage, and Atlanta did not begin motioning the receiver away from Rhodes' press techniques until late in the game.
2017 Week 14 vs NO (15 / 27 / 221 / 1 / 3 pass, 3 / 0 / 0 rush)
He began the game throwing slants to Julio Jones, hitting one of them for a 38-yard gain to the Saints' 15. Saints' penalties and Atlanta's ground game did most of the work down the field in this series. He was forced to throw the ball away on a 3rd and 5 from the 10 after Saints coverage did its job, leading to a game-tying field goal. His second completion of the game was another slant off a quick play-fake, finding Mohamed Sanu for a first down to the Atlanta 31 early in the second quarter. On the next play, Ryan found Jones for 22 on a back shoulder fake against Lattimore after working from a tight split to work to the sideline. Ryan delivered an interception because he didn't consider the cornerback's position on Julio Jones when he looked to Jones as his second read. Marshon Lattimore cut off the route and crossed midfield into field goal range, but an illegal formation penalty nullified the field goal and the time run-off meant the game remained tied at the half. Ryan threw two picks in the early second half, including a terrible decision to throw to a covered receiver in the end zone. Ryan recovered on a drive that started late in the third quarter to convert a few big throws in Saints territory, including the game-tying score to Mohamed Sanu. Completions to Sanu and Jones fueled a fourth-quarter field goal drive that ended up being the margin of victory.
2017 Week 15 vs TB (17 / 31 / 212 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 29 / 0 rush)
While on-target in the short passing game, Ryan was once again inconsistent on vertical targets greater than 25 yards. He found Justin Hardy for 20 yards on a curl route while taking a hit to his chest during the release, giving Hardy room to gain another 7 on the play. He later found Hardy to cap the drive with a seven-yard stop fade for the score against a Buccaneers defense that had only 10 defenders on the field. He also found Jones on a deep curl in an empty middle against a deep safety on a play-action pass from inside its own five. This was the outer limits of his accuracy. He hesitated to target Jones on deep seam route in the second quarter when the receiver had position on the safety, but Ryan wanted an extra second of confirmation. By the team he released the ball, the throw was late and behind Jones, which allowed both the trailing linebacker and safety to close on Jones and break up the play. Ryan later drove Atlanta from inside its own 20 with less than 2 minutes left with several short passes. However, his placement was too high on consecutive passes after getting past midfield, and it led to a punt with 30 seconds left. In the third quarter, Ryan found Jones on a deep crossing route with a perfect throw of at least 45 yards but the ball went through Jones' hands. While Ryan repeatedly avoided pressure and broke the pocket for gains up the left flat, the consistent second-half pressure impacted Ryan as the half progressed. He misfired to an open Hardy near the Tampa three late in the third and it led a 33-yard field goal attempt that the Buccaneers blocked. After Tampa closed the lead to three, Ryan got sacked trying to climb the pocket on 3rd and 9 with 1:24 left, which gave the Buccaneers a final chance to tie the game.
2017 Week 16 vs NO (22 / 36 / 288 / 1 / 1 pass, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
He targeted Julio Jones against Marshon Lattimore early in this game, generating two receptions on crossing routes and a defensed pass on an out. Atlanta used Jones in bunch sets frequently enough to keep Lattimore off the receiver. This worked last game and they went back to it early in this one. After multiple penalties during the third drive of the game, Ryan got sacked by Cameron Jordan on 3rd and 30 while climbing the pocket, leading to Atlanta's third punt. He found Jones on a back-shoulder fade from the slot to begin Atlanta's final drive of the half--once again, against Lattimore. However, Jordan hit Ryan during his throw two plays later, which led to a 3rd and 10 throw under pressure to Marvin Hall on the dig. Hall could not extend far enough to control the ball and it wound up landing on Lattimore's backside, which he pulled off his butt to earn the drive-ending interception. The pass was catchable but the ball when through Hall's hands. Jordan sacked Ryan a second time on a 3rd and 2 in the third quarter, beating the right tackle fast enough that Ryan barely finished his drop. Ryan connected with Jones late in the third quarter on an out-and-up against Lattimore for 44 yards.
2017 Week 17 vs CAR (28 / 45 / 317 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 14 / 0 rush)
Atlanta got the best of the Panthers defense with routes in the middle of the field and rub routes that created openings on the edges. Ryan showed patience on 3rd and 7 to find Jones on a slant route from a stacked formation. Although the Jones' route didn't come open in the first window of his break, Ryan waited in the pocket long enough to deliver the ball from a tight spot to Jones at the right hash in-stride for a completion of 11 yards and a gain of 15. Ryan completed three third-down passes during this drive - the third of these passes was a swing route to Tevin Coleman working outside a slant route that occupied the outside linebacker and brought Atlanta to the Carolina 19. On the next play, Devonta Freeman got open on a rub route working in conjunction with a shallow crossing route for the touchdown. Once left guard Andy Levitre left the game, Ryan dealt with a lot of pressure. During Atlanta's second series and he was forced to check the ball to his outlet receiver on consecutive passes that led to a punt. Ryan hung a pass up between bracket coverage up the left flat on 3rd and 8 that reached Jones in stride, but the receiver had to work over the safety to make an attempt on the ball and could not pull it down. This led to a second punt in as many series. Atlanta punted a fourth consecutive time in the first half after pressure forced Ryan to climb the pocket on the run and overshoot Sanu on a crossing route. He had to climb or break the pocket against pressure multiple times during this drive, including a scramble up the middle for a first down to the Carolina 11 in the late third quarter. Two plays later, he delivered a beautiful back shoulder throw on a post route to Sanu between two defenders. This was as good of a red zone throw you'd see this year, but the ball hit the ground after contact with the defender. Ryan repeatedly moved around the pocket, finding an open passing lane after avoiding pressure. This put Atlanta into field goal range again, but a dropped pass by Jones and a third-down sack led to a 56-yard field goal to extend the lead to 9.
2017 Week 18 vs LAR (21 / 30 / 218 / 1 / 0 pass, 6 / 5 / 0 rush)
Ryan wasn't able to get much going early, as the Rams strong rush flushed him from the pocket. He was unable to make big plays downfield with the exception of one extended play, but Ryan was solid in the short game to put together scoring drives, including one long drive in the third quarter to accelerate the outcome of the game. Ryan converted a fourth-down quarterback sneak on the drive. He made an excellent touch throw on the score to Julio Jones to lead him away from coverage. Ryan played more than well enough for the team to win this game,
2017 Week 19 vs PHI (22 / 36 / 210 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan faced pressure throughout the game and was frequently forced to scramble. His lone touchdown was on a play where he had to improvise out of the pocket and dump the ball off the Devonta Freeman in the end zone. Ryan had the opportunity for another touchdown late, but was unable to connect on two end zone targets to Julio Jones. Jones arguably should have caught both passes, with the last one going threw his hands. Ryan targeted Jones 16 times, and the Philadelphia defense did a good job containing him, while the rest of the receiving corps did little to help Ryan.
2016 Week 1 vs TB (27 / 39 / 334 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / 10 / 0 rush)
Atlanta had three red zone penalties in the first quarter that limited them to two field goals and left tackle Jake Matthews gave up two of them, including a sack of Ryan on third down in the red area. The team as a whole earned five penalties in the first half alone, which is a continuation of last year's effort as one of the most penalized teams of 2015. Ryan's biggest plays came off a read option play fake from the shotgun. He found Mohamad Sanu wide open in a busted zone coverage for a 59-yard catch and run that set up the first field goal. He also hit A.J. Green a quick dig route off the same play in the middle of the third quarter. But Atlanta went to the well too often on the same drive and Gerald McCoy didn't bite on the same play fake two plays later, sacking Ryan and ending a drive near mid-field that could have cut Tampa's lead to four. Ryan did a good job of finding Sanu early in this game, hitting the receiver three times in the first quarter, including a post route from a bunch trips alignment behind Brent Grimes for a leaping catch near the end line. He had a perfect play action throw to Julio Jones in a deep cross in the early fourth quarter but Jones dropped the pass when hit int he back. Ryan and Kyle Shanahan once again went to the well too often on the read-option play-action pass and it resulted in the Buccaneer's second sack of this play alone--it's third of the day. Ryan threw consecutive passes behind open receivers due to pressure on the final drive and set up a 4th and 10 with 1:18 left and Gerald McCoy tipped the pass and sealed the victory. Ryan's overall output was positive but at least half of his total was accumulated during garbage time.
2016 Week 2 vs OAK (26 / 34 / 396 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
When the Falcons can run, Matt Ryan doesn't see a lot of pressure. Other than Ryan Schraeder allowing a bull rush by defensive tackle Stacy McGhee that resulted in a sack and a hit from Khalil Mack on a short drop where Jake Matthews had a brain fart with his set up, the Falcons' line kept the quarterback clean. It helped that cornerback Sean Smith was so concerned about Julio Jones getting outside that he gave up easy plays on the inside, including a 21-yard score on a slant and and a 48-yard gain on a deep crossing route off play action. Ryan also completed 10 passes to three tight ends, including a seam route for a score to Jacob Tamme that was set up by a 34-yard throwback to Austin Hooper. Atlanta also added a slant to its arsenal for Tevin Coleman, shifting him outside when it recognized the defense would cover the RB with an LB and it resulted in a 24-yard gain. Ryan had a lucky score late in the game when he targeted Coleman in the red area on the same type of route and the LB hit Coleman, forced the ball into the air and Justin Hardy was the man on the spot with the rebound just ahead of the unfortunate Sean Smith. Ryan's worst play was also a red zone throw where he placed a throw on Jacob Tamme's inside shoulder and gave the trailing David Amerson the room to undercut for an interception in the end zone. If Atlanta can remain inventive with Coleman but continue to allow Freeman room to run up the middle, the rest of this offense opens up and becomes dangerous.
2016 Week 3 vs NO (20 / 30 / 240 / 2 / 0 pass, 5 / 23 / 0 rush)
The Falcons quarterback threw two touchdowns in this game, including a 13-yard pass to Devonta Freeman on a well-designed swing pass to the left flat that had left tackle Jake Matthews work past the line of scrimmage and cutoff the Saints' outside linebacker well before the defender could pursue Freeman--his man on the play. Ryan also delivered a shovel pass off to Justin Hardy for a score late in the half. The play included a ghosted end around before Ryan delivered the pass. New Orleans couldn't stop the run all night and it included Ryan when he broke the pocket or bought time outside the pocket against pressure. Although Ryan got sacked twice, the Falcons' offense was in total control for most of this game and Ryan completed at least two passes to six receivers and found eight receivers total.
2016 Week 4 vs CAR (28 / 37 / 503 / 4 / 1 pass, 4 / 14 / 0 rush)
The Falcons quarterback found Jones twice on the first two plays for a total of 35 yards. The first was a play-action pass with max protection. He followed up with a third throw to Jones for another 15 yards. Ryan and the Falcons maintained an up-tempo drive culminating in a three-yard flat route to Jacob Tamme to give Atlanta the early reach on an eight-play, 71-yard drive. The second series began with nearly 30 yards of passing on play action passes to backs Tevin Coleman and the fullback Patrick DiMarco on consecutive plays. Ryan started the day 7-for-7. He made it 8-for-8 with a perfect deep fade to Jones for 44 yards. His worst mistake came when Ryan through a pass to the left flat that linebacker Thomas Davis tipped at the line of scrimmage and resulted in a pick-six by safety Kurt Coleman. Ryan underthrew Jones on a go route in the subsequent drive, forcing Jones to slow down and give the trailing CB Berne Benwikere a chance to recover and defend the pass. Two plays later, Ryan found Jones again against Benwikere for 53 yards on 3rd and 17. The Panthers amped up the pressure with blitzes on Ryan but the combination of excellent play-calling and big plays by Jones, Austin Hooper, Aldrick Robinson, and Taylor Gabriel buried the Carolina defense. Jones and Robinson burned Benwikere for two of Ryan's four touchdowns.
2016 Week 5 vs DEN (15 / 28 / 267 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 3 / 0 rush)
Denver pressure got to Matt Ryan multiple times and Ryan missed a wide open Julio Jones twice on deep routes but these were the only significant negatives for Atlanta's quarterback. Thanks to great game planning from offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the Falcons repeatedly found ways to match Tevin Coleman in the slot against an inside linebacker for big plays. Ryan found Tevin Coleman on a third-down crossing route from the slot for a 48-yard gain on the first drive. He later found Coleman for an easy score of 19 yards after splitting the back from the shotgun to the inside trips side of the formation on the linebacker and hit the wide open Coleman at the five. Later, Ryan found Coleman up the right sideline on a fade from slot right against a Broncos linebacker for a 49-yard play.
2016 Week 6 vs SEA (27 / 42 / 335 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
Falcons began early with three play action passes with short routes in rhythm to reach midfield. Seattle responded with blitzes and hard hitting at the catch point from Earl Thomas. Ryan committed the first major mistake on a 3rd down slant from inside Atlanta's 15. Ryan waited too long on Julio Jones working against Richard Sherman and Cliff Avril sacked and stripped the Falcons quarterback, leading to a Christine Michael touchdown run on the next play. In the second half, Ryan found Julio Jones repeatedly on intermediate and deep dig routes behind the linebackers and under the safeties to tie the game after being down by 14. One of those plays was an easy score to Jones on a blown coverage where Richard Sherman was playing man and the safety on Jones was playing zone. The next series, Levine Toilolo gave Atlanta the lead on seam route of 46 yards thanks to Richard Sherman confusing his zone/man responsibilities. With less than four minutes left and up by a point, Atlanta continued throwing the ball and it led to Ryan leading Jones too far on a slant and the ball traveled through the receiver's hands, bounced off Richard Sherman's mitts, and into Earl Thomas' arms. Atlanta had one more drive after Seattle took the lead but pressure hindered Atlanta's passing game on the first three downs and led to a desperation heave up the middle to Julio Jones that should have resulted in defensive pass interference but the officials missed the call.
2016 Week 7 vs SD (22 / 34 / 273 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / 8 / 0 rush)
Ryan made some success, if not lucky, throws from off-balanced positions from compressed pockets early in the game. One was a third and 9 target off a scramble drill to Julio Jones at midfield. The cornerback undercut the pass, tipped the ball, and Jones made the rebound and drew a defensive pass interference penalty. He actually dropped the ball but the foul would have been applied, so the Chargers didn't challenge. Round found Jones on a series of curls and digs throughout the game and against tight coverage, often Casey Hayward. One of his completions to Jones was a 20-yard play in tight coverage, but he missed a wide-open Austin Hooper behind the Chargers' defense. Defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram routinely harassed Ryan and they often forced run to rush throws. One of them was a 3rd and 5 in the red zone that led to a field goal. Ryan was off-target to Jacob Tamme twice in this game, but one of them resulted in a 17-yard score because Tame made a great catch on the ball while his momentum was taking him against the grain. Ryan threw an interception with 3:32 in the game when linebacker Denzel Perryman undercut Jones on a dig route and it led to San Diego tying the game. There was time to win the game in the fourth quarter but Ryan tried a quick-snap, QB sneak on third and 1 after a completing a pass and San Diego was ready.
2016 Week 8 vs GB (28 / 35 / 288 / 3 / 0 pass, 2 / 9 / 0 rush)
He began with consecutive first downs in the opening series from empty sets. He hit Mohamed Sanu on a stick route and then a 10-yard run up the middle after breaking the pocket. After consecutive crossing routes to Julio Jones for first downs during the second series, Ryan hit Gabriel for a 47-yard touchdown on a deep post that split the safeties down the middle. Ryan tried to split a tight seam on a double move to Jones but he threw the ball behind Jones and the receiver took a hit to his knees while dropping the difficult target. It was the last target Jones saw until late in the game and Jones was not healthy. Ryan took consecutive sacks in the third quarter that helped Green Bay take the lead in the third quarter. Atlanta reignited its hurry-up offense while down 24-19 and Mohamed Sanu became the focal point of the passing offense with short throws to the flats. Ryan helped Atlanta retake the lead with a seam route to Sanu at the end line.
2016 Week 9 vs TB (25 / 34 / 344 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / 0 / 0 rush)
Ryan found Freeman for 27 yards on a 3rd and 9 outlet pass and two plays later threw a touchdown to Levine Toilolo on after flushing right and finding the tight end up the seam against a blown zone coverage by Brent Grimes. This seam up the right side was exploited for much of the night, including a big plays to Austin Hooper and Taylor Gabriel. Atlanta made enough mistakes on early drives to turn two Tampa fumble recoveries into field goals rather than touchdowns. Ryan also overshot a wide-open Joshua Perkins up the right seam near the end zone after a pump fake and look-off to the safety up the middle form a tight pocket. The right side of the line also gave up two sacks and Gerald McCoy forced a Ryan Fumble, leading to one of two Mike Evans touchdowns. Ryan came out hot in the second half, hitting Julio Jones on consecutive short routes to get close to midfield and after finding Austin Hooper up the right seam he finished the drive to fullback Patrick DiMarco on a one-yard pass to the flat and extended the lead to 12. He later put Atlanta ahead by 20 when he found Julio Jones on a fade route against rookie Vernon Hargreaves. His fourth touchdown went to Hooper on a rub route.
2016 Week 10 vs PHI (18 / 33 / 267 / 1 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The offense began the game with three plays for 18 yards to reach midfield, but a false start penalty led to a punt after Ryan overthrew Jones on a go route on the resulting third and long. Atlanta began with a false start on the second series. Ryan then overshot Jones on a deep route off a fake reverse on the following play. Pressure force Ryan to rush a target to Mohamed Sanu on 3rd and 11 and the receiver couldn't earn enough after the catch for a first down. Sacks, dropped passes, and penalties were a common theme for many of Atlanta's stalled drives due to good pressure by the Eagles. Ryan kept Atlanta in the game with good throws under pressure. He found Jones for 29 yards on a fade up the left sideline. He also delivered a 28-yard strike with his feet off the ground while avoiding pressure in the pocket, hitting Jones on the deep cross. There was also the 76-yard streak up the right sideline to Taylor Gabriel for his only touchdown of the afternoon.
2016 Week 12 vs ARI (26 / 34 / 269 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / 15 / 0 rush)
Ryan repeatedly challenged Patrick Peterson during the first series, delivering completions on the cornerback to Julio Jones on a six-yard dig, Justin Hardy in off coverage for a 27-yard sail route, and then forced Peterson to commit a controversial defensive pass interference foul on a pivot route to Jones at the Cardinals one. These plays set up Freeman's first touchdown. During the second quarter, Ryan was off-target with quick passes when he felt the urgency to get rid of the ball and his placement created difficult targets for Mohamed Sanu and Freeman. If not for a second defensive pass interference call on Peterson, a third rushed throw of this type would have resulted in a Deone Buchanan interception. He later threw an interception to Buchanan in the same area of the field when his slant to Julio Jones could not be corralled and bounced off Jones to the Cardinals hybrid defender. Arizona sacked Ryan four times with excellent blitz calls off the edge during the first series of the second half, but only three of these plays counted thanks to an illegal contact penalty downfield that nullified the fourth. Even so, Ryan routinely found six of his eight different receivers throughout this game and maintained a commanding lead in the fourth quarter.
2016 Week 13 vs KC (22 / 34 / 297 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / 23 / 0 rush)
The Falcons quarterback had strong moments during this game, but his mistakes cost Atlanta dearly. He routinely found Julio Jones on slants, intermediate crosses, and deep outs and corners throughout the first three quarters. He also hit Mohamad Sanu and Devonta Freeman on short crossers for yards against the blitzing Chiefs defense. One of the better plays in the half was a screen to Freeman up the right flat for a long gain. But The Chiefs sacked Ryan multiple times in the first half and Ryan delivered a pick-six to Eric Berry in the middle of the field on a pass intended for Taylor Gabriel. This extended the Chiefs' lead late in the half when Kansas City was scoring touchdowns and Atlanta twice got inside the Chiefs' 10 and only came away with field goals. Ryan made some tough throws in tight pockets down field but each time Atlanta scored a touchdown, the Falcons opted for a two-point conversion and failed. The last time was after Ryan found Aldrick Robinson in the middle of the end zone on a trips left pass against a blown zone coverage and the resulting two-point attempt was picked off again by Berry and taken over 100 yards the opposite way to turn a one-point lead into a one-point loss.
2016 Week 14 vs LA (18 / 28 / 237 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
After the give-me TD to Hardy off the Mike Thomas fumbled kickoff, the Falcons quarterback faced heavy pressure throughout the first half. He was hit while throwing to Taylor Gabriel on a 3rd and 10 route deep in their territory, leading to a punt. A steady diet of screens to the receivers and Devonta Freeman followed, setting up deeper outs to Gabriel, Aldrick Robinson, and Nick Williams. He found Robinson on a 25-yard play on a deep out in the fourth series. During the same half, Ryan delivered a hard pump fake to the left and threw back to Levine Toilolo in the right flat for a wide open play yielding a first down and yards after the catch. The play put Atlanta in the red zone thanks to the yards after the catch and a roughing the passer penalty. Ryan was also hit hard trying to deliver the ball to Nick Williams up the left seam on a third down, forcing an errant throw and a punt on the next play. Despite the steady pressure, hits, and a sack to end the first half, Ryan remained poised, found the open man, and eventually broke the back of the Rams with a 64-yard deep cross off play action in the third quarter. The Rams were game on defense, but the LA offense was a mess--dropping passes, giving up sacks, and delivering turnovers leading to points that made the game easy for Atlanta's offensive figurehead.
2016 Week 15 vs SF (17 / 23 / 286 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
As Atlanta coasted to the comfortable home win against the 49ers, Ryan's passing prowess was not required in high volume. Ryan threw a season-low 23 passes and was hyper-efficient to the tune of 12.4 yards-per-attempt. Ryan operated from a clean pocket on a vast majority of dropbacks. Aldrick Robinson and Taylor Gabriel piled up after-catch yardage with their speed, adding to Ryan's strong statistical day. Ryan's highlight throws included a deep comeback to Robinson while Ryan was on the run outside the pocket and a throwback design to Levine Toilolo in the fourth quarter. A majority of the starters, including Matt Ryan, were pulled by the mid-fourth quarter with the game in hand.
2016 Week 16 vs CAR (27 / 33 / 277 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 9 / 0 rush)
He hit Jones on a quick slant to begin the game and two plays later avoided a strip attempt from the right edge to find Freeman while under pressure and Freeman earned the first down on the dump-off during this first drive. Ryan delivered a back shoulder fade that arrived perfectly over Thomas Davis and under the safety help for the first touchdown. Perkins, a rookie from Washington, made a good catch with his hands between the two defenders tight to him and he fell into the end zone from the two. It was the throw outside Davis' coverage and under the safety that made this play so good. Ryan avoided pressure after a good bit of time in the pocket on a first down after an Atlanta interception of Cam Newton and the QB flushed right and found Julio Jones at the 28 of Carolina on a crossing route for a first down. Ryan found Robinson in the middle of the field with his third read for a first down near midfield to begin the third drive. A double-A Gap look forced the line to squeeze inside and the outside pressure arrived to force Ryan to slide and hit the outlet to Patrick DiMarco for enough yards to give Atlanta a 51-yard field goal on the following play and a 13-point lead. Ryan got sacked by Shaq Thompson on an LB blitz past FB Patrick DiMarco on the fourth series. Ryan found 8 receivers within the first 20 minutes of this game. He took a hit hitting Gabriel on a slant while hit in the chest from the Carolina 5 to the 1. Ryan got sacked on an A-gap safety blitz past Alex Mack who missed his protection assignment. Ryan got discombobulated in the pocket on a 3rd and 3 inside the 15 of Carolina and had a settling for a short gain. The resulting field goal attempt was blocked. Ryan was strip-sacked by Kony Ealy past Jake Matthews inside the Carolina 8 but Atlanta recovered and added another 3 points. Ryan found Jones on a deep cross to begin the fourth quarter, but underthrew it and let the cornerback rake the ball away. He was sacked on the following play up the middle. Ryan found Coleman for a gain of over 30 yards on 3rd and 21 and set up a 55-yard TD by Coleman on an outside zone play.
2016 Week 17 vs NO (27 / 36 / 331 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Atlanta's quarterback had a day reserved for a practice session. He found wide-open players crossing the middle of the Saints defense or leaking to the flats. Ryan routinely found open receivers lurking behind Saints' blitzes. All four of Ryan's touchdowns came in the first half. The first was a low-and-away flat route to Tevin Coleman that the RB scooped off his shoetops in a wide-open flat for the first score. Later he hit a corner fade to a wide open Jones that ended with a pretty toe-tap in the end zone. Then, he climbed the pocket to his right and found a wide-open Sanu along the end line. HIs final touchdown was a fade to Justin Hardy at the front right pylon. With a 35-13 lead at the half, Atlanta let off a bit and pressure got to Ryan more often. He took a sack in the third quarter and had a dangerous play on the move in his own red zone that ended with a nice grab by Jones over the middle for a 15-yard gain. Ryan followed up with a deep cross to Jones near midfield in a wide-open space off play action. The 14-play drive culminated in the final score of the day, a 22-yard field goal.
2016 Week 19 vs SEA (26 / 37 / 338 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Ryan took some hits throughout this game as well as two sacks, including a sack fumble but that was the extent of his obstacles. The Falcons QB routinely took advantage of game planned formations that stacked Julio Jones behind a teammate and forced Richard Sherman to play off coverage. The result was big plays including a slant for a touchdown early in the second quarter off a rub route with Mohamed Sanu. Ryan wasnft accurate on deep passes to Taylor Gabriel and Tevin Coleman, but with substitute safety Steven Terrell failing to tackle well, Ryan exploited the middle of the Seattle defense with completions to Jones, Devonta Freeman, and Taylor Gabriel for yards after the catch. Ryan also managed to slide from pressure and find open receivers. Despite a couple of near interceptions where he failed to get on the same page with Gabriel on a Run-Pass Option in the second half that was nearly a pick-six and a misread of a coverage, Ryan spread the ball around and made efficient throws to build a commanding lead.
2015 Week 1 vs PHI (23 / 34 / 298 / 2 / 2 pass, 5 / 7 / 0 rush)
If Monday night's game was any indication of the season to come, the Falcons re-tooled offensive line of Chester and Levitre (acquired during the past 10 days after a horrible preseason showing for the line) has saved this team's 2015 season before it has begun. Ryan got far more time in the pocket and the ground game did well enough to open the perimeter on runs outside despite a sack fumble by Fletcher Cox that was nullified by an illegal contact penalty on the Eagles secondary and a sack that counted later on when Tevin Coleman whiffed on a corner blitz assignment. Those two plays may sound bad, but Ryan was kept clean far more in this game than he has the past three years. The quarterback used that time well to generate big plays. He hit Julio Jones multiple times up the sideline in this game for big gains and also found Roddy White on intermediate routes off play-action. Ryan's red zone interception in the first half was a target intended for White, but Kiko Alonso made a fantastic drop into the zone and a one-handed grab to foil the potential touchdown. Despite two interceptions in the middle of the field on plays intended for White where he didn't spot the coverage and an underthrown wheel route to Devonta Freeman that bounced off Connor Barwin's shoulder pad in the fourth quarter, Ryan was accurate and made good calls at the line to adjust run plays to quick-hitting passes to Jones for strong gains. The only play that consistently failed tonight for Atlanta were short drag routes to the flat by Jones that were repeatedly nullified by holding and offensive pass interference penalties due to late throws by Ryan or early blocks by the perimeter receivers.
2015 Week 2 vs NYG (30 / 46 / 363 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan played at a high level for most of this game against the Giants but his fantasy production does not quite reflect this, unfortunately for his owners. Matt Ryan faced an aggressive Giants defense that blitzed often but he did an excellent job recognising this on several occasions and threw the ball in the right direction to escape the pressure. Ryan used slants and quick in patterns heavily in the first half to move the chains and had great success taking advantage of off coverage defense by the Giants. Ryan also got the ball out of his hands very quickly which further helped to negate any potential pressure caused by a blitz. Ryan hit Hankerson in the redzone in the first half on a perfectly placed post route but unfortunately was not credited with the touchdown as Hankerson was ruled 1 yard shy of the goal line and the Falcons punched it in on the ground a few plays later. Ryan was sacked on a few occasions and did have to deal with several of his passes being batted down at the line of scrimmage but this did not put off the Veteran Quarterback from throwing anywhere on the field. The Falcons had excellent play design on several big pass plays from Ryan who used play action and rollouts with great success. Ryan relied heavily on star receiver Jones to move the chains and to get out of bad situations. Ryan threw a pass late over the deep middle of the field from his own endzone and Jones bailed out his Quarterback by making a terrific diving catch sideways to secure the ball with one hand. Ryan did finally connect with Hankerson in the back of the endzone on a post route. Ryan threw a high pass into a highly contested area but Hankerson was able to snag the ball for the touchdown. Ryan finished off his performance with a well thrown fade pattern to Jones for a big play down the sideline. Unfortunately again for Ryan's fantasy owners, Jones was ruled down at the 1 yard line and Ryan was not accredited with the touchdown pass. Regardless, Ryan was very strong against a suspect Giants defense but very unlucky not to have 3 touchdowns in this game.
2015 Week 3 vs DAL (24 / 36 / 285 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 17 / 0 rush)
The only low point for Ryan in this game was a sack he took on the initial third down of the game against a double A-gap blitz that ended with him in the arms of Sean Lee. By game's end, Ryan engineered 5 touchdowns on the Cowboys after Dallas jumped to a 21-7 lead. The ground game consistently opened lanes on runs to the edge and up the gut, which allowed Ryan to use the play-action passing game to find Julio Jones on crossing routes with devastating effect, including a 45-yard play where Jones ended the run as if he was diving onto a beanbag chair as he crossed the pylon. When intermediate and deep crossers weren't gouging the Cowboys, Ryan often hit Jones at will on quick look-ins from the slot for gains of 8-12 yards or found Devonta Freeman in the flat or over the middle on quick-hitting dump-offs, including a 35-yard gain at the end of the half. Ryan had some low throws in the first half that did not connect with his receivers and he also had two overthrows of receivers in the end zone on third downs that were nullified by defensive holding calls. These calls gave Atlanta new life and resulted in scores to keep them in the game. The Cowboys defense is missing key pieces at the line of scrimmage, but this game illustrates how well Matt Ryan can command an offense when the ground game is hitting on all cylinders.
2015 Week 4 vs HOU (19 / 27 / 256 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Ryan wasn't needed much in this game thanks to great work up front for the ground game, Devonta Freeman's decisive running, and the opportunistic Falcons defense. One of the bigger plays of the day was a throw to Freeman for 25 yards on a third down during the first quarter where Ryan was forced right and threw on the move. The target may have been intended for the deeper receiver, but Freeman was in the flat and turned to the ball for the catch and broke a tackle for a few more to get Atlanta inside the Houston 20. Ryan also found Leonard Hankerson for a 56-yard play on a short cross with a delayed release behind the tight end by Hankerson. Ryan also found Hankerson for a 15-yard comeback after scrambling right in the first quarter and a TD to Hankerson in the second quarter with a quick look-in audibled versus middle pressure inside the Houston five. As for the few negatives, Ryan took a sack from Watt and nearly threw a pick-six with Watt batting a ball and nearly catching it, but the Falcons quarterback handled the pressure well and effectively managed the game with a big lead in the first half. By the top of the fourth quarter, backup Sean Renfree took over.
2015 Week 5 vs WAS (24 / 42 / 254 / 0 / 2 pass, 3 / 20 / 0 rush)
The Falcons tried to exploit the Washington defense in the deep middle of the field multiple times in the first half, but Ryan failed to deliver with good placement. He tended to throw the ball high over the middle of the field on route requiring some zip. One went through the outstretched hands of Julio Jones for a drive-ending interception during the Falcon's initial offensive series of the game. Jones' hamstring was an issue throughout the game, costing receiver snaps so he could stretch the muscle. When Ryan tried to go deep or hit Jones on-time with a shorter pass with running room, the star receiver could not fully open his stride. After limited success with White in the first quarter, Ryan went to Leonard Hankerson in the second quarter. After the first completion to Hankerson, the receiver suffered a rib injury and missed the rest of the half. When Hankerson returned he was clearly slowed by the issue and Ryan repeatedly missed Hankerson and Jones on intermediate and deep routes with separation to make the catch and trot into the end zone. Ryan got some help from Jacob Tamme throughout the game, but Washington clearly gave the quarterback these underneath routes because they were confident that they could limit Tamme after the catch. For the most part, this was correct. Ryan also made some poor throws to Tamme and the Washington pressure off the edge reached the Falcons quarterback more than any point this season, including a sack fumble in Falcons territory that helped Washington earn the lead. Ryan also underthrew a fourth-quarter drag route to White that was undercut for a fourth-quarter interception that set up the game-tying field goal that sent the game to overtime. Monitor Jones' hamstring, because it could render this pass offense more one-dimensional.
2015 Week 6 vs NO (30 / 44 / 295 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 10 / 0 rush)
Ryan and the offense began the game with a lot of play-action boots, hitting his receivers on drag routes and crossers. This was a smart way to use Julio Jones, whose hamstring has kept him from exploiting defenses deep. Ryan was forced to squeeze some throws into tight windows that he couldn't make and had some close calls where he placed targets in position for the Saints corners to undercut them for interceptions. Pressure reached Ryan multiple times up the middle and of the edge. He ws sacked once in the first half and then lost the ball on a sack in the middle of the third quarter. Ryan then gave up another sack fumble in the final minutes. Despite the miscues, Ryan led the Falcons up and down the field and if I weren't for a fake punt and an Evan Stone snap that careened off his leg in the red zone and recovered by New Orleans, it could have been a bigger day for Ryan and Atlanta.
2015 Week 7 vs TEN (22 / 38 / 251 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / -3 / 0 rush)
The Falcons began the game throwing the ball more than it ran and it resulted in two truncated series, including a second series where Ryan missed Julio Jones on a deep in-cut and then the next play when pressured and forced to climb and throw a low and away target in tight coverage on a slant, forcing a punt. The Falcons heavily targeted Jones on slants, outs, and crossers in tight coverage with mostly poor results. Ryan either placed the ball in low or awkward spots to Jones, had the ball tipped at the line of scrimmage, or Jones dropped the ball after contact from a defender. One of Ryan's tipped passes was a screen play to Tevin Coleman that resulted in an interception in the first half. Ryan was off-target multiple times in this game, underthrowing Jacob Tamme on an end zone fade where the receiver had a step on the defender and then throwing an interception after placing the ball behind the open tight end on 4th and goal with a 3-point lead. Most of these off-target throws were not the result of pressure and Ryan's issues were widespread: too high, too low, too wide, or behind the target. Ryan still displayed good pocket presence to slide from pressure or stand tough to find a receiver. If he were a little more on-target today, there would be more talk about the budding Ryan-to-Tamme connection in this offense.
2015 Week 8 vs TB (37 / 45 / 397 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 2 / 0 rush)
The biggest news is how much Ryan and TE Jacob Tamme are clicking. Ryan and Tamme routinely hooked up in the middle of the field between linebackers and in the flats between the openings in Tampa's Cover 2. This bodes well for Atlanta down the stretch if Julio Jones' recovery from a leg injury continues trending upward to the point that Jones can begin earning deep targets. Once again, Atlanta didn't go deep in the passing game, but Ryan found Jones on backside slants and deep outs. The deep outs were a new element to this offensive game plan since Jones' injury. What we have not seen from Ryan to Jones is go routes, deep posts, or deep sideline fades. The rest of the passing game has been reduced to short plays to Roddy White in the flats, a couple of looks of similar nature to Justin hardy to get his feet wet in this offense, and check downs to the running backs. Tamme has offered versatility on crossing routes, seam routes, and plays to the flats. Ryan's best play of the day was a roll left in the red area where he pumped and hit Jones in the back of the endzone for the game-tying score. His worst was an overtime attempt where he was wrapped by a Buccaneers lineman and still tried to throw the ball. The lineman jarred the ball loose and if not for Devonta Freeman recovering the ball, the game would have been over. Sooner after, the Buccaneers pressure wrapped Ryan and forced a bad fourth-down throw for the game-ender. Ryan's accuracy issues, a non-existent deep game, and turnovers in the red area involving poor execution by the center and/or Ryan were the difference.
2015 Week 9 vs SF (30 / 45 / 303 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
The Falcons' quarterback benefitted from great field position numerous times thanks to Eric Weems' work in the return game. But Atlanta stuck to the outside zone throughout the game despite it failing repeatedly. Ryan was forced to throw from compressed pockets due to 49ers pressure and he was off-target more on a majority of his passes--even completions. His accuracy included over throws, underthrows and placing the ball behind his receivers. Ryan's best throw was a deep post to Julio Jones late in the first half on the opening play of the drive. It was the first deep throw Atlanta has attempted--and completed--in a month. Ryan continues to look to Jacob Tamme on short routes and the pecking order for the passing game is Jones, Tamme and Devonta Freeman as the main targets with the occasional out, slant, or inside seam route to Roddy White. Justin Hardy also earned a few targets today, but the routes were all short plays over the middle. Until Atlanta finds a target that can win single coverage and stretch the field in addition to Jones, defenses will continue to compress the field and make the passing game inefficient -especially with scoring --even if producing at a high-yardage volume.
2015 Week 11 vs IND (25 / 46 / 280 / 3 / 3 pass, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
Atlanta earned two early opportunities on turnovers but the offense could not convert. The Falcons went to Roddy White on three straight attempts early in the game and White could not achieve more than a slight amount of separation on any of those targets despite catching two of the routes. Some of Ryan's throws on slants and outs lacked velocity and it was difficult to tell whether Ryan was hurt or the ball came off his hand funny. Even the deep-intermediate dig routes to Julio Jones lacked a touch of velocity and bears monitoring. One major positive is that Julio Jones is healthy enough for the Falcons to target him on fade routes, deep comebacks, and deep dig routes, and Ryan and Jones were on the mark. Unfortunately, Leonard Hankerson dropped multiple passes, White couldn't get open, and Ryan's only reliable options were fullback Patrick DiMarco, who he found for two touchdown passes as a check-down option sneaking into open zones, and desperation outlets to Terron Ward. Without the ground game, Ryan was forced to throw a play action pass deep in Atlanta territory over the middle and linebacker D'Qwell Jackson dropped into the zone deep enough to earn a pick-six. Ryan's first interception came in the end zone during the first quarter, a debatable call where Ryan forced the ball into Roddy White high and the veteran receiver tipped the ball, giving safety Dwight Lowery a chance to trap it in the end zone and the officials to call it a turnover. Ryan is still capable of good production with enough surrounding talent, but it's impossible for Julio Jones to do it all and that's the situation in Atlanta.
2015 Week 12 vs MIN (22 / 31 / 230 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
It was a bad day for the Falcons' quarterback. Julio Jones faced physical coverage off the line of scrimmage and well into his routes. Despite Ryan targeting Jones with some success in tight coverage, the Falcons failed to earn time or opportunities to hook up with Jones deep and the Vikings coverage was physical enough to prevent enough catches for Ryan to look elsewhere. Roddy White was one of those options in the middle of the field as a slot option and Ryan found the veteran on deep crossers off boot action, hooks up the seam, and in openings of the Vikings' intermediate zone. Next week should give better indication if this wrinkle of White in the slot becomes an enduring part of the game plan or it's a one-week thing. Although Jones and White had moderate production, Ryan didn't play well enough to support more. He threw two interceptions in this game, including a 3rd and goal throw undercut by the defender after the Vikings flushed Ryan to his left. Ryan's best throw came late in the game on a deep wheel route up the sideline to Tevin Coleman, but the running back let the ball bounce off his hands after linebacker Anthony Barr made contact with the runner's arms. Barr also had a strip-sack of Ryan on a 4th and 1 red zone play that stopped Atlanta from realistically getting back into this game late.
2015 Week 13 vs TB (30 / 45 / 269 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
Ryan faced pressure throughout the game thanks to successful blitzes up the middle by Buccaneer linebackers. One drive was stalled inside the 10, resulting in a field goal and the other three drives that didn't result in punts during the first half ended with field goals. Ryan and the Falcons offense could move between the 20s because of the short passing game, but once the field was compressed, the Buccaneers pressure hastened Atlanta's timeline. Even when Ryan bought time while flushing from the pocket, the defense did a good job covering Ryan's receivers. One of these plays was a third-down throw to Julio Jones in the first half off a scramble, but Jones was well-covered at the end line and the receiver couldn't rebound the defender's tip of the ball. The one touchdown Ryan had was a play-action bootleg to the right with a drag route to Nick Williams in the fourth quarter to take the lead. This drive was successful thanks to a hurry-up scheme. But beyond the predictable skinny posts to Jones, there wasn't another player who could beat man coverage and these dump-offs could only get Atlanta within scoring range, but not punch it in. Ryan's game-sealing intercept for Tampa was a predictable crossing route for Jones that Lavonte David anticipated with a deep drop and cut off. Although Ryan has been inaccurate in the vertical game and he has made mistakes, until Ryan has time to throw the ball deep without play-action and a receiver capable of beating man coverage emerges whose last name isn't Jones , this offense is going nowhere.
2015 Week 14 vs CAR (22 / 34 / 224 / 0 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Ryan was limited to throwing the ball short for the first quarter and he was dumping the ball off fast to initial reads for minimal gains. He found Devonta Freeman on a quick hitter up the middle in the second quarter against a corner blitz and then went for it with Roddy White on a back-shoulder seam route under the safety to convert a fourth down play. But Ryan was sacked by Kawann Short up the middle on a play beginning with a fake screen and the hit jarred the ball loose for a loss of 26, later forcing another punt. Ryan took another sack up the middle on 3rd down during the third series of the second quarter on third down. Then he got hammered up the middle on a blitz by Luke Kuechly to begin the second half on his first pass. Two plays later, Thomas Davis hit Ryan on 3rd and 2 and Atlanta was forced to punt. Ryan was sacked by Short again late in the third quarter after mounting a small drive nearing mid-field and fumbled it away a second time. With less than a minute in the third quarter, Luke Kuechly undercut an intermediate crossing route intended for Justin Hardy for an interception. Atlanta reached the Carolina red zone once in this game and with Julio Jones out on a fourth and goal from the six; Ryan found Roddy White a yard shy of the end zone. From that point on, Sean Renfree was put in the game to mop up this blow-out loss.
2015 Week 15 vs JAX (22 / 35 / 246 / 1 / 1 pass, 3 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Falcons took more deep shots in this game than previous weeks, but without fantasy success. This included plays to Julio Jones that drew penalties on the defense and a scramble to the left where he nearly hit Roddy White for a long play. Ryan began the game with a successful drive predicated on bootleg action passes. Jacksonville shut this down during the second, third, fourth, and fifth series and stifled drives that had promise. Ryan had multiple tipped passes in this game and one resulted in an interception that led to Jacksonville tying the game. Ryan was able to find Roddy White and Justin Hardy in mismatches over the middle or in open zones to sustain a late drive that kept Atlanta ahead for the day. Jacksonville's defensive shortcomings lent more to the modest success of the Falcons' passing game that led to a win, but this matchup still didn't produce better than usual fantasy production for players beyond Jones and Devonta Freeman.
2015 Week 16 vs CAR (23 / 30 / 306 / 1 / 0 pass, 6 / 1 / 0 rush)
The woes of the snap continued for the Falcons, including a bad snap on a zone read to begin the game and a 3rd and 10 snap that Ryan didn't realize was coming that Carolina recovered in the fourth quarter that put their lead in jeopardy. Despite these chronic issues, Ryan found wide open receivers working inside Carolina's defensive scheme that featured deep safeties to take away the threat of Julio Jones and outside shade by the corners to prevent separation on the perimeter. This opened the middle of the field for Julio Jones and Roddy White for a series of targets on slants, dig routes, and skinny posts for first downs. White was the focal point early for Ryan on these zone routes. Despite five drops in this game, Ryan and the Falcons were successful with a lot of completions in tight zone, especially to White, who has always been great in these situations. The best aspect of Ryan's performance was his grit. He took multiple sacks in this game, including two from Kawann Short and one from Thomas Davis, to keep Atlanta in the game. His best play was the 70-yard score described above. Give Ryan some protection and a second receiver who can beat man-to-man coverage and this offense can propel the team into playoff contention in 2016.
2015 Week 17 vs NO (24 / 36 / 334 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Falcons quarterback had several good plays in this game and a productive yardage output. In addition to finding Julio Jones on digs, crossers and deeper routes, he also hit Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki on bootleg action routes to move Atlanta down the field. Moeaki had consecutive receptions in the second quarter and one of them was a 42-yard score on a drag route that he took up the sideline. Ryan also found Roddy White on multiple intermediate routes but overshot the receiver a couple of times when White didn't drop the ball. One of those drops was a perfect throw in the second half up the left sideline. Ryan also overshot Jones on some deeper routes. The Falcons line allowed one sack all game and Ryan was able to keep the game close, taking the lead with a drag route to Devonta Freeman under the zone in the second half. But after the teams traded fumbles in each opponent's red zone, Ryan delivered a check-down over the middle to Freeman with 1:42 left at the Atlanta 25 that a Saints defender jumped for the interception. From the broadcast angle, it appeared to be an egregious error on Ryan's part. From the overhead angle of the replay, a decent amount of credit must go to the defender anticipating the route and leaving his zone to jump the route as the assigned zone defender inside also converged. This turnover cost Atlanta the victory. Ryan's production was once better than we've seen much of the season thanks implementing concepts that took advantage of zone coverage. The team still needs a second receiver capable of winning man coverage if it wants a more competitive and consistently productive passing game in 2016.
2014 Week 1 vs NO (31 / 43 / 448 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / 15 / 0 rush)
The Falcons quarterback was scintillating this afternoon despite the fact that his offensive line was shakier than a jet cabin held together with duct tape. Lamar Holmes was beaten repeatedly at right tackle in the first quarter and Atlanta benched him for Gabe Carimi by the second frame. On the penultimate play of the half, rookie left tackle Jake Matthews missed the rest of the game after he injured his ankle while collapsing the edge pressure inside to give Ryan room to hit Roddy White for a 39-yard play to set up a late-half field goal. This injury forced the Falcons to reinsert Holmes and use Carimi at left tackle. Despite these issues with the line, Ryan was only sacked once in the game. Some credit goes to the line, but Ryan did a fantastic job of avoiding pressure in the pocket. He ran when he needed, but he often found the escape hatch and threw on the run to his receivers. Although Atlanta's pass protection inhibited the offense's vertical opportunities, the Falcons spread the field and ran a lot of quick-hitting plays within 20 yards of the line of scrimmage. Ryan was accurate, wise under pressure, and spread the ball around enough that five players had at least 50 receiving yards. If Matthews' injury isn't too serious, the Falcons have enough skill weapons for Ryan to sustain a high level of fantasy production. If Matthews is out for a significant length of time, there's a legitimate concern that the Falcons quarterback won't be able to perform at this inspired level under constant pressure week in and week out.
2014 Week 2 vs CIN (24 / 44 / 231 / 1 / 3 pass, 3 / 28 / 0 rush)
While Ryan was great in the opener against the Saints it was commented here that it might be difficult for the Falcons passing game to sustain this production because the offensive line may not afford Ryan time to throw down field. This is exactly what happened against the Bengals. The Falcons attempted four short passes off less than 10 yards to begin the game and Cincinnati sat on the routes. With the exception of a play-action vertical route to Julio Jones that Jones juggled and nearly allowed safety George Iloka to intercept, there were a minimal number of attempts over 10 yards that Ryan had time to deliver with accuracy. Right tackle Lamar Holmes will be the broken record playing its sad song week after week. On Sunday, he struggled mightily against Carlos Dunlap even if Atlanta's short passing game disguised some of the statistical effects. Dunlap had one of Cincinnati's two sacks, but he also forced Ryan from the pocket multiple times - even when the Falcons put Levine Toilolo on the right side to help Holmes. Overall, Ryan wasn't as bad as his three interceptions indicate. His first interception was an attempt to Toilolo in the left flat that was tipped by Vontaze Burfict and intercepted on the rebound. Ryan overshot Harry Douglas on a post and didn't account for the safety behind the route in the red area and this mistake of coverage read resulted in Ryan's second interception. The third interception was a garbage time attempt to White up the seam that he overshot and safety George Iloka caught for his second pick-off in the game. Despite the fact that only one of Ryan's interceptions was a bad decision at a meaningful moment in the game, Atlanta will have to do a better job of protecting the pocket if the Falcons quarterback has any chance to throw the ball further than 15 yards downfield when the contest is still within reach.
2014 Week 3 vs TB (21 / 24 / 286 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)
This game was over early thanks to a solid ground game during the early drives and Ryan's crisp execution. Despite missing Roddy White due to a hamstring injury, Ryan targeted Julio Jones on downfield plays that are often reserved for White, such as a three-step drop and throw on a deep dig to Jones off play action with 13:10 in the first quarter. After some nice runs from Steven Jackson, Ryan finished the drive in the red zone by finding Harry Douglas in the end zone after buying time to his right. Without the likes of Adrian Clayborn and Gerald McCoy along the Buccaneers defensive front, Atlanta's line gave Ryan enough room to climb the pocket and find secondary receivers, including another touchdown to Julio Jones in the back of the end zone with three minutes left in the first quarter. After a pick-six by the Falcons defense, a strip of Buccaneers runner Bobby Rainey, and an end around to Devin Hester, Atlanta was up 28-0 after the first play of the second quarter. Ryan capped off his day with a 40-yard bomb up the right sideline to Jones to make it 42-0. At this point, the Falcons put in the backups.
2014 Week 4 vs MIN (25 / 41 / 298 / 3 / 2 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Third-down pressure constricted the pocket throughout this game and while Ryan did a solid job of avoiding pressure and generating first downs in some of these situations, he did take a sack in the first series and also in the mid-fourth quarter. In between, Ryan did exploit some of Minnesota's defensive mistakes. He found Roddy White up the right seam on a blown coverage on third down when two Vikings defenders swarmed to Julio Jones on what they thought would be a smoke screen and left White open for a 24-yard score. Ryan almost connected with Devin Hester on the play before, but cornerback Xavier Rhodes knocked the ball from Hester's hands in the end zone. Ryan repeatedly tried to hit White in tight coverage, but the veteran receiver had consecutive drops on less than perfect throws. Ryan's two other touchdown passes weren't great plays on his part, either. One was a play action boot to a wide open Patrick DiMarco at the goal line. The other was a third down pass to Hester in the flat and Hester ran through multiple wraps, spun off a hit and motored up the sideline for the score. Despite some minor inaccuracies with a few throws and some easy scores based play calls, poor tackling, and blown coverages, Ryan would have been in great position to bring the Falcons back if not for center Joe Hawley's leg injury at the end of the third quarter. The Falcons had to play tight end Levine Toilolo at right tackle for the final quarter and this affected Ryan's comfort in the pocket. He was sacked by outside linebacker Anthony Barr on a third down with seven minutes left when Ryan climbed the pocket to escape defensive end Brian Robison's whooping of Toilolo off the edge and into the arms of Barr. Ryan finished the game with his 18th and 19th career interceptions on the road - the most for any active quarterback. Ryan wasn't bad, but his offensive line woes could become problematic.
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.
2014 Week 8 vs DET (20 / 27 / 228 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
: This game went according to script for most of the season, but with more extreme circumstances. Detroit got off to a slow start offensively and Atlanta's offensive line generally breaks down by the third quarter. This was the case for the Falcons after some quality moments in the first half. Ryan's first two scores were the product of a short passing game: A swing route to Devonta Freeman in the red zone that was set up by a crossing route to Levine Toilolo off a play action bootleg and later an easy play-action pass to reserve tight end Bear Pascoe at the endline after a pass interference penalty in the end zone set up the red zone play. As has been the case in other weeks, Steven Jackson had some decent runs up the middle to begin the game and Ryan found open targets in the intermediate area as a result. But Ryan didn't have enough time at any point in the day to hit Julio Jones with accurate throws down field. He missed Jones on a deep sideline fade in the early second quarter, throwing the ball too far to the boundary and Jones couldn't make the reception in bounds. In the second half, Ryan was sacked three times and strip-sacked twice. Atlanta recovered both Ryan fumbles, but it shorted Falcons' drives and gave Detroit a chance to inch back into the game by the late third quarter. Ryan also threw an interception on a third-down play where he tried to buy time to his left and throw across his body to the right flat. Detroit picked off the target and returned it 43 yards to the red zone, later earning a field goal. The Falcons gave away this game in the late fourth quarter with 3:40 left. Ryan extended the drive on a nice third-down toss to Harry Douglas on a wheel route from the slot that required Douglas to make a diving play over his outside shoulder in the flat. The offense later dialed up a wide receiver screen to Julio Jones for a first down--a play that Atlanta used more judiciously in this contest. However, Atlanta then tried to run offensive plays when it could have kneeled down and run out more clock and Detroit stuffed the Falcons' offense and forced the offensive line to commit a penalty that stopped the clock and gave Detroit 1:38 left to drive the length of the field for a game-winning field goal. Against poor defenses, Ryan and the Falcons will be a good fantasy play. Against good defenses, he'll earn decent yardage and touchdowns but sacks and turnovers will be a major factor in his box score.
2014 Week 10 vs TB (20 / 31 / 219 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 9 / 0 rush)
Another week, another game where the offense followed the same basic pattern. Ryan and the Falcons opened the game with a nice drive that featured a strong mix of run and pass, hitting Roddy White up the seam on a seven-step drop to set up a one-yard run from Steven Jackson. By the second drive, the cracks in the offensive line were already showing and as the game wore on, Ryan lacked the time to throw the ball with accuracy more than 20-25 yards down field and the Buccaneers got enough pressure to flush the quarterback or force early throws that generated inaccurate targets. In the first quarter, Ryan had Julio Jones wide open on a deep post, but the 55-yard throw lacked the velocity to the open receiver. Jones had to turn to the ball, open his body to the trailing defender, and wait on the ball. The defensive back knocked the ball from Jones' grip to prevent what should have been an uncontested touchdown. Yet, the pressure and Ryan's occasional inadequacies as a vertical passer weren't the only issues. Atlanta's receivers lead the league in drops and the most notable today was a wide open target to Devin Hester uncovered in the end zone during the second quarter. In addition to a false start and a sack that turned a first and 10 at the Tampa 15, the drop was enough to force a field goal and keep this game close. During the second half, Ryan missed multiple key passes that ended drives, but Tampa's turnover-ridden play kept the victory intact. The offensive line hasn't improved enough to start Ryan with confidence unless Atlanta plays a team the caliber of the Tampa Bay in the coming weeks.
2014 Week 11 vs CAR (31 / 45 / 268 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
The Falcons offense was at its best when it employed an up-tempo rhythm and a short passing game. Ryan found receivers Roddy White, Harry Douglas, and Julio Jones on slants, digs, and crossers at various points in the early second quarter and during the second half with this game plan. The offensive line remains a severe limitation and Ryan was forced into rushing passes when the Panthers blitzed, which they did often enough in this game to hold Ryan at bay. Carolina was especially effective with A-gap pressure and twists. Ryan was sacked for the second consecutive week in the red zone during the second quarter on a pivotal drive. This time Carolina ran a twist with its defensive line and Ryan took too much time in the pocket. The Panthers also scouted the Falcons' use of the smash screen to Julio Jones and foiled the play each of the two times Ryan targeted the big receiver. Atlanta tried this play a third time on third down during the fourth quarter to Roddy White and the opposing defense nearly intercepted the target. Ryan's touchdown to White was a crossing route at the goal line from inside the five. Overall, Ryan is making nice plays each week, buy the lack of time in the pocket has turned the intermediate passing game into the offense's equivalent of a deep passing game and it limits the entire scope of the offense.
2014 Week 12 vs CLE (27 / 43 / 273 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 6 / 0 rush)
The CBS broadcast team made it a point to note that Atlanta's makeshift line has been playing the same personnel along its line for three weeks and that the unit has improved its play. This might be the case, but any improvement that the analyst at CBS (FOX usually broadcasts Atlanta games) has seen was not tangible for the offense today against Cleveland. The Browns blitzed Atlanta repeatedly and forced Ryan to extend plays. Atlanta gave up three sacks, two from Paul Kruger, who also stripped Ryan of the ball on one of them. The other Kruger sack was a play where the defender forced Ryan to climb the pocket. Ryan was so rattled by the quick penetration that the quarterback began his climb and inexplicably quickly retreated from a well-blocked nice space. This erratic decision, likely born from numerous hits and pressures that he has taken for nearly three months, put Ryan back in range for Kruger to finish a play that he had no business doing. Ryan threw one interception and should have thrown three. One of them was a potential pick-six that safety Donte Whitner dropped when Ryan stared down Julio Jones in the flat. Ryan was off-target multiple times to Jones on deeper routes, throwing the ball behind or short of target and forcing difficult adjustments even for the likes of the acrobatic receiver. He also underthrew Devin Hester on a route up the right sideline that could have been a long gain, but fell incomplete. Ryan later found Jones with a nice look-off of Whitner to the right and delivered the wide-open post behind the safety for the 24-yard score. The Falcons also pulled the shovel pass from the archives of its 2012-2013 game plans and Ryan's second score was a nice fake and throw to Jacquizz Rodgers in the red zone. Ryan also took some vicious shots in this game, including two consecutive hits that bent him in two from the blitz. However. Ryan continues to be one of the more durable options at the position despite the punishment. Roddy White's slow return to health (hamstring) gave Altanta more offensive flexibility the past two weeks, but until Ryan has more time to throw down field, opponents are sitting on routes and daring Atlanta to beat them over the top.
2014 Week 13 vs ARI (30 / 41 / 361 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 4 / 0 rush)
Three things turned this game in Atlanta's favor early on and two of them were the doing of the offense. One was Julio Jones' dominance of Patrick Peterson on vertical routes and the other was Ryan having success with quick throws to receivers who earned yards after the catch. Potentially throw in Steven Jackson's best rushing day as a Falcon--over half of which came on a 55-yard gain on a single run during the first series of the game--there were enough positives to keep Arizona's aggressive defense off balance for most of the day. Atlanta took advantage of Jackson's early run with a one-yard play action pass on 4th and goal to a wide-open Levine Toilolo in the back of the end zone for its first touchdown. However, a big assist for the Falcons win goes to Drew Stanton and Michael Floyd, who turned over the ball enough for the Atlanta offense to earn prime field position to take an early lead and then Cardinals Patrick Peterson, whose failure to put his hands on Julio Jones allowed Atlanta to build its lead to an insurmountable tally. After a Dwight Lowery interception on Arizona's second series, Atlanta converted its great field position with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones on a fade route where Jones gave Ryan plenty of room to drop the ball in the bucket. By the third series, Ryan was in great position to deliver short passes without the Cardinals defense sitting on the routes, hitting quick play action routes to the seams, flats, and on crossers to the likes of Harry Douglas and Devin Hester for completions that earned yards after the catch. Peterson continued to display a great holiday spirit, failing to get his hands on Jones until the fourth quarter and allowing reception after reception on fades, back-shoulder throws, and slants. Jones had 10 catches for 189 yards and a score against Peterson and the only mistakes involving Jones as a target came on a pick-six where Ryan attempted a deep slant that Rashad Johnson cut off and ran back 88 yards, and a near-interception where Jerraud Powers read Ryan's eyes and jumped Jones' short crosser at the goal line, but dropped the ball after a hard fall and the defensive play set up a field goal. Atlanta's offense still settled for five field goals in this game, so it's not as if the Falcons' offense has risen from the ashes this year. Arizona was still able to harass Ryan and induce some drive-changing plays. Ryan continues to look as he has all year, mobile enough to keep Atlanta's drives alive within reason, durable enough to take punishment, and accurate enough when there's a ground game to spread the ball around the field within 40 yards of the line of scrimmage.
2014 Week 14 vs GB (24 / 39 / 375 / 4 / 1 pass, 2 / 23 / 0 rush)
The Falcons quarterback had a huge game thanks Packer's porous defense, Julio Jones earning single coverage without pressed by a defender (beyond all reason) until the mid-fourth quarter, and Green Bay jumping out to a huge lead in the first half. Ryan's offensive line played reasonably well tonight, only getting sacked once in the second half and the quarterback earned enough time to repeatedly target Jones down field for big gains. Ryan notably got rid of the ball faster on deeper routes than he did to begin the season. A lot of this has to do with the opposition failing to jam Jones on vertical routes, but Ryan has also been accurate. Even with multiple touchdown passes, including short targets to Eric Weems on cross inside the five; a one-yard score to Roddy White; and a fourth-down, two-yard corner route late in the game to Harry Douglas, Ryan had his share of mistakes. He targeted Roddy White on a looping pass up the right sideline on a pick play on third down in the early second quarter, but Levine Toilolo didn't sell the pick enough and the officials called the foul and the pass was underthrown and nearly intercepted. Ryan also appeared ready to throw away a designed rollout to the right, but he hesitated and decided instead to throw the ball blind to Devin Hester and Morgan Burnett intercepted it, returning the ball to the Atlanta 20 with 6:30 left in the half. Ryan nearly threw another interception on the next series off a seven-step drop when the tackle tipped Ryan's throw while double-teamed and nearly caught the rebound. Ryan did an admirable job with Jones, and later Roddy White, Harry Douglas, and timely check-downs to his backs to get back into the game, but some of his mistakes were a big reason Atlanta was down in the first place.
2014 Week 15 vs PIT (26 / 37 / 310 / 2 / 1 pass, 3 / 27 / 0 rush)
The Steelers ultimately beat Atlanta because it took an early lead and the defense was able to pressure Matt Ryan with a lot of blitz looks. Despite not sacking Ryan in this game--unless one counts Jason Worlids' excellent sack and hit that the overly zealous officials made the mistake of penalizing as a personal foul and put Atlanta into scoring range--the Steelers got a lot of hits on the Falcons quarterback and punished Ryan. It was clear Ryan was feeling the effects by the second quarter, because he was very slow to get up throughout the contest. Even so, Atlanta had a sound offensive game plan, hitting its receivers with short perimeter passes against a decimated set of Steelers cornerbacks and giving the likes of Devin Hester and Harry Douglas room to earn yards after the catch, which they did frequently. These plays set up intermediate throws behind the defense for scores, including a Devin Hester touchdown on a well-placed seam route up the right flat near the end line and a slant behind the Steelers' secondary at the end line to Roddy White. Even so, the difference in this game was a first-half pick-six that Ryan threw because he rushed his delivery to Douglas on a deep cross while experiencing heavy interior pressure. Steelers corner William Gay undercut the route and weaved up the left flat for the touchdown. Ryan continues to perform well, but under trying circumstances.
2014 Week 16 vs NO (30 / 40 / 322 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
As the Atlanta offensive line has slowly developed greater consistency, the Falcons passing offense is gradually stretching greater reaches of the field. This week, Atlanta continued to run its usual diet of screen passes, hitches, and crossers to wide receivers, but it also continued to use the back-shoulder fade and even some deeper concepts to its backs. Ryan opened the game with a back-shoulder fade to Julio Jones for 23 yards and later found running back Devonta Freeman for 36 yards on a go-route against former Falcon linebacker Curtis Lofton. Ryan could have ended this drive on a fade route to Harry Douglas in the end zone, but missed the target and Atlanta settled for a 44-yard field goal. Ryan also threw a perfect fade to Roddy White inside the five, but the veteran dropped the ball. Ryan still felt pressure throughout the game, but instead of the rushers coming clean through the line, the Falcons put forth enough resistance that Ryan could still throw the ball from confined or collapsed pockets without taking as many huge, clean hits. Falcons' offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter also does a fine job of mixing up the recipients of the ball on constraint plays used to fool the defense. For instance, Eric Weems received a shovel pass inside the five for a touchdown instead of usual recipients Devin Hester or Jacquizz Rodgers. Ryan may never become an elite vertical passer, but the combination if his weaponry and a better offensive line makes him starter the Falcons should remain happy with for years to come.
2014 Week 17 vs CAR (29 / 47 / 260 / 0 / 2 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
The Falcons passing game was most effective when it attacked the Carolina defense inside the numbers and preferably between the hash marks. Ryan did a solid job avoiding pressure and finding open receivers, but the Panthers systematically destroyed the integrity of the Atlanta pocket. They beat up Ryan, forced him to make throws in the move, and often target perimeter routes that resulted in interceptions. Ryan threw two pick-sixes, including two in the third quarter--one on a fourth-down pass to the left flat cut off by the safety and returned for 84 yards. Defensive end Charles Johnson did a particularly good of hitting Ryan and constricting the pocket. Without a steady ground game and reliable pass blocking, Ryan was forced to stretch the limits of his athleticism. Although he succeeded more than he failed, the failures were big enough to hurt Atlanta more than the successes helped. This is the difference between good quarterbacks and great quarterbacks. Ryan is a good quarterback who needs more help up front and he can't get sacked repeatedly as he did in the second half. Before incurring multiple sacks--five in 19 minutes during the second half--Ryan had gone 112 pass attempts without a loss of yards.
2013 Week 1 vs NO (25 / 38 / 304 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 12 / 0 rush)
Ryan played well enough for the Falcons to win this game, but there were too many factors going against him. The most compelling of those was the Falcons offensive line. Right tackle Lamar Holmes had his first start and he had a difficult time preventing pressure, getting outmanned on the edge or bullrushed into the backfield. There was a sequence of two series at the end of the half and early in the third quarter where Holmes' poor play disrupted the passing game. The Saints sacked Ryan three times and forced an end-of-half intentional ground penalty that ended a drive. Ryan and the coaching staff made adjustments in the second half, employing a successful screen game to Steven Jackson. Some of the Falcons' biggest passing plays were these targets to Jackson. With Roddy White clearly limited by high ankle sprain, the Falcons could not use a lot of it's play action boot leg game that targets its veteran receiver and yields a lot of chain-moving plays. Ryan didn't have time to throw the ball deep and his biggest play was an intermediate cross to Harry Douglas against a blitz that allowed the receiver to run free for a total gain of 52 yards. Another thing to watch early in the week is the status of Ryan's hip and lower ribs. He took a huge shot from rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro on a slide ending a scramble in the first half that drew a roughing call. Ryan was holding his side for a number of plays after that hit. He should be ok, but monitor how he responds 24 hours after the game. Despite the pressure and the White injury, Ryan continued to demonstrate fine rapport in the red zone with Tony Gonzalez, rolling right and hitting Gonzalez at the goal line for a touchdown. Ryan also went 5-of-7 on the final drive of the game and hit Steven Jackson crossing the goal line on for what should have been the game-winner, but Jackson allowed the throw to bounce off his chest. Ryan almost hit Gonzalez for the game-winner on the next play, but Vaccaro tipped the ball just enough to alter the throw inches from Gonzalez's hands and the tight end tipped the pass into the arms of a Saints defender in the end zone in the game's waning seconds. Defensive pressure is going to be a huge issue for the Falcons this season if the right side of the line. White's health will be integral because the play action game off short drops and backside throws and play action bootlegs set up bigger plays. Until White demonstrates that he can accelerate and cut, Ryan will face more pressure and may have more difficulty generating big plays in the vertical game.
2013 Week 2 vs STL (33 / 43 / 374 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Falcons went into the game with a plan to feed Steven Jackson, but the big back left the game and didn't return after five touches in the opening series that culminated in touchdown reception on a short flare route in the right flat of the red zone but also resulted in a thigh bruise. At this point, Ryan and the Falcons had difficulty running the football with Jacquizz Rodgers whose first six carries resulted in three yards. The Falcons abandoned the run for the short passing game, hitting backs and tight ends in the flat and using Julio Jones on short screen passes as the run-game substitute. Ryan did have some success in the intermediate passing game, finding Harry Douglas and Julio Jones on seam routes. The latter connection resulted in an 81-yard touchdown when the corner bit inside, Jones broke outside, and Ryan hit the WR in stride 20 yards down field. Jones did the rest of the work. However, the underlying story continues to be the Falcons' offensive line. Ryan was hit numerous times in the second half and multiple times on that sore hip that rookie safety Kenny Vacarro hit last week in the opener. Ryan also got sacked twice in the second half as the Falcons allowed a commanding first-half lead to dwindle with multiple three-and-outs. In fact, the Falcons did not get into the Rams territory the entire third quarter and half of the fourth. Ryan was slow to rise from the turf multiple times and his grimaces from pain well after the contact were notable. While it didn't hurt his play, Ryan took more hits in this game than he should and during the Falcons' two minute drill the team's right tackle Lamar Holmes was winded and getting forced into the pocket repeatedly by Chris Long. The most effective plays for Ryan was the outside screen to Julio Jones, who he found twice during a game-sealing drive in the fourth quarter with this call. On the same drive, Ryan was forced to his left and then loft the ball to the middle of the field to Jones for the first down. The good news for Ryan's fantasy owners if Steven Jackson misses time is that the Falcons will emphasize the short passing game that is piling up the yardage for the Falcons quarterback. The potential bad news is that the offensive line is still struggling and this has minimized Ryan's ability to generate productive targets with the play action vertical game.
2013 Week 3 vs MIA (23 / 38 / 231 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Ryan started hot with short passes, going 11-of-13 in the first quarter. However, all of the passes were conservative plays. There were no punts by the Falcons' offense in the first half, but the Falcons failed to put this game away. Ryan didn't target a route over 30 yards in this game. The Falcons relied on crossing routes, slants, RB and WR screens, and dig routes - even when incorporating play action. They also benefited from Miami losing defensive end Cameron Wake to a knee injury in the first half and the Dolphins' line was already missing tackle Paul Soliai, which further hurt the pass rush and made the front vulnerable on the ground. The largest gains came on plays after the catch. This included a screen pass to Jason Snelling in the first half and a second-half slant to Jones for a first down. Ryan's two touchdowns were red zone plays. The first was a shovel pas to Jason Snelling, who broke a tackle for a seven-yard score and the second was a play action crossing route to rookie tight end Levine Toilolo. In the fourth quarter, the Falcons could not convert touchdowns in the red zone, settling for two field goal attempts and missing a chip shot that gave the Dolphins the chance to earn the come-from-behind win. Ryan had a shot with 0:34 left, but on second down he was hit by Dion Jordan off the edge while targeting his receiver up the left sideline and this altered the target, resulting in a short pass and an interception to seal the game. Although the Dolphins' secondary often appeared overmatched one-on-one against Julio Jones and the linebackers unable to stop Tony Gonzalez in tight coverage, the Falcons' choice to run the ball and use a short passing game kept the game close and when they attempted to test the Dolphins in the intermediate zones the safeties were able to provide help. Until Roddy White can function as the single receiver on one side of the field rather than forcing the Falcons to use him as the bunch set receiver, Atlanta's passing game will lack that precision intermediate element that forces the best corner on White and then allows the trips side to benefit Julio Jones deep.
2013 Week 4 vs NE (34 / 54 / 421 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Falcons quarterback has a strong day statistically, including an opening drive where he went seven-of-nine. However, the real story of the Falcons offense is what is not happening in the red zone. Ryan couldn't find an open man on the next two passes inside the Patriot's six and Atlanta had to settle for a field goal. Despite mounting a comeback, which included the Falcons recovering an onside kick and driving for another field goal to close the gap within seven and then stop the Patriots on fourth down, Ryan could not connect with his receivers in the red zone and this cost the Falcons a chance to tie the game. Between the first and last drives of this game, Ryan and the Falcons offense did a fine job of using Roddy White to open the field for Tony Gonzalez. Even so, Ryan was hit-and-miss with the tight-window throws to the tight end. There were two strong seam routes thrown over the head of the trailing linebacker that Gonzalez caught as well as a nice throw that led Gonzalez on a corner route for one of Gonzalez's two touchdowns. However, Ryan also led Gonzalez too far or into coverage on crossing routes where the tight end was open with a better target. The Falcons' offensive line continues to have issues. Left tackle Sam Baker incurred two penalties during the Falcons' second series of the game, creating a 2nd and 23 inside Atlanta's 5. The pressure often forced Ryan to climb or leave the pocket. One good development from this game that was different Atlanta's initial games was Ryan's aggressiveness in the second half of the game. Until he hit Tony Gonzalez on a 21-yard touchdown pass, which wasn't really a 9-yard throw with a 12-yard run after the catch, Atlanta had only completed one pass over 20 yards this season. Ryan not only targeted Roddy White deep and drew a defensive pass interference all, but the Falcons' quarterback also found Julio Jones two deep plays, including a streak up the sideline with perfect placement in tight coverage that gave the Falcons field position and a chance to tie the game. Ryan did get sacked twice in this game and both times the offensive line allowed pressure up the middle despite the fact defensive tackle Vince Wilfork injured his foot in the first half and didn't return. Although the Falcons' win-loss record appears grim for September, the gradual progression Roddy White is making with his ankle and Steven Jackson's expected clearance next week should continue to open opportunities for Ryan. Despite the offense not operating at peak capacity and the offensive line still struggling with injury and inconsistency, Ryan and his teammates continue to produce in the passing game.
2013 Week 5 vs NYJ (36 / 45 / 319 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Falcons continue to face the same challenges they have since the first week of the season. The offensive line cannot handle blitzes with any consistency and right guard Garrett Reynolds got dominated by the Jets' bull rushes up front both as a pass protector and run blocker. Combine the offensive line woes with the absence of Steven Jackson and slow-healing ankle of Roddy White, and the Falcons offensive continues to operate with an adjusted scheme. Ryan operated in the passing game from a lot of three-step drops or shotgun looks featuring quick throws on slants, hooks, under routes, and crossing routes to his receivers and tight end Tony Gonzalez. Only when the Falcons were down by double digits in the fourth quarter did the Falcons get aggressive down field. With Roddy White leaving the game with a hamstring injury in the early fourth quarter, the Jets dared Ryan to go deep to Julio Jones against Antonio Cromartie. The Falcons quarterback threw three deep passes to Jones in fourth quarter and to Ryan's credit he was accurate an all three. The first was go-route broken up by Cromartie in the end zone. The second was dropped pass that if caught would have been nullified by a pass interference penalty on Jones. The third was a one-handed grab by Jones got get into the Jets' red zone while Cromartie held the receiver's inside arm. These throws were not the most impressive part of Ryan's performance on Monday night. The Falcons quarterback did a good job finding his tight end Gonzalez in the shallow and intermediate zones throughout the evening and also forced the officials to call penalties on the Jets' red zone double-teams on the tight end. Ryan also did a great job of taking advantage of New York's focus on Gonzalez by calling and audible to a draw play for a 20-yard score that cut the Jets' lead to six and then a 3-yard stride to second-string tight end Levine Toilolo to take a one-point lead late. If not for a Geno Smith game-winning drive, Ryan's poise and late-game decision-making would have been the story.
2013 Week 7 vs TB (20 / 26 / 273 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / -12 / 0 rush)
The Falcons' quarterback had a fantastic outing despite the absence of Roddy White, Julio Jones, and STeven Jackson. Atlanta's quarterback did a fine job of mixing the run and the pass in this contest even if the run wasn't effective on a carry-to-carry basis. Moreover, the Falcons looked to Harry Douglas multiple times with great success. One of the plays was an intermediate crossing route that Ryan threw while retreating from pressure, hitting Douglas for a 27-yard gain. Ryan later found Douglas on rookie cornerback Jonathan Banks for a 37-yard touchdown up the seam. Ryan set it up with a nice shoulder fake at the same time Douglas beat the corner with a double move. Two of Ryan's three scores were targets to Jacquizz Rodgers. The first was a flat route from an empty set with Rodgers in the slot. The result was a 19-yard catch and run. The second target was a nice adjustment to pressure, finding Rodgers with a short dump-off and the runner did the rest. One of the best throws of the day, in any game, was a third-down fade route to Drew Davis, who made a one-handed catch behind tight coverage with his outside arm to get Atlanta inside Tampa territory. Ryan demonstrated excellent timing up the seams in this game. Efficient, accurate, and handling pressure adeptly, Ryan completed all but six passes in one of his best performances all season.
2013 Week 8 vs ARI (34 / 61 / 301 / 1 / 4 pass, 1 / 13 / 0 rush)
Ryan didn't throw a touchdown until the fourth quarter of this contest. There were several reasons why the offense was ineffective. First, the ground game could not generate any production in the middle of the field. Second, the Cardinals took the lead early and this allowed their aggressive defense to pin its ears back and rush the passer. And third, this aggressive defensive mentality of the Cardinals is highlighted by A-gap pressure (between center and guard) from two of the better linebackers in the game today: Darryl Washington and Karlos Dansby. Most quarterbacks have issues with pressure up the middle but Ryan's mobility is at its best when he's moving on designed boot legs and not escaping the pocket and improvising on the run. The A-gap pressure disrupted Ryan's rhythm throughout the contest, forcing the Falcons' passer to throw four interceptions. If he wasn't intercepted or nearly intercepted due to his attempts to throw the ball in the face of A-gap pressure, he was sacked or had multiple passes tipped by the Cardinals defense. Despite the poor statistical outing, Ryan did some good things that make him a fine NFL starter, but they were confined to short passes off play action. Otherwise, the pressure and lack of experienced receivers forced Ryan to take chances he normally doesn't take. If Atlanta cannot generate a ground game for Ryan to use play action and Roddy White cannot return to his 100 percent form soon, the Falcons lack the weapons to take the primary defensive focus off Tony Gonzalez in the red zone or from stacking the box against the ground game to force third-and-long situations.
2013 Week 9 vs CAR (20 / 27 / 219 / 1 / 3 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Ryan and the Falcons got better play from the offensive line and Steven Jackson this week. The Falcons' running back earned several gains between 4 and 9 yards in this game and it helped slow the Panthers' pass rush, limiting Carolina to one sack that came in the fourth quarter. However, the lack of weapons in the passing game was still a major obstacle for the offense and ultimately was the cause for mistakes that cost Atlanta chances to stay in the game. One of the positives for Ryan was the Falcons' ability to find Tony Gonzalez with greater consistency. Even this development wasn't without some rough moments, including a first-quarter interception where Ryan targeted Gonzalez up the seam from an empty shotgun set and linebacker Luke Kuechly undercut the route for the turnover. Ryan continues to make nice plays in every game. He had a pretty touch throw on an intermediate cross to Harry Douglas that allowed the receiver to outrun Captain Munnerlyn after the catch and reach the right sideline for additional yards. Ryan also found Douglas with a back-shoulder throw up the right sideline in the second half that put Atlanta into Carolina's side of the field. Yet, Ryan also had his share of bad throws. One was a 3rd-and-four pass to Gonzalez on a crossing route where Ryan literally placed the ball so far behind the tight end that the veteran had to turn and reach behind his back shoulder to steal the ball that was perfectly placed on linebacker Thomas Davis' catch. And after that back-shoulder throw to Douglas to get into Panthers' territory, he overthrew Douglas on a crossing route, forcing the receiver to tip the ball into the arms of a Panthers' defensive back. Ryan later threw a pick-six to cornerback Drayton Florence on a sideline comeback to Drew Davis, who could have done more to sprint back to the ball after his break, but Florence read Ryan's eyes all the way and had a great jump on the route. Roddy White worked out before the game so he's likely ready to return in the next week or two. When he does, this should open the offense for Ryan, Gonzalez, and Douglas down the stretch.
2013 Week 10 vs SEA (23 / 36 / 172 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 15 / 0 rush)
The Falcons had starting left tackle Sam Baker for exactly one week and had to return to Lamar Holmes this week against Seattle. Combine this development with an already weak offensive line and the Seahawks pressured Ryan up the middle for much of the day. Seattle forced Ryan to abandon most routes beyond 10 yards in length or make throws while retreating from the line of scrimmage. Ryan had one quality intermediate throw in this game and it was an intermediate cross to Roddy White from the slot against a zone defense in the first quarter. Otherwise, Ryan's targets were dump-offs to runners, short hook and flat routes, or the occasional screen. Ryan's one touchdown was a fourth-down slant to rookie Darius Johnson on reserve cornerback Byron Maxwell who subbed for Brandon Browner after Browner suffered a groin injury in the first half. This touchdown culminated one of only two Falcons' possession between the start of the second half and the two-minute warning. Ryan was sacked multiple times in the second half. Although the return of Roddy White is encouraging because White looked fluid and explosive for the first time all year, the receiver only completed his first full week of practices since this summer and the coaching staff told the media that this week White would not be the same player as his reputation because of a lack of conditioning due to the hamstring injury. As a result, the only big-play weapon outside was Harry Douglas and the Seahawks did an excellent job of scouting the Falcons' passing game and shutting it down. One of those examples involved Douglas on a WR screen that was blown up in the backfield. Another was a middle screen in the red zone to Steven Jackson, a play the Falcons have run with success to its backs - including one for a score a few weeks ago. However, Seattle read and stuffed Jackson at the line of scrimmage an foiled the play.
2013 Week 11 vs TB (19 / 36 / 254 / 2 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Falcons quarterback played three and a half quarters, got sacked three times, threw a crossing route in the second half to Harry Douglas who gained most of the 80 yards after the catch, and threw two interceptions before he was benched for Dominique Davis with Tampa Bay up 41-13. The Falcons ran the ball well early, but the offensive line gave up all three sacks in the first half to Gerald McCoy and all three were at the expense of center-turned-guard Peter Konz. This killed two promising drives early. With the Buccaneers' offense running well, it took the Falcons off its intended game script to run the ball. Ryan was then forced to look to more intermediate routes and without healthy outside receivers capable of beating single coverage, Ryan was forced to check down and the Buccaneers anticipated this with great coverage on short and intermediate crossing routes. If Ryan couldn't complete a pass within the rhythm of a first read off a three-step drop, he was often forced to scramble. If he did throw the ball late in these situations where the first read wasn't available, he was attempting to deliver the ball down field with some level anticipation to the back shoulder of a receiver. This did not work well. One of these plays was a back shoulder play in the first half to Harry Douglas that was lofted high while hit and Douglas couldn't make the catch. Still, it resulted in a pass interference. However, Ryan also forced an inadvisable throw to Darius Johnson after Steven Jackson picked up a safety blitz but Adrian Clayborn looped around the line and hit Ryan who rushed his pass and it resulted in an interception. Ryan also saw several passes dropped, including multiple throws to Roddy White and one to Tony Gonzalez at the right sideline after a terrific scramble to avoid three defenders in the pocket to find the tight end. Ryan's final interception was a fourth-quarter throw to Harry Douglas on a deep cross that Dashon Goldson picked off. Dominique Davis entered the game with five minutes left, but then the backup got hurt with 2:30 left and Ryan had to re-enter the game. He threw a short touchdown to Roddy White late in the game, a six-yard score in the right flat that White powered over the line. Ryan was accurate and made smart decisions with the resources he had, but drops, pressure, and a lack of a vertical game make Ryan a mediocre producer, at best.
2013 Week 12 vs NO (30 / 39 / 292 / 0 / 0 pass, 2 / 10 / 0 rush)
Ryan was sacked five times in this game, including another series where his offense gave up consecutive slants. Atlanta tried to run empty shotgun sets but the pressure was often too great for the alignment to be effective. Atlanta came into this game with its fifth offensive lineup variation of the season. While the right side of the line was a little better with Jeremy Trueblood, moving Lamar Holmes back to left tackle was a big reason Cameron Jordan earned three sacks or pressured Ryan into sliding into additional defenders. As has been the case for most of the season, Ryan was most effective throwing flat routes, seam routes, and crossing routes to Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons often used these two on the same side and with routes breaking at similar depth to present an either-or type of read for the zone defenders. Ryan did make an aggressive throw down field in the first half against backup safety Corey White, who was on rookie Darius Johnson. This drew a defensive pass interference call of 31 yards, put Atlanta into Saints' territory, and within a few more attempts against White, got the cornerback benched for a red zone play. Overall, Ryan's accuracy suffered due to the constant pressure and he nearly threw an interception on a crossing route to Johnson that Malcolm Jenkins undercut. The Saints' Jordan also had a near-interception on a third-quarter screen pass that might have been a pick-six. Ryan spread the ball around well, but he lacks a deep threat an a precision receiver to take pressure off the pass protection and keep defenses off balance.
2013 Week 13 vs BUF (28 / 47 / 311 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 17 / 0 rush)
Ryan had his best day in weeks thanks to Roddy White finally performing at a level close to full health. The Falcons offense was better in nearly every phase of the game despite the fact that the coaching staff made a change with the lineup of the offensive line in the second quarter, which was the sixth variation of the starting unit on the field for Atlanta this year. In fact, Atlanta's line did its best to stop the Falcons' skill players in this game. The Bills sacked Ryan five times in this game, including two in the first half from Jerry Hughes. There was a botched snap in the third quarter that LB Kiko Alonso recovered and there was even a 2nd and goal from the one in the first half where Ryan got tripped by his linemen on a potential handoff to Steven Jackson that set up a 3rd and goal false start on the following play and forced the Falcons to settle for a field goal. Despite the sacks, the missed assignments, the penalties, and the other various mistakes, Ryan was able to rely on White as an intermediate and deep option. Among the 10 completions to White in this game was a 30-yard route up the right sideline set up by a double move in the third quarter against tight coverage from CB Leodis McKelvin. Ryan was also very close on a back-shoulder fade against the same corner, but White was slow to turn and could only get one hand on the ball. Between these two plays, a deep cross, and a fine-looking dig route in the second half, the Bills were forced to single cover Tony Gonzalez, play lay off the potential screen game and crossing routes to Harry Douglas, and account enough for the passing game in general that the Falcons achieved some balance with the run. Ryan becomes a viable option as a starter once again because as I have been saying for months, White proved during his "depressed performances" that he is that straw that stirs this Atlanta drink.
2013 Week 14 vs GB (20 / 35 / 206 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
The game didn't end well for Ryan, who attempted a 25-yard out in the waning seconds for a shot at game-winning field goal position that two Green Bay defensive backs undercut and resulted in a Jarrett Bush interception. The snow, wind, and eight-degree temperatures didn't help Ryan's yardage total, either. However, there continued to be signs that the Atlanta offense is getting healthier. For the first time all season, Atlanta used Roddy White as the backside, single receiver for some short-drop, play-action slants and hooks that White could not run while the high ankle sprain hampered the receiver. These short passes were key plays that moved the chains on early drives, helping to set up the run game and then play action to other receivers. White's early success forced the Packers' linebackers to account for the quick passing and opened run lanes for Steven Jackson for some strong gains early. Combined with an early Green Bay turnover, Atlanta earned good field position and scored twice in the first half. The first touchdown was a slant to receiver Drew Davis who got jammed at the line of scrimmage by Clay Matthews. Because Ryan earned an unusual amount of time in the pocket, he found the receiver late in play and hit the Davis in stride. Davis turned the play to the opposite hash for the score. The second touchdown was a two-yard play action pass to Gonzalez who was wide open slipping from the I formation to the right flat. The goal line play was set up by a 3rd and 9 slant to White in tight coverage from Sam Shields. This was the best the Falcons passing game had to offer. The rest of the game included overthrown deep routes, including a third down deep corner route to Darius Johnson in single coverage in the first series of the game that could have resulted in at least a first and goal situation. Ryan also had a handful of passes that were off the mark in the middle of the field, including a crossing route to Tony Gonzalez that Clay Matthews nearly undercut for the interception and a high throw to Jason Snelling on a first-half circle route that the fullback had to make a heck of an effort to tip and then steal from the arms of linebacker Brad Jones to make the reception. Ryan also had a smash screen to Harry Douglas that the offensive line was setting up well in the left flat, but Ryan rushed the throw due the pressure and overthrew the route. Pressure continues to be a huge factor that's hurting the Falcons' offense. Ryan fumbled away a ball after getting hit from the blindside and took a second hit in the game that was ruled an incomplete pass, but it was a close call. Put Atlanta's offense in better weather conditions and Ryan probably has more success due to the way this game plan is opening due to White's return.
2013 Week 15 vs WAS (29 / 38 / 210 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
the Falcons quarterback and the offensive line had a much better first quarter and a half than the final two and a half quarters while hosting Washington. The Falcons employed a lot of empty sets and quick passes early in the contest and Ryan began the first three series 10 for 12 for 95 yards and a touchdown to Tony Gonzalez. Despite a nice start to the game, Ryan got bailed out by his receivers on a few notable plays that could have resulted in interceptions. One of those plays was a first-half play where Ryan was flushed right and threw the out to Gonzalez on the run in tight coverage. the defensive back had the angle on the ball at the three, but Gonzalez reached past his back shoulder and stole the ball from the defender while staying in bounds. There was also a check-down in the second half to the running back Matt Snelling in the middle of the field and Snelling had to reach for the ball in the midst of the defensive front to make the play. Atlanta didn't take any chances down field in this game, opting for intermediate routes like deep-ins, outs, and seam routes over anything vertical. Ryan's interception was a seam route intended for Harry Douglas that he overthrew because he couldn't see over his passing lane due to a defender leaping towards him. This was one of three passes Ryan threw high or sailed over his receivers. The Washington defense also did a strong job of pressuring Ryan from the edges of the offensive line. Brian Orakpo had multiple sacks and Ryan Kerrigan had a sack and fumble on a play during the second quarter that gave Washington good field position, but the Washington offense fumbled the ball away. There was actually a stretch in the second quarter where Washington and Atlanta traded turnovers on back to back to back possessions. The most effective passing plays for Atlanta in this game where empty set formations where they used Gonzalez and Roddy White on the same side of a trips set and forced the linebackers and safeties to double cover one and allow Ryan to find the other. Although sacked three times in this game, which seems to be the baseline number for Ryan in a given week, the Falcons quarterback has done a strong job on third down and against blitzes. In this game he executed a deft pump fake against a safety blitz to climb the pocket and hit a receiver down field for the first down. He also took advantage of mismatches like Tony Gonzalez on London Fletcher, drawing a defensive interference that set up a red zone series despite the play not earning the quarterback points in the box score. Ryan still looks like the same good quarterback he's been for the past three seasons, but until he has a full complement of weapons that are healthy and capable of stretching the field, Ryan is a mediocre fantasy option.
2013 Week 16 vs SF (37 / 48 / 348 / 2 / 2 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Ryan entered this game with roughly 75 percent of his pass attempts for 10 yards or less during the season. Ryan had multiple completions for more than 10 yards in this game thanks to Roddy White who was healthy enough to run comebacks, dig routes, and outs against tight coverage with some burst. Although the tally of Ryan's 48 completions will probably yield a 25 percent attempt rate of 10-yard plays, the impact of the longer gains was evident in this contest. The first of such was a 59-yard catch on a 3rd and 4 pass play where Ryan avoided the backside pressure, climbed the pocket, and flipped the ball up the seam to Drew Davis. The young receiver made a defender miss with a great spin move, crossed to the opposite flat and was dropped at the San Francisco five, setting up a Steven Jackson touchdown run. Ryan's first touchdown was a fourth-quarter play action post to Roddy White between double coverage. Ryan threw White open with a pass slightly behind the break point so White would veer away from the underneath coverage to make the catch in the middle of the end zone - a perfect throw with good arc for White to run under. Ryan's next touchdown was a two-yard score late in the game to Tony Gonzalez, who worked free from a holding penalty as Ryan flushed right and then hit the tight end. Atlanta then recovered an on-side kick and completed an 11-yard pass to Harry Douglas on a crossing route to get into the red zone to potentially take the lead. However, Ryan targeted Douglas again on a short in-cut, the cornerback Jermaine Brock drove on the ball, hit Douglas in the act of the catch, and the hit forced the ball skyward. Navorro Bowman caught the rebound at the san Francisco 11 and ran the ball up the sideline for an 89-yard score to seal the game. Ryan's final interception was a game-ending Hail Mary. Overall Ryan played good football this season with limited resources and White's improved health in this game demonstrated how much tougher this offense can be even with a mediocre line that allowed pressure in the pocket on a routine basis.
2013 Week 17 vs CAR (28 / 40 / 280 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / -1 / 0 rush)
This game epitomized the strengths and weaknesses of the Atlanta Falcons. The strength is Matt Ryan. Given even a modicum of time and a healthy star receiver, Ryan was efficient and productive. He repeatedly stepped into pressure and found receivers for big plays. His first touchdown was a third down pass to Jason Snelling on a circle route where he thread the need just inside a Thomas Davis hit on the back for a score in the red zone. Ryan's best play of the day was a 39-yard post pattern to a wide open Roddy White on safety Quentin Mikell. When Atlanta could operate the quick play action game, Ryan found White, Harry Douglas, and Tony Gonzalez in the gaps of Carolina's zone defense all over the field. Ryan did throw a pick-six deep in its own territory after DeAngelo Williams was stripped at the end of a long run because Harry Douglas broke inside and Ryan threw to the outside. Still, Ryan's positives buoyed this team and kept Atlanta in this game. However, the weakness of the Atlanta team is its offensive line. The unit allowed nine sacks in this game and four of these occurred in the red zone. Greg Hardy had four sacks on the day and by the time Atlanta was forced to double team Hardy in the second half, Carolina found ways to get pressure from the opposite side, including a sack from Charles Johnson and a safety blitz from Mike Mitchell. In the penultimate drive for Atlanta, the Falcons gave up consecutive sacks and on the final drive and down by one, Ryan drove Atlanta to the Carolina 43 in less than a minute's time but his center mistimed the snap, forced a massive loss, incurred a false start penalty, and it resulted in a 10-second runoff that cost Atlanta field goal range. Ryan has been the reason why Atlanta has had a number of close games, but the offensive line is the difference between Atlanta being a four-win team and a 10-win team. With Roddy White looking healthy - bad game today notwithstanding - Atlanta will remain a consistently productive passing attack.
2012 Week 1 vs KC (23 / 31 / 299 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / 25 / 1 rush)
Those people who thought Matt Ryan was in for breakout season got a great head start on their prediction Sunday. Ryan was dominant against a patchwork Chiefs secondary and it started from the very beginning. Ryan was 7/9 for 68 yards on the opening drive. Ryan was patient in going through his progressions and showed more mobility than you would expect early on. Julio Jones made things pretty easy for him early, getting wide open consistently on the opening drive. The drive ended with a touchdown pass to Jones on a fade route that was perfect thrown over poor coverage. Ryan's best pass on the drive was a bullet to Roddy White for a 15 yard gain on 2nd and 10. Ryan started the second quarter out throwing a little high and wide to Roddy White on a roll out, but White made and outstanding catch and landed in bounds for a 16 yard gain. At that point the got a little bit soft trying to prevent big chunks and Ryan picked them apart underneath. All told, Ryan was 6/6 on the drive for 64 yards and capped it off with a 14 yard TD to Jones that came on an inside screen. Ryan showed a little mobility in the two minute drill, scrambling for 9 and 11 yards on consecutive plays. He had a little trouble in the red zone. He threw a seven yard out to Roddy White that would have turned into a touchdown, but Ryan threw it too low and White had to go to the ground to make the catch at the three. He then missed White in the end zone and the Falcons had to settle for a field goal. On third and 11 on the first drive of the third quarter, Ryan did a great job to avoid pressure and then through a beauty of a pass in between the linebackers and safety in the Chiefs defense for a 31 yard gain to Jones. Three plays later he missed a wide open Jones badly in the end zone, but finished the drive on the next play with a five yard scramble for a score. After a Chiefs turnover, Ryan showed great patience to deliver a precision strike to Tony Gonzalez for a 25 yard touchdown. Ryan spent most of the 4th quarter handing the ball off due to the game situation or his day could have been even bigger.
2012 Week 2 vs DEN (24 / 36 / 219 / 2 / 0 pass, 6 / 19 / 0 rush)
While Peyton Manning kept throwing the football away, Matt Ryan did the exact opposite. Ryan executed the team's game-plan almost to perfection as he continually diagnosed coverage and got rid of the ball quickly before pressure arrived. Ryan opened the game with safe passes to Jason Snelling, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, before throwing a strike down the sideline to Julio Jones. Jones dropped the ball in the endzone however. It was a rare shot down the field as Ryan mostly relied on Tony Gonzalez over the middle and shorter passes to his receivers to keep his offense on schedule. Ryan had one or two bad passes that should have been intercepted, but nothing that would blemish his overall performance. Mike Adams should have caught one of his passes when he tried to hit Roddy White on a deep curl while under pressure. Ryan's offensive line didn't pick up an inside blitz from the Broncos, which forced Ryan to throw off his back foot. The pass was under thrown and Ryan never saw Adams undercutting the pass. Adams couldn't make a leaping catch however. It was a split second decision, but Tony Gonzalez was wide open in the flat and Ryan never saw him. Another throw in the fourth quarter should have been intercepted for a touchdown by Tracy Porter. Porter jumped in front of a pass intended for Tony Gonzalez, but couldn't hold onto the hard pass. Ryan was constantly under pressure to get rid of the ball quickly or throw with a defender in his face, or, as he did on one excellent pass to Roddy White, with a defender on his back. Ryan and White were on a better wave length than he and Julio Jones. Ryan repeatedly made quick decisions that White and Gonzalez understood and reacted to for receptions, but Julio Jones didn't appear to share that chemistry.
2012 Week 3 vs SD (30 / 40 / 275 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
Ryan pretty much had his way with the San Diego defense all game long. His 75% completion percentage tells you all you really need to know about just how efficient he was. The Atlanta offensive line gave him loads of time to throw, and he just about always had someone wide open to throw to. He did a good job of sitting in the pocket and recognizing that the San Diego pass rush was never going to come anywhere close to him. This allowed him to go through his progression and wait for the best option to emerge. He showed tremendous accuracy and excellent decision-making at all times. Two of the touchdown passes were good efforts from the receivers, one in which Jacquizz Rodgers caught a short pass over the middle and burst up for the score. The other was when Tony Gonzalez reached out for the ball and split the defenders as he dove in between. Ryan's third touchdown pass was a combination of a perfect pass and an outstanding catch, as Ryan put one up high in the corner for WR Julio Jones. The ball was put precisely where it needed to be, and Jones did a nice job in adjusting to it as he twisted to the ground. Ryan very nearly could have had a fourth score but he lofted one way over the head of Gonzalez and it was intercepted in the end zone. It was literally Ryan's only mistake of the game. The Peyton Manning comparisons are getting fairer with each passing week. Ryan looks completely efficient and in control of the ballgame, firing strikes all over the field, and with a plethora of weapons he may well make a run at the top fantasy QB spot this season.
2012 Week 4 vs CAR (25 / 40 / 369 / 3 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan played with a calm demeanor the entire game despite the barrage of pressure he faced on a consistent basis from the Panthers' front four. He remained composed and poised in the pocket and when asked to escape the pocket and make plays, he did so effectively. When he could not evade the pressure, he made the correct decision and took the sack instead of risking a pass that wasn't there. Ryan executed several deep pass plays in the game off play action as the Falcons were able to pound the ball against the Panthers. Ryan's offensive tackles let him down in pass protection, amounting to seven sacks in total. Despite this, he remained accurate and unencumbered. Before having a red zone pass intercepted in the first quarter on one of his few poor reads of the game, Ryan tossed a touchdown pass to his TE Tommy Gallarda that was nullified by a dubious offensive PI penalty. Later, however, Ryan responded in a strong fashion with a deep pass on a post route (off play action) to Roddy White, who had taken the top off the defense with his blazing speed. Ryan's second touchdown pass was to the same target, who ran a seam pattern in the red zone. Ryan's pinpoint pass allowed White to make the play. His third and final touchdown pass of the game came on a middle screen pass to Michael Turner. The play was the perfect call against the Panthers' blitz on the play, which allowed Turner to beat one man and go the distance. It was a veteran display from Matt Ryan.
2012 Week 5 vs WAS (34 / 52 / 345 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / 4 / 0 rush)
Ryan attempted a season-high fifty-two pass attempts in the Falcons' Week 5 win over the Redskins. Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter, no doubt well informed regarding the Redskins' paper mache pass defense, wisely elected to let Ryan air it out against Washington. However, the fifth-year veteran actually came out fairly flat in the game's first half, over and under-throwing his receivers, despite having a lot of time in the pocket to let plays develop. Eventually, Ryan settled down and masterfully controlled the high-powered Falcons offense to its first 5-0 start in franchise history. Ryan completed thirty-four of his fifty-two pass attempts, including a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez in heavy traffic and an eighteen-yard touchdown on a fade pass to wide receiver Julio Jones. With all day to throw thanks to a wall-like offensive line, Ryan was able to check multiple reads before selecting his man. While Koetter and the Falcons went incredibly pass-heavy in their play calling against the Redskins, this did not mean a ball-control style of passing game, even though that was the result. Ryan took several shots downfield off play action to Julio Jones, although they never resulted in a large gain. He relied heavily on Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White to sustain drives and get open for first downs and additional yardage, while targeting his running backs on screens to get a good rhythm going and throwing to Jones in big play attempts. Ryan Kerrigan of the Redskins picked Ryan off for the Atlanta quarterback's third interception of the year. Ryan put too much loft on a screen pass to running back Jacquizz Rodgers, and Kerrigan snatched it out of the air for a pick six. The final score indicates that the Falcons only won by seven, but Ryan had his way with the Redskins' unintimidating zone scheme to the tune of three hundred and forty-five passing yards. Aside from some yips that he had in the first half of the game, the Boston College alumnus looked every bit the part of Matty Ice. He never panicked in the face of the Washington pass rush and was unafraid to throw into traffic, trusting his receivers to come up with the catch. Ryan easily read the Redskins defense and changed plays at the line when necessary. The Falcons quarterback seems totally locked in with his offense, and the Falcons themselves look nigh unstoppable. While 2011 appeared to be the advent of a new Atlanta Falcons offense dedicated to the passing game with the drafting of Julio Jones and the maturation of Ryan, it appears that in 2012, those predictions have come to fruition.
2012 Week 6 vs OAK (24 / 37 / 249 / 1 / 3 pass, 1 / 15 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan had a down day by his standards, finishing with 247 passing yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. Amazingly, this was the first game since Week 8 of 2009 that Ryan had thrown for 3 or more interceptions, and it came against a mediocre Oakland secondary. As with most of Ryan's games, the offensive line was decent if unspectacular on the day, but the interceptions he threw were certainly more on him than the line or the targeted receiver. His first interception was a badly underthrown ball on a crossing route to Harry Douglas. It was a questionable decision at best with an even worse throw. Luckily, the defense made sure the Raiders came away with no points on the ensuing possession despite Joselio Hanson returning the pick to the Atlanta 41. Ryan's second interception was perhaps his worst throw and decision of the year. Ryan was around the Oakland 40 yard line and threw a deep ball to the endzone for Julio Jones. The problem was that Jones was triple covered and the ball was badly underthrown and made for an easy pick for Michael Huff. Definitely not a throw you'd expect from a Pro Bowl caliber player. Ryan's third interception was the least egregious of the three, as he got hit while throwing the ball. The ball was a floating duck right to Tyvon Branch, as linebacker Philip Wheeler came nearly uncontested on a blitz, shooting the area around the B gap. Credit goes to Oakland here, although this was a blitz that could have been picked up. Ryan's lone touchdown came on a 4 yard toss to Roddy White, though it was the drive that was the shining star for the Falcons offense on this day. On the touchdown drive, Ryan completed every pass he threw (6 passes in total), and simply took what was given to him and didn't force anything. All of his passes were short ones, and he simply let his playmakers do their thing. It's a bit surprising Ryan didn't do this more throughout the game, as the Falcons offense has more talent than the Oakland defense on paper. On the final drive of the game, Ryan played dink and dunk once again, but it worked as it set Matt Bryant up for the game winning 55 yarder. On the day, the Falcons varied their routes and protections, so there wasn't a consistent theme for the offense as a whole.
2012 Week 8 vs PHI (22 / 29 / 262 / 3 / 0 pass, 3 / 18 / 0 rush)
Coming home to his native Pennsylvania, fifth-year quarterback Matt Ryan led the NFL's last undefeated team to its seventh win in a row. With the weather expected to be nasty at kickoff and progressively worse as the game went on, the Falcons opted for a run-first, run-second plan against the Eagles. Even with the ground game taking center stage, Ryan completed twenty-two of his twenty-nine passes for two hundred and sixty-two yards with three scores. He appeared in complete control the entire time, exhibiting patience in letting his receivers run the necessary routes while throwing crisp passes. Ryan's sixty-three yard pass to wide receiver Julio Jones was stunning in execution - spotting Jones in single coverage against Nnamdi Asomugha, Ryan launched a deep ball to Jones in stride, and his receiver took it to the house. The play was an excellent exhibit of physical skill and touch. Ryan also connected with running back Jason Snelling in traffic on a three-yard shovel pass touchdown and wide receiver Drew Davis on a fifteen-yard over-the-shoulder pass for another touchdown. Ryan did not have to take many big shots against the Eagles, given the Falcons lead for most of the game. Overall, Ryan's efficiency was remarkable against Philadelphia. He wasted very few of his passes while playing mistake-free football. Ryan's command of the Falcons offense allowed Atlanta to score on its first six offensive possessions as well as dominate time of possession against the Eagles.
2012 Week 9 vs DAL (24 / 34 / 342 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
Ryan added more fuel to his ongoing MVP campaign by masterfully guiding the Atlanta offense to 453 total yards against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Despite being sacked three times Ryan was able to average 10.1 yards per attempt and showed no hesitation in passing downfield to Julio Jones and Roddy White. The Falcons were intent on testing rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne and had plenty of success throwing his direction. Ryan spread the ball amongst all of his receivers but had most of his success outside the hashmarks throwing to Jones and White. His best throw came on an early 38 yard completion deep down the left sideline to Jones. On the play, defender Morris Claiborne was whistled for an interference penalty but Ryan's well thrown pass combined with Jones's elite athleticism resulted in a huge gain in to Dallas territory. Ryan did not throw for a touchdown despite completing a five passes for more than 24 yards. Ryan clearly is very confident in both his line to protect him and his receivers to make tough catches. His throws are accurate and have the right touch regardless of distance. Even his incompletions appear to be well-thrown, on-target passes. At the moment, Matt Ryan is playing as well as any quarterback in the league.
2012 Week 10 vs NO (34 / 52 / 411 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 2 / 0 rush)
Facing a Saints defense that seems to be last in the league against the run, the pass, and putting on its pads in a timely fashion, Matt Ryan had an incredibly productive day in New Orleans, despite the Falcons losing their first game of the season. Ryan attempted a season-high fifty-two passes as Atlanta aired it out all over the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Falcons' game plan allowed Ryan to pass for a career-high four hundred and eleven yards. Most of Ryan's passes were shorter passes for Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, as the field-stretching aspect of Atlanta's game got taken out with a shin injury that sidelined Julio Jones, but Ryan still completed twelve passes through the air that went over ten yards. Ryan's two biggest throws of the game went for forty-nine and fifty-two yards to Roddy White and Julio Jones, respectively - two perfectly-placed balls that each receiver was able to bring in without much adjustment to the speed or nature of his route. Ryan's three touchdown passes all came inside the New Orleans six yard line. Capitalizing on an Asante Samuel interception in New Orleans territory, Ryan put a one yard touch pass in into the waiting hands of offensive lineman Mike Johnson, who sold the play-action fake perfectly for a Falcons touchdown. Ryan's second and third passing touchdowns were all on the shoulders of tight end Tony Gonzalez. The Boston College product exhibited nearly blind faith in his veteran tight end, placing balls where he thought only he could reach them, and he did - a keen example of a quarterback's trust in his receiver. Ryan's lone interception of the game came on a go route pass to Drew Davis in which Davis slowed his pace, allowing Saints cornerback Corey White to get a better read on the pass and pick off Ryan. Had Davis not slowed down, it is unlikely White would have intercepted Ryan. With the game on the line and the Falcons down by four with fewer than six minutes to go, Ryan paced Atlanta through a twelve play, seventy-nine yard drive down to the New Orleans two yard line, chewing up over four minutes of clock. The Falcons turned the ball over on downs when Ryan's end zone pass to Roddy White got batted away by Saints cornerback Jabari Greer. Atlanta actually got the ball back from New Orleans on a quick three-and-out from the Saints, but Ryan's attempt to lead the Falcons to victory ended with a Tony Gonzalez dropped pass on fourth-and-one at the Atlanta forty yard line. Regardless of the outcome, this was arguably Ryan's best game of the 2012 season. Yes, he threw for a career high in yardage, but more important, he showed total control of a high-powered offense in a hostile environment with little time on the clock.
2012 Week 11 vs ARI (28 / 46 / 301 / 0 / 5 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan had a very "off" day on Sunday as he threw five interceptions but still managed to find a way to win and many of these INT's were not directly his fault. Ryan's day started off strangely with a pick. He threw a pass over the middle behind WR White, the ball got tipped up in the air and was easily picked off by the Cardinals. Ryan almost got picked again straight away when he took a big hit in the pocket as he threw but the DB dropped the football. Ryan's second interception came as the ball got deflected by the front 7 at the line of scrimmage and fell into Arizona's hands. Ryan's third INT was as a result of a massive overthrow in his own half as he got hit in the pocket. The ball fluttered in the air and the cardinals had another easy pick. The fourth interception was directly Ryan's fault as he forced the ball into a tight window on a rollout, underestimated the positioning of the LB who undercut the play and easily picked it off. Ryan's final interception came on another tipped pass that flew up into the air and fell into the lap of a Cardinal player. Despite a lot of these bizarre and mostly unlucky turnovers, Ryan still pulled out the win for his team. Ryan was locked into WR White a lot and the two displayed some great chemistry. Ryan frequently got the ball into White's hands early in open space to allow his WR to run after the catch. Ryan was unlucky not to get a touchdown as his completion to TE Gonzalez was one yard shy of the goal line for the would-be score. All but one of his turnovers was not directly his fault and came as a result of a drop/tipped pass/getting hit as he released the ball. A bizarre and unfortunate game for him but such a turnover fest is unlikely to repeat itself so fantasy owners don't have to fear this going forward.
2012 Week 12 vs TB (26 / 32 / 353 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 13 / 0 rush)
Ryan didn't have his best game for the Falcons, but he did enough to win the game and definitely helped his team more than his opposite number did. After two drives of excellent execution, Ryan forced a throw on third down that was intercepted by Ronde Barber. The Buccaneers only rushed three players, but were able to push the pocket somewhat and Ryan threw the ball early into a crowded field. In that situation Ryan needed to hold onto the ball because there were four defenders around his target over the middle of the field. He did balance that interception out with a beautiful deep throw to Julio Jones that went for an 80 yard touchdown. Jones did well to get into the endzone, but you still must give Ryan credit for throwing a perfect pass his way. Ryan was the model of efficiency and consistency for most of the game, but a fumble in the pocket had to be put on him also. The Buccaneers sent more pass rushers than the Falcons had blockers, but Ryan never seemed to notice the free defender coming from his right hand side. That defender hit him high and hard to force a fumble. When the Falcons needed him to put points on the board, Ryan made the right decisions without making the biggest plays. He did what he has done for most of the season...enough to win the game.
2012 Week 13 vs NO (18 / 33 / 165 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / -2 / 0 rush)
Ryan should have been intercepted with his very first throw when he threw a pass to Tony Gonzalez under pressure. The ball floated on Ryan and Malcolm Jenkins was about to intercept it, before Gonzalez made an outstanding play to take it away from him. Ryan had a very slow start, but wasn't helped by both Roddy White and Julio Jones who couldn't make somewhat difficult receptions. Ryan was bailed out by Harry Douglas when he underthrew a deep ball that could have been intercepted by Malcolm Jenkins. That was the second throw that Ryan was bailed out on by one of his receivers. After a couple of completions to Julio Jones to get him in rhythm, Ryan made a great read in the redzone, followed by an even better throw and catch to Tony Gonzalez for a touchdown. Ryan didn't have an impressive game, but unlike his counterpart for the Saints, Drew Brees, he didn't make the pivotal mistakes that cost his team. Somewhat fittingly, Ryan's final throw was a checkdown to Jason Snelling on third and 14 that went for just six yards. It didn't convert for the first down, but it did move them into Matt Bryant's field goal range. Bryant obliged to kick a 55 yard field goal to seal victory. Ryan wasnt' efficient, but he made decent decisions despite he and his receivers not being on the same page.
2012 Week 14 vs CAR (34 / 49 / 342 / 2 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan and the entire offense struggled to get going in this game as a stifling and physical Carolina defense seemed to fluster him. After some early third-down failures, Ryan was forced into pass-first mode as Carolina took a commanding lead. So dominating was Carolina's time of possession in the first half, Atlanta ran only 13 offensive plays. In the second half, a no-huddle approach seemed to work much better and Ryan began to click with his receivers. Now in rhythm, he was able to find Tony Gonzalez impressively against an all-out blitz and link up with Roddy White and Julio Jones, both of whom helped out their quarterback with great grabs. Ryan tossed a pair of touchdown passes, both of which were in the red zone. The first was an easy pass to a wide-open Roddy White, who ran a crossing route to escape the defender in coverage on him. The second was a well-designed screen pass to Julio Jones, who made a tackler miss on his way to pay dirt. In the waning minutes, Ryan was intercepted as he rolled right, tossing an ill-advised pass into coverage in the right flat. Ryan performed quite well despite the difficult circumstances; it was the ineffective first-half display that consigned Atlanta to this awkward game script.
2012 Week 15 vs NYG (23 / 28 / 270 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan did a great job of punishing the Giants when he was awarded terrific field position and made several amazing throws that helped his team beat down the NYG on Sunday. Ryan managed to hit speedy WR Douglas on a sideline throw deep down the field as he got free from the defense, putting just enough air on it to provide an easy catch for Douglas. Ryan's first touchdown came on a post route to TE Gonzalez. Gonzalez got a soft release into his route and outfought his man for a well thrown ball from Ryan that was high and away from the defender. Ryan then took advantage of the rookie CB as he found WR Jones streaking alone down the sideline. Ryan threw a perfect pass to the corner of the endzone and Jones was able to catch it perfectly in stride. Ryan then showed perfect accuracy again as he fitted into a ball down the seam to Douglas. Ryan's day finished in the fourth quarter as he placed the ball well to the outside for WR Jones to easily haul in. Ryan was helped by his defense giving him the ball often and in great field position but he made the necessary throws to keep drives alive and punished the Giants by scoring touchdowns mostly and not kicking field goals in the redzone.
2012 Week 16 vs DET (25 / 32 / 279 / 4 / 0 pass, 2 / 25 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan continues to bolster his MVP resume. Ryan matched a career high by tossing four touchdowns, two to Roddy White and one to Julio Jones, as the Falcons secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Ryan accumulated most of his statistics during the first half. Ryan completed 15 of 16 pass attempts for 183 yards and three touchdowns. Ryan's first touchdown pass to Roddy White was a thing of beauty. Ryan recognized single coverage on the outsideand hit White in stride for a 44-yard touchdown. White was able to get behind corner, Chris Houston, and Ryan delivered a perfect pass. During his next drive, Ryan went back White for his second touchdown. Ryan executed a perfect play fake and threw across his body. White secured the catch behind the line of scrimmage and utilized Tony Gonzalez's block to race down the sideline for a 39-yard touchdown. Ryan's third touchdown pass occurred right before halftime. Ryan lofted a beautiful back shoulder throw to Julio Jones for a 16-yard touchdown. Ryan threw a perfect pass, but Jones' slick footwork and soft hands made the touchdown stick. The Falcons took a 21-6 lead into halftime. During the third quarter, the Lions clawed back into the game, but Ryan extinguished the hopes of a comeback. Holding a 21-16 lead, Ryan led an 11-play, 80 yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end, Michael Palmer, who leaked out into the flat. Ryan completed 6-of-7 pass attempts, including two critical third down pickups to extend the drive. During this drive, Ryan scrambled for 13 yards to make the third down opportunities more reasonable. Overall, Ryan was very efficient and took what the defense gave him. Detroit completely took Tony Gonzalez away, so Ryan relied on underneath throws to his running backs and took shots downfield to his dynamic pair of wide receivers.
2012 Week 17 vs TB (28 / 44 / 238 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / 11 / 0 rush)
The Falcons stuck to their word and played to win the game. The Atlanta starters played the entire game, but they were far from effective against their divisional rival, Tampa Bay. Despite Tampa Bay being one of the friendliest matchups for opposing passing games, Ryan struggled. One of his consistent battles is dealing with pressure in the pocket. Tampa Bay got pressure frequently and was able to lock down the Atlanta receivers for most of the day. Atlanta did not shy away from the passing game despite the early game struggles. They called a pass on 27-of-36 (75%) first half snaps. Ryan underthrew Julio Jones down the field on one of the rare chances for a big chunk of yardage. Despite double coverage, Ryan threw it up to Jones, but it was well-short of giving the big target a legitimate chance to haul in the deep ball. Ryan's touchdown was more a result of a great formation and scheme than execution. Harry Douglas got lost in the bunch formation in the red zone, coming wide open on a quick out route. Despite looking uncomfortable all day and converting just 2-of-12 third downs coming into the final minutes, Ryan and the Falcons had a chance to win the game late. Needing a touchdown, Ryan tried to lead a game-winning drive, but failed to move the ball. After nearly throwing a game-ending interception on a comeback route to Jones, Ryan could not connect on tight window throws to Harry Douglas or Tony Gonzalez on third and fourth down. The Falcons and Matt Ryan, normally a tough out at home, surrendered with little more than a whimper to close out the regular season. Despite throwing for more than 4,700 yards and 32 touchdowns, Ryan will be judged in 2012 with his performance in the playoffs. After a bye week that has not helped this team in the past, Ryan will need one of his best games of the year as the running game has faded significantly down the stretch this season.
2012 Week 19 vs SEA (24 / 35 / 250 / 3 / 2 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
Ryan finally got over his own personal playoff bugaboo in his fifth season as quarterback of the Falcons. Completing twenty-four of his thirty-five pass attempts, Ryan broke the two hundred passing yards mark for the first time in his NFL playoff career, finishing the game against Seattle with an even two hundred and fifty yards through the air. Gone was the skittish, erratic Ryan of playoff games past, replaced by a confident master of the up-tempo, no-huddle offensive that allowed the Boston College product read defenses with ease and change plays at the line of scrimmage when necessary. Buoyed by a partisan Georgia Dome crowd and an offensive line that kept him clean all afternoon, Ryan delivered the best playoff game of his still-young NFL career. The Ryan-led Falcons came roaring out of the gate against Seattle, scoring a Matt Bryant field goal on an eleven-play drive that choked five minutes off the clock. Ryan was promptly intercepted by Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner on the Falcons' second drive, on a pass intended for tight end Tony Gonzalez With the Seattle pass rush incoming, Ryan floated a ball over the Atlanta offensive line - and nowhere near Gonzalez. However, with Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch coughing the ball up three plays later, Ryan drove the Falcons down the field in an eight-play drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown pass to Gonzalez. Ryan benefited from a clean pocket, continually scanning the end zone before firing to Gonzalez for six. Ryan would lead Atlanta to scoring drives on the team's next three possessions, including another Bryant field goal, a perfectly placed shovel pass from five yards out to running back Jason Snelling, and a forty-seven yard bomb of a touchdown that Ryan threw so high, it seemed to scrape the roof of the Georgia dome. With Roddy White beating coverage down the field, Ryan unloaded a pass so high it appeared to go straight up, only to fall right into the hands of a falling White - with pinpoint accuracy no less - for the quarterback's second touchdown pass of the afternoon. Ryan actually fizzled out following the touchdown pass to Snelling, as the Falcons could not sustain nearly any of their drives. He was intercepted for a second time by Seattle, this time by Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, on a very underthrown pass intended for Roddy White that Thomas snatched before White could even make a play on the ball. However, the fifth-year quarterback was at his very best when the Falcons faithful needed him the most. Following a two-yard touchdown run from Marshawn Lynch to put the Seahawks up by one point with thirty-one seconds remaining, Ryan completed passes of twenty-two and nineteen yards to Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez, respectively, completions which set up the go-ahead field goal by Matt Bryant. Bryant's field goal was the decisive strike that sent Ryan and the Falcons into the franchise's first-ever home NFC Championship contest.
2012 Week 20 vs SF (30 / 42 / 396 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
In what looked like a glorified seven-on-seven drill for the first half, Ryan put up a game's worth of statistics in just 30 minutes. He was rarely pressured, faced just four third downs, and put up 24 points with 297 total yards of offense in the process. Whether it was Roddy White, Julio Jones, or Tony Gonzalez, the entire passing game was firing on all cylinders. Despite that offensive domination, Atlanta had just a three-point lead when they got the ball early in the third quarter. While Ryan was the veteran quarterback of the matchup with Colin Kaepernick, it was he who flinched first (and last) in the tightly-contested second half. After an interception when Roddy White slipped on a comeback route, Ryan fumbled a routine shotgun snap. The 49ers controlled the clock in the second half with long drives, but Ryan and the offense had their chance on a fourth quarter drive, down by four points. They drove the length of the field, but failed on a fourth down in the red zone to essentially end the game. As Roddy White ran a crossing route at the first down marker, the tight coverage broke up the play. It was a tale of two halves for the Falcons, who were a handful of yards away from their first Super Bowl berth since the storied 1998 team. As Atlanta heads to the offseason, it is worth noting that Ryan landing directly on his left shoulder late in the game and was favoring it as the game concluded.
2011 Week 1 vs CHI (31 / 47 / 319 / 0 / 1 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan started off very efficiently with the ball but ultimately a huge weakness in his philosophy was uncovered. Ryan spread the ball well and hit his recievers in stride early on with short routes. However, this kind of dinking and dunking passing game requires a high level of execution and leaves almost no room for mistakes. Ryan started to miss some throws and the whole offense became very stagnant as they could not remain on the field. Ryan threw a poor interception to LB Urlacher as he was trying to fit the ball over his head to his TE but simply under estimated Urlachers athletic ability. Later in the game, Ryan lost the ball in his own half with turned into a scoop and score as he hung in the pocket for too long. The Bears defense must be given credit as they stifled the Falcons and did not give up any big plays down the field. The Bears allowed Ryan to play his short game of passing and eventually mistakes started and Ryans game unravelled. Ryan's offensive line did not give him sufficient time in the pocket at times as he took a lot of big hits. He finished the game with some garbage numbers and completions but really this game was never close.
2011 Week 2 vs PHI (17 / 28 / 195 / 4 / 2 pass, 4 / 6 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan had a rocky game on the national stage on Sunday night, but he kept his composure just enough to pull out a thrilling come from behind victory versus a game Eagles team. Ryan was under pressure from the start of the game and by mid-way through the contact he was reacting to it when it wasn't even there. The lack of time to go through his progressions made it difficult for him to look downfield much so he relied heavily on Tony Gonzalez time after time. He was really having a subpar game (he had thrown 2 INT's heading into the 4th quarter) before engineering two long TD drives late to carry the Falcons to victory. When the dust cleared Ryan had tossed a career high 4 TD's in the face of a tough game from one of the league's best teams and rose to the occasion when the Falcons needed it most.
2011 Week 3 vs TB (26 / 47 / 330 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 12 / 0 rush)
Pressure Pressure Pressure!!! Matt Ryan was under pressure the entire day and his Tackles did a horrific job of slowing the down the Bucs Defensive Linemen coming off the ends as well as LBs on the blitz although the Bucs were getting solid pressure all day from their front 4 alone. If the Falcons cannot get Matt Ryan better pass protection it's going to be a long year. Atlanta should probably be 0-3 right now. Give Ryan a lot of credit for hanging in the pocket as much as he did but all day he had to keep throwing the ball to short hot routes and only a handful of times was he able to really challenge the Bucs down field. Even when he could get some time in the pocket he did not cash in. Case in point he had Julio Jones with a few steps on the defense but he under threw the ball and Jones had to peel back and wait for the ball to get to him where is he had caught it in stride he would have waltzed into the end zone. The Falcons did try to go no huddle and that worked for a while as Ryan found Roddy White on a give and go route where White was able to shake off the Bucs defender and turn a 15 yard play into 30 yards which resulted in the Falcons first score of the game. Owners should be concerned about Matt Ryan because if his pass protection remains poor then his health over the season is going to be in jeopardy. He was hit early and often throughout the game and eventually that leads to turnovers which he accounted for three of them on the day. The plus though is he still managed to throw for over 300 yds and he still has a dynamite trio to throw the ball to in White, Jones, and Gonzalez. The Falcons simply need to pass protect for him better or get some additional blockers to stay in and help out.
2011 Week 4 vs SEA (28 / 42 / 291 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 26 / 0 rush)
Ryan had a stellar first half. He began the day 4-for-4 on his opening drive, which was capped with a short TD to Tony Gonzalez. Ryan showed great composure and kept the Seahawks off balance throughout. In part, it was because he has such a dangerous trio to throw to: White and Jones each can be unstoppable at times, and when they were covered, Gonzalez always seemed to be there underneath. Ryan also mixed things up a little, getting a first down on what looked like a planned bootleg but was more likely quick decision making upon seeing plenty of room ahead of him. The timing of Ryan's throws was generally impeccable, and gave his receiving corps the best chance at gaining more yards. In a smart adjustment by the defence, the Seahawks forced Ryan to throw to his RB's and TE's more in the second half. Ryan was still able to move the ball through the air, but was clearly struggling; he did try to go deep to Jones again but his rhythm was off and he overthrew. Late in the game, the Falcons used the no huddle offense, and had a lot of trouble trying to audible against Seattle's "12th man" (the fans). Even though at this point in the game, the Seahawks had all the momentum, Ryan kept his cool and did everything he could to keep moving the chains, putting the ball into Gonzalez's hand often, and even scrambling for a 7 yard 3rd-down conversion.
2011 Week 5 vs GB (18 / 32 / 167 / 1 / 2 pass, 3 / 9 / 0 rush)
The Falcons took a page out of the old "Jeff Fisher against Peyton Manning" playbook. They came into the game, pounded the ball, worked the play-action game and kept Rodgers off the field. However, once the Packers took away the running game, Ryan had a tough time. Ryan was able to lead the Falcons down the field for two early scores, but then was unable to do anything else the rest of the game. The Packers clamped down on the running game, and without the playaction threat, Ryan was erratic. He did have a few penalties that hurt him, one on a 47 yard strike to Harry Douglas that was wiped out on a holding penalty. But Ryan was not the victim of heavy pressure. He had time in this one, but was just unable to get anything going. He threw two deep balls to Julio Jones, and both throws weren't thrown particularly well. Ryan had two interceptions towards the end of the game that could have been caught. On one pass to Gonzalez, Gonzalez got his hands on the deep ball, but tipped it and Peprah intercepted it. Then towards the end of the game, Roddy White let one go through his hands, and Bush intercepted it, basically ending the Atlanta game. Ryan hasn't taken that next step yet, despite the fact that everyone expects him too. Clearly he is most comfortable when he's got a strong running game, and can throw the play-action pass and slowly move the ball. When the Falcons fall behind and when he doesn't have a running threat, he's just not very effective.
2011 Week 6 vs CAR (14 / 22 / 163 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 7 / 1 rush)
Matt Ryan took a backseat to the running game in this one as he used to. The formula worked well for Atlanta. It allowed Ryan to exploit the Panthers with play action, notably on his touchdown pass to FB Ovie Mughelli on a rollout at the goal line. Ryan was pressured at times but the offensive line gave him good protection overall. Ryan stood in as he was being creamed to complete a key pass to Harry Douglas on third down in the fourth quarter. He used his cadence to good effect to make the defense jump offside a couple of times. Ryan scored a rushing touchdown of his own on a 1-yard QB sneak to take the lead for Atlanta. In all, he did enough to win the game but clearly this team has an issue as far as agreeing on their identity. Without Julio Jones it is the Turner show, but Ryan appears to be a middling quarterback whatever the case.
2011 Week 7 vs DET (20 / 34 / 218 / 1 / 2 pass, 3 / 2 / 1 rush)
Matt Ryan had a very shaky day as neither QB on the field could get into a comfortable rhythm. Ryan started off poorly as he threw an INT that was as a result of just forcing the ball on third down and a silly decision. Ryan got roughed up heavy in this game also. He got two personal fouls called against him early in the game as Suh and co. gave him a warm welcome to Ford field. Ryan overshot many of his passes and was not accurate with the ball for most of the game. Ryan missed WR White open deep and was hit a lot as he dropped back. Ryan did make a terrific touch pass to White later in the game on a fade route with just enough air. Ryan also enjoyed a nice running game which he leaned on a lot to keep the pass rush honest and used off of PA to find guys running down the middle. Ryan showed his toughness as he returned the game very quickly after getting knocked out of the game. He threw another interception late in the game as he simply lost control of a ball over the middle which went too high and was easily picked off. Ryan did not do well vs. the Blitz and his offensive line could not keep Detroit's front 7 off him for long.
2011 Week 9 vs IND (14 / 24 / 275 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 0 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan's numbers are impressive in this game but he owes a lot to WR Jones and relied on big plays to put up points in this game. Ryan looked very shaky at times in this game and without the big plays, his performance overall would have been bad. Ryan threw a lot of passes that seemed to lack any velocity on outside throws and many were almost picked off as a result. He did throw one pass straight to a defender near his own goaline that resulted in a pick 6, Ryan simply failed to see the CB that completely read his eyes all the way. Ryan's first touchdown came on a deep downfield pass with a high arc that somehow WR Jones managed to come up with as he was not particularly open. Ryan's second touchdown came soon after as he simply fired a slant to WR Jones who used his elite speed to run away from everybody and continued to make QB Matt Ryan's stat sheet look very impressive. He also scored on PA roll out on the goal line where he had more than enough time to hit TE Gonzalez in the back of the endzone. The Colts never troubled the Falcons who always had a commanding lead and the performance of rookie WR Jones was huge for how it allowed them to play with such a commanding lead. Ryan only had one pick but could have easily had 3. Although he was involved in some terrific plays, his receivers did a lot of the work for him and they began to lean heavily on the running game towards the end.
2011 Week 10 vs NO (29 / 52 / 351 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 9 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan had 52 pass attempts and managed to rack up some fairly big numbers on Sunday vs. the Saints. The Falcons did try to fit the running game in too however and Ryan used this and PA to his advantage to get some quick strikes over the middle of the field. Ryan was inaccurate in the redzone however and this led to a lot of FG's which ultimately proved to be their demise and fantasy owners demise as he lost out on a lot of touchdown opportunities. Ryan got a big touchdown from his RB/FB Snelling. Ryan simply checked down the ball to Snelling who turned into a beast and powered his way over the goal line for the score. Ryan found White open in the middle of the field after PA many times and fitted a great ball in between two defenders to Gonzalez for his second touchdown pass. Ryan really liked to throw over the middle of the field on Sunday and rarely threw to the outside. As a result, Gonzalez and slot WR Douglas had a big day. Gonzalez dominated one on one coverage over the middle with power and doesn't look his age at all. Ryan began to heavily involve WR Douglas in the second half and his performance really enabled the Falcons to go into overtime. Douglas was a huge weapon over the middle of the field and had so many catch and run plays where the Saints almost forgot about him and paid the price. Ryan's performance was still shaky however as should have been picked off late game but two Saints players ran into each other and broke up the pass. Ryan had a chance to win this game as he tried to get the ball deep to Douglas twice. His arm strength failed him however as he under threw WR Douglas who had a step on his DB's in coverage. The only INT he had was not his fault as WR White dropped the pass and fell it behind him into the hands of a Saints defender.
2011 Week 11 vs TEN (22 / 32 / 316 / 1 / 0 pass, 6 / 3 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan was consistent and productive against the Titans on Sunday, protecting the ball well and spreading the ball around to different receivers. More impressively, Ryan seemed attuned to attacking the defense wherever it was weakest. The Titans rotated in different packages and players yet Ryan consistently found the openings in zone-coverage and the mis-matches in man coverage. Ryan's best throw came on a 43 yard pass to Roddy White. On the play, Ryan threw a high arcing pass down the right sideline to a streaking White. The ball floated in between two defenders hitting White in stride. Otherwise, Ryan chose to throw the ball quickly to Harry Douglas or Tony Gonzales over the middle or Roddy White on quick outs and drag routes. The Titans did not sack Ryan, which is a testament to the Falcons effective use of play-action as well as Ryan's mastery of the offensive game plan. His throws were crisp and on target and he showed deft touch on a number of difficult throws in to zone coverage. On one such throw to Douglas, Ryan used play action before placing nice touch on a throw between three converging defenders.
2011 Week 12 vs MIN (27 / 34 / 262 / 3 / 0 pass, 4 / 3 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan had a fantastic game where he made a lot of teammates look good and really gave a superbly consistent performance throughout the game. Ryan missed an open Douglas early but this was about the worst he played all game. Ryan was decisive and had a very quick release which allowed him to avoid taking any sacks. He used TE Gonzalez a lot vs. the blitz and has used this rapport with his TE all year to ensure a solid check down option that prevents sacks and gives good yards at the same time when needed. Ryan didn't have to do too much work for his first touchdown pass as a slant to WR Douglas turned into a big play. Douglas broke a tackle and scampered into the endzone as he ran away from tacklers. Ryan was able to use PA well with his running game. He almost had WR White deep for a big play but slightly overthrew him. Ryan was very accurate on third down and kept many drives alive with clutch throws all over the field to pick up key first downs which were crucial to his success. Ryan threw a high and somewhat difficult pass to the back of the endzone for WR White but he was able to keep his feet in bounds for Ryan's 2nd TD pass. Ryan worked the middle of the field all game and MIN could never get off the field on third down. He almost lost the ball on a bizarre play where he lost the ball but it was recovered by ATL. Ryan was given a lot of time from his offensive line and used this to hit White deep downfield which set up his third touchdown pass. The Falcons were right on the goal line and Ryan simply fired a pass short to his TE Palmer, a very tough play to defend. Ryan make a lot of clutch throws, especially on third down and did not turn over the ball which should keep all his fantasy owners, coaches and fans happy.
2011 Week 13 vs HOU (20 / 47 / 267 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 10 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan was off-target all game until it counted. And when he finally did get it going, his receivers did him no favors by dropping balls at key moments in the game. Early on, Ryan overthrew receivers like he had a tailwind behind him. He had a number of throws in the middle of the field that might have been picked off had the Texans not been rotating double coverage to the outside where Roddy White and Julio Jones were running deep route after deep route. Ryan's best passes were indeed long throws. On a 26 yard gain to Julio Jones, he perfectly placed a high-arcing ball between two defenders and the sideline. His best throw of the day came on the game's final play. Ryan took the snap and lofted a perfect pass to Julio Jones in the end zone. The ball was away from three nearby defenders in a place that only Jones could catch it. Unfortunately, his rookie receiver dropped the ball thus ending the game. Ryan has not looked as crisp as expected in some time. He mixes brilliant throws with prolonged periods of mediocrity. While the Falcons remain in the playoff race, they aren't going to go very far in the season's latter quarter if Ryan doesn't start extending drives with more on-target passing.
2011 Week 14 vs CAR (22 / 38 / 320 / 4 / 0 pass, 3 / 0 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan had a near flawless game when he wasn't under pressure from the Panthers defensive front. Despite being stifled early, Ryan remained calm and applied a surgeon-like touch to his game, identifying mismatches and exploiting them. Ryan played games with the defense on occasion, changing the play and changing it again in response to a defensive audible. Ryan got the ball out of his hands quickly and gave his receivers a chance to make plays after the catch. His four touchdown passes were representative of his good game. The first was a corner route in the red zone to Roddy White; the defender in coverage let White go and the receiver capitalised. Ryan's second scoring strike came on a wheel route to Jacquizz Rodgers, who got free from the LB in coverage. His third was a strike to Julio Jones, who stretched over the plane of the goal line for a score. And his final touchdown pass was the game-sealer as he hit Jones on a hitch route and the receiver did the rest, turning up the field for a 75-yard score. Ryan's veteran presence in this game allowed the Falcons to come back from the early deficit.
2011 Week 15 vs JAX (19 / 26 / 224 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Ryan's evening was just another day in the office throwing for 224 yards and 3 touchdowns; most of Ryan's damage was done in the first half. Ryan seems to have complete grasp and control of the offense making adjustments and calls at the line on every play. Ryan's first touchdown came on a throw underneath to a wide-open Julio Jones in stride allowing the freak athlete to turn up field and turn a five-yard gain into a 29-yard touchdown. All of Ryan's pass attempts were short to intermediate throws never really asked to force the issue based on the games flow. Matt Ryan did however miss a couple throws to Roddy White for td's once missing an easy back shoulder end zone pass and another ball was over thrown in the end because of early in route stumble from the all pro wide receiver.
2011 Week 16 vs NO (34 / 52 / 373 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / -3 / 0 rush)
Ryan's night started out quite effectively completing numerous efficiently thrown balls short to intermediately down the field. What turned out to be his only touchdown of the evening, a well-thrown ball under pressure in between the backers and secondary allowing Julio Jones to do the rest of the damage falling up field for a 21-yard touchdown. The evening started out with all the makings of a shoot-out but the Falcon's were forced to turn one-dimensional vastly affecting the strengths of Ryan and the overall team. Ryan had plenty of opportunities in the red zone only to have the drives fizzle out. The offensive line did relatively well protecting Ryan all night, a huge factor that could've drastically affected the quarterback's production negatively. Another key worth noting quite a few throws down field were under thrown taking away large production and touchdowns off the board.
2011 Week 17 vs TB (6 / 9 / 106 / 2 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Really didn't have to do much as he showed throwing a wounded duck on a 3rd and 11 on the 1st drive of the football game. That wounded duck managed to find it's way into the hands of Roddy White for a big first down. The touchdown throw to Julio Jones in the 1st quarter was a simple short pass on a crossing route inside the red zone. He hits his mark but he isn't exactly cutting the defense to shreds. Ryan is smart though and he allows his receivers to make big plays and puts the ball where they can go up and cash in on the defenses. The game was 35-0 with over 10 minutes left in the 2nd quarter so the Falcons decided to shut Ryan down for most of the 2nd half which was a wise decision.
2011 Week 18 vs NYG (24 / 41 / 199 / 0 / 0 pass, 3 / 3 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan was largely ineffective in this game as the Giants front four was in his face from the first snap to the very last. Ryan completed some simple passes on three- and five-step drops, but rarely challenged the Giants secondary down the field. Ryan's offensive tackles were often beaten off the snap, meaning he was forced to step up. When he did, his best option was a check down on most passing attempts. The Falcons could not establish any semblance of a rushing attack, putting more pressure on Ryan's shoulders. Ultimately the pressure proved too much for the fourth year passer, who needs more help - especially on the offensive line - to make this offense successful in the playoffs.
2010 Week 1 vs PIT (27 / 44 / 252 / 0 / 1 pass, 2 / 4 / 0 rush)
You could say Ryan looked like a rookie QB in this one due to the simplicity of the offense for Atlanta and the one bad decision Ryan made late in the 4th quarter, but that wouldn't be fair on a couple of levels. First of all, Ryan was arguably better as a rookie than last year so calling him one might be a bit too complimentary; secondly, he had a 2008-like Steelers defense to go up against; lastly (and perhaps most problematic), it appears that Atlanta has only one viable pass-catcher on the perimeter in Roddy White. From the first series of the game, Ryan looked a bit uneasy due to the ever-present pass rush of the Steelers. The Falcons couldn't get anything going on the ground to help Ryan, so they had to open things up a bit to gain yards. When the Falcons could move the ball, they did so using short to medium passes - mostly to White. The run-pass ratio of 25 rushing attempts to 44 pass attempts would suggest that Atlanta was behind by a lot in the game, but the fact of the matter is that the Steelers run defense was just overpowering the Falcons, putting the game in the hands of Matt Ryan much more than Atlanta would prefer to do in their typical game. Ryan did pretty well for himself for 3+ quarters - mainly due to the Steelers' mysterious reluctance to cover White. The go-to route for Atlanta was a 10-12 yard out to White, which they seemed to throw at least eight times in the game. For a guy who typically falls into the "big guy, big arm" stereotype, Ryan's arm was surprisingly average to me. On many of the aforementioned 10-yard out's, the ball had some arc on it - as opposed to being a solid frozen rope. While Ryan's arm isn't among the weakest in the league, I would think he'd be more in the Matt Stafford, Chad Henne, big QB range of strength as opposed to what you might see from smaller QB more known for accuracy like Drew Brees. That slight lack of arm strength (along with a more apparent lack of vision) showed up on a crucial play late in the 4th quarter when Atlanta got the ball back with 1:45 left on its own 21 yard line. With two timeouts, the Falcons had a great chance to put together a drive into field goal range - similar to what they did at the end of the first half - only this time it would have been to win the game. Ryan and White went to the "10-and-out" well one too many times though, and Troy Polamalu picked off the pass to put the Steelers in range for a game-winning field goal attempt (which they would eventually miss). Overall, Ryan was just an average performer in this game. That may seem harsh since he had little help from the run game and only one wide receiver to utilize, but had the Steelers been able to convert the 40-yard field goal in regulation, Ryan would've been this game's goat.
2010 Week 2 vs ARI (21 / 32 / 225 / 3 / 0 pass, 6 / 6 / 0 rush)
After a tough matchup against what is looking to be an AMAZING Steeler defense, Matt Ryan owners were beginning to get nervous. But behind a very strong running game, Ryan had it easy most of the day on Sunday. He looked very calm and methodically led the Falcons to 41 points. This Falcon team is very good, and might go a long way in the NFC. In week 1, Ryan seemed to lock in onRoddy White. He still threw White a bunch of balls, but he did a better job of spreading it out this week. It always helps when your running game is going as well as it was, but Ryan also threw two nice touchdowns deep in Arizona territory. And though he didn't have a ton of yards, the fact that this game was over at halftime is the primary reason for that. The Cardinals never really disrupted Ryan at all, even when they sacked him, and if the Cardinals had been able to score more points, and keep it close, Ryan could have had an even bigger day. However, with this running game and defense, there could very well be a number of weeks where Ryan is doing nothing but handing off in the 2nd half, which might limit his value just a bit.
2010 Week 3 vs NO (19 / 30 / 228 / 2 / 0 pass, 6 / 26 / 0 rush)
Despite not throwing for a ton of yardage Matt Ryan still looked like an All-Pro quarterback throughout the game on Sunday, throwing multiple deep beauties including two 20+ yarders to Roddy White (with one going for a touchdown). Despite blanket coverage being applied on White for practically the entire game, Ryan threw no picks and still managed to squeeze in five receptions to him despite the defenses hyper focus. Tony Gonzalez was Ryan's favorite target of the day thanks to the aforementioned coverage played on White and the promising young quarterback even threw a few runs into his repertoire including a 13 yard scramble to sustain the Falcons final, overtime-winning drive. He continues to minimize his mistakes and maximize his effectiveness as a quarterback this season and is essentially blossoming before our very eyes.
2010 Week 4 vs SF (26 / 43 / 273 / 1 / 2 pass, 4 / 15 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan was not himself after taking some early tone-setting shots from the 49ers defense, which blitzed in the A gaps early and often to disrupt the rhythm of the Falcons running game. Ryan ran the no huddle offense when the Falcons went 14-0 down with precision and led a scoring drive, capping it off with a pass into the right flat to Harry Douglas, who finished it off in style. Ryan had a pass intercepted on a tipped pass by a 49ers defender, and was unlucky on the play. However, he stayed cool and showed why he was named "Matty Ice", as he did a great job to use his cadence and take a free play for a 34 yard completion to Douglas on a shallow cross. Ryan made a couple of errors in this game which could have cost his team dearly, none more so than the interception he threw on what should have been the Falcons final drive. Nate Clements picked off his pass, but thanks to a hustle play from Roddy White to strip it, the Falcons retained possession. Ryan led the team down the field for a winning field goal as time expired. Overall Ryan had a decent game, but he looked rattled at times and made some questionable decisions.
2010 Week 5 vs CLE (16 / 28 / 187 / 1 / 0 pass, 5 / 5 / 0 rush)
Ryan played better than his numbers indicate - the Browns just kept after him with relentless pressure during this game. Early on, nothing was coming open even when Ryan did have time to throw, but as the game went on, Ryan was able to find open receivers and strike for just enough to get the Falcons over the top. His TD throw came on a play action fake deep ball to Roddy White, who was matched up with Sheldon Brown, who had just returned to the game after taking the worst of a collision with Tony Gonzalez that Brown initiated. Ryan also kept plays alive by retreating and converted one into a terrific throw back across the field to Gonzalez even though he knew he would take a huge hit to do it. The Falcon got cute later on and tried a flea flicker that almost resulted in disaster. Ryan hasn't taken the step forward into an everyweek fantasy starter that some had hoped for, but he is still doing a great job as a leader of a winning team and strong offense.
2010 Week 6 vs PHI (23 / 42 / 250 / 2 / 1 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan was forced to throw a ton against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6, attempting 42 passes in a comeback effort. Atlanta fell down 14-0 quickly and 21-0 prior to halftime. Ryan completed just over 50% of his attempts for 250 yards and two touchdowns but his numbers were partly inflated by a late score with the game all but decided. Ryan is 3-0 this year in games with 35 or less attempts but just 1-2 in games with 40+ passes, so the Falcons will certainly want to establish the run more going forward. Ryan is more productive with a balanced attack as play action opens up his targets.
2010 Week 7 vs CIN (24 / 33 / 299 / 3 / 1 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan had a near flawless game on Sunday, his only real error coming on what was a magnificent interception by Leon Hall. Ryan mixed up the tempo of the Falcons offense nicely, as they responded to the Bengals no-huddle with some of their own. Ryan threw a dart for his first touchdown pass of the day to Brian Finneran in the back of the end zone. The connection that he has with Roddy White is something very special. Ryan and White remind me of Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. It is almost telepathic at times. Ryan threw a wonderful pass for White's 43 yard touchdown on a deep crossing route. Ryan continues his hot streak at home, and had a great performance today.
2010 Week 9 vs TB (24 / 36 / 235 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 5 / 0 rush)
Ryan completed 24 of 36 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown, and had three rushes for five yards on the ground. Ryan's score came on a five yard strike to backup TE Michael Palmer. He was solid throughout the whole game as he orchestrated four scoring drives of over 50 yards, including a 99 yard drive that ended with a touchdown run by RB Michael Turner.
2010 Week 10 vs BAL (32 / 50 / 316 / 3 / 0 pass, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had his best game as a professional in Week 10 against the Ravens. Outside of efficiently throwing the ball despite 50 pass attempts, Ryan looked poised and in control against a hostile and talented defense. Ryan was patient in the pocket and efficient in making his progressions through the offense. On a handful of occasions, he showed a veteran's savvy in throwing the ball away after going through his reads and finding no one open. His best pass of the day came on a 24 yard completion to to Michael Jenkins as he rallied the Falcons to an 80 yard, game winning drive with under a minute to go in the contest. Ryan also showed great athleticism in a 13 yard run for a first down as the first half wound down. Ryan sensed pressure to the outside and darted up the middle, wisely sliding to protect himself but angling his body in a way to gain the yardage needed for a first down. Ryan stood tall in the pocket throughout the game and seemed to see the field completely, never more evident then on his final throw of the game: a touchdown pass to Roddy White who had pushed off of the Ravens receiver and found himself wide open on the left side of the field as Ryan rolled out, away from the Ravens' pass rush.
2010 Week 11 vs STL (26 / 39 / 253 / 2 / 0 pass, 1 / 8 / 0 rush)
Ryan and the Falcons offense were extremely methodical in their gameplan, controlling the ball with a steady diet of Michael Turner and working the short passing game. Ryan rarely went deep against the Rams, and when he did, he was unsuccessful. However, Ryan continually did a good job of working the middle of the field, finding the open man, and keeping the chains moving. Ryan seems to be in complete control of the offense and has a large amount of freedom to change the plays at the line of scrimmage, which is extremely impressive for a QB as young as he is. It still seems like Ryan has a lack of speed in his wide-outs, (aside from Roddy White of course), but he makes the best of it by methodically leading an offense that is rarely stopped.
2010 Week 12 vs GB (24 / 28 / 197 / 1 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan is perhaps the most consistent quarterback in the NFL right now. He is cerebral at the line, makes checks to get his players in the best play and delivers his passes accurately and on time to his receivers. He is deceptively mobile as he showed on a couple of scrambles in this game to escape the pocket and fire a strike to his outlet receiver. He plays smart football and he had another great game on Sunday.
2010 Week 13 vs TB (18 / 36 / 205 / 2 / 2 pass, 3 / -3 / 0 rush)
Ryan didn't have an efficient game, and he threw his first two picks in the last five games, but he did enough to keep the Falcons in the game and made a few big plays at opportune times when his club needed them the most. He threw for two scores, and had a big third down conversion on third and 20 in the fourth quarter to keep the game winning drive alive. As usual, Ryan was locked onto WR Roddy White, but that should come as no surprise.
2010 Week 14 vs CAR (20 / 34 / 227 / 1 / 1 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan was on his game today and continues to get more and more comfortable with his targets as the season progresses. Ryan was razor sharp in his reads, especially on third down. The Falcons are one of the league's best third down teams, and from this game it was easy to see why. Ryan kept plays alive long enough to find a receiver coming back to the ball for him. He delivered accurate, catchable passes all game long and never looked flustered despite being sacked on a few occasions by the Panthers. Ryan was efficiency personified in this game.
2010 Week 15 vs SEA (20 / 35 / 174 / 3 / 1 pass, 6 / 6 / 0 rush)
Ryan had a very efficient day with the ball, excelling on third down and kept drives alive and well in this offense. Everyone knows how much Ryan likes to target White and Gonzalez in the passing game, leading to an early interception as he failed to see the Safety jump the route. However, Ryan soon began to incorporate Jenkins and spread the ball really well, which left Seattle lost and confused at what to defend. He enjoyed good pass protection for most of the game and was allowed to get through his reads or use his scrambling ability to run or pass. Ryan was as poised as ever in the pocket, came back strong after his interception and was in rhythm all day with White and Gonzalez on third down especially. This Falcon offense is a ball control offense that is run heavy, leading to Ryan's low passing yards but he was given the chance to throw touchdown passes and he his redzone offense was very efficient. The highlight for Ryan's day was a perfectly thrown pass to Jenkins on a streak for the touchdown.
2010 Week 16 vs NO (15 / 29 / 148 / 1 / 0 pass, 4 / 26 / 0 rush)
Ryan had a bit of an off night as he came up empty in key situations down the stretch (situations he would typically flourish in). He played a clean mistake free game and certainly didn't do anything to harm his team's chances at a win, but he came up lame when it mattered most, throwing 5 straight incompletions on the games last two drives. Earlier in the game Ryan worked the field in the short and intermediate range while under consistent pressure from the Saints. It was his worst fantasy football showing of the season despite finding Roddy White on a 7 yd TD toss in the 2nd quarter.
2010 Week 17 vs CAR (22 / 32 / 236 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / 7 / 0 rush)
Ryan had an easy time of it against the Panthers, passing on 10 of 12 opening drive plays, which ended in a touchdown as Ryan scrambled and found Tony Gonzalez in the end zone. He spread the ball out extremely well in his three quarters of play, making it difficult for the defense to key on any one receiver. Ryan's first couple of throws looked a little off, but once he got into a groove, he was on fire. Any complaints about his game are minor, given the the final score. Ryan uncharacteristically failed to convert two fourth down attempts, once on a pass to Roddy White in the end zone, and another on a QB keeper. He actually seemed a little sloppy in the second half, with the game well in hand, as he threw into good coverage and was nearly intercepted. He added a fumble, but luckily the Falcons recovered. Make those lapses in the playoffs and it's game over; but against the Panthers, who simply did their part to make more mistakes than their opponent, it really didn't matter in the end.
2010 Week 19 vs GB (20 / 29 / 186 / 1 / 2 pass, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
Coming into the game, I thought the biggest key to the game would be the offensive playcalling of the Falcons. As it turns out, that wasn't a relevant factor. There were a few conservative moments in the first half, but that wasn't what did in the Falcons. From an offensive standpoint, there just aren't any playmakers on this squad, aside from Roddy White. Ryan tried to make big plays, but threw two horrible INT's in the first half to Tramon Williams, and the game was basically over at halftime. Ryan's second interception was especially egregious, as the Falcons were in field goal range. Instead of 21-17, the Falcons were down 28-14 and never recovered. It's hard to fault Ryan too much for losing a shootout to Aaron Rodgers though. Ryan just has very little help, and the Falcons have to upgrade his weapons if they want him to join the group of elite QB's in the game.
2009 Week 1 vs MIA (22 / 36 / 229 / 2 / 0 pass, 3 / -4 / 0 rush)
Ryan spread the ball among his receivers very well in this game. Although Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White got their share of looks, Michael Jenkins was often his first option and he checked down frequently to Jerious Norwood. Even FB Ovie Mughelli was used in key situations. That said, Ryan was inaccurate on down field throws all day. He under threw a wide-open Roddy White in the first quarter, who had turned around Dolphins' rookie CB Sean Smith on a deep post. He under threw Jenkins in the second quarter and then overthrew a wide-open Jerious Norwood on a wheel route in the closing seconds of the half. Combine these with another under-thrown bomb to Roddy White who beat bracketed coverage down the left hash in the third quarter, and three of these four routes should have been touchdowns and all four were throws to the left side of the field more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. Despite his issues down field, he made only one ill advised throw all game and managed the offense like a veteran.
2009 Week 2 vs CAR (21 / 27 / 220 / 3 / 1 pass, 2 / 3 / 0 rush)
It was another day at the office for Matt Ryan, who rarely faced pressure, and pretty much got to do what he pleased in the pocket against the Panthers. Ryan didn't throw any of his deep ball lollipops, but he didn't need to against Carolina. He was executing well on timing passes, surveying the field calmly, and mostly making very good decisions. Ryan's one interception came when he stared down Marty Booker in the middle of the field, allowing Richard Marshall to jump the pass, but he also dropped the ball in perfectly between a linebacker and safety on Tony Gonzalez's TD, and he made a real nice read on the checkdown to Jason Snelling that resulted in another one of his three TDs. With defenses gearing up to stop Michael Turner and great pass-blocking from his line, Ryan is getting very comfortable in this passing offense.
2009 Week 3 vs NE (17 / 28 / 199 / 0 / 0 pass, 1 / -1 / 0 rush)
Ryan drove the team right down the field on his first drive for a field goal, and led the Falcons to a TD on his third drive, but the rest of time, he struggled to find open receivers and convert on his bread and butter plays to Roddy White outside and Tony Gonzalez in the middle of the field. Ryan honed in on Michael Jenkins, but Jenkins wasn't getting open downfield enough to punish the Patriots for focusing attention on White and Gonzalez. Michael Turner didn't break off any long runs to loosen up the D, and Ryan didn't make any individual plays to overcome the good game plan. You can't say Ryan or the Falcons offense played badly as much as you can say the Pats defense had a very nice game.
2009 Week 5 vs SF (22 / 32 / 329 / 2 / 1 pass, 2 / 3 / 1 rush)
Ryan dissected the 49ers defense in a Manning/Brady/Brees-esque surgical performance. He was given a lot of time to survey the field by his offensive line, and he used it to see the field with clarity and make smart decisions and accurate throws. Ryan hooked up with Roddy White a lot early in the contest, including a deep TD where Ryan led White to the open part of the end zone with ease, and a quick throw that White turned into a 90-yard catch and run TD. Ryan was patient, and his execution and timing were precise on all but a handful of plays. His one interception came when the umpire disrupted Roddy White's crossing route, but Ryan hustled downfield to make a fumble recovery when White caught Dre Bly from behind. Ryan scoring a rushing TD when a rollout was called on 1st and goal at the one and nothing came open in the end zone. Ryan performed very well, but the 49ers defense seemed to lose their fight when the Falcons opened up a lead in the second quarter.
2009 Week 6 vs CHI (19 / 33 / 185 / 2 / 2 pass, 3 / 8 / 0 rush)
Despite having a bit of an off night Matt Ryan was able to lead his team to victory over the Bears on Sunday night. Early in the game the Bears pass rush was able to get to Ryan causing him to overthrow his receivers. The Falcons staff realized this and adjusted on the fly going to a no-huddle offense in the 2nd quarter. Ryan then led his team on two TD drives, the first on a short pass to Roddy White that White was able to take 40yds to the house and then later on a 10 yard strike over the middle to Tony Gonzalez. Ryan threw a couple of 2nd half INT's both caused by the Bears pressuring him, leading Ryan to overthrowing his receivers down field. However with the game on the line Ryan was able to lead his squad to a game winning TD. Overall an asymmetrical performance from the 2nd year signal caller.
2009 Week 7 vs DAL (19 / 35 / 198 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
Ryan started out very sharp with the timing based short passing game moving the chains, but the Cowboys blitzes and pressure soon got to him, and Ryan never really got comfortable for the rest of the game. He did hit Roddy White on an out close in for the Falcons first TD, and the Falcons did call a flea flicker early, but the Cowboys pressure and good coverage downfield kept it from producing a big play. Ryan threw his first interception with Mike Jenkins left Michael Jenkins and jumped a Roddy White route, and his second happened on an ill-advised throw into double coverage during a desperation attempt to come back. Ryan also gave up the ball on an all-out blitz that ended a drive into Cowboy territory. His second TD was a 4th and 10 throw to a receiver that the Cowboys forgot to cover in garbage time. Ryan did move around and keep his eyes downfield well when he could elude the pressure, but nothing seemed to come open downfield. It was a combination of a lack of special, inspired plays by the Falcons offense, and a great job dialing up blitzes and keeping Ryan off balance that led to mediocre day for the Falcons passing game.
2009 Week 8 vs NO (19 / 42 / 289 / 1 / 3 pass, 3 / 9 / 0 rush)
Ryan had a rough night. He was under pressure for the entire game, and he never seemed to get completely comfortable in the pocket. He was uncharacteristically off on many of his throws, broke the pocket too early at times, and even felt pressure when it wasn't there. Ryan's interceptions were on a play that he didn't read Jabari Greer, who peeled off of his man when he diagnosed the play, a tremendous tipped pass by Jon Vilma in the red zone when the Falcons were about to take the lead, and a hail mary at the end of the game. Ryan looked his best on timing throws to Roddy White. His long TD to White was underthrown, but White's physical game took over and he made the catch and run for the TD. It is a testament to Ryan that he had the team in position to win despite being off his game.
2009 Week 9 vs WAS (17 / 24 / 135 / 1 / 1 pass, 5 / 6 / 0 rush)
Ryan never really got in a groove during this game, but luckily for the Falcons, the defense and running game did the heavy lifting. Ryan threw an early interception by forcing the ball into triple coverage, and he didn't really make any inspired throws on the day. In Ryan's defense, the pocket often closed in on him quickly, and he often had to break the pocket to run. He did the most for his team by drawing Albert Haynesworth offsides inside the Redskins 10 to set up an early first and goal, and by taking late hits on the two-minute drill to set up a field goal. Ryan did move the offense incrementally with some short throws over the middle to Tony Gonzalez and to the sidelines to Roddy White, but he never really even tried to throw downfield for a big gain (he didn't have time), and Ryan didn't create much on his own when he did have to abandon the playcall. His status as a fantasy QB1 is very questionable right now.
2009 Week 10 vs CAR (22 / 41 / 224 / 1 / 2 pass, 2 / 4 / 0 rush)
Ryan had yet another uneven day as the Falcons chances to win were in his hands, and he couldn't seal the deal. Ryan looked pretty good on timing play and on rollouts, but his downfield accuracy was spotty at best. His two interceptions came on downfield targets to Michael Jenkins that he airmailed, including one when the Falcons were set up with possession at midfield down only two points late in the fourth quarter. Ryan remained fearless throwing the ball into small windows, and he moved around well, but he had another throw that should have been a pick at the goal line, and in general he was too careless with the ball. His one touchdown came on a play action fake on fourth down at the goal line, but he produced no big plays for this offense all day. Ryan is trending the wrong direction heading into a big matchup vs. the Giants.
2009 Week 11 vs NYG (26 / 46 / 268 / 2 / 0 pass, 5 / 14 / 0 rush)
Against the Giants, Matt Ryan played in a way that showed his maturity since entering the NFL. Despite a relentless pass rush by New York, Ryan managed to perform admirably and make key passes in tough situations. Aside from two sacks and a fumble at his own 35 in the first half (forced by Justin Tuck), Ryan was able to evade the pass rush with a series of bootlegs and rollouts. Ryan did his best work passing mid to deep tosses towards the sideline. Once it became evident that the Giants would be sending 4 or more blitzers on every snap, the offense began moving the pocket around, thus allowing Ryan to engineer a 4th quarter comeback to force overtime. Ryan is clearly developing a rapport with Tony Gonzales as well as comfort with other receivers in key situations. Instead of simply relying on Roddy White, Ryan is spreading the ball around, making it even more difficult to stop him. Despite his meager completion percentage and the loss, this was easily one of Ryan's best game's of the season. He was in complete command of the offense and rose to the occasion when the chips were down.
2009 Week 12 vs TB (2 / 3 / 15 / 0 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Ryan only completed two passes (and almost threw an INT when Roddy White didn't realize he was going back shoulder and instead ran deep) before hurting his big toe while getting pulled down for a sack. He has already been ruled out for next week's contest vs. the Eagles.
2009 Week 15 vs NYJ (16 / 34 / 152 / 1 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Ryan had a gritty performance despite being a game-time decision. His toe didn't seem to affect many of his throws or his ability to move, but Rex Ryan's blitzes and great coverage from the Jets did. Ryan was only able to hit short throws to mainly his RBs, but he kept plugging away against a Jets defense that gave up very little. His biggest gain of the day was a short one that Jerious Norwood turned into a big play because of poor Jets tackling. Ryan tried lots of different throws and strategies to attack the Jets defense, but nothing worked until the final drive, when the Jets decided cover Roddy White with someone other than Darrelle Revis. Ryan had no chance to find an open receiver on the Falcons first red zone trip, but he converted the game-winning TD with a bullet to Tony Gonzalez in the front of the end zone on their second. He did have one throw behind a receiver that should have been picked, and Darrelle Revis often had a better chance to catch the ball than the intended receiver when he was targeted, but Ryan stayed composed all game and methodically took what the Jets gave him on the game-winning drive. He can end the season on a high note if he gets the Falcons to 9-7 despite an injury-riddled second half of the season for the team.
2009 Week 16 vs BUF (18 / 35 / 250 / 3 / 0 pass, 0 / 0 / 0 rush)
Ryan didn't show any ill effects from the turf toe that caused him to miss time earlier this month. He found Roddy White open deep in single coverage for a 42 yard TD to start the game, and he also found White in the corner of the end zone with a nice touch pass to complete the Falcons scoring on the day. Ryan was doing a good job reading the defense and finding the open man, and he also converted a few fourth downs in Buffalo territory, including a 4th and 12. Ryan did have a few errant throws, but he was more than effective enough in this mismatch.
2009 Week 17 vs TB (23 / 35 / 223 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 3 / 0 rush)
Ryan had a solid performance that should give Falcons fans optimism heading into next season. He was especially sharp in the two-minute drill and no huddle offense, and Ryan threw his intermediate throws with a lot of zip and accuracy. His lollipop deep ball was underthrown slightly to Michael Jenkins the first time, allowing the DB to break it up, but the second one was perfect. Ryan moved around well, showing no signs of problems from his toe injury that sidelined him earlier in the season. He was picked twice, once when looking off Tanard Jackson didn't work, and once when Sabby Piscitelli just had great coverage on Tony Gonzalez. Ryan also had an INT on an ill-fated flea flicker throw called back due to holding by Ronde Barber. Ryan's TDs came on short throws to Justin Peelle as time was running out in the first half and an out to Roddy White that Aqib Talib tried to pick by undercutting the route, leaving White on his own to tightrope the sidelines and score.
2008 Week 1 vs DET (9 / 13 / 161 / 1 / 0 pass, 5 / -2 / 0 rush)
The Boston College rookie made one of the more memorable debuts in NFL history when his first pass attempt resulted in a 62 yard touchdown. He was only called on the throw 13 passes in the game, but he made the most of his opportunities, completing nine for 161 yards, one touchdown, and a QB rating of 137.0. While Detroit did not present much of a challenge, Ryan was quietly efficient and seemed to settle into his role. As long as the running game stays strong he won't need to put up big numbers, but he looked to be capable of hitting receivers whenever he wanted.
2008 Week 2 vs TB (13 / 33 / 158 / 0 / 2 pass, 6 / 10 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan ran into the first real defense of his rookie year and the results of his stat line show what you would expect from a rookie quarterback going into Tampa Bay for the first time in his career. Ryan threw for 158 yards on 13 of 33 passing, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. He also had six rushing attempts for ten yards. While Ryan remained poised throughout the game and was able to keep the Falcons close, he still had too many costly mistakes. Ryan started the game zero of eight with two interceptions, and the Buccaneers turned that into an early 10-0 lead. The Falcons had their chances, but the pressure from Tampa Bay and their inability to run the ball were too much for Ryan and Atlanta to overcome.
2008 Week 3 vs KC (12 / 18 / 192 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 15 / 0 rush)
Ryan showed exceptional poise throughout the game, running an efficient albeit run heavy Falcons offense. No sacks, no interceptions, no mistakes of any kind. The emphasis on - and overall success of - the ground game helped him immensely as the KC defense had no choice but to key on the run. When he did drop back to pass, he had plenty of time to find his man, notably on a deep pass to Roddy White that became a 70 yard score.
2008 Week 4 vs CAR (21 / 41 / 158 / 0 / 0 pass, 2 / 11 / 0 rush)
Ryan was forced to put the ball in the air a career high 41 times as Atlanta was unable to establish much success on the ground. Ryan showed good composure, but is not at the stage of his career where he can carry the Falcon offense. Ryan looked good when the Falcons surprised the Panthers by going to the no-huddle offense during their second drive. He efficiently managed the team by mixing in runs and short passes and led the Falcons to a field goal. Afterwards, Atlanta curiously ran very little no huddle until late in the game. Ryan showed good arm strength, but most of his passes were relatively conservative. His longest completion went for 23 yards. Ryan's second attempt of the game was nearly catastrophic; it was intercepted and returned 29 yards for a touchdown by Richard Marshall, but the play was negated by a roughing the passer penalty on Julius Peppers.
2008 Week 5 vs GB (16 / 26 / 194 / 2 / 1 pass, 4 / 16 / 0 rush)
Ryan was sharp in the first half as he finished the first two quarters completing 13 of 18 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He capped the team's initial drive of the game by hitting TE Justin Peelle for a one yard touchdown pass. His second scoring strike came on a play in which he threw a beautiful ball down the sidelines that went for a 22 yard touchdown to WR Roddy White. Despite the good first half, the quarterback had a quiet second half as he completed only three passes for 40 yards with one pick. On the interception, he had a wide open receiver in the end zone with the team operating from the Packers' 12 yard line, but the ball was late coming out and the Packers defender made a one handed catch for the turnover.
2008 Week 6 vs CHI (22 / 30 / 301 / 1 / 0 pass, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Ryan completed 22 of 30 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown. Ryan looked composed against a tough pass rush, often buying himself time with great pocket presence. His touchdown came on a three yard slant to his favorite target, Roddy White. Ryan had another 14 yard touchdown nullified by penalty, when White was called for offensive pass interference. Ryan showed great touch on many of his throws, while also proving he could get the ball deep down the field. By the way he played, if you didn't know him, you would certainly think he was a veteran.
2008 Week 8 vs PHI (23 / 44 / 277 / 2 / 2 pass, 1 / 4 / 0 rush)
Ryan had a very good game despite the constant pressure and blitzing. The Falcons did a good job mixing the play calling up with screens and other routes that allowed Ryan to throw on three step drops. Ryan was impressive in leading team back late in the fourth quarter to make a game of it. Ryan and receiver Roddy White continue to work on their comfort level with each other. They obviously had the two touchdowns on the day, but of note, White was the targeted receiver on both of Ryan's interceptions on the day. The second interception was a poor throw by the rookie quarterback as he woefully under threw the fade route in the red zone. It was a costly mistake.
2008 Week 9 vs OAK (17 / 22 / 220 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / 1 / 0 rush)
It's easy to forget that Ryan is just a rookie. His first four Atlanta drives resulted in scores including two touchdown passes to Michael Jenkins. Throughout the game, Ryan had his choice of targets running wide open through the Oakland secondary and spread the ball around to eight different receivers. More importantly, he didn't lose focus when his team had a big lead. In the fourth quarter, when his coach wanted him to call a time out, Ryan waited until the play clock had run down to :02 seconds before signaling to the ref. It's called "situational awareness," a trait found in all great quarterbacks.
2008 Week 10 vs NO (16 / 23 / 248 / 2 / 0 pass, 2 / -2 / 0 rush)
Matt Ryan was efficient against the Saints defense, completing ten of 13 passes in the first half against a depleted front seven. He faced little pressure from the Saints linemen, not getting sacked and having ample time to find his open receivers. The Falcons used a balanced attack to keep the defense off balance and did not put Ryan into any difficult situations where he could make mistakes. He concentrated on getting the ball to his receivers early as five of his first six attempts went to wide outs.
2008 Week 11 vs DEN (20 / 33 / 250 / 0 / 1 pass, 5 / 18 / 0 rush)
QB Matt Ryan continues his impressive rookie campaign despite the home loss. Despite the one interception, he played well and scrambled successfully when necessary. Ryan has a good feel for the pocket and when to move to avoid defenders. He nearly hit WR Roddy White for a score on third and eighteen on the team's last drive but White was unable to hold on and the team failed to make the comeback.
2008 Week 12 vs CAR (17 / 27 / 259 / 0 / 0 pass, 3 / 2 / 0 rush)
Despite failing to throw a touchdown, Matt Ryan led the Falcons to a 17 point victory in the division matchup. Ryan completed 63% of his passes for an average gain of 9.6 yards per attempt without any interceptions. Ryan was accurate on both short and deep passes, completing eight passes for gains of at least fifteen yards, highlighted by a deep out to rookie Harry Douglas which Douglas made a great play en route to a 69 yard gain. Ryan maintains a 5:1 touchdown to interception ratio and a 107.1 passer rating at home.
2008 Week 13 vs SD (17 / 23 / 207 / 2 / 0 pass, 4 / -3 / 0 rush)
Ryan did an excellent job of taking what the San Diego defense gave to him. He didn't force anything, was never close to turning the ball over, and was given loads of time by his offensive line to pick apart the San Diego secondary at will. About the only blemish on his afternoon was when he missed a wide open Michael Jenkins in the back of the end zone for what should have been an easy score. The ball was overthrown, and incomplete. On the touchdown passes he did throw, he did a very nice job of reading what was in front of him. The pass to TE Justin Peelle was one of the best passes a quarterback has made this season, as he floated it perfectly over the back line of the defense but just in front of the defensive backs. On the touchdown to Harry Douglas, he was given all day to throw and showed good patience in waiting for Douglas to finish his route and the San Diego defenders to clear out.
2008 Week 14 vs NO (24 / 33 / 315 / 1 / 1 pass, 4 / 13 / 1 rush)
Matt Ryan showed the poise of a veteran quarterback in trying to lead the Falcons to victory in a venue that they have not won in since 2002. His coaches are showing faith in him by letting him run a no huddle offense during certain situations. He rarely faced pressure from the Saints defense, but when he did he was able to scramble around outside the pocket and would pull up just a yard or two from the line of scrimmage and connect with a receiver downfield. That ability played a hand in his touchdown run as the defenders were expecting him to pull up and throw the ball instead of continuing to run downfield. On two occasions he made plays that most quarterbacks would not make by rifling passes to receivers who were well covered, and somehow getting the ball past the defender. He has a nice touch on short passes, as seen on his lone touchdown pass that was thrown high and to a spot where only his receiver could catch it. Ryan was only victimized by two dropped passes, but each of them had the potential for long gains. His only bad pass came on his interception, the pass was bad and the defensive back was able to jump the route and intercept the pass to give the Saints excellent field position for their only touchdown drive in the first half.
2008 Week 15 vs TB (15 / 23 / 206 / 0 / 2 pass, 6 / 19 / 0 rush)
While Matt Ryan's stat line didn't show big numbers, he displayed the poise and promise so many observers have seen in the rookie quarterback. He finished 15 of 23 for 206 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, but showed his strong arm and creativity in the passing game throughout the game. Ryan also contributed 19 yards rushing on six attempts, including a big three yard scramble on third and three that helped keep the game winning drive alive in overtime. Ryan did have two fumbles, but both were recovered by the Falcons.
2008 Week 16 vs MIN (13 / 24 / 134 / 1 / 0 pass, 3 / 2 / 0 rush)
This was a ball control game for Atlanta. They didn't need to throw the ball and needed to chew time off the clock. Minnesota lost four fumbles and this provided Atlanta the ability to run the ball. Ryan did miss a few targets today. The Minnesota defensive backs knocked many passes down. Ryan barely achieved above 50% completions. The pressure was very intense and that seemed to be when Ryan would miss the target.
2008 Week 17 vs STL (10 / 21 / 160 / 1 / 2 pass, 4 / -1 / 0 rush)
While Ryan will get many votes for rookie of the year his QB rating of 49.8 in this game was disappointing. Two uncharacteristically bad throws resulted in interceptions and he only completed 10 of 21 passes for 160 yards. While Turner and Norwood rushed for 263 yards, and three touchdowns, all Ryan really had to do was hand the ball off all afternoon.
2008 Week 18 vs ARI (26 / 40 / 199 / 2 / 2 pass, 4 / 6 / 0 rush)
Ryan started off slowly. His first pass of the game was intercepted and he completed just one of his first four attempts for 11 yards. After Arizona jumped out 14-3, Ryan hit 17 of 24 for 130 yards, one TD, and a 17-14 first half lead. While he showed flashes of poise and promise he still made too many rookie mistakes. After Arizona scored on a long, clock killing drive in the third quarter he immediately threw an interception which put the tired Falcon defense back on the field. He rallied his team late and threw a short touchdown pass to Roddy White with about 4:00 minutes left in the game. In the last four regular season games Ryan threw five interceptions after just six in his first 12 games. This was his third straight game of throwing for less than 200 yards after a streak of nine straight games of at least 207.