The Falcons have collapsed to 1-4 having looked like real contenders in a weakened division after two weeks. Since then, they are yet to win a game, having fallen on the road to the Colts and Texans and at home to the Titans.
It’s been a rough few weeks and indeed the hope of Drew Brees and Cam Newton injuries have made it all the tougher. One constant has continued to perform: Matt Ryan.
Through five weeks, Ryan has the highest completion percentage of his career, topping 70% for the first time. The Falcons QB is averaging 331 yards a game as well which has gained him 1655 yards so far this season, topped only by Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs signal caller is well out in front with over 1800 yards though.
There’s still room to improve
It’s not all plain sailing though; Ryan has attempted more passes than anyone other than Jared Goff through five games, both having thrown 222 times, well over 44 passes a game. More to the point, while Ryan has a high completion percentage, the incomplete passes haven’t always hit the ground. Ryan has had seven interceptions, well on his way to a career high in interceptions, given that he has had 12 or fewer INTs in six seasons.
Per Pro Football Reference, Matt Ryan ranks fifth of 34 qualifying QBs for poor throw percentage. This suggests that his INTs aren’t completely on Ryan, or that his poor throws are usually punished with an interception.
Falcons’ supporting cast lacking
The Falcons have been solid in the redzone, ranking 11th with 60% TDs, but they will look to improve that to counter their struggling defence. The Falcons have allowed 10th most yards per game. More worryingly, they have allowed the most points/game, excluding Miami, with 30.4. It shows how weak the Dolphins have been that they concede 10 more points a game than anyone on average (40.8). Forgetting the Dolphins, that means Ryan needs to score 31 points every week just to stand a chance.
Ryan hasn’t had much help scoring 31 points either. The Falcons have equal fifth fewest turnovers (4), leaving very few short fields or return TDs. On offence it’s just as bad. The Falcons have fifth fewest rushing yards each game (67.6) and have only two rushing TDs. So even when Atlanta get into the redzone, it’s all on Ryan.
This explains why Ryan has joint mot pass attempts through five games. And surprise there’s a drawback to this. The Falcons have allowed 16th most sacks (12) despite a revamped offensive line. Ryan has faced fourth most blitzes (59) and been hurried fifth most of anyone (27).
All in all, Matt Ryan has been doing the best he can in a bad situation. Despite good passing numbers, ultimately it has led to a 1-4 record. That’s in a season when the Falcons went all in and it is crunch time for Dan Quinn. To be fair to Ryan, it’s hard to see him doing much more.
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