There are several reasons behind the exceptional year that the Atlanta Falcons had on offense. They had exceptional play from the skilled positions. They had a two-headed running attack that some many teams would kill for. But the main reason for their success was the growth of Matt Ryan. Can his growth in 2016 continue in Super Bowl LI? Can he tame the New England Patriots defense? We tackle those two questions below.
Can Matt Ryan’s growth continue?
There was a moniker placed on Matt Ryan prior to this season. MattVP, as he is being called, was viewed as a very skilled QB but one that could not win the big game. He had had one prior playoff win going into 2016-17 playoffs. That came in 2012 against the Seattle Seahawks. He would then proceed to lose the next week against the San Francisco 49ers. However, we have seen a different Matt Ryan in 2016.
His growth and maturity on the field are night and day compared to past seasons. 2016 was by far his best passing season. He completed 70% of his passes while throwing 38 TDs against 7 INTs. His INTs being in the single digits is one thing that is very remarkable. He has thrown double digits INTs in every year of his career but one. That other year was in 2010. He has stayed away from the costly turnover, which in art has kept his team on. I believe that this growth can continue next week against the New England Patriots. I look for MattVP to have a solid game and to completely remove the “can’t win a big game” monkey off of his back.
Can Matt Ryan tame the New England Patriots defense?
The Atlanta Falcons offense is one to be very afraid. They not only have the highest scoring offense in the season but a record-breaking offense. They finished the season with 540 points (7th in NFL history) and their QB Matt Ryan was the leader of this march on the NFL.
Matt Ryan finished the season with 4,944 yards, a single-season franchise record. He also had the league’s best QB rating (117.1). Ryan also set an NFL record for the highest per yard attempts for a QB with at least 350 attempts in a 16 game season with 9.26 yards per throw. I know stats do not produce victories. But it is these kind of stats that are going to help Matt Ryan against the New England Patriots defense. By being accurate, avoiding the costly turnover, challenging the Patriots defensive backs, and moving the ball in chunks the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan will tame the New England Patriots and Matt Patricia’s defense.
Matt Ryan is not the leading MVP candidate for nothing. He has turned his career around over this phenomenal 16 game stretch. With one more victory under his belt he would vault himself into the status of elite. That is a challenge that he has accepted and believe will conquer.