The last two weeks I’ve been swamped by disparaging remarks regarding one of my favorite NFL QBs. It’s been frustrating to have these discussions with people as they seem to be allergic to facts. They can’t digest them – at least not verbally. So I’ve decided to make the case for QB X here on The Spotter’s View in the hopes that reading these facts will successfully change the way this player has been perceived.
Again – these are FACTS. Not opinion.
- He inherited an awful 4-12 team and managed to win 11 games as a rookie.
- His first NFL pass was a 62-yard TD.
- He was the SECOND QB IN NFL HISTORY to throw for 3,000 yards as a rookie (The first was Peyton Manning).
- He was the FIRST ROOKIE QB TO EVER take his team to the playoffs after starting all 16 games.
- He’s won 56 of 77 starts during his five year career. NFL All-Time Record.
- He’s led his team to double digit wins in four of those five seasons.
- He’s won 13 games in a season twice in five years.
- His average season (including his rookie campaign): 3,700 yards 25 TD 12 INT
- He’s passed for more than 25 TD in three of his five seasons and over 30 TD once.
- In 3 of his 5 seasons to date, his QB Passer Rating has been higher than 91.0.
- He’s led the league in completion percentage for a season.
- 22 Game-Winning Drives in 77 starts
- 15 Fourth Quarter Comebacks in 77 starts
- At his current pace, he’ll become his franchises ALL-TIME passing yardage leader in just seven seasons.
- His teams have scored more than 400 points for the last three seasons.
- The year before he was drafted, this franchise had a -155 scoring differential. The five years since +402 (That’s an average of +80.5). An average swing of more than 230 points per season!
- That’s two more TDs scored per game!
- He’s led his team to the NFL Playoffs in four of his first five seasons.
- He’s the ONLY QB in the league this season to have posted three games with a QBR higher than a 95….QBR is on a scale of 0-100.
- Home record as starting QB: 33-5.
- 3 Pro Bowls in five seasons.
- Rookie of the Year Award
- He’s led his franchise to its first ever back to back winning seasons and has extended that record streak to five straight.
- In case you were wondering, that franchise was founded in 1966.
- Speaking of franchises….
- Most 4th Quarter Comeback Wins in a Single Season: 5 (2010)
- Most Career Game Winning Drives: 22
- Most Game Winning Drives in a Single Season: 6 (2010 and 2012)
- Fewest Interceptions in a Regular Season by Starting QB — 9 (2010) (16 starts)
- Most Wins in a Regular Season by a Starting QB: 13 (twice)
- Most Passing Touchdowns in a Single Season – 32
- Most 300+ Yard Passing Games, Career – 17
- Most 300+ Yard Passing Games, Season – 7 (2012)
- Most 4,000 Passing Yard Seasons, Career – 2
- Most 3,000 Passing Yard Seasons, Career – 4
- Most Consecutive Seasons, 4,000 yards passing – 2 (2011-2012)
- Most Consecutive Seasons, 3,000 Yards Passing – 3 (2010-2012)
- Most Passing Yards in a Single Season: 4,719 (2012)
- Most Passing Attempts in a Single Season: 615 (2012)
- Most Passing Passing Completions in a Single Season: 422 (2012)
- Highest Completion Percentage, Career: 62.7
- Highest Completion Percentage in a Single Season: 68.6 (2012)
- Best Career Quarterback Rating for Starting QB: 90.9
- Most Career Wins by Starting QB – 56
- Most Wins by Starting QB in his first five seasons: 56
- Only QB in franchise history to lead team to an 8-0 start
Ok…..those are the facts. This mystery QB has achieved some remarkable feats during his first five NFL seasons. That list above is as impressive as anyone’s in league history. Unfortunately, he’s been perceived by many fans as a “choker”, a “fraud” – the term “garbage” has been used to describe his game. The reason?
He started his playoff career with three straight losses. Here’s some perspective:
- Peyton Manning also started off 0-and-3 in the Playoffs posting a TD/INT ratio of 1/4 in those games. In 2002, he was shellacked 41-0 by the Jets!
- Tom Brady was “one and done” in the Playoffs two straight years – 2009 and 2010 – once as a #1 seed at home.
- Joe Montana was “one and done” in the Playoffs three straight years 85, 86 and 87.
- Dan Marino – two years of “one and done” separated by one year of him missing the Playoffs altogether.
- Randall Cunningham started off 0-and-3 in the post-season as well (88, 89, 90).
- Warren Moon was “one and done” three straight years (92, 93, 94)
- Y.A. Title was 0-4 in his playoff career.
What Does It All Mean? ***OPINIONS AHEAD***
Just because our “mystery QB” (everybody reading this has to know I’m talking about Matt Ryan by now, right?) – just because he lost three straight games doesn’t mean he’s incapable of winning. These seven Hall of Famers listed above suffered through similar streaks of post-season incompetence. The difference was that some of them won before they entered those streaks. So it doesn’t “matter”. There’s no story there and no reason the “choker” label should stick. Ryan and guys like Manning and Cunningham lost first and at times – they lost embarrassingly. This is the story we can’t keep our hands off. The chokers. The losers. The guys that can’t win. We hammered LeBron for it. Crushed Manning for it. And before today…we buried Ryan for it. (Just for the record, LeBron and Manning both went on to win titles).
Just be careful when you go down that road of who “can’t” win. Because if you’re saying someone “can’t”, you’d better be sure it isn’t better to say “they just haven’t won yet”. Matt Ryan was in that category for me since the beginning. He was always going to win in the playoffs. Look at the accolades from above. No sane person could look at that list and find a way to question this kid’s skill. Eventually, he’d put together a good enough four quarters to win a playoff game! I mean Tim Tebow won a playoff game for God’s sake! That much should’ve been clear to every NFL fan out there.
I’m taking it one step further though….In my opinion, Ryan is good enough that he’ll eventually win a Super Bowl. Maybe two. And when I say “eventually”, I don’t mean 5 years from now. There’s a real chance he could walk away with a ring this year.
Brady is the favorite – as he should be. Then probably the 49ers. But if Ryan can get past San Fran in the NFC Title Game….well, as we’ve seen in the most recent 5 or 6 Super Bowls…..anything can happen. Especially with Matty Ice on the field.
If you’re still having doubts as to whether or not Matt Ryan is an “elite” quarterback after having read this, you are now free to resume breathing out of your mouth.