It's the end of an era, as the Atlanta Falcons bid adieu to quarterback Matt Ryan after a March trade sent him packing to Indianapolis to begin a new chapter with the Colts.
The 37-year-old spent all 14 years of his pro career with the Falcons after being selected third overall in the 2008 draft. In that time, he set a new bar for passing statistics within the franchise. His 120 wins, 59,735 yards passing, 367 touchdowns, and 222 games are all Falcons records by significant margins, with Steve Bartkowski second in each category.
Ryan's completion percentage of 65.5 is also the highest of any Atlanta quarterback with at least 164 attempts (a list that spans 24 names). The only thing the 2016 MVP didn't accomplish during his storied tenure is winning a Super Bowl, though he came oh-so-close.
Despite the resume — and joining a team built to win now — Ryan isn't among the betting favorites in the latest NFL MVP odds as he's listed at +3,500, which is behind the likes of Derek Carr. And he's bringing his experience and expertise to the table in Indy:
This is a good look at Matt Ryan’s camp so far — he’s **always** coaching up the young WRs/TEs.— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 10, 2022
(Also you gotta respect a guy who can hit a 2 iron)pic.twitter.com/Y9trOdtzyR
Let's dive into Matty Ice's successes and failures against the teams he knows best.
|Team||Ryan's regular season record||Ryan's postseason record|
|Green Bay Packers||4-5||1-1|
|Kansas City Chiefs||3-2||N/A|
|Las Vegas Raiders||5-0||N/A|
|Los Angeles Chargers||2-2||N/A|
|Los Angeles Rams||4-1||1-0|
|New England Patriots||0-4||0-1|
|New Orleans Saints||10-17||N/A|
|New York Giants||4-2||0-1|
|New York Jets||3-1||N/A|
|San Francisco 49ers||4-3||0-1|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16-12||N/A|
Ryan vs the New Orleans Saints
Anyone who follows the Falcons — or watched Jon Bois' History of the Atlanta Falcons on SB Nation — knows that Atlanta never had another rivalry as fierce as the one it had with the New Orleans Saints. And even though Matt Ryan reached the highest highs known to a Falcons quarterback, he couldn't consistently conquer New Orleans during his tenure.
It wasn't for lack of trying, and the 10-17 record reflects worse on his teammates than it does his own performance in these matchups. Ryan's 47 touchdowns vs. the Saints are easily the most he's thrown against any opponent. In fact, his numbers — beyond win-loss record — are better against New Orleans than they are against the Carolina Panthers, against whom he went 18-10 during his Falcons tenure.
That said, no team put him on his back quite like the Saints, especially defensive end Cam Jordan.
Cam Jordan has sacked Matt Ryan 23 times, the most by a player against one QB since sacks became an official statistic in 1982— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) March 21, 2022
NFC South won't be the same ???? https://t.co/QDgJ5NzB2B pic.twitter.com/gy5ap8D0sO
So, it stands to reason that Ryan might enjoy a break from the Bayou, at least for a spell.
It's perhaps perfect that Ryan's final game in a Falcons uniform came against these longtime rivals in a 30-20 loss where he got sacked three times. Still, he converted his final passing attempt into a touchdown, closing the loop in a remarkably appropriate fashion.
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Ryan vs the New England Patriots
OK, maybe it's cruel to highlight two teams that caused Ryan — and the Falcons fanbase — the most pain and heartbreak over his tenure behind center, but here we are.
Ryan played the season of his career in 2016, leading Atlanta to an 11-5 record with career highs in passing yards (4,944) and touchdowns (38) while throwing a career low seven interceptions. The Falcons smoked the Seahawks 36-20 in the Divisional playoffs before dismantling the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers 44-21 in the NFC Championship game to earn the second Super Bowl berth in franchise history after the Dirty Birds of 1998.
Then along came the New England Patriots. Super Bowl LI has been reviewed to death over the ensuing years, but it's still astounding to think that the Falcons jumped out to a 21-3 halftime lead that was then expanded to 28-3 in the third quarter only for it to evaporate as the Pats scored 25 unanswered points to tie before winning in overtime.
And it wasn't Ryan's fault. He completed 17 of 23 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. His completion percentage of 73.91 and QB rating of 144.1 are both career-best marks in a postseason game.
Nevertheless, Ryan has never had much luck against the Patriots, going 0-4 against New England in the regular season, totaling just three touchdown passes to three interceptions in the process. He'll get his first crack at exorcising those demons when the Colts head to Foxborough in November.
The only other team — not counting the Falcons, of course — Ryan has never defeated over the course of his career is the Pittsburgh Steelers, going 0-3 in those matchups.
- Josh Allen's record against every NFL team
- Tom Brady's record against every NFL team
- Joe Burrow's record against every NFL team
- Lamar Jackson's record against every NFL team
- Patrick Mahomes' record against every NFL team
- Aaron Rodgers' record against every NFL team
- Matthew Stafford's record against every NFL team
Ryan vs the Detroit Lions
Ryan's first-ever game came against the Detroit Lions back in Week 1 of the 2008 season. Michael Turner was the star of the show, rushing for 220 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the 34-21 victory, but Ryan had his moments as well. His first career pass resulted in a 62-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins, opening the scoring and setting the tone.
Throwback to Matt Ryan’s first NFL pass completed to Michael Jenkins that resulted in a TD. ???? pic.twitter.com/E9el5Cz5qi— Hotlanta Highlights (@HotlantaHlights) March 7, 2019
This was the start of a magical season that saw the Falcons go 11-5 and make the playoffs after missing out on the postseason for three straight years. Ryan went on to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award, too.
He's excelled against Detroit over the years, putting together a 103.4 QB rating across seven starts while completing 71% of his passes for 1,733 yards and 12 touchdowns. For what he lacks in volume against the Lions, he more than makes up for in precision.
Ryan vs the Carolina Panthers
No team has lost to Ryan-led teams more often than the Panthers. Ryan owns a fantastic 18-10 record vs. his (now former) NFC South rivals.
Not exactly known for being fleet of foot, Ryan's four rushing touchdowns against Carolina is the most he's accumulated vs. any individual team.
To take things to a more granular level, let's zero in on one performance in particular. During Ryan's spectacular 2016 campaign, there was perhaps no better showcase for him to win NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year than his Week 4 outing against the Panthers in the Georgia Dome.
Matt Ryan's 2016 MVP season was something special.— NFL (@NFL) March 21, 2022
Now time to bring those talents to Indy.@M_Ryan02 | @Colts pic.twitter.com/YwyZ5zI2zu
It was the absolute single-game peak of his career and his partnership with wide receiver Julio Jones.
Ryan threw for a career-high 503 yards (the next closest being 450 against the Seahawks in 2020) with Jones hauling in 300 of them. Sidebar: Jones is one of six receivers in NFL history to tally 300 receiving yards in a single game.
Ryan vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Where his peak in terms of passing yardage came against the Panthers, his precision can best be highlighted by his best games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Of his six best games when it comes to QB rating, four were in showdowns against Tampa Bay. The Falcons won all four and Ryan threw 12 touchdowns to zero interceptions. The funniest of these was a 6 of 9 performance in 2012 where he compiled 106 yards and two touchdowns before Michael Turner took over once again for 172 yards on the ground in a 45-24 drubbing.
Altogether, Ryan went 16-12 against the Bucs over his career with 43 touchdowns and 7,509 yards (both rank second to his numbers against the Saints).