Ryan has commanding view atop NFC South

It only appears that Matt Ryan is literally on fire here, during pregame introductions at the Georgia Dome. He is, however, figuratively ablaze on the field. (Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com)

It only appears that Matt Ryan is literally on fire here, during pregame introductions at the Georgia Dome. He is, however, figuratively ablaze on the field. (Curtis Compton /ccompton@ajc.com)

At season’s start, there was a sentiment out there – one, that I must admit, more than once rolled around inside the hollow gourd residing upon my neck – that Matt Ryan was now the fourth best quarterback in a four-quarterback division.

That this once proud masthead of the franchise was yesterday’s flavor, neither flashy enough nor nimble enough keep up with the Newtons and the Winstons in the neighborhood.

The one who’s working on a five-year $103 million deal, surely an anvil that would drag the Falcons back down to dark and familiar depths.

But, whoa, look at the verifiable facts from the first quarter of the season, after action has replaced supposition.

Ryan not only leads the NFC South but all of the NFL in passing yards (1,473) and the comparative measure of passer rating (126.3).

He is spreading the ball around like a late-night TV host dishes out compliments – even on a Sunday when Julio Jones set a franchise receiving yardage record, Ryan found nine other sets of hands.

After very preliminary returns, he is of MVP mettle.

Working with an offensive coordinator who reputedly was speaking ancient Etruscan to him last season, Ryan is coming off the best three-game stretch of his life, highlighted by his 503-yard extravaganza against Carolina Sunday. His QB rating is 27 points higher than that of New Orleans’ Drew Brees. And 46 points higher than his Carolina counterpart, Cam Newton; 53 points higher than his Tampa Bay nemesis, Jameis Winston. The gap is rather yawning.

Here is a quarterback who already has perpetrated eight pass completions of 40 yards or more – two more than the other three NFC South quarterbacks combined.

As a result, predictably, the Falcons have a two game lead over everyone else in their division. That is why quarterbacks make stupid money.

It all can go wrong, of course, should Julio Jones develop a limp or Ryan’s new keystone at center, Alex Mack, go missing. A team remains a very tentative sum of its parts. But here is Ryan showing himself still the quarterback capable of lining up all those parts, doing all the math and arriving at a rather considerable sum.

Ryan’s place in the NFC South quarterbacking food chain is looking somewhat more commanding, don’t you think?

Reader Comments 0

7 comments
Skidoc50
Skidoc50

Right on with that analysis Steve; Denver will be a test if O-line shows any major breakdowns but if not could be a close one

Booger_Hairfoot
Booger_Hairfoot

If you expect to beat the Falcons, you better bring a better offense, and NO ONE has that, certainly not Denver:) Falcons have already beat the 4th, 5th and 6th best offences and there isn't a hill of beans between defenses. Fact is Atlanta has too many weapons. IF the Broncos are lucky, the Falcons won't set franchise and NFL records on them:)

TOJacket
TOJacket

If we can get one win out of the next two I can live with that. ........but proud to see Matty topping the NFL and shutting the mouths of all the haters.........RISE UP!

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

If everyone stays healthy. The Falcons have a good shot at being in the mix toward the end of the season.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

Ryan is playing at a high level, but so is his offensive line. The test will be to keep Von Miller in check and that Denver lineman Wolf off Matt. If this happens and Ryan is afforded time, I think the Falcons can do some damage to this high power defense. Rise Up!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

All we can do is hope it lasts.

And it will get a major test over the next two weeks at Denver and Seattle.

Falcons63
Falcons63

I give you credit for admitting that you have a hollow gourd atop your neck.