With yet another huge performance over the weekend in his hometown of Philadelphia, Matt Ryan continued to impress with his 2012 performance that saw his team remain undefeated and his most valuable player mentions at an all time high.
Ryan is easy to overlook because he isn’t talked about much on the national level with the big name “elite” quarterbacks. He doesn’t do the flashy commercials or the fancy endorsements. But one thing he does, week in and week out, is put the Atlanta Falcons in a position to win games. And that is exactly what an MVP type quarterback does.
Before the game in Philadelphia, many of his skeptics talked about how he would struggle against the Eagles’ elite cornerback duo of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha. But after a pump fake screen pass to Julio Jones was pulled off beautifully and Ryan his Drew Davis wide open for a touchdown, Ryan pretty much did whatever he wanted to the duo during the first half.
By halftime, Ryan was credited with 197 yards and three touchdowns on 17 of 20 pass attempts. If the game wasn’t a blowout, he likely would have ended up with an even bigger day.
With the Falcons sitting at 7-0, with the NFC South virtually locked up already, the rest of the league can no longer say that Ryan, and Atlanta, are flying under the radar any longer. This team is for real and their quarterback has finally “arrived.”
Matt Ryan had his share of detractors last season, and with good cause. He seemed to regress in every bit of progress he had shown up to that point in his career. Meanwhile, there were those like myself who placed a lot of blame on the restricting offensive scheme of then offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, who moved on to Jacksonville at the end of the season. In an article I wrote earlier this season, I stated that replacing Mularkey was already addition by subtraction. Up to this point, it appears I am right, as the Atlanta offense has been a force most of the season.
In averaging just 288 yards per game, this has given a lot of the skeptics reason to claim that he has no road to the MVP award with that total. However, his 17 touchdowns to just 6 interceptions, his quarterback rating sitting at 103.0 and, most importantly, his team still being the lone undefeated in the NFL begs to argue. The definition of the MVP award is the player that is the most valuable to his team. Offensively, it’s hard to argue that Ryan has been as good, if not better, and more important to his team than any other guy in this conversation.
The next argument always seems to be the “they haven’t played anyone good” or “they almost lost to that one lousy team.” This is the NFL. Any given Sunday still applies to every game, every week. It’s hard to just steamroll your opponent every week, regardless of their record. Especially when you’re undefeated close to the halfway mark of the year. In achieving that, you’ve found yourself with a nice little target on your back from teams who would love to say that they were the first to knock you off this year.
In the end, I’m sure if you asked Matt Ryan if the MVP award is important to him, he wouldn’t deny it. But I can say with some confidence that a big silver trophy with the words “Lombardi” on it are much more important. And no matter what the skeptics have to say about him, Ryan is putting his team in a good position to play for that one this season.
Filed under: Atlanta Falcons