Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan's NFL career peaked four years ago.
The 2016 season was as good as it gets for the Boston College product who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
In that 2016 season, Ryan won league MVP. He was first team All-Pro. He made his fourth Pro Bowl, he was NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and he led the league in Passer Rating.
He led the Atlanta Falcons through the NFC playoffs and into the Super Bowl, where they took a commanding 28-3 lead at halftime. He was probably on his way to winning Super Bowl MVP to cap what could be a considered the perfect season for any NFL quarterback.
Then everything went downhill from there.
The Falcons infamously blew their big Super Bowl lead and wound up losing the game in overtime. And while Ryan continued to be good in the seasons that followed, 2016 was the last time he accomplished any of those aforementioned feats. He hasn't made another Pro Bowl since then; he hasn't made an All-Pro team; he hasn't led the NFL in any stat category. And the Atlanta Falcons haven't been Super Bowl contenders since then.
Which brings us to the 2020 season. Ryan is 35 years old, potentially nearing the end of his career, and the Falcons are closer to the bottom of the league with a 2-6 record than they are to the group of serious title contenders.
Individually, however, Ryan is quietly having a great season.
NFL: Can Matt Ryan bring the Atlanta Falcons back from the brink in 2020?
Going into Week 9, Ryan is leading the NFL in passing yards with 2,462 yards through the air. He's second in completions (211) and 10th in Quarterback Rating (75.80).
While Ryan has only thrown four interceptions, he's also low on the touchdown chart with just 12. By comparison, NFL leader Russell Wilson has thrown for 26 touchdowns.
As good as Ryan has been, he can't do it alone. As a team, the Atlanta Falcons aren't carrying their end of the deal.
The Atlanta Falcons rank 28th in the league in yards allowed on defense (410.6 per game) and 22nd in points allowed (28.0 per game). The offensive rushing attack ranks 19th in the league (108.6 yards per game).
To be fair, the organization is somewhat in disarray. Head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff were both fired during the season, leaving the leadership in flux for now. Interim head coach Raheem Morris is trying to hold things together for the Atlanta Falcons.
After the Falcons won in Week 8 over the Carolina Panthers and actually held onto a fourth-quarter lead -- the team has become notorious for blowing leads after that fateful Super Bowl -- Ryan said he thinks that win could be a turning point for the season.
If Ryan keeps up his level of play, the Atlanta Falcons tighten up their defense, and they figure out how to close out more of these close games they've been losing, this could be Ryan's overall best season since 2016 -- one known for overcoming adversity and making a comeback rather than being the victim of a comeback.Published 06 Nov 2020, 12:56 IST