After going 9-for-13 for 155 yards in his first preseason game, 18-for-21 for 174 yards in his second and 18-for-26 for 220 yards in his third, quarterback Matt Ryan picked up right where he left off Sunday in Kansas City.
Ryan showed the numbers that he put up in the preseason weren’t a fluke as he passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns on 23 of 31 passing.
He even ran for a five-yard touchdown.
The Chiefs were down four starters on defense and Ryan made them pay. He methodically picked apart the Chiefs’ defense all day long as he began the day with a 12-play, 80-yard drive and essentially put the game away late in the third quarter with a touchdown to tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Ryan spread the ball around to six receivers and four finished with an average of over 10 yards per catch. Even with the mostly even distribution, Julio Jones stood out with six catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
The Falcons showed that they may have finally figured it out—that elusive play-calling rhythm or balance that was visible last season but never pounded down opponents’ throats.
Ryan may be on his was to proving himself to be an elite quarterback. After leading the Falcons to scores on their first eight drives, its hard not to like what Ryan did on the field.
The offensive line kept Ryan upright as he threw for 200 of his 299 yards before he was sacked once. The blocking by the line helped Ryan to tie the Falcons’ franchise record of 197 pass attempts without an interception, which was set by Steve Bartkowski in 1983.
His arm strength has been questioned by many, but after bulking up in the offseason, Ryan looks like he is on a mission to prove his naysayers wrong.
Ryan was ranked 11th on Ron Jaworski’s quarterback ranking in the offseason. Finishing games with a passer rating of 136.4, like he did Sunday, will go a long way towards Ryan jumping into the top 10.