Matt Ryan on pace for another 4,500 yard passing season


Matt Ryan took the brunt of the blame for the Atlanta Falcons’ six-game losing streak mid-season. However, Ryan should throw for over 4,500 yards in 2015.

Though he is not a Pro Bowler during what many consider his worst season as a professional quarterback, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is still having another statistically strong season.

Entering Week 16’s home game versus the Carolina Panthers, Matt Ryan has thrown for 3,951 yards, completing 65.7 percent of his passes this season. While the interceptions are up (15) and the touchdowns are down (18), Matt Ryan is having a near Pro Bowl caliber season whether Falcons fans want to believe or not.

Ryan is on pace to equal his passing yards total from 2013, one where Ryan spent half his time on his back because of the worst offensive line to come to Atlanta in a decade. Matt Ryan threw for 4,515 yards that season and he is averaging the same per game average in 2015 that he did in 2013 at 282.2 yards per game.

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Ryan’s last two opponents are against the Carolina Panthers, a team that limited him to a season-worst 224 yards passing in Week 14 in Charlotte, and the New Orleans Saints, a team that Ryan nearly threw for 300 yards on in Week 6 in New Orleans. Though Carolina is the league’s third best defense (fifth against the pass, sixth against the run), New Orleans is the 31st ranked defense (30th against the pass, 32nd against the run).

For as much flack as Matt Ryan has received in 2015 for his costly turnovers and the Falcons’ inability to score touchdowns in the red zone, he should throw for over 4,500 yards for the fourth consecutive year and over 4,000 for the fifth consecutive season.

Keep in mind that Ryan has had to take on the main responsibilities of running a new offense. He had spent the previous three seasons in the Dirk Koetter Air Coryell which emphasized the medium-to-long passing game. Under Kyle Shanahan in 2015, Matt Ryan has had to essentially rely on Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones to move the chains in Shanahan’s West Coast system.

Though Shanahan’s patented Zone Blocking Scheme has done wonders for improved running game of the Atlanta Falcons (Devonta Freeman is a Pro Bowl running back with nearly 1,000 yards on the ground), Ryan having to adjust to the West Coast has not been an easy transition. The West Coast offense uses shorter passing routes that involve the receivers to make plays in space with their legs rather than Ryan throwing them open with his arm.

Next: Devonta Freeman: Will he hit 1,000 rushing yards on Sunday?

While the touchdown to interception ratio for Matt Ryan hasn’t been as great as it had been in previous seasons, knowing that he will certainly throw for over 4,000 yards in 2015 and likely over 4,500 again is a promising sign for the future of this Atlanta offense. The running game is better, the offensive line is vastly improved, and though the receiving corps is worse, Matt Ryan has still found a way to move the football with his arm in this new offense. One more year in the West Coast offense should bring out the best in Ryan in 2016. Rise Up!