How much blame should Matt Ryan take for abysmal season?

Dec 6, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs to escape a tackle by New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 6, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) runs to escape a tackle by New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Matt Ryan is the problem is the problem for the Falcons. Or he isn’t. Who can decide?

There’s a contingent of the Atlanta Falcons fan base that loves to blame Matt Ryan for everything. There’s also a contingent of the fan base that loves to make excuses for everything Matt Ryan does.

Honestly, if you’ve been a part of this fan base for any amount of time, you fall into one of two categories and, really, there’s not much in-between.

  1. Matt Ryan is the problem and the Falcons should move on.
  2. Matt Ryan is human, sure, but he’s not the problem for Atlanta

As we head into Week 14, the Falcons currently boast the worst record of Ryan’s career since the 2013 season that saw the team finish with a 4-12 record. During that season, Ryan threw 26 touchdown passes to 17 interceptions.

So, it begs the question: How much blame should Matt Ryan take for this abysmal 2020 season?

If you look at statistics- which don’t tell the whole story by any means, but are certainly an indicator to begin with- you’ll find that Ryan hasn’t been particularly bad.

He has completed 63.5 percent of his passes- which is a little low compared to his career average of 65.3- and he has thrown for 18 touchdowns to just eight interceptions- a 1.7% interception rate. That is actually well below his career rate of 2.1%.

When you look at the overall body of work, you should also consider that the Falcons have averaged 25.9 points per game, which is right along the median for the league- they’re currently ranked No. 14 in points per game.

Ryan has also had to adjust to new systems over his career and it’s just his second year with Dirk Koetter, who we all can agree has made some questionable decisions at times.

While Ryan and Koetter both shoulder some of the blame, we can also all agree that the offensive line has been anything but spectacular this season. They’re currently ranked No. 26 in the league according to 4for4’s update rankings and some Falcons fans would say that is generous.

When you have a less-than-stellar offensive coordinator (and Koetter is just that) combined with a mediocre offensive line, it doesn’t matter about your stars on the outside or who was playing quarterback. Honestly, any QB not named Patrick Mahomes would struggle in this offense and yet the Falcons are still scoring at a league average rate.

The problem, though, is that the defense is giving up 25.2 points per game. You can’t win a championship without a defense that can make stops. Even Kansas City’s defense- which everyone calls bad- only gives up 21.2 points per game (and 4 points per game means a lot in this league).

The issues with this team are much deeper and more uncomfortable than just blaming Matt Ryan.

The Falcons need better coaching on both sides of the ball. They need to address the offensive line and they need to add a couple more play-makers to that defense, particularly in the secondary where they are giving up big plays.

Next. Falcons need to close the deal out on Eric Bieniemy. dark

Ryan certainly shoulders a percentage of the blame, but it might be a little less than some fans want to believe in their hearts.

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