In his first 13 seasons in the NFL, Matt Ryan was the fastest player in the league’s history to reach the 40,000-pass yards mark and led the league in terms of passer ratings and completion rate.
However, the ability to scramble is not one of the aspects of the game Ryan is best known for, as Twitter was only too happy to point out after the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback scored a touchdown in the second quarter of the Falcons’ 25-17 away win over the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night’s football.
With Atlanta trailing 14-6 at the Panthers’ 13-yard line on a second and 9-9, Ryan took the snap, rolled right and headed for the end zone to avoid the pressure of the Carolina Panthers’ defense to score.
MATTY ICE. ð¥ #RiseUpATL
ðº: #ATLvsCAR on NFLN/FOX/PRIME VIDEO
ð±: https://t.co/W5bCPYgMfo pic.twitter.com/U1hXRh6Cy6
– NFL (@NFL) October 30, 2020
The Panthers’ defense seemed as surprised by Ryan’s wrangling as the fans and analysts who followed the game. The 13-yard touchdown run was the longest in Ryan’s career and his longest run of play since the 15th week of the 2018 season against Arizona Cardinals.
Ryan, who finished with 281 passing yards and an interception, may not have looked as dynamic as the New York Giants’ quarterback, Daniel Jones, when he was able to break away for 80 yards a week ago, but unlike his younger colleague, the Falcons’ quarterback did not run out of steam near the end zone.
Mobile QB Matt Ryan shows AHT
– Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) October 30, 2020
You have to respect the attempt to crawl Matt Ryan here pic.twitter.com/zazHEjB9Un
– Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) October 30, 2020
Matt Ryan crawls like a gas-powered lawnmower through a child’s birthday party, that’s a touchdown
– The Falcoholic (@TheFalcoholic) October 30, 2020
Matt Ryan has just surpassed Daniel Jonesâ mph in this rush. Source: MinaGenStaten.
– Mina Kimes (@minakimes) 30 October 2020
In a game with Todd Gurley (7 TDs) and Mike Davis (4), the two hasty results so far are… Curtis Samuel and Matt Ryan. pic.twitter.com/t36roO7Wpo
– Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) October 30, 2020
If Matt Ryan can walk that far, you’re obviously not really trying to get there!
– Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) October 30, 2020
Ryan is much closer to the traditional pocket passer than generations of quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray, who can hold the ball perfectly.
To put the different styles into context: Ryan has run for 1,353 yards in his career, while Jackson ran for 1,206 yards last season alone.
At the same time, Ryan was only the third quarterback in the Falcons’ history with his 13-yard touchdown against the Panthers, with double-digit, stormy touchdowns behind Michael Vick and Steve Bartkowski.
More importantly, he helped Atlanta to a second win in three weeks, a much-needed shot in the arm for a franchise that had lost its first five games of the season.
The win over Carolina was only the second time this season that the Falcons won a game they led in the early fourth quarter. Atlanta lost a five-point lead to the Dallas Cowboys in week two in the fourth quarter, then threw away a 16-point lead to the Chicago Bears a week later, before losing by one point to the Detroit Lions last week due to their disastrous play.
After the game, Ryan stressed that the Falcons needed to continue their upward trend in the second half of the season.
“We’ve been to every game we’ve played this year,” he told ESPN. “We’ve suffered some crazy defeats, to be honest, and I really believe we have the team caliber in the games we’re going to play the rest of the season.
“Why can’t we win them all? That’s the kind of thinking I have.”
It won’t be easy to keep the momentum going because the Falcons will only face two teams with record losses in the remaining eight games this season – the Denver Broncos and the Los Angeles Chargers.