Lately, a lot of NFL "experts" have been claiming that Atlanta Falcons
QB Matt Ryan
just completed the best season for a rookie quarterback - ever. Sorry, but Ryan hasn't played nearly as well as Ben Roethlisberger
did in 2004, nor did he match Dan Marino
's stellar performance back in 1983. Don't get me wrong, Ryan had a great year and he's going to be a top pro, but he's getting a lot of help from a quality supporting cast, a view backed by this comment from an NFL scout
Meanwhile, the numbers tell a story too. Here are Big Ben's rookie year stats (regular season only): 14 games, 13 starts, 13-0 record, 196 of 295 (66.4%) for 2,621 yards, an average of 8.9 yards per attempt, with 17 TDs and 11 INTs. Passer rating of 98.1. Fumbled only twice. Jerome Bettis
and Duce Staley
combined to rush for 1,133 yards that season.
Now consider Ryan's rookie stats (regular season only): 16 games, 16 starts, 11-5 record, 265 of 434 (61.1%) for 3,440 yards, an average of 7.9 yards per attempt, 16 TDs and 11 INTs. Passer rating of 87.7. Sacked only 17 times. Most notably, Michael Turner
rushed for 1,699 yards this year, an average of 4.5 yards per rush.
What stands out about Roethlisberger's numbers are the undefeated record, the passer rating, and especially the off-the-charts yards per attempt. By way of comparison, the best YPA number in the NFL this year was 8.4, posted by Philip Rivers
of the Chargers.
A lot of commentators have noted that Ryan came to a bad team (4-12 last season), meaning that he led the Falcons to a seven-win improvement. But the Steelers went 6-10 the year before Roethlisberger arrived, and improved by nine wins in Ben's rookie year.
Labels: Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan