Through six weeks of the NFL season, the Atlanta Falcons are far and away the biggest surprise of the NFL. They’re tied for first at 4-2 and they’re doing it with a rookie quarterback as their starter. I’d guess that 90% of all prognosticators didn’t think the Falcons would win more than four games all season, no joke. Count me in that group — I thought they’d be a 2-14 team. The Falcons opened up the gates surprising people with a 34-21 win in week one over the Lions. Five weeks later, they’re proving it’s not a joke. Aside from the mess that the Falcons were before the season began, the fact that they were starting a rookie quarterback made me think they were headed towards 2-14 doom. The NFL’s hard enough as is unless your last name is Brady or Manning; how would a rookie come in and be able to win? Already a good chunk into the season, Matt Ryan is defying all odds and leading his team to a successful start.
While I still figure the Falcons to finish no better than 8-8, they’re already a success. Ryan has made very few mistakes which is exceptionally difficult to do when you’re a young QB. Take Joe Flacco as a comparison for instance. The Ravens’ rookie QB has thrown 1 TD and 7 INTs and lost one fumble. Eight turnovers in five games for Flacco against just one score. Ryan on the other hand has thrown five touchdowns against three interceptions. He hasn’t lost a fumble yet either. Ryan’s already developed a rapport with top target Roddy White and turned him into one of the NFL’s leading receivers. There are times (like the game at Tampa Bay) when Ryan certainly has looked like a rookie quarterback, but overall, he’s playing well beyond his years.
In the end, when you take a quarterback with a high pick in the first round, you’re really rolling the dice and just hoping he can pick up the game and work hard enough to become a solid NFL quarterback. Seems like the Falcons have already struck gold and will have a franchise QB for years to come.
Umm, Michael Vick, who?