So I broke down Matt Ryan’s numbers for the five games Julio Jones was on the field and pulled out a few nuggets.
In the first five games (when Julio played), Ryan threw two touchdowns in each one of those games. In the final eleven games (when Julio didn’t play), Ryan only threw two or more touchdowns in 5 of those games.
Ryan tossed approximately 40% of this touchdowns in the first five weeks of the season and was on pace to finish with 32 scores before Julio went down.
Ryan racked up 300+ yards in four out of the first five games, but only breached 300 yards in 3 of the final eleven games.
Over the first five games, Ryan threw only three interceptions (paced for 9.6 for the season). Over the final 11 games, 14 defenders caught his passes (on pace for 20.4 picks).
He was averaging 7.5 yards per pass attempt over the first five games, which ranked 9th in the league just behind Drew Brees (7.9). Ryan fell behind Christian Ponder over the last 11 games in the same category with 6.8 yards per pass attempt.
Despite Ryan’s drop-off in production and effectiveness from Week 7 on, Ryan still threw the rock a ton.
Ryan’s 651 pass attempts were second only to Peyton Manning’s 659. And prior to Julio’s injury, Ryan was on pace to finish this close to completing 70% of his passes (69.4%). Philip Rivers finished the season with the highest completion percentage (69.5%).
Obviously, Ryan would’ve produced significantly stronger stats if he had Julio on the field all season. I get that. But what I don’t get is why so many are overlooking him this season. Julio’s healthy, and so is Roddy.
Remember, Roddy White suffered an ankle injury in preseason which lingered into the regular season. And in Week 3, White pulled a hamstring that hampered him for a couple of months.
Perhaps people are shying away from Matty Ice because of the loss of Tony Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was a focal point of Atlanta’s offense last season, as he has always been. But many think of Gonzalez as the guy who converted first downs and kept drives alive. Truth is, he was responsible for only 56 of the Falcons’ 330 first downs.
His loss will be absorbed by Harry Douglas in Atlanta’s three-wide base offense and, to a much lesser extent, sophomore tight end Levine Toilolo. More imporantly, Gonzalez’ absence will be less of a factor by having a healthy Roddy White and Julio on the field at the same time, something Ryan didn't have for a single game last season.