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Ryan's Game Winners Setting League Records

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Matt Ryan's performances late in games are a big reason for the Falcons success in recent years, including this season. What he's accomplishing in the fourth quarter is making history.

He's off to the hottest start of his career and Matt Ryan is drawing MVP attention early in the 2012 season.

Ryan is among the league leaders in nearly every measurable stat on quarterbacks in the league this year. His QB rating, completed passes and touchdowns rank second in the NFL. His 1,507 yards are third and his 68.3 completion percentage ranks fifth.

The last two weeks have seen Ryan put together two fourth-quarter comebacks, winning the both games with drives that would go on to decide the final outcome of both games. Since his rookie season in 2008, Ryan has had a knack for bringing the Falcons back when it counted most and now he can add game-winning drives to his impressive resume.

His 18 game winners in his career is the most in the NFL since 2008 and they rank as the most by a QB in his first five seasons since 1966.

This week Ryan looks to extend Atlanta's 2012 win streak to six games. The Falcons' 5-0 start to begin this season is the best start in franchise history.

After the win last week, head coach Mike Smith said Ryan's ability to move on to the next play is what makes him so successful in the 4th quarter and when the game is on the line.

"It just says a lot about the resiliency of Matt Ryan," Smith said. "He is, undoubtedly, the leader of our football team. We are going to go as Matt goes. It's a quarterback-driven league. When he plays well and distributes the ball, we are going to enhance our chances to be successful."

Ryan set a career high last season with 29 touchdowns and his fast start this year puts him on another career-high pace. He's thrown three touchdowns three times in the first five games of this year. Atlanta is 14-0 when he throws three touchdowns or more in a game. On the pace he's on currently, Ryan will end the season with 42 touchdowns.

This week's opponent, the Oakland Raiders, faced Ryan during his rookie season in 2008. Ryan led the Falcons to a 24-0 win and completed 77 percent of his passes. He threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns and earned a 138.4 QB rating. A win over the Raiders will make three straight by the Falcons over Oakland in the series.