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Matt Ryan Off to Tremendous Start in 2016

The quality of Matt Ryan's performance on Sunday cannot be overstated. During a contest in which Atlanta needed a win to even its record, the veteran signal-caller completed 26 of 34 passes (76.5 percent) for 396 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, good for a 131.5 QB rating.

Those numbers are great by Ryan's standards. And they're great by history's standards, too: In a single game, only 11 other quarterbacks since the AFL/NFL merger have combined as many passing yards and touchdowns with a completion percentage and QBR as high as Ryan's, according to Pro Football Reference.

Their names: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Steve Young, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Phil Simms, Ken O'Brien, Tommy Kramer, Boomer Esiason and Nick Foles.

"Yeah, I thought we did a great job offensively getting into a rhythm," Ryan said. "We didn't do a whole lot in the first quarter, but once we kind of found our stride, we kept going and played really well. We did a better job in the red zone. Still have some opportunities to continue to improve, areas we can get better."

As discussed last week, the play-action is going to be an important part of Atlanta's offense in 2016. And it was extremely effective against Oakland: On such throws, Ryan went 10-for-14 for 183 yards and a touchdown. The longest gain of the day, a 59-yard pitch-and-catch to Julio Jones, came off a play-fake, as well, and set up one of three red zone conversions on the afternoon.

None of the adjustments Oakland's D made up front seemed to work: When the Raiders blitzed, Ryan completed 15 of 18 throws for 272 yards and two touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus; when they didn't blitz to aid their coverage, he connected on 11 of 16 passes for 124 yards and a TD.

And during the 10 times Oakland got pressure on Ryan, he was seven for nine for 108 yards and a score. (Unsurprising, given the fact that, in 2015, he led the NFL in completion percentage when under pressure.)

Not to be forgotten, the offensive line was steady from beginning to end. Khalil Mack, one of the best pass-rushers in the league, failed to sack Ryan once. In total, the Raiders defense tallied eight QB hurries, one sack and one QB hit.

"Honestly, the offensive line needs to be given a lot of credit today," head coach Dan Quinn said. "They totally nailed it and that starts right up front with Alex Mack and the communication that he has to give to it. We featured a lot of different things — our screen game, the keepers, the shots down the field. It's a wide variety of things we like to feature. It's not all the same every week. Some things are going to be best for the certain opponent we're playing, but I certainly was pleased with their effort today."

Ryan's stellar outing, coupled with his efficient work versus Tampa Bay, has made him the NFL's highest rated QB on Monday morning (121.4). His 730 passing yards are second to Andy Dalton's 732. Ryan's five TDs only trail Roethlisberger's six. His completion percentage, an impressive 72.6, is higher than all but Eli Manning's (73.9). And Ryan's four completions of 40-plus yards lead the NFL.

If the three-time Pro Bowler continues to execute like he has so far in 2016, it'll go a long way toward getting Atlanta back into the playoffs.

"1-1 is a lot better than 0-2, that's for sure. It was important for us today, especially on the road," Ryan said. "I mean, that's a good football team. Oakland's a very good football team and those guys competed really hard. So, it was a good win for us."

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