The Atlanta Falcons today announced that they have agreed to terms with quarterback Matt Ryan on a five-year contract extension.
Ryan is coming off of his best season as an NFL quarterback, setting single-season franchise records for passing yards (4,719), pass attempts (615), completions (422), touchdown passes (32) and 300-yard games (7) en route to his second career Pro Bowl selection. In 2012, Ryan led the NFL with a 68.6 completion percentage and ranked in the top in the League in completions, touchdowns, passer rating, and passing yards. Ryan led the Falcons to a 13-3 overall record, their second NFC South title in the last three years and their third consecutive playoff appearance.
In 2012, Ryan led Atlanta to its first playoff win since 2004 and its third trip to the NFC Championship game in franchise history. He completed 54 of 77 pass attempts (70.1 percent) which was the 12th highest playoff completion percentage for a single postseason in NFL history among quarterbacks with 50-or-more attempts. Ryan tossed six touchdowns in the playoffs, breaking Chris Chandler's franchise record of four postseason touchdowns. His nine career playoffs touchdown passes moved him ahead of Steve Bartkowski (5) for the club's all-time lead. Additionally, Ryan's 105.2 passer rating in the 2012 playoffs was the highest postseason QB rating in franchise history.
In five seasons under center, Ryan has led the Falcons to a 56-22 record which is the best mark by a quarterback in his first five seasons in NFL history. Ryan tied QB Ben Roethlisberger as the second fastest active quarterback to reach 50 wins, hitting the milestone in 69 games. Since 2008, his .718 winning percentage is the third best in the NFL behind QB Tom Brady (.769) and QB Peyton Manning (.766). Additionally, Ryan's 56 wins as a starting quarterback are the most in a player's first five seasons in NFL history.
Quarterbacks are often judged by their play in tight games in the fourth quarter and their ability to put together game-winning drives late in games. Ryan has shown an ability to rise to the challenge in pressure situations by leading the Falcons on 22 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime (including postseason), which are the most in the NFL since 2008 and most by a quarterback in his ﬁrst ﬁve seasons since 1966. He led the Falcons on six game-winning drives in the fourth quarter in 2012, including a thrilling 41-yard drive with 31 seconds remaining to defeat Seattle in the NFC Divisional playoff round which sent the Falcons to the NFC Championship game.
The two-time Pro Bowl signal caller has completed 1,654 of 2,637 pass attempts (62.7 percent) for 18,957 yards with 127 touchdowns, 60 interceptions and a 90.9 passer rating during his career. In five seasons, he has claimed the franchise career records for passer rating (90.9), completion percentage (62.7), 300-yard games (17), wins (56), and winning percentage (.718).
During his career, Ryan has helped establish the Georgia Dome as one of the most difficult stadiums for opponents to escape with a win. In 38 home games, the Falcons are 33-5 with Ryan at quarterback. His .868 home winning percentage is the best in the NFC and trails only New England's Tom Brady (.909, 30-3) for the NFL lead. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Ryan has the best career home winning percentage of any QB who began his career in Super Bowl era (min. 25 starts).
The 28-year old from Exton, PA and Boston College was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Ryan was General Manager Thomas Dimitroff's first draft choice and proved to be a wise one, as he went on to win Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year and Sporting News Rookie of the Year honors in 2008. He completed 265 of 434 passes for 3,440 yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions for an 87.7 passer rating in his first season. He was the first rookie quarterback in franchise history to win 11 games and, along with Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco was the first rookie quarterback to start all 16 games and lead a team to the playoffs.
In 2009, Ryan rallied from a late season injury to lead the Falcons to wins in each of their final three games which secured a 9-7 record and gave Atlanta its first back-to-back winning seasons in club history. He completed 263 of 451 passes for 2,916 with 22 touchdowns during his sophomore season.
The 2010 season marked a coming of age season for Ryan as he earned his first Pro Bowl selection and was named a first-team All-NFL selection by Pro Football Focus. He set then franchise records with 357 completions on 571 pass attempts and threw for 3,705 yards, 28 touchdowns against a career-low nine interceptions, and a 91.0 passer rating. Additionally, he led the Falcons to an NFC-best 13-3 record and the top seed in the conference playoffs. He tied Pro Football Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino for the most wins by a quarterback in his first three seasons since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger with 33 and showed his penchant for late game heroics with six game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in 2010.
During his fourth season in 2011, Ryan once again helped produce a franchise first in leading the club to an 11-5 record and its second straight postseason appearance. He tied Marino and Flacco as the only quarterbacks since 1950 to post 40-or-more wins in their first four seasons after completing 347 of 566 pass attempts (61.3 percent) for 4,177 yards with 29 touchdown passes, 12 interceptions and a 92.2 passer rating.
Following a stellar career at Boston College, Ryan emerged as a Heisman Trophy candidate while earning ACC Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2007. His 9,313 passing yards with the Eagles placed him third on the school's all-time record list behind Doug Flutie and Glenn Foley while his 807 completions and 1,347 attempts established school career-records.