Matt Ryan escapes a lot of comparisons by staying low key and letting his play on the field do all the talking. Entering his sixth season, Ryan's shown a consistent seasonal improvement each year, culminating in last year's career-high play that catapulted the Falcons onto the national radar.
During his career, the comparison that Ryan's heard the most often is to former Colts and current Broncos QB Peyton Manning. Both are cerebral quarterbacks and highly competitive with the ability to lead on the field and at the line of scrimmage. Until last season, many connected Ryan to Manning because of the playoff win draught the beginning of their careers experienced.
Now as Ryan continues to get better, many continue to link Ryan to Manning because of the uncanny resemblance the two have in terms of career stats and growth season over season. Over on the FalconsLife community message boards, one poster revisited the Manning-Ryan numbers comparison and found that Ryan topped Manning in their comparable fifth seasons.
Freebird310 points out that Ryan bested Manning in the seven critical quarterback statistical categories. Ryan's 4,719 yards edged Manning by just over 500 yards. His yards per game was better, touchdowns were up by five, yards per attempt was higher, and he threw five less interceptions. Ryan's 99.1 QBR was significantly better than Manning's 88.8 and what may be the most surprising stat is completion percentage. Manning, a notoriously effecient and accurate passer, finished Year 5 with a 66.3 completion percentage, just short of Ryan's 68.6.
Ryan's completion percentage took a sharp spike upwards in 2012, showcasing Ryan's ability to continue to improve. His 68.6 was a career high and a franchise record and Ryan hasn't yet shown a sign of taking a step back. Additionally, Ryan's 22 career game-winning drives since 2008 leads the NFL over that time span.
What everyone in Falcons Nation is hoping for is a Super Bowl title for Ryan sooner than Indianapolis got one from Manning. Manning delievered a championship in his ninth season and as Ryan enters his sixth, he appears ready to make a run.
During the 2013 season Ryan will also be approaching the franchise record for touchdown passes in a career.