QBs in Focus: Matt Ryan

It's Matt Ryan's turn as Steve Palazzolo continues his QB by QB inspection.

| 3 years ago

QBs in Focus: Matt Ryan

qb-month-ryanThough we certainly miss football during the offseason, it’s always a good time to take a step back and analyze our plethora of data.

We’re often so busy grading and collecting data during the season that we’re unable to put a lot of the information to good use. With that said, we’ve decided to declare June as “QB Month” as we break down NFL quarterbacks every which way.

We’re going to examine quarterbacks from a number of situations before looking at each of them individually. The grades and numbers should reveal each quarterback’s strengths and weaknesses from the 2013 season.

As we go through this series, it’s important to understand the relationship between QB Rating (NFL’s version) and PFF Grade.

While QB Rating is obviously supposed to be a QB statistic, it’s actually a better gauge of what the entire offense did in a given situation. This is the type of information that is actually extremely valuable to our NFL team customers as their game planning efforts must go towards stopping an entire passing offense, not just the quarterback.

If the quarterback throws an easy dump off pass to the RB who then weaves through the defense for the touchdown, it’s certainly not a great indicator of quarterbacking skill as it is the running back and defense accounting for the majority of the work on the play. Of course the QB Rating will look quite shiny in that situation.

On the other hand, PFF Grade is a good indicator of how well the quarterback actually performed in a given situation. Whether they throw an accurate pass that was dropped, or perhaps an inaccurate one that should have been intercepted and the defense dropped, the PFF grade will account for those situations with a positive and a negative grade respectively while QB Rating will simply reflect the 0-for-1 passing.

It’s important to distinguish between QB Rating and PFF grade, though there’s a good chance they’ll match up in most situations.

After taking a look at the entire league in various situations, it’s time to break down each quarterback individually.


Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan (2)

Matt Ryan (3)

All categories with a * are normalized so that the league average is 0.0.


•  Among the league’s best on third down at +9.9, particularly a league-high +8.5 on 3rd-and-Long.
•  Ranked fifth in the league on passes thrown at least 30 yards (+3.6) and led the league with a +3.2 grade on passes thrown at least 40 yards.
•  Ranked seventh on passes in between the numbers (+13.5).
•  Above average in a clean pocket (+9.7) and against a traditional rush (+8.6).
•  Performed best on 7-to-8-yard drop-backs (+13.8).
•  Graded well on drop-backs lasting 2.6-3.0 seconds (+4.5) and drop-backs lasting at least 3.6 seconds (+5.4).
•  Graded at +9.7 on passes to outside wide receivers (WRs only), and ranked second with a +6.0 grade on passes to tight ends lined up in the slot.
•  Ranked third in the league on out routes (+8.5) and led the league with a +12.9 grade on post routes.


•  Struggled on first down at -5.8.
•  Graded at -4.1 on 4-to-6-yard drop-backs.
•  Graded at only -2.1 when using play action.
•  Struggled on throws in 21-to-30-yard range (-4.7).
•  Graded at -1.8 on passes thrown between 3.1 and 3.5 seconds.
•  Ranked last in the league on corner routes (-3.3) and second-to-last on crossing routes (-5.6).


•  Used play action only 14.2% of the time, seventh-lowest in the league.
•  Faced pressure on 41.3% of drop-backs, seventh-highest in the league.
•  Faced the blitz 28.4% of the time, slightly lower than the league average of 30.8%.
•  Blitzes led to pressure 49.0% of the time, sixth-worst in the league.
•  59.9% of drop-backs came in 7-to-8-yard range, sixth-highest in the league.
•  Above the league average with 52.7% of passes in the 1-to-10-yard range and had the lowest percentage of passes that traveled at least 20 yards at 7.0%.
•  Threw 61.0% of passes in between the numbers, second-highest in the league.
•  Threw only 18.3% of passes outside the numbers to the right, second-lowest in the league.
•  Threw the lowest percentage of passes to inline tight ends (3.1%) and fourth-highest percentage of passes to slot tight ends (14.2%).
•  11.0% of attempts were screens, above the league average of 9.7%.


For the entire set of “Quarterbacks in Focus” posts, click here.


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| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Andrew

    All this without a line and without his top two WR for most of the season

    • 5aiah

      People won’t ever give him credit though. He’s kinda limited because of his throwing power(as the PFF numbers show) but he’s a legit QB without doubt.

  • Marc

    Where can I find Matt’s 2012 and the previous years breakdown?