After the Jets fell to the Steelers, I decided to take an in depth look and compare postseason statistics for Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. Today, I focus my attention on another common battle between fans, that of Matt Ryan versus Joe Flacco.
It’s no secret that the two quarterbacks share a number of similarities, Ryan was drafted third overall in 2008, Flacco was taken 18th overall. Ryan won the A.P. Rookie of the Year, Flacco took the Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Year. While Ryan may have edged Flacco statistically, he does not have the record in the postseason that Flacco can lean on to support his case.
Here’s what I gathered.
As rookies, both QB’s led their teams to 11-5 records, Ryan threw for 16 touchdowns with 11 interceptions and Flacco threw 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Their completion percentages were right on par at 60 and 61 percent and their QB ratings fell in the 80’s. Flacco went on to win his first two postseason games against the Dolphins and Titans, while Ryan’s Falcons lost to the Cardinals in their first.
I did mention in rmy earlier comparison piece that Flacco’s numbers have struggled in the postseason. In his first year he threw just one touchdown and three interceptions.
In 2009 Baltimore finished 9-7 under Flacco who threw seven more touchdowns, but matched his 12 interceptions from the previous season. Matt Ryan, who played in just 14 games threw 22 TDs and 14 picks. The Falcons failed to reach the playoffs that season.
Then of course there is 2010, where Flacco cut down his interceptions for the first time with 10 and increased his touchdowns by another four (25). His completion percentage remained around the same (62.6) and his QB rating went up five points to 93.6 in the regular season. Ryan played a full 16 games and saw similar trends. His touchdowns shot up to 28 and his interceptions were reduced to a career low 9. Again, Flacco’s post season record gives him the edge in that category as he put together a 265 yard, 2 TD performance at Arrow Head while Ryan’s Falcon’s fell after two interceptions to Green Bay.
Head to head, Matt Ryan has the slight advantage. When the Ravens were defeated by the Falcons on Thursday night football, Matt Ryan threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns in a game that gave him a 101.7 rating. Though the Ravens went down, Flacco threw for 215 yards and also had three TD passes, but he also threw an interception and finished with a 99.5 rating.
Both young quarterbacks have yet to see their best play shine against their division foes. Against the AFC North, Flacco has played 18 games and gone 11-7 with 18 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and 199.5 yards per game. Ryan in the NFC South has played 17 games going 11-6, throwing 19 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and 211.4 yards per game.
Both quarterbacks have tremendous upsides and saw steps in the right direction in 2010. For Ryan returning to form after an injury was big and for Flacco proving that he could put together a solid effort in the playoffs was vital. Though Matt Ryan may have a slight edge in the statistics, the A.P. Rookie of the Year vote and a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl this season, Flacco has taken the Ravens to the playoffs in all three seasons. They both have to prove that they can play better against their rivals and lead a team to the Super Bowl to see who is the better of these young talents.