Matt Ryan: When It Matters

7 Nov

Every year we have to put up with this “elite” nonsense on behalf of some overrated quarterback who’s done nothing but shine in the first half of a regular season:

But you can’t separate the past from the present so easily when the past is this consistent.  An absolute inability to win when it counts naturally tempers the expectations of any reasonable fan.  Eliteness is about what a player can do, not what he’s done in a specifically-limited sample size.  If a player has performed well during the regular season and crashed in postseason three years in a row, a great regular season performance through eight games does not negate the pattern.  It reinforces it.

I argue that to be “elite”, whatever the hell that means anyway, you have to win when it counts. This will be a two-part post. First, let’s take my definition and look at quarterbacks who have equalled or bettered Matt Ryan in the postseason.  All of the following is from Pro-Football-Reference, NFL/AFL since 1960.

The following NFL quarterbacks (as defined in my PFR search as having >10 pass attempts in a game) have won more playoff games than Matt Ryan (count is 124).  I’ve highlighted a few of my favorites:

Dieter Brock
Bob Lee
Steve DeBerg
James Harris
Scott Brunner
Gifford Nielsen
Bubby Brister
John Hadl
Billy Wade
David Garrard
Pat Ryan
Shaun King
T.J. Yates
Tobin Rote
Steve Beuerlein
Elvis Grbac
Michael Vick
Norm Van Brocklin
Frank Ryan
Steve Fuller
Jeff George
Don Meredith
Steve Walsh
Mark Malone
Steve Bartkowski
Tony Romo
Zeke Bratkowski
Lynn Dickey
Aaron Brooks
Joe Ferguson
Rodney Peete
Jay Cutler
Jim Harbaugh
Kordell Stewart
Chris Miller
Billy Kilmer
Alex Smith
Babe Parilli
Tommy Kramer
Marc Bulger
Tim Tebow
Erik Kramer
Jack Kemp
Boomer Esiason
Ken Anderson
Jay Fiedler
Pat Haden
Joe Kapp
Tony Eason
Tommy Maddox
John Brodie
Jake Plummer
Bill Nelsen
Rex Grossman
Jay Schroeder
Frank Reich
Joe Namath
Jeff Garcia
Dave Krieg
George Blanda
Chad Pennington
Chris Chandler
Mike Tomczak
David Woodley
Vince Ferragamo
Richard Todd
Vinny Testaverde
Drew Bledsoe
Daunte Culpepper
Jim Everett
Kerry Collins
Johnny Unitas
Craig Morton
Stan Humphries
Jim McMahon
Neil O’Donnell
Dan Pastorini
Randall Cunningham
Mark Sanchez
Ron Jaworski
Earl Morrall
Wade Wilson
Warren Moon
Trent Dilfer
Joe Flacco
Philip Rivers
Len Dawson
Mark Brunell
Steve McNair
Doug Williams
Jeff Hostetler
Brad Johnson
Bob Griese
Daryle Lamonica
Phil Simms
Fran Tarkenton
Rich Gannon
Bernie Kosar
Mark Rypien
Dan Fouts
Aaron Rodgers
Jake Delhomme
Matt Hasselbeck
Joe Theismann
Danny White
Drew Brees
Ken Stabler
Bart Starr
Steve Young
Jim Plunkett
Roger Staubach
Dan Marino
Ben Roethlisberger
Eli Manning
Jim Kelly
Donovan McNabb
Kurt Warner
Troy Aikman
Peyton Manning
Terry Bradshaw
Brett Favre
John Elway
Tom Brady
Joe Montana



The following players have thrown for as many touchdowns in the playoffs than Matt Ryan (minimum one attempt).  There are 111 of them, and again, I’ve bolded the ones I found to be chuckle-worthy:

Don Majkowski
Tobin Rote
Rodney Peete
Roman Gabriel
Pat Ryan
Matthew Stafford
Scott Brunner
Kelly Holcomb
Chris Miller
David Garrard
Alex Smith
Steve DeBerg
Frank Ryan
Don Meredith
Mark Malone
Aaron Brooks
Tony Eason
Don Strock
Steve Grogan
Lynn Dickey
Boomer Esiason
Joe Namath
David Woodley
Bobby Hebert
Jay Fiedler
Tommy Maddox
Elvis Grbac
Chris Chandler
Pat Haden
Rex Grossman
Frank Reich
Jay Schroeder
Steve Bartkowski
Earl Morrall
Joe Ferguson
Tony Romo
Joe Kapp
Bill Nelsen
Tommy Kramer
Jim Harbaugh
Marc Bulger
Dan Pastorini
Trent Dilfer
John Brodie
Michael Vick
Daunte Culpepper
Erik Kramer
Jeff George
Richard Todd
Jeff Hostetler
George Blanda
Johnny Unitas
Billy Kilmer
Doug Williams
Jim McMahon
Jim Everett
Mark Sanchez
Vince Ferragamo
Craig Morton
Vinny Testaverde
Ken Anderson
Wade Wilson
Drew Bledsoe
Jake Plummer
Stan Humphries
Jeff Garcia
Brad Johnson
Chad Pennington
Bob Griese
Len Dawson
Joe Flacco
Kerry Collins
Ron Jaworski
Phil Simms
Rich Gannon
Neil O’Donnell
Bart Starr
Steve McNair
Mark Rypien
Aaron Rodgers
Joe Theismann
Fran Tarkenton
Philip Rivers
Mark Brunell
Jake Delhomme
Dave Krieg
Daryle Lamonica
Bernie Kosar
Dan Fouts
Danny White
Jim Plunkett
Randall Cunningham
Eli Manning
Ken Stabler
Matt Hasselbeck
Roger Staubach
Warren Moon
Drew Brees
Ben Roethlisberger
Steve Young
Donovan McNabb
Terry Bradshaw
Troy Aikman
Jim Kelly
Kurt Warner
Dan Marino
John Elway
Tom Brady
Peyton Manning
Joe Montana
Brett Favre



Here are the NFL quarterbacks who are, like Matt Ryan, winless in at least 3 playoff appearances (quite the list of studs right here):

Sean Salisbury
Todd Collins
Gary Cuozzo
Mike Phipps
Pete Beathard
Gus Frerotte
Y.A. Tittle
Bert Jones
Ken O’Brien
Bobby Hebert



Finally, since wins and losses aren’t TOTALLY on the quarterback, here are the quarterbacks with better quarterback ratings in the playoffs (90 of them):

Danny White
Joe Kapp
Mark Rypien
Jim Kelly
Dave Krieg
Jake Plummer
Trent Green
Jeff Garcia
Randall Cunningham
David Woodley
Ken O’Brien
Neil O’Donnell
Kerry Collins
Wade Wilson
Greg Gatson
Roger Staubach
Jim McMahon
David Garrard
Tobin Rote
Phil Simms
Bubby Brister
Dan Marino
Chad Pennington
Len Dawson
Michael Vick
Daryle Lamonica
Norm Van Brocklin
Frank Ryan
Cliff Stoudt
Steve Beuerlein
Philip Rivers
John Elway
Donovan McNabb
Danny Kanell
Steve DeBerg
Marc Bulger
Chris Chandler
Tony Romo
Vinny Testaverde
Alex Van Pelt
Jim Plunkett
Tommy Maddox
Daunte Culpepper
Neil Lomax
Terry Bradshaw
Mark Malone
Steve Fuller
Jake Delhomme
Paul McDonald
Bernie Kosar
Ben Roethlisberger
Ken Stabler
Matt Hasselbeck
Rich Gannon
Jay Cutler
Warren Moon
Matt Leinart
Steve Young
Brett Favre
Tom Brady
Troy Aikman
Peyton Manning
Scott Brunner
Eli Manning
Tim Tebow
Don Strock
Joe Theismann
Aaron Brooks
Ken Anderson
Don Majkowski
Jeff George
Mark Sanchez
Jack Trudeau
Joe Montana
Matthew Stafford
Frank Reich
Erik Kramer
Mike Pagel
Alex Smith
Lynn Dickey
Kurt Warner
Drew Brees
Bart Starr
Aaron Rodgers
Pat Ryan
Kelly Holcomb
Jeff Hostetler
Gary Kubiak
Tony Eason
Rodney Peete



I promised a two-part post. Let’s assume the postseason doesn’t matter, and you can define “elite”, as Bardeen suggests, by only the first 8 games of the season. Quarterbacks who have equalled Matt Ryan’s 2012 passer rating through the first 8 games of any season (minimum 10 attempts per game):

Tom Brady,2007,NWE
Aaron Rodgers,2011,GNB
Milt Plum,1960,CLE
Peyton Manning,2004,CLT
Dan Marino,1984,MIA
Kurt Warner,1999,RAM
Daunte Culpepper,2004,MIN
Mark Rypien,1988,WAS
Y.A. Tittle,1963,NYG
Randall Cunningham,1998,MIN
Len Dawson,1966,KAN
Steve Young,1997,SFO
Marc Wilson,1984,RAI
Ben Roethlisberger,2005,PIT
Ben Roethlisberger,2007,PIT
Jake Delhomme,2007,CAR
Jim Kelly,1991,BUF
Kurt Warner,2000,RAM
Bart Starr,1966,GNB
Steve Young,1992,SFO
Bart Starr,1968,GNB
Jim Everett,1988,RAM
Eddie LeBaron,1962,DAL
Joe Montana,1989,SFO
Peyton Manning,2012,DEN
Aaron Rodgers,2012,GNB
Philip Rivers,2008,SDG
Joe Theismann,1983,WAS
Jim McMahon,1984,CHI
Tony Eason,1984,NWE
Dan Marino,1983,MIA
Dan Marino,1987,MIA
Steve Bartkowski,1983,ATL
Brian Griese,2004,TAM
Drew Brees,2004,SDG
Len Dawson*,1964,KAN
Craig Morton,1981,DEN
Drew Brees,2009,NOR
Brett Favre,2009,MIN
Jeff Garcia,2000,SFO
Peyton Manning,2006,CLT
Brian Griese,2000,DEN
Michael Vick,2010,PHI
Tony Eason,1986,NWE
Damon Huard,2006,KAN
Peyton Manning,2009,CLT
Ben Roethlisberger,2004,PIT
Steve McNair,2003,OTI
Johnny Unitas,1965,CLT
Len Dawson*,1962,KAN
Pat Haden,1977,RAM
John Brodie,1965,SFO
Phil Simms,1990,NYG
Kurt Warner,2008,CRD
Carson Palmer,2005,CIN
Ben Roethlisberger,2009,PIT
Daunte Culpepper,2003,MIN
Craig Morton,1969,DAL
Frank Reich,1989,BUF
John Hadl,1973,RAM
Tony Romo,2008,DAL
Roger Staubach,1976,DAL
Aaron Rodgers,2009,GNB
Troy Aikman*,1995,DAL
Frank Ryan,1963,CLE
Joe Montana,1984,SFO
Vince Young,2010,OTI
Matt Ryan,2012,ATL

Does Matt Ryan belong with Romo and Young and Culpepper and Delhomme, or is he Joe Montana, Roger Staubach, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning?  That’s a rhetorical question.  Because here’s the thing about Montana, Staubach, Brady and Manning: eight to ten weeks later, when it really fucking mattered, they won the damn game. 

That’s why they wear rings, while Matt Ryan wears his own poop.

 

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