The package of notes passed along by ESPN Stats & Information on Sunday’s game between Atlanta and Carolina focuses entirely on the Falcons. Understandable since there really is nothing left to say about the Panthers.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has been better this season when facing five or more pass rushers. In those situations, Ryan has a 100.1 passer rating with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions. When faced with four or fewer pass rushers, Ryan has an 84.5 passer rating with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. For the record, Carolina has blitzed on 34.2 percent of opponent dropbacks. That puts the Panthers slightly above the league average, 33.2 percent.
Ryan also has been at his best when throwing outside of the pocket. In those situations, he ranks in the league’s top five in completion percentage, touchdown passes and passer rating. His 98.6 passer rating outside the pocket ranks second in the league. In a bit of irony, four of the top five guys in that category are current or former NFC South quarterbacks. Houston’s Matt Schaub, who previously played for Atlanta, leads the league with a 109.6 passer rating. Philadelphia’s Michael Vick, another former Atlanta player is fourth at 93.5. Current Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman is fifth at 90.6.