Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week for his record-setting performance in a season-opening, 37-34 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints. It marked the fifth time he's received the honor in his career, which is a franchise record.
Teammate Matt Bryant was named the NFC's Special Teams Player of the Week after nailing the 52-yard, game-winning field goal in the win. Bryant also made a 51-yarder to send it into overtime. He is the only special-teams player to win the award multiple times with three different teams (Falcons, Giants, Buccaneers).
Ryan completed 31 of 43 passes for 448 yards and three touchdowns without throwing an interception. He was sacked just once and was able to extend plays with his feet.
"Whatever he had for pregame meal, he needs to eat it 15 more times,'' offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. "Matt did an awesome job of scrambling. His awareness in the pocket and his quickness in the pocket, and even his power in the pocket -- on one of those scramble runs he had, they kind of had him wrapped up and he pulled out of the tackle. He just had a really good feel for where the rushers were.''
Ryan also set a new franchise mark for career touchdown passes, passing Steve Bartkowski. He now sits at 156 career touchdowns going into Sunday's game at Cincinnati.
Ryan engineered an offense that generated a franchise-record 568 total yards against the Saints. He was 9-of-11 for 224 yards on throws at least 15 yards downfield, according to ESPN Stats & Information. And those nine completions were a career high.
Koetter counted 14 explosive plays for his offense: runs of 12-plus yards and passes of 16-plus yards. Those plays came against a Saints defense ranked fourth-overall last season before the addition of playmaking safety Jairus Byrd.
Now Ryan and the offense will face a Bengals team that boasted the league's third-best defense a year ago.