The Atlanta Falcons were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders. Now it looks like a long shot for them to make the playoffs.
Because of how the media does things this will of course be blamed partially on Matt Ryan. However, this is a false narrative. Everyone loves to give blame or credit to the quarterback, and few know where else to look for an explanation when teams struggle or succeed. Often the first place to look is on defense. Quarterbacks only play half the time, so at most it can only impact half of the game. A quarterback can do everything in his power and still lose.
Monday night was a great example. Matt Ryan led two touchdown drives to get 14 key points in the fourth quarter. He handed his defense a lead with two minutes left against a rookie quarterback missing his best receiver. What more can he do? Perhaps this should be called the Peyton Manning syndrome. A quarterback does all he can to win, but when his defense loses him the game he still takes on the blame. Ryan will do that through the week and because he is a professional he will take it as a man, but make no mistake this is on the defense.
In fact, all the struggles lay at the feet of the defense. Without their starting running back Atlanta has still has top 10 offense in terms of the DVOA stat (they are ranked 6th). On the other hand, their defense is ranked 26th and cannot seem to get a stop.
Matt Ryan will get blamed, but the truth is the blame needs to lay with the Atlanta defense.