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Super Bowl: Matt Ryan Compared To 6 Previous QB’s Patriots have Faced

Playing the New England Patriots during playoff time has a tendency to carry a little more weight than just any old matchup. Since Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have joined forces, it seems like the playoffs are the Patriots domain and everyone is just taking up space.

How Does Matt Ryan Compare?

In Houston, the Patriots may have a problem.

Playing the New England Patriots during playoff time has a tendency to carry a little more weight than just any old matchup. Since Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have joined forces, it seems like the playoffs are the Patriots domain and everyone is just taking up space.

It’s like playing Mickey Mantle and the Yankees in the fifties or going up against Michael Jordan and the Bulls in the nineties. There is an immediate David and Goliath feeling when playing the Patriots.

The Atlanta Falcons have not yet touched down in Houston and folks are already wondering how Matt Ryan will prepare to overtake Belichick and Brady. Perhaps, though, we should be wondering how the Patriots intend to deal with Matt Ryan.

Tom Brady will be playing for his fifth Super Bowl ring on February the fifth. He has won four of his six Super Bowl appearances and has faced some of the league’s toughest competition from the opposing quarterback position. There has been a future hall of famer or two and a league MVP along the way, but from a statistical standpoint, Tom Brady has never gone up against a quarterback better than Matt Ryan’s 2016 season.

Super Bowl QB vs. Tom Brady

Season Stats from the year they went to the Super Bowl 

Super Bowl Quarterback Age Tm Record Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Sk
LI Matt Ryan 31 ATL 11-5-0 373 534 69.9 4944 38 7.1 7 37
XLIX Russell Wilson 27 SEA 10-6-0 329 483 68.1 4024 34 7 8 45
XLVI Eli Manning 30 NYG 9-7-0 359 589 61 4933 29 4.9 16 28
XLII Eli Manning 26 NYG 10-6-0 297 529 56.1 3336 23 4.3 20 27
XXXIX Donovan McNabb 28 PHI 13-2-0 300 469 64 3875 31 6.6 8 32
XXXVIII Jake Delhomme 28 CAR 10-5-0 266 449 59.2 3219 19 4.2 16 23
XXXVI Kurt Warner 30 STL 14-2-0 375 546 68.7 4830 36 6.6 22 38

Quick Take: Matt Ryan vs. Past QB Opponents

  • Matt Ryan is the oldest QB the Pat’s have faced in a Super Bowl
  • Matt Ryan has thrown more Yards & TD’s than any other QB the Pats have faced
  • Matt Ryan has the best regular season passing % vs. previous six QB’s
  • Matt Ryan has thrown the least amount of interceptions vs. previous six

Tom BradyThe last time the Super Bowl was played in Houston, was on February 4th, 2004. In that game, we saw the Patriots defeat the Panthers by the score of 32-29. The Panthers quarterback at that time was Jake Delhomme who had thrown just 19 touchdown passes during the regular season. The Falcons signal caller this season has thrown for double the touchdowns than Delhomme did.

Being a quarterback deserving of a Super Bowl appearance isn’t all about touchdowns. Sometimes it is all the more important to play mistake free football rather delivering prolific touchdown totals. Matt Ryan this season has thrown just seven interceptions. The Patriots have played two other quarterbacks in the Super Bowl who have also had less than ten interceptions during the season. Those two players were Russell Wilson in 2014 and Donovan McNabb in 2004.

Time will tell how Ryan will play under the bright lights in this Super Bowl but Wilson and McNabb combined for four interceptions in their respective Super Bowl losses. It’s also worth noting that Wilson and McNabb both averaged less than 260 passing yards per game during those seasons while Matt Ryan has averaged 309 this year.

There is a certain intangible that Eli Manning possesses when playing the Patriots in February but not even his regular season numbers are equal to Ryan. In those two seasons in which Eli met the Patriots in the Super Bowl, he had season-long completion percentages of 56.1 and 61.0. Matt Ryan’s 2016 MVP campaign has seen his completion percentage sit at 69.9. That is also a higher rate than any other quarterback that has faced Tom Brady in the big game. Ryan’s numbers this season even beat that of the future hall of fame Rams Kurt Warner. In 2001, The former grocer turned NFL star had the most comparable numbers to Ryan. Warner’s completion percentage was just 1.2 percent less. His yards total came in just 114 yards short of Ryan, and Warner’s 36 touchdowns were just two short of Ryan’s total. Where Warner falls short is his 22 interceptions which are a far cry from Ryan’s previously mentioned seven.

Going a little further, taking the statistics from the divisional and championship games of Brady’s Super Bowl opponents only quantifies Ryan’s brilliant year. Ryan has thrown for 730 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions over his last two games. Of the other quarterbacks referred to in this piece, none of their divisional and championship contests compare. All the other quarterbacks in question failed to eclipse 650 yards and failed to throw for more than five passing touchdowns. In 2007 and 2004, both Eli Manning and Donovan McNabb had no interceptions in their games. That being said, though, both of those quarterbacks threw for 250 yards less than Ryan. No matter what the statistic, it’s still too soon to tell just how Matt Ryan will perform in the biggest game of his life but at the end of the day, the Belichick and Brady connection has never had to prepare for a quarterback having this productive of a season. The Patriots should not sleep on the Falcons and neither should you.


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