Midseason Superlatives, Disappointments for Falcons

Ryan is playing at an MVP level, Beasley is underperforming again

Team MVP

Quarterback Matt Ryan is playing a level similar to 2016, when he was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. In seven games he has thrown for 2335 yards (333.6 per game) and 15 touchdowns, completed 71.1 percent of his throws and been intercepted only twice. In his MVP season Ryan averaged 309 yards per game, completed 69.9 percent and threw for 38 touchdowns. If the growingly patchwork offensive line can protect Ryan, he is on his way to a record season.

Best Rookie

There was some question about the team’s decision to take wide receiver Calvin Ridley in the first round ahead of a defensive player. You don’t hear those questions any more now that Ridley has become the team’s second-most productive receiver behind Julio Jones. Ridley arrive at camp and quickly established himself as a hard worker and quick learner. After getting shutout in the season opener, Ridley has turned into an important target. He’s caught 27 passes, averaging 14.5 yards per catch, and has six touchdowns. He had seven catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints.

Biggest Disappointment

Defensive end Vic Beasley Jr. has vanished at times this season. After what appeared to be a breakthrough season in 2016 – when he had 15.5 sacks – Beasley has regressed. This season he has seven tackles and one sack. He went without a tackle in back-to-back games against the Steelers and Bucs. He took a step backwards last year, going from 39 to 29 tackles and only five sacks. This season the downward trend has continued.

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