Since they came into the league four years ago, Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco and Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan have been compared to each other constantly. With Sunday's demoralizing playoff loss to the New York Giants, Ryan's third bad playoff loss in three trips to the post season, it's time to put this debate to an end. Can we please end this Flacco/Ryan argument right now?
In his entire career, Ryan has had better receivers, including the ultimate security blanket in Tony Gonzalez, and for the first two Flacco/Ryan years, Michael Turner was a better running back then Ray Rice (Rice came in the league the same year as Flacco and Ryan but didn't really break out until his third year), and an easier division (arguably, I admit but he doesn't have the Steelers!) and just plain stinks come playoff time, 0-3 now for his career with two of those losses being home games.
Now we both know Flacco's playoff numbers have not been great but he has beaten the Tennessee Titans at home (with a GW 4th quarter FG drive), the New England Patriots at home (great performances by Rice and the "D" but Flacco was solid) and now has his first home playoff game coming up. Flacco is 4-3 for his career in the playoffs with a victory each of his 3 previous years, the first QB to win a playoff game in each of his first 3 seasons. oh, and Ryan never had a first round bye.
Of course, my very good friend, who happens to be a huge Steelers fan (check out this link for his analysis of the Steelers season) has to throw in his opinion,
" One could play a very convincing devil's advocate. Joe Flacco has the far superior defense year in and year out (definitely true) and they certainly help mask the few games a year where Flacco is abysmal. Ryan has a much smaller margin of error. Also, while Michael Turner is a top ten back, he is not even remotely close to the security blanket for Ryan that Ray Rice is for Flacco as a receiver out of the backfield. In 2011, Turner had 168 yards receiving and 0 TD's. In fact, in 119 career games (not all of them were starts) Turner has a grand total of 400 yards receiving and 0 TD's!! By comparison, Ray Rice had 704 yards receiving and 3 TD's in 2011, and in only 61 career games he has 2,235 yards receiving and 5 TD's!!"
Everything he says is true except for a few things:
1. Ryan plays in a dome with another one in New Orleans and in Tampa Bay with horrible defenses in his division (yes, including NO which is only decent) while Flacco plays outside with two games a year vs. the Steelers.
2. For Ryan/Flacco's first two years, Turner was better than Rice at the time, though Rice was always a superior receiver and has surpassed Turner at this point as a runner. Plus, Ryan has Gonzalez and Roddy White, much less rookie Julio Jones, all arguably better than any receivers the Ravens have.
3. Yes, the Ravens "D" has always been better but to have two games at home in the dome and be completely shut down!?!? Let's settle this now, I'll take Flacco, done deal.