Matt Ryan vs. Tom Brady: Week 2 passing charts

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The Falcons dropped their second straight game to open the season on Sunday, but despite the final score, this one was much more competitive than the team’s Week 1 loss. With quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Tom Brady throwing the ball, the two teams combined for 81 pass attempts.

Let’s take a look at the Week 2 passing charts for both Ryan and Brady, using NFL Next Gen Stats.

QB - Matt Ryan

(NFL Next gen Stats)

We are starting to see a trend unfold on the Falcons' offense. A lot of the passes are staying within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Is this an indictment on Ryan's playing capabilities coupled with poor offensive protection, or is short passing the way Arthur Smith wants this team to operate in 2021? For the second straight week, Ryan failed to connect on a single pass beyond 20 yards. His intermediate passing didn't look much better as he only attempted three passes between 11 and 20 yards downfield. This means, of Ryan's 46 attempted passes, 41 were taken within 10 yards downfield -- nine of these passes were behind the line of scrimmage. As you can see with the location of the interceptions, the Bucs' defense was bringing pressure that caused Ryan to make some errant throws. Just like last week, the Falcons' offense favored the right side of the field. In Week 1, 40 percent of all pass attempts were taken on the left side, the remaining 60 pass attempts were taken on the right with none in between the hash. In Week 2, 54.4 percent of the pass attempts were taken on the right side with 36.9 pass attempts taken on the left -- 8.7 percent of passes were thrown in between the hash. The Falcons have also failed to connect on any pass thrown to the right side of the field beyond 10 yards. If the offense truly wants to get better in the passing game, they have to learn to stretch the field. Creating a balanced attack is one thing, but when the entire passing game is nothing but shallow concepts, then establishing a solid rushing attack becomes harder because this can force the defense to play closer to the line of scrimmage.

QB - Tom Brady

(NFL Next gen Stats)

At first glance, we can see a much more balanced passing attack for Tom Brady. Not only is it relatively even in areas of distribution, but the Bucs can noticeably stretch the field much more than Falcons have shown thus far. 39 percent of Brady's pass attempts were beyond 15 yards down the field, seven of which were beyond 20 yards. In comparison, Ryan only had three total beyond 15 yards. The biggest benefit Brady has is the amount of weapons at his disposal and an offensive line that gives him time to stretch the field. The Bucs have three number one receivers one the field at almost any given time. Atlanta has the pieces to do this on paper, but doing this on the field has been a different story through the first two games of the season.

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