Did Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco Actually Lead Their Teams to the Playoffs?

Jordan LanningCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2009

Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco have both had marvelous seasons no matter which way you look at it. They both took their teams to the playoffs; Flacco even went to the AFC Championship game.

But was it the quarterback that led his team to the playoffs, or the supporting cast?

Let's start with Joe Flacco. He threw for 14 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. He had an 80.3 quarterback rating, which was 22nd in the league. He was 20th in the league in passing yards.

The Baltimore running game is fourth in the league in total rushing yards. Their defense was second in the league behind Pittsburgh. So would an average NFL quarterback have done as good as Flacco?

I realize this is just Flacco's rookie season, but is he a franchise quarterback? He will probably be better than Kyle Boller, but is he not just a little bit of a bust?

Then there is Matt Ryan, the face of the Atlanta Falcons. Ryan had 16 touchdown passes to 11 interceptions. He threw for 3,440 yards with an 87 quarterback rating, which is 11th in the league. His 3,440 passing yards are 13th in the league.

Yes, Ryan had Michael Turner, who had the second most rushing yards in the NFL, and had one of the best wide receivers in Roddy White. But looking at the stats, Matt Ryan was the better quarterback. Flacco had the better defense, and that is the main reason why Baltimore was in the AFC championship game.

I realize that Ryan should be better, being the third overall pick and Flacco getting drafted at 18. But if Ryan had the second-best defense in the NFL, do you think that maybe he would be in the Super Bowl?

Next year will be a big year for both Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. If Flacco has 14 touchdown passes to another 12 interceptions, you have to start thinking if he's maybe a bust. But if Ryan is in the Top 15 for almost every major passing statistic, he is still a success.

I'm not a Falcon or a Raven fan. I'm just a NFL fan making an observation.