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Report Card Grades for All 32 Starting QBs at the Quarter Mark

Matt BowenAnalyst IIOctober 1, 2012

Report Card Grades for All 32 Starting QBs at the Quarter Mark

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    Like grade school children, NFL quarterbacks receive report cards at the quarter mark of the season.

    Thanks to the game's most important position, NFL fans now have a good idea of what their favorite teams are made of this season.

    Some quarterbacks have surprised, for better or worse, while others have plenty of room for improvement.

    Let's check out the grade for every starting NFL quarterback after the first four weeks of the 2012 season. 

Mark Sanchez: 813 Passing Yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs, 49.2 Completion Percentage

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    The verdict is in: Mark Sanchez stinks. 

    What's worse for the New York Jets? Tim Tebow isn't the answer, because if he was, the Jets would have put him in the game for good in Week 4. 

    Sanchez has only completed 49.2 percent of his passes this season, and the Jets are lucky to be 2-2 right now.

    Against teams with feared defenses this season, notably the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers, Sanchez has just 241 passing yards combined, showing how inept he can be.

    The Jets should plan on drafting a quarterback next April.

     

    Current Grade: F

Matt Cassel: 1,058 Passing Yards, 5 TDs, 7 INTs, 57.7 Completion Percentage

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    It's official: Matt Cassel is not the future of the Kansas City Chiefs.

    He's already thrown seven interceptions to just five touchdowns this season, and his team in 1-3. 

    He's thrown a pick in every game, and his completion percentage is too low for getting 40-plus attempts per game. 

    The Chiefs need to plan on drafting a quarterback in 2013, because Cassel has proved time and time again that he is not the solution. 

     

    Current Grade: D

Brandon Weeden: 997 Passing Yards, 3 TDs, 7 INTs, 53.9 Completion Percentage

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    The Cleveland Browns can't be too discouraged with their 0-4 start to the season.

    Rookie Brandon Weeden hasn't looked spectacular, but he does have two 300-plus-yard games already. 

    His stats would look a bit better if his receivers could hold onto the football, as they've dropped 11 passes already.

    He looks like he has true potential to be a gunslinger in this league, and although the Browns may not win many games this year, they will be fun to watch.

     

    Current Grade: D+

Ryan Tannehill: 1,046 Passing Yards, 2 TDs, 6 INTs, 55.9 Completion Percentage

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    The Miami Dolphins were the laughingstock of the 2012 NFL draft when they selected quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the No. 8 overall selection. 

    Right now, he doesn't look terrible. Yes, he has six interceptions, but the Dolphins are two overtime losses away from being 3-1. 

    Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals was his coming-out party, because he blew up a heralded defense to the tune of 431 passing yards. He's found a favorite receiver in Brian Hartline, and the Dolphins aren't to be taken lightly from here on out. 

    Still, there's plenty of work to be done for Tannehill. He's only thrown two touchdowns, and his team's only win came in the game in which he didn't throw a pick. 

    His progression over the season will be something to keep an eye on. 

     

    Current Grade: D+

Matthew Stafford: 1,179 Passing Yards, 3 TDs, 4 INTs, 65.9 Completion Percentage

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    Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions have taken a step in the wrong direction this season. 

    After starting 5-0 in 2011, they are 6-10 in their last 16 games, which includes a playoff loss last season.

    Stafford's numbers aren't that bad, but something is not right. He has yet to connect with Calvin Johnson for a touchdown this season, and Week 4 was the first game since Week 1 of the 2010 season in which he didn't throw a touchdown at all.

    Just a reminder: He did throw a game-winning touchdown in that 2010 game, but due to the "Calvin Johnson rule," that TD was taken away.

    Now 1-3, the Lions are in disarray. 

    Yes, the Lions' special teams unit is horrible, but Stafford needs to rally the troops. 

     

    Current Grade: D+

Ryan Fitzpatrick: 931 Passing Yards, 12 TDs, 7 INTs, 57.6 Completion Percentage

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    Ryan Fitzpatrick is on pace for 48 touchdowns this season, but he's also on track for 28 interceptions. This would mean he will lead the league for a second straight season in the category that every quarterback wants to avoid.

    In Fitzpatrick's defense, the Bills have endured injuries on offense and have a defense that has already allowed 131 points. 

    Right now, he has to take care of the football. With an already pitiful defense, he can't be giving the opposing offense extra chances. 

    If he doesn't clean it up, the Bills will be looking to ditch his hefty contract in the offseason. 

     

    Current Grade: D+

Blaine Gabbert: 654 Passing Yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT, 55.8 Completion Percentage

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    Does anyone still feel bad for Blaine Gabbert? Then again, does anyone still have hope for him?

    The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback has yet to break out in the NFL. In 19 regular-season games, Gabbert has only thrown for 200-plus yards a measly four times. Ouch!

    To his credit, he has thrown only one interception this season, but he has yet to wow anyone. 

    Right now, he looks like a young Alex Smith. The only question is how much more time will the Jaguars give Gabbert before they pull the plug?

     

    Current Grade: C- 

Cam Newton: 1,013 Passing Yards, 4 TDs, 5 INTs, 63.6 Completion Percentage

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    Cam Newton is struggling in his second season in the NFL. 

    His numbers may not be that bad, but his confidence is on the fritz. His leadership has even been questioned by teammate Steve Smith this season.

    In Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons, he fumbled on a play that would have put the game away for the Carolina Panthers. 

    His team is now 1-3 and on the brink of another subpar season. After all the hype surrounding the Panthers heading into the season, Newton must lead by example the rest of the year. 

     

    Current Grade: C-

Russell Wilson: 594 Passing Yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs, 60 Completion Percentage

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    After making a splash in the preseason and stealing the starting job in Seattle, Russell Wilson has returned to this planet.

    While it's true that the Seahawks are 2-2 and have had impressive moments in every game, Wilson hasn't been the reason why.

    He's averaging just a shade under 150 passing yards per game and threw three interceptions in a 19-13 Week 4 loss. 

    Although he stole the show early, the Seahawks may not be too far from beginning the Matt Flynn era.

     

    Current Grade: C-

Josh Freeman: 790 Passing Yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs, 54.6 Completion Percentage

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    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a promising season-opening win to start the season, but it has fallen apart since.

    Quarterback Josh Freeman has looked mediocre at best this season. He's extremely inconsistent, as one minute he looks great, and the next he looks like he's never played football before. Until he becomes a reliable quarterback, there's not much to look forward to in Tampa Bay. 

    Look for the Week 5 bye to be a good thing for Freeman and the Bucs, as they need a week to regroup.

    If Freeman doesn't improve by season's end, expect the Bucs to start looking elsewhere.  

     

    Current Grade: C-

Tony Romo: 1,148 Passing Yards, 5 TDs, 8 INTs, 66.9 Completion Percentage

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    Tony Romo hasn't necessarily impressed since Week 1, but the Dallas Cowboys are 2-1. 

    He's doing enough to win at the moment. 

    Stay tuned until after the Cowboys' showdown with the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football for an updated report card.

     

    Current Grade: B

     

    Update: Tony Romo and the Cowboys were embarrassed on Monday Night Football in Week 4 against the Bears, losing 34-18. 

    What was alarming was the fact that Romo threw five picks. Who thought that backup quarterback Kyle Orton would have to relieve Romo by the end? 

    The Cowboys are now 2-2 and it looked like they gave up at end of Week 4.

    Considering the immense amount of attention that surrounds the team, their Week 5 bye couldn't come at a worse time. This is a team that needs to get back on the field, instead they'll have to sit and wait. 

    What's worse? 

    They travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens in Week 6. It won't be easy, but Romo needs to have the best game of his life against the Ravens in order to silence the critics. 

    Romo's stock to a major hit in Week 4, as his current grade isn't necessarily refrigerator material. 

     

    Current Grade: C-

Jay Cutler: 917 Passing Yards, 5 TDs, 6 INTs, 57.3 Completion Percentage

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    The Chicago Bears finally gave quarterback Jay Cutler plenty of reasons to be happy this offseason when they added wide receivers Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and running back Michael Bush.

    The Bears are currently 2-1, but Cutler still looks like the grumpiest guy in sports. 

    What gives?

    Stay tuned for an updated report after the Bears look to make a statement on Monday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys. Cutler's stock could dramatically rise if he performs well and actually looks like he cares.

    Current Grade: F

     

    Update: Cutler and the Bears took care of business during Week 4 of Monday Night Football against the Cowboys.

    His 18-for-24 performance for 275 passing yards and two touchdowns bolstered his grade a bit for the first marking period of the season.

    The biggest plus was that he didn't throw an interception. He did fumble, but his offensive line isn't the greatest and DeMarcus Ware honed in and demolished Cutler. The image from that shot has potential to be a classic #CaptionThis opportunity. 

    This is not to say that he's made the honor roll, but C's get degrees. The Bears are 3-1 and Cutler passes for now. 

    Current Grade: C

Sam Bradford: 881 Passing Yards, 4 TDs, 4 INTs, 61.6 Completion Percentage

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    Sam Bradford has given St. Louis Rams fans reasons to believe this year. 

    The team is 2-2, and Bradford has shown signs of why he was selected No. 1 overall in the 2010 NFL draft.

    However, one thing to be cautious about is his production over the past two weeks, as he's just 34-of-65 through the air with three picks and zero touchdowns.

    Keep in mind, though, that the Rams are in a major transformation and will only get better under the direction of head coach Jeff Fisher. 

    Bradford has plenty of room for improvement and really needs to put it all together by the end of this season.

     

    Current Grade: C

Andrew Luck: 846 Passing Yards, 5 TDs, 4 INTs, 53.3 Completion Percentage

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    It's safe to say that Andrew Luck has looked like a rookie thus far. 

    With only three games under his belt because of a Week 4 bye, he's had his ups and downs. Still, his future is very promising. 

    He's already had two 300-plus-yard passing games, and he's only thrown one interception in his last two games.

    For an Indianapolis Colts team that is supposedly going through a rebuilding season, Luck has his team ahead of schedule. 

    Look for his completion percentage to rise throughout the season.

     

    Current Grade: C+

Michael Vick: 1,146 Passing Yards, 4 TDs, 6 INTs, 56.7 Completion Percentage

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    Hey, Michael Vick is doing what he needs to do to survive in Philadelphia and win.

    He might not look great all the time, but not all good quarterbacks do. 

    He rebounded against the New York Giants in Week 4 after looking like crud against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3.

    Vick didn't throw an interception and ran at the right times against the Giants, helping the Eagles take over the division lead in the tough NFC East. 

    A win in Week 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers will get plenty of people in Vick's corner. As for now, he's treading water, beginning to swim. 

     

    Current Grade: C+

Drew Brees: 1,350 Passing Yards, 10 TDs, 5 INTs, 57.5 Completion Percentage

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    The New Orleans Saints may be 0-4, but quarterback Drew Brees can't be blamed for the struggles. 

    He's thrown three touchdowns in three out of four games this season. Sure, he's thrown five interceptions, but he's always been a gunslinger.

    The problem with the Saints isn't their offense, it's their defense. The team has allowed at least 27 points in each game. Even with the talents of Brees, having to average at least 28 points in the NFL just to win is no easy task. 

    Somewhere, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is smiling, because the Saints are paying the ultimate price for the Bountygate scandal. 

    Even though Brees is still on pace for 5,200 yards this season, somehow he'll take the blame. Because the team isn't winning, he'll downgrade himself. 

     

    Current Grade: B-

Philip Rivers: 897 Passing Yards, 6 TDs, 4 INTs, 69 Completion Percentage

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    Philip Rivers has yet to put up a 300-yard game this season, but the Chargers are 3-1. 

    Still, the franchise quarterback needs to be better.

    The Chargers have every opportunity to win the AFC West this season, but unless Rivers takes complete control of his team, head coach Norv Turner will be on his way out.

    Rivers needs a convincing performance in Week 5 against a poor New Orleans Saints defense to win over his detractors.

    Anything less than 300-plus yards in NOLA, and Rivers will be labeled as suspect.

    His presence alone has to make his teammates better. Is Rivers on that level? 

     

    Current Grade: B-

Jake Locker: 781 Passing Yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs, 63.2 Completion Percentage

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    He's looked good, he's looked bad and he's looked hurt. 

    This is not the way the Tennessee Titans wanted quarterback Jake Locker to begin his days as a starter for them. 

    Unfortunately, Locker has an injured shoulder, which had thwarted his progression twice this season. 

    Now, it's not official, but it looks like he'll be on the shelf for some time. Good thing the Titans have consummate professional Matt Hasselbeck to takeover in the huddle.

    As for Locker, Titans fans should hope for the best and plan for the worst. 

     

    Current Grade: B

Carson Palmer: 1,081 Passing Yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs, 61.1 Completion Percentage

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    The Oakland Raiders and quarterback Carson Palmer are about where everyone expected them to be through four games. At 1-3, the Week 5 bye couldn't have come at a better time for the Raiders.

    Palmer has 1,081 passing yards, although he lacks a true go-to-guy.

    Thanks to the inconsistency of running back Darren McFadden on the ground, it's hard for Palmer to find the time that is needed to be successful through the air.

    Due to an unpredictable division, the Raiders could look pretty good in just a few weeks, but Palmer will have to play lights-out. 

    As for now, he's meeting expectations. 

     

    Current Grade: B

Alex Smith: 784 Passing Yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT, 67.2 Completion Percentage

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    Alex Smith has legitimized himself as a starting NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers this season. 

    He may not put up massive numbers every week, but he's efficient.

    Niners fans may want to see bigger passing numbers from Smith because the team added a stable of receivers in the offseason, but Smith gets the job done.

    After throwing only five interceptions the entire 2011 season, he's on pace for just four this year. 

    Thanks to a stout defense, the Niners don't have to rely on Smith to win games for them every week. For instance, thanks to a sizable lead in Week 4, the team ran the ball 44 times, compared to just 21 throws from Smith. 

    He is now a proven leader on offense and does just enough to have the confidence of the 49ers and their fans. 

     

    Current Grade: B

Eli Manning: 1,320 Passing Yards, 7 TDs, 4 INTs, 64.3 Completion Percentage

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    Eli Manning has looked dominant at times this season. Then again, he's looked average at other times. 

    The New York Giants are 2-2, but could have been 3-1 if Manning had not thrown an interception in the end zone late in their Week 4 game against the dreaded Philadelphia Eagles.

    The Giants will be fine, but they can't stay around .500 for too long, because they won't be so fortunate to sneak into the playoffs this year like they did last season. 

    The NFC East is simply better this year. Look for Manning to carry his team from here on out. 

     

    Current Grade: B

Aaron Rodgers: 1,064 Passing Yards, 7 TDs, 3 INTs, 69.8 Completion Percentage

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    By no means is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers having a bad season, but it's nowhere close to the MVP season of last. 

    The Packers are currently 2-2 and have shown some growing pains in new offensive coordinator Tom Clements' scheme. 

    His four-touchdown performance in Week 4 may have awoken the sleeping giant within Rodgers, and Packers fans should be breathing a sigh of relief right now.

    A true measure of just where the Packers are will be in Week 6 when they travel to Houston. 

    Because the Packers are .500, Rodgers' grade takes a slight hit. Expect this to change by Week 8. 

     

    Current Grade: B

Christian Ponder: 824 Passing Yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 68.3 Completion Percentage

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    Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder takes the cake for the most improved second-year player this season.

    While his numbers may not be gaudy, he has yet to throw an interception and the Vikings are winning. 

    Nobody gave them a chance to beat the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3, but they did. The team then snapped an 11-game NFC North losing streak by winning on the road in Detroit in Week 4. 

    At 3-1, the Vikings currently lead their division. His improvement is definitely a relief to the organization. 

     

    Current Grade: B+

Andy Dalton: 1,111 Passing Yards, 8 TDs, 4 INTs, 67.4 Completion Percentage

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    The Cincinnati Bengals have a gem in second-year quarterback Andy Dalton. 

    Many worried that Dalton would suffer from a sophomore slump, but he's looked just fine this season. 

    More importantly, the Bengals are 3-1 despite a rash of injuries to their offensive line.

    Dalton has three straight games with at least two touchdowns, and the Bengals have subsequently won all three of those games. His completion percentage is currently up nearly 10 percent from his rookie campaign, showing us that he's now comfortable in the offense.

    If there's a downfall to Dalton, it's the fact that he's thrown one interception in each game. Regardless, the Bengals are making a strong statement that they want to return to the playoffs this season. 

     

    Current Grade: B+

Peyton Manning: 1,162 Passing Yards, 8 TDs, 3 INTs, 64.7 Completion Percentage

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    He's back. 

    After looking rusty in the first couple of games of the 2012 NFL season, Peyton Manning looks like the Hall of Fame quarterback that he is. 

    In the last two weeks alone, Manning has 668 passing yards and five touchdown tosses. The Denver Broncos are 2-2 and look like they have some swagger going on right now.

    Manning will have another chance to prove himself on a big stage when the Broncos take on the Patriots this week. 

     

    Current Grade: B+

Ben Roethlisberger: 904 Passing Yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT, 68.3 Completion Percentage

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers may only be 1-2, but that's not quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's fault. 

    Big Ben looks as good as ever, and the Week 4 bye for the Steelers couldn't have come at a better time. 

    In his last two games alone, he's gone 60-of-80 for 659 passing yards and six touchdowns. His only interception on the year came in Week 1. 

    Roethlisberger will need his teammates to step up to the plate if the Steelers are to return to the playoffs this season. 

     

    Current Grade: A-

Matt Schaub: 953 Passing Yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT, 66.9 Completion Percentage

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    Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans have plenty of reasons to be excited this year.

    Right now, the Texans are the AFC's best team, and Schaub is doing everything right what's need to win. 

    Houston is a well-rounded team with enough defense and a solid rushing attack to put positive numbers in the win column most of the time.

    Another plus for the Texans is they're the only team in their division that has more than one victory through four weeks. Already 4-0, the Texans could have the division wrapped up by Week 10. 

    This dude is tough as nails and has the respect and admiration of his teammates. Are the Texans true Super Bowl contenders? All signs point to yes right now. 

     

    Current Grade: A-

Tom Brady: 1,227 Passing Yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT, 65.6 Completion Percentage

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    Just in case you were wondering, he's still the same old Tom Brady

    The Patriots are just 2-2, but have only lost those two games by a combined three points.

    Head coach Bill Belichick seemed to let out some frustration against the Buffalo Bills when he let Brady and the boys put up a cool 52 on the scoreboard. 

    The fact that the Patriots are playing with a vengeance does not bode well for the rest of the NFL. Brady may be 35 years old, but he's playing like he's 25.

     

    Current Grade: A-

Joe Flacco: 1,269 Passing Yards, 7 TDs, 3 INTs, 63.5 Completion Percentage

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    If there's any doubt in regards to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco being an elite talent, it's time to put that notion to bed. 

    Despite a mediocre Week 2 performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, Flacco has been phenomenal. 

    In the last two weeks alone, Flacco has thrown for 738 yards. Once known as a team that depended on their defense to keep them in games, the Ravens are now an all-around threat to their opponents.

    Flacco is simply a winner.

     

    Current Grade: A- 

Kevin Kolb: 752 Passing Yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs, 62.6 Completion Percentage

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    Break up the Arizona Cardinals! 

    Thanks much in part to quarterback Kevin Kolb, the Cardinals are a remarkable 4-0. After a carousel of quarterback controversy in the offseason, he didn't start Week 1—but he finished it, and the team hasn't looked back since.

    Due to an injury to teammate John Skelton, Kolb is making the most of his redemption tour. 

    Considering the amount of negative press Kolb has received since becoming a Cardinal in 2011, he deserves credit for seizing the moment. 

    He did throw two interceptions in Week 4, but he got the job done and led the Cardinals back from a late deficit to win the game. 

     

    Current Grade: A

RG3: 1,070 Passing Yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 69.4 Completion Percentage

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    Robert Griffin III is making the Washington Redskins look good in their decision to trade up in the 2012 NFL draft to select him No. 2 overall. 

    All RG3 has done is impress this season, and Week 4 featured his first game-winning NFL drive. 

    The 'Skins have already played three road games, are currently 2-2 and have been in every game. 

    Griffin looks like a wizard on the football field. He already has two 300-plus-yard passing games and has four rushing touchdowns. He doesn't make many mistakes and looks wise beyond his years.

    It's scary to think about where his ceiling exactly is. Because of him, the Redskins are a threat to every opponent. 

     

    Current Grade: A

Matt Ryan: 1,162 Passing Yards, 11 TDs, 2 INTs, 69.4 Completion Percentage

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    Matt Ryan lives up to his nickname, Matty Ice. 

    The dude is straight cold-blooded and the leader for NFL MVP right now. 

    The Atlanta Falcons are 4-0 after Ryan took his team from the 1-yard line with just a minute left to within field-goal range. Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant would make the 40-yard field goal to give the Falcons a 30-28 win over the Panthers. 

    The Falcons look like a lock for the playoffs, which is where the real question looms over Ryan: Can he win in the postseason?

    Only time will tell if he has that moxie of a champion, but he sure looks like he's taken the next step this season. 

     

    Current Grade: A



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