Philadelphia born and raised, Matt Ryan returns to his home town not as the conquering hero, but as the enemy. Growing up in Philly, Ryan will be well prepared for his third visit to Lincoln Financial Field. The All-Southeastern Pennsylvania high school star is well versed in Philadelphia's brand of hostile hospitality.
Ryan will be hoping to reverse recent history and silence the hometown crowd.
Game 1: October 26, 2008
In his rookie season, Matt Ryan had a chance to return to his native Philadelphia. Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons were shocking the league in a year when many pundits predicted they would go winless. In his first year, Matt Ryan would have a chance to show off his skills in the town he grew up in. Yeah... Not so much.
Matt Ryan's homecoming was a rocky event at best. Philadelphia looked unstoppable, as they always do after a bye. Ryan's two touchdowns were not enough, as Ryan, constantly harassed, was both picked off and sacked twice on route to a 27-14 loss.
Game 2: October 17, 2010
In Ryan's second trip home, he arrived as an established starter. He had already won over his new hometown fans in Atlanta by finally bringing them consecutive winning seasons. No longer the underdog, Ryan would arrive in Philadelphia expecting to win. The Falcons were looking strong early in 2010, and Philadelphia was without a resurgent Michael Vick. Yeah... Not so much.
How will Matt Ryan perform against the Eagles?
Atlanta's defense seemed confused as backup quarterback Kevin Kolb marched his team down the field. Ryan looked stronger in leading the Falcons this time, but could not put together enough scoring drives.
Game 3: October 28, 2012
Matt Ryan will come home as one of the league's brightest young stars. Unshackled from a run-first offense, Ryan is quickly being considered a premier passer. He will enter Sunday's game with a 98.8 quarterback rating and an undefeated record. Will a desperate Eagles team, with history on its side, be too much for Matt Ryan to overcome? Yeah... Not so much.
Matt Ryan's four consecutive winning seasons show that history is not an obstacle. Matt Ryan's inability to overcome slow starts in his two previous trips may no longer be a factor as well. Atlanta Falcons OC Dirk Koetter's new pass first scheme has allowed Ryan to stay aggressive in games. Against the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders, the Falcons offense seemed to sputter early. Ryan showed his moxie by finding a way to win in the second half.
That moxie may prevent a third harsh homecoming.