Matt Ryan's 5 Interceptions: No Problem, Atlanta Falcons Win!

Jerry Tapp@@StatsonTappSenior Analyst IIINovember 25, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 18: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons passes against the Arizona Cardinals at the Georgia Dome on November 18, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

If your quarterback throws five interceptions, it’s impossible to win that game, right? In fact, if you look at the numbers, an NFL team that has had a quarterback throw five interceptions in a game had won eight times, tied twice and lost 145 times (from 1966 to last weekend). That’s a winning percentage of .058. Maybe not impossible, but highly unlikely.

Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons made the “not impossible, but highly unlikely” a definite “yes” last Sunday when they defeated the Arizona Cardinals 23-19 despite Ryan throwing five interceptions in the contest.

Ryan’s first pass of the game was intercepted as were two more of his first-quarter passes. The Falcons recovered from a 13-0 first quarter deficit to win their ninth game of the season.

Ryan became the first QB since Tony Romo in 2007 (and only the second QB in the last 23 years) to have five interceptions in his team’s victory.

In addition to Ryan’s game last week, here are the eight other quarterbacks whose teams won when they tossed five interceptions in a game:

  • Oct. 8, 2007: Tony Romo, Dallas, in a win over Buffalo
  • Dec. 9, 1990: Mark Rypien, Washington, in a win over Chicago
  • Oct. 26, 1987: Wade Wilson, Minnesota, in a win over Denver
  • Dec. 24, 1985: John Elway, Denver, in a win over Kansas City
  • Sept. 14, 1980: Dan Fouts, San Diego, in a win over Oakland
  • Sept. 7, 1980: Joe Ferguson, Buffalo, in a win over Miami
  • Nov. 29, 1970: Johnny Unitas, Baltimore, in a win over Chicago
  • Sept. 24, 1967: Bart Starr, Green Bay, in a win over Chicago

Following are the QBs who have had the most games with five-plus interceptions:

  • 8: Joe Namath
  • 5: Ken Stabler
  • 4: Vinny Testaverde, Tommy Kramer, Joe Ferguson
  • 3: Jim Hart, Steve Grogan, Dan Fouts, Steve DeBerg

Here are a few more interesting stats concerning QBs who threw five or more interceptions in a game and his team won.

  • Ryan became only the second QB since 1966 to have five-plus interceptions and no TD passes and win the game. Bart Starr did it in 1967.
  • Tony Romo is the only QB to throw five interceptions in a game that his team won on the road. The other eight QBs who threw five-plus interceptions in a win did it at home.
  • Quarterbacks who threw five-plus INTs in a playoff game are 0-11. The last QB to do so? Jake Delhomme of the Carolina Panthers, who had five interceptions in the Panthers' 33-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Jan. 10, 2009.
  • Ten QBs have thrown six or more interceptions in a game. None did it in a victory.
  • David Woodley of the Miami Dolphins had the highest passer rating of any QB who threw five-plus interceptions in a game. He had an 82.8 passer rating in his five-interception game versus the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 25, 1981.


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