Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

Newton crashes, then passes Ryan

Having run out of conventional ways to fix Matt Ryan, perhaps it is time to do something desperate.

Put him in one of those crash test vehicles. Strap him in securely, mind you. Give him a helmet and plenty of padding. Don’t want to do any lasting damage, just shake him up a bit. And then run that sucker into a wall.

It may be too late to try this in advance of Sunday’s game against Carolina, but something radical needs to happen soon.

We mention car-crash therapy because of Sunday’s opponent. It has been a little more than a year now since the Panthers Cam Newton was involved in a roll-over accident that left him with a couple broken bones in his lower back and a deep sense of gratitude. Newton was granted the gift of perspective.

Since the crash, the Panthers are unbeaten in the regular season. Harnessing his considerable skills in his fifth NFL season, Newton has emerged as a MVP favorite.

Granted, Newton has advantages that Ryan does not enjoy. Like a formidable defense. And a real bail-out receiver in tight end Greg Olsen.

But what is particularly stunning here in advance of 2015’s first meeting between Newton’s Panthers and Ryan’s Falcons is how the former is out-performing the latter in managing the position. Credited with being such a cerebral fellow, a real astute decision-maker, Ryan has ceded even that advantage to Newton this season.

What has rendered Ryan the least important quarterback in his division are the critical errors that have piled up at his feet. Who could ever have pictured Newton the more efficient and effective player in a comparison between the two? And, yet, look at these 2015 numbers:

Touchdown/Interception ratio – Newton 25/10, Ryan 17/13.

Fumbles/fumbles lost – Newton 3/2, Ryan 8/3.

Red zone touchdown/interception ratio – Newton 19/0, Ryan 15/4.

Red zone quarterback rating: Newton 111.5, Ryan 78.3.

If such trends do not reverse, I see no alternative to the crash test dummy experiment.

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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.