How will Matt Ryan and Jonathan Taylor compare to other running back and quarterback combos around the NFL? Jonathan Taylor will defend his rushing title in the 2022 season. Matt Ryan will be writing a new chapter in his own story. Due to the variation in ages and experience in athletes we will mainly use stats from the 2021 NFL Season in these comparisons. Stats are taken from Stathead.com.
Comparison to Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott
Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott have been a beloved or hated duo in the NFL since the 2016 NFL Season. Both players were drafted by the Cowboys in the 2016 NFL Draft. Every year starts with huge amounts of hype for this Cowboys duo, and most years end with Cowboys fans whining and crying. Looking past all the hype and disappointment you see that this duo is statistically solid.
A New Team Could Help Matt Ryan Rise to Dak Prescott’s Level.
Dak Prescott had an incredible 2021 season until the Cowboys’ disastrous playoff exit. Prescott had 4,449 yards through the air along with 37 touchdowns to go along. The Cowboys were far superior to the Atlanta Falcons in the 2021 season. Dallas finished with a record of 11-5, and the Falcons finished 7-10. With this in mind Ryan’s stats of 3,968 passing yards and 20 touchdowns, seem more comparable to Prescott’s. Prescott and Ryan had a similar pass completion percentage with 68.8 and 67 respectively. The interception stat for both is also similar with Prescott tallying 10 and Ryan with 12. If the Colts offensive line can step up through offseason turmoil then Ryan will have the chance to raise himself to Prescott’s statistic level.
Jonathan Taylor Dominates the NFL Statistically
Jonathan Taylor was statistically dominant in the 2021 season. Ezekiel Elliott had a great season himself. Elliott eclipsed 1,000 yards, a staple of a great season. In this season Elliott had 10 touchdowns with a very impressive 4.2 yards per carry. This great season pales in comparison to what Jonathan Taylor put on tape. Taylor put up 1,811 yard along with 18 touch downs on the ground. The Colts relied heavily on Taylor, giving him 332 carries across 17 games. Elliott only carried the ball 237 times. with almost 100 more carries Taylor was still able to average 5.5 yards per attempt. Taylor is not only a powerful runner who can get you a tough two yards, but he can also break off for a 50+ yard touchdown run.
Comparison to Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon
The Super Bowl runner up quarterback and running back combo must be talented, that is just logical.
The Mobility of Two Quarterbacks and Their Offensive Lines
Joe Burrow’s comeback season was impressive to say the least. The second-year quarterback threw for 4,611 yards with 34 touchdown passes. He finished the season with a quarterback rating of 108.3. I have already referenced Ryan’s passing stats above. The stats to compare between these QBs is the sack count. Both quarterbacks faced immense amounts of pressure. Burrow was sacked 51 times, and Ryan 40. Neither QB had much protection, if the Colts can keep the pressure off of Ryan he can give them top-tier stats.
Burrow was incredible and had enough confidence to tell Ja’Marr Chase how fast he was. A Tweet from Ja’Marr:
Joey B swear he fast y’all 😭😭 like 20 MPH fast 💀— Ja’MarrChase (@Real10jayy__) June 27, 2022
If Burrow thinks he is fast, then lets look at his rushing stats. Burrow rushed 40 times, with these rushes he accumulated 118 yards and two scores. averaging 3.0 yards per attempt. These stats are enough for defensives to give Burrow’s legs some credit. He is certainly not immobile. You can say the same thing for Matt Ryan. Ryan also rushed 40 times, he ended with 82 yards and one touchdown. I believe that this can help dispel any negative talk about his mobility.
Jonathan Taylor Can Increase His Receiving Back Role
Joe Mixon’s body of work was even better than Elliot’s, but still not on the level of Taylor’s. A great article from Ben Baby details Mixon’s possible role in the passing game in 2022. Baby goes on to talk about the great Bengals wide receivers and how they can limit Mixon’s role. The Colts have the opposite problem, a questionable WR core. This could increase the roles of both Taylor and Nyheim Hines in the passing game. A creative balance with both running backs, with some shared field time would be interesting. It could help with reducing season long wear-and-tear, and keep opposing defenses guessing.
Comparison to Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry
This is a comparison any AFC South fan has an opinion on. Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry seem to be the most similar to the Colts duo. Tannehill and Matt Ryan are similar level quarterbacks, accurate and competent. Henry and Jonathan Taylor are the top two running backs in the league.
Matt Ryan Has the Slight Edge on Ryan Tannehill
Matt Ryan had 18 more completions on 29 more passe compared to Ryan Tannehill. More completions for Ryan, but Tannehill has a better completion percentage by 0.2. Ryan threw for 20 touch downs with 12 interceptions. Tannehill comparatively threw 21 and 14. This gives Matt Ryan a slightly better touchdown to interception ratio. These stats lead to Matt Ryan with a QBR of 90.4, which tops Tannehill’s 89.6.
The Two of Best Running Backs in the NFL
Sadly Derrick Henry was unavailable due to injury for the first half of the 2021 NFL Season. Upon his return he received 219 carries. Considering his injury and his snap count, we can compare Henry and Jonathan Taylor. On Henry’s 219 carries he ran for 937 yards and scored ten touchdowns. an easily comparable stat is the yards per carry. Jonathan beats Henry with a 5.5 compared to 4.3. The 2022 NFL Season is the real test for these two backs, it will be exciting to see who comes out on top.
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