NFL Awards Watch: Week 11
Ryan, the third overall pick, has been instrumental in the Falcons' surprising 6-3 start. The unflappable rookie has compiled an impressive 89.9 passer rating while completing 59.6 percent of his passes for 1,909 yards with 11 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Those numbers rival Pro Bowlers
"He is mature beyond his years," said Falcons head coach
Ryan's maturity and tireless work ethic has drawn comparisons to a young
While Flacco's start hasn't garnered the same kind of national attention, the rookie has also keyed a surprising franchise turnaround. The Ravens have reeled off four consecutive victories to sit atop the AFC North, and the solid play of Flacco has been instrumental in the surge.
After getting off to a shaky start to his career (Flacco completed 62 percent of his passes with only one touchdown and seven interceptions during his first five starts), he has settled in and started playing like a playmaker instead of game manager in recent weeks. Completing around 61 percent of his passes, Flacco has thrown six touchdowns without an interception in the past four games. By avoiding the big turnover, he has allowed his team to win on the strength of its dominating defense and powerful ground attack.
"The thing about Joe we've said from the very beginning, he may make a mistake and he'll make plenty of mistakes throughout his career, but he's not the kind of guy that doesn't learn from them," Ravens coach
Though Flacco's avoidance of the big mistake has been critical, his ability to throw the ball down the field has made the Ravens offense more explosive. In the past four games, Flacco has completed 12 passes over 20 yards and four of his touchdowns have been for 28 yards or more. With the long ball in play, the Ravens' scoring offense has surged from 28th to 12th in a four-week span. Thus, Flacco deserves an enormous amount of credit for the Ravens' recent winning streak.
Ryan and Flacco have already made league history by being the first pair of rookie quarterbacks to open the season as starters since 1971 (