Stop blaming Matt Ryan for blown leads, especially the one the Colts had against Vikings

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04: Matt Ryan #2 of the Indianapolis Colts warms up before kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on December 4, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04: Matt Ryan #2 of the Indianapolis Colts warms up before kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on December 4, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts allowed the Minnesota Vikings to make the largest comeback in NFL history and that has resulted in Matt Ryan being criticized.

When the Indianapolis Colts traded for Matt Ryan, no one expected that the season would be going how it is. Ryan and the Colts have experienced disappointment after disappointment and it’s now likely that Ryan won’t be around for the final year of his contract next season. While things were already bad entering Week 15, Indianapolis received another embarrassing loss, but this time, it was in a historic fashion.

Indy jumped out to a 33-0 lead at halftime over the Minnesota Vikings but ultimately lost the game 39-36. The comeback by Minnesota was the largest comeback in NFL history. For Matt Ryan, that means he has now been on the losing end of the largest comeback in Super Bowl history and NFL history as a whole. Surely, the NFL world made sure that fact was known.

After being peppered with 28-3 jokes for six years, Ryan fell victim to even more mockery after the Colts’ blown lead on Saturday. From social media to talk shows, everyone is joking about how no lead is safe as long as Ryan is the quarterback of the team with the lead. While Twitter will be Twitter and jokes are going to fly, it’s unfair to associate these blown leads with Ryan, especially the one from Saturday’s games with the Vikings. Ryan could obviously be better but he’s far down the list of people to blame.

Matt Ryan is not responsible for blowing leads

Against the Vikings, Ryan completed 19-of-33 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown. He fumbled the ball once but it was recovered by the Colts, and he didn’t throw any interceptions. While he did protect the ball, he still had a subpar game. Indy scored just one offensive touchdown on the day and only had three second-half points. Even still, the blown lead was far from Ryan’s fault.

The simple fact is that Ryan didn’t play any defense for the Colts against Minnesota. He has never played a defensive snap in his career. His job is to play quarterback, and while he can be better at that, he’s not responsible for Indy’s (or the Falcons’) defense allowing the other team to score. In order for a team to make a huge comeback, they not only have to get stops but they must score a lot of points.

On Saturday, Minnesota scored 39 points after halftime. Allowing 39 points in a game is embarrassing, allowing that much after the half is pathetic. However, the poor performance of the Indianapolis defense has been able to slide under the radar because everyone would rather focus on how a quarterback, someone who only plays offense, blew a lead.

It’s not like Indy’s defense was put in bad spots either. Sure, the Colts weren’t sustaining clock-draining drives, but every time the Vikings scored it came on a long drive, never off a turnover. Minnesota had a seven-play drive for 88 yards and a touchdown, an eight-play drive for 75 yards and a touchdown, a six-play drive for 61 yards and a touchdown, a five-play drive for 50 yards and a touchdown, a one-play drive for a 64-yard touchdown, and a six-play drive for 60 yards and a game-winning field foal. Matt Ryan had nothing to do with those drives where Indy’s defense was being walked down the field.

This is a problem bigger than Matt Ryan though. Win or lose, the game of football has been minimized to the quarterback position. If a team plays great and wins, the quarterback is brilliant. If a team plays horribly and loses, the quarterback is trash and needs to be replaced. If a defense allows 39 points after halftime, the team’s quarterback will get clowned for blowing a lead.

Everyone has an agenda or narrative to push and a joke to make but the reality is that Matt Ryan has been somewhat unfairly associated with blown leads, and the Colts’ defense is the unit that should be under the most scrutiny after Indy’s historically bad game.