A tough matchup for the Falcons in Week 8 just became a bit more challenging.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan has been officially ruled out for Sunday’s matchup with Seattle after suffering an ankle injury last week against the Los Angeles Rams.
The injury ends one of the more remarkable streaks in the league as Ryan will miss a start for the first time since 2009. Ryan’s 181 consecutive starts ranks fifth all-time in NFL history with a group of Hall of Famers ahead of him — Brett Favre, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning.
Rivers’ active streak of 226 consecutive starts is still nearly 100 games away from topping Favre’s 321.
At 1-6, the Falcons were already in big trouble this season and that was with Ryan playing particularly well. The 34-year-old has completed 70.9 percent of his passes through seven games, five points higher than his career average — though a few of those misses have resulted in his eight interceptions, which is already more than he threw all last season.
In any case, Ryan was still finding the end zone with ease, leading the league alongside Patrick Mahomes with 15 touchdowns passes.
Backup Matt Schaub, 38, will take Ryan’s place on Sunday and make his first start since 2015 when he went 1-1 with the Baltimore Ravens. The former longtime Houston Texans quarterback went 6-for-6 with one touchdown and 65 yards after he replaced Ryan last week but couldn’t stop the Falcons from getting rolled by the Rams.
What’s already a lost season has the potential to get much worse depending on the severity of Ryan’s injury. Following Sunday’s meeting with Seattle, Atlanta will face a Saints team featuring a returning Drew Brees to begin a stretch of five games against NFC South rivals. Thankfully, the Falcons have a bye in Week 9 to regroup before tackling the next phase of the schedule.
Danny Etling was signed off the practice squad on Saturday to back up Schaub, with the Falcons releasing offensive lineman John Wetzel in a corresponding move.
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