Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan extended an NFL-record streak today. But how impressive a record is it?
Ryan threw for 269 yards in today’s win over the Cardinals, giving him at least 200 yards for the 50th consecutive game. That’s the longest streak of 200-yard passing games in NFL history.
On the one hand, that’s undeniably impressive historically. It’s impressive any time a player does something that’s never been done before, and it would have been unthinkable to past generations in the NFL. Consider that Bob Griese, a Hall of Fame quarterback, had just 40 total 200-yard games in his entire career.
On the other hand, that’s because the game has changed, and a 200-yard game really isn’t anything special in today’s NFL. These days, an average quarterback in an average NFL game passes for about 250 yards. Saints quarterback Drew Brees may be on a more impressive run of 200-yard passing games; he has 200 or more yards in 84 of his last 85 games, with a 41-game streak and a 43-game streak sandwiching one game in which he came up short of 200 yards.
Ryan and Brees are two of nine quarterbacks who have passed for at least 200 yards in every game this season. In 1967, Griese’s rookie year, no player passed for 200 yards in every game of the season. The NFL is changing, and so a 200-yard game, once an impressive achievement, is now something that quarterbacks like Ryan make look ordinary.