Matt Ryan's Touchdown Run for Atlanta Falcons Leaves Twitter in Hysterics

Throughout his first 13 seasons in the NFL, Matt Ryan has been the fastest player in league history to reach the 40,000 passing yards mark, and has led the league in terms of passer rating and completion percentage.

Scrambling ability, however, is not one of the aspects of the game Ryan is particularly renowned for, as Twitter was all too happy to point out after the Atlanta Falcons quarterback rushed for a touchdown in the second quarter of the Falcons' 25-17 road win against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football.

With Atlanta down 14-6 on a second-and-9 at the Panthers' 13-yard line, Ryan took the snap, rolled right and set off for the end zone, evading pressure from Carolina's defense to score.

The Panthers defense looked as surprised by Ryan's scramble as fans and analysts watching the game were. The 13-yard touchdown run was the longest of Ryan's career and his longest rush since Week 15 of the 2018 season against the Arizona Cardinals.

Ryan, who finished with 281 passing yards and one interception, may not have looked as dynamic as New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones did when he broke free for 80 yards a week ago, but unlike his younger colleague the Falcons quarterback didn't run out of steam within touching distance of the end zone.

Ryan is far closer to the traditional pocket passer than he is to the generations of quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Kyler Murray, who are perfectly comfortable holding onto the ball.

To put the different styles into context, Ryan has rushed for 1,353 yards in his career, while Jackson rushed for 1,206 yards last season alone.

At the same time, however, his 13-yard touchdown against the Panthers made Ryan only the third quarterback in Falcons history behind Michael Vick and Steve Bartkowski to have double-digit rushing touchdowns.

More importantly, it helped Atlanta to secure a second win in three weeks, a much needed shot in the arm for a franchise that had lost its first five games of the season.

The win against Carolina was only the second time this season the Falcons won a game which they led entering the fourth quarter. Atlanta squandered a five-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2 and threw away a 16-point margin against the Chicago Bears a week later, before calamitous game management saw them lose by a point to the Detroit Lions last week.

Speaking after the game, Ryan highlighted the need for the Falcons to maintain the upward trajectory in the second half of the season.

"We've been in every game we've played this year," he told ESPN. "We've had some crazy losses, just to be frank, and I really believe that we've got the caliber of team to go be in the games we're going to play the rest of the season.

"Why can't we win them all? That's the mindset that I have."

Maintaining momentum won't be easy for the Falcons, who face only two teams with a losing record—the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers—in their remaining eight games this season.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons signals against the Carolina Panthers during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium on October 29 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Grant Halverson/Getty